Essay on Raj Patel's Stuffed and Starved

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Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved analyzes the paradoxical content in its title statement. Patel demonstrates how the world food system has created two opposite, but inherently linked epidemics: obesity and crippling hunger. Throughout the course of this book, it becomes painfully clear that the majority of the world’s population is being manipulated by our global food system and by the corporations and their CEO’s who control it. Patel encourages his readers to make themselves politically responsible (313) and through Stuffed and Starved, highlights the discrepancies and major imbalances of our world food system, the small percentage of people who benefit from it, and the vast majority of humanity who does not. He does all this while…show more content…
Patel concludes that these systems favor the consumers rather than the producers. He uses Mexican corn as an example. The price of corn in the Mexican market collapsed due to U.S imports. The U.S corn farmers were significantly subsidized by their government, and the poor Mexican farmers had no way to compete. Patel accuses America of using its economic and political power to strong-arm Mexico and other countries under the guise of free trade agreements. With all of the evidence Patel presents on this topic, any reader would have a difficult time disagreeing with this assertion. Patel makes food out to be a bargaining chip, a good that can be used to control nations and suppress rebellions. He may not be so far off the mark. Food was used in U.S negotiations during the 1950’s and 60’s. Nations that were susceptible to Communism were manipulated into becoming dependent on the U.S market. America is not the only superpower that Patel takes aim at however. Britain used its influence to control the grain trade, encouraging India and others to sell their wheat stocks. This brought famine back to Asia, but provided cheap food for its factory workers and suppressed rebellion at home. The food system has been increasingly used as a weapon to control weaker nations, to keep people down, and to line the pockets of those who control it. Patel discussed companies like Monsanto and Altria who were able to buy “governmental goodwill”

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