Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 513–523 | Cite as

Governance in the age of global markets: challenges, limits, and consequences

Article

Abstract

We live in an age defined in large part by various facets of neoliberalism. In particular, the market world has impinged on virtually every aspect of food and agriculture. Moreover, most nation-states and many international governance bodies incorporate aspects of neoliberal perspectives. Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), with their own standards, certifications, and accreditations are evidence of both the continuing hegemony of neoliberalism as well as various responses to it. Importantly, to date even attempts to limit neoliberal hegemony through MSIs have been largely within the parameters established by those same neoliberal agendas. However, neoliberalism is itself in crisis as a result of climate change, the continuing financial crisis, and rising food prices. The founding myths of neoliberalism are still widely held, having the effect of closing off alternative paths to the future. Yet, this need not be the case. Alternatives to the current MSIs that promote justice, democracy, and equality can still be constructed.

Keywords

Multi-stakeholder initiatives Standards Certification Governance Neoliberalism 

Abbreviations

ESOP

Employee Stockholder Ownership Plan

MSI

Multi-stakeholder initiative

NGO

Non-governmental organization

RSPO

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

RTRS

Roundtable on Responsible Soy

SQF

Safe Quality Food

WIETA

Agricultural Ethical Trade Initiative

WTO

World Trade Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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