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Stuffed and Starved – Patel Ch 6.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 2239
Professor
Alissa Mazar
Semester
Fall

Description
Stuffed and Starved – Patel Ch. 6 – Better Living Through Chemistry • The central problem in the food chain • Following WWII, hunger was tackled through the export of the IS food surplus, until it began to falter • New system in which the private sector had an expanded role – breakthroughs in agricultural research made possible the increased output of the staples of wheat, corn and rice in the South • Demanded irrigation, fertilizers, and pesticides – depended on fossil fuels for their production – known as the Green Revolution • In some places widespread hunger was kept in check • India and the US worked cooperated closely in agriculture launching a new Agricultural Knowledge Initiative • Will invest $100 million US to improve farming technology (to promote ties between American and Indian scientists) • India was given considerably less freedom than Bush would like to admit • 1950-60’s the US was keen to not see India fall to Communism – as a result India was a major recipient of food aid • India wanted a change in land ownership to pit the government • Indians in rural areas were suffering – imports of cheap wheat strained farmers • By the time food aid came to an end in the 1970’s, the US owned over 1/3 of the Indian rupee money supply • The ever-growing gap between the haves and the have-nots provoked riots • 1965 the renewal of India’s food aid was switched from annually to a month-to- month system • If India did what the US wanted, they would get their food aid • Green Revolution was the solution that fit the constraints, but if the recipient countries do not do what is best for them, food aid could be cut off over night • The seeds required irrigation, leading to competition for water, which has resulted in groundwater levels dropping at over one foot a year in some areas • Irrigation led to increased salt deposits in the soil, making land unusable • The cost of fertilizer could only be borne by those farmers who were able to access credit • India is severely in debt to the US as a result of the Green Revolution – however the only thing worse than having the Green Revolution was not having it • Over the course of the 1990’s, malnutrition increased in India, the average calorie intake declined among India’s poorest • Today, 233 million Indians are undernourished • The Public Distribution System (PDS) was targeted at providing cheap food in urban areas – at its height, distributed 18.8 million tons of coarse cereals to more than 80 million people • PM Singh wanted to dismantle PDS • PDS expanded in the wake of the 1943 Bengal famine, in which over 3 million people died even though there was enough food in Bengal to feed them • It wasn’t the absence of food, but the ability to buy it • Those who owned food hoarded it, knowing that less food meant higher food prices • Those in a position to control the distribution of grain will only do so if they’re able to command a sufficiently high price • Only way to overcome famine is through a functioning democracy • Singh wanted to introduce a second Green Revolution – based not on fertilizers and improved seed, but biotechnology • Key feature of the WTO were rights to allow for one individual or organization to own ideas and to charge anyone else for using them • Pesticide companies are now the world’s largest owners of seed companies – seeds are developed as an extension of the Knowledge Initiative pesticide product line • Like the software industry, the pesticide industry has gone to great lengths to prevent its property being stolen • The pesticide industry has developed ‘terminator technology’, a series of genetic modifications designed to make the seeds produced by one of its plants sterile • The first Green Revolution was driven more by governmental concerns from which the private sector benefited • The second Green Revolution is spear-headed by the private sector, with governments acting more as facilitators • The private sector is exposed to demands of public accountability • Three-prong strategy has emerged in response to the range of criticisms of pesticide companies • To produce crops that are directed precisely at poor people • To increase the amount of science that justifies their current operation • Corporations have tried to use and shape the ‘culture wars’ in order to make their case • The problem with these corporations lies
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