Analysis Of Stuffed And Starved

analytical Essay
2185 words
2185 words

Stuffed and Starved brings to light the uneven hourglass shape that exists within our world’s food system, and describes what factors contribute to these discrepancies. It begins with the decisions farmers are forced to make on the farm, and ends with the decisions the consumers are able to make at the grocery stores. The purpose of Stuffed and Starved was to describe what factors attribute to the hourglass shape of the food system. Author Raj Patel points out who is profiting and who is suffering in this system, and gives insight as to how the system may be improved.
The shape of the hourglass describes the large amount of farmers at one end, and the large amount of consumers at the other. The middle of the hourglass represents the few large corporations that control the food system. These are the food processors and distributors that are in control of the food from farm to table. It is here where money is being squeezed out of the pockets of farmers and consumers, and into the bank accounts of large corporations. Throughout Stuffed and Starved, Raj Patel describes each entities role in the food system and where is it failing.
Our nation was founded on agriculture, and for hundreds of years we were able to migrate across the nation bringing our farming tools and techniques with us. Technology has driven populations away from rural areas towards industrialized cities. With money now being pumped into cities, rural farmers are suffering the most. Farmers are taking out large loans in order to sustain their farms, leading to debt and in some cases suicide. Patel spoke about a farmer in India whose husband took his life because he was unable to live with the amount of debt from his struggling farm. This man left his wife and chi...

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...struggling to earn any income at all and sometimes do not even get the opportunity to eat. Another issue that Raj Patel did not touch on is the lack of care consumers have for the farmers. It seems that consumers care about farmers about as much as the corporations do, which, in my opinion, is not a lot. When consumers only care about low prices and large corporations only care about making a profit, the farmers are left out to dry. Many consumers believe “food should be available at a bargain price, a belief that relies on labor exploitation and environmental exhaustion at multiple points along the commodity chain.” (Wright, 95) Corporations as well as consumers generally tend to be selfish and I think Raj Patel is afraid to mention this. If only these people cared a little bit more about each other I believe the hourglass of the food system will begin to even out.

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that nafta was not designed to benefit mexico, since it favored the consumer over the farmer. the large corporations at the waist of the food systems rake in the cash.
  • Opines that the open market creates competition for farmers and lower prices for consumers, but the middlemen are squeezing all of the money out of this agricultural breakthrough.
  • Explains that the us provided india with a surplus of food aid to prevent communism. the system proved to work, but many children were still malnourished due to the increasing cost of pesticides.
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