Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bernstein & Byres Award

The editors of the Journal of Agrarian Change recently announced the winner of the Bernstein & Byres Award: Me! (Go to the link and scroll down the page, then you'll see the announcement.)

This award goes to the best JAC article of the year. (This year, the prize goes to the best article in 2009.)

"The articles are judged on: (a) their quality as works of political economy; (b) their analytical
power; (c) their originality; and (d) the quality of evidence presented and its deployment."

Here is the cite and link for my article: "TheVanishing Free Market:The Formation and Spread of the British and US Food Regimes," Journal of Agrarian Change, 9(3): 315–44. (Just go to the link and scroll down a bit, then look at the PDF link.)

To see the editors' comments about the prize and my paper, look here. (Again, just scroll down and look at the PDF link.)

Aside from the self-promotion (but isn't this whole blog about self-promotion?), noting the recognition of this article is appropriate here and now as I begin to turn my attention to food crises in the world economy.

This article on food regimes discusses some of the fundamental processes that underlie the creation of the international food regime -- that is, the rules and institutions that govern the production, distribution, and price of food in the world economy.

Anyway, take a look if you have a moment. You can also download the article and brief comment for free -- that's what winning an award does for you. . .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rising Food Prices

As you have probably heard, world food prices have been rising.

In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization shows that food prices have been increasing steadily since last June. The FAO has tracked food prices with its Food Price Index since 1990. Over the past four years, food prices have exhibited significant instability. They peaked in June 2008, during the most recent food crisis.

More recently, however, food prices rose even higher in December 2010. But prices apparently have yet to peak, as "Global food prices have reached their highest point in 20 years" in February, according to the AP article linked above.

Food is essential individually and socially. A decrease in food security (the availability of food in a country, and the people’s access to that food) can contribute to political instability. Take, for example, food riots in Tunisia and Algeria in January.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of food -- individually, politically, socially, etc. -- makes it imperative to explore some of the factors contributing to the rise in food prices.

Over the next several weeks, I will explore some of the factors behind rising food prices.