History of Sustainable Global Food Economy

Introduction

Towards the realization of an effective understanding of the present, a clear understanding of the events of the past, which have shaped the present, is of great significance. This is because; most of what is witnessed today across the different sectors, is among the fruits of the seeds of the past, notably the upheavals and the transformations of the 20th century. Some of the major events shaping the society witnessed today include the cold war, and the postwar period, which led to the reshaping of government systems and models, as well as the structures of sustainability. The modern world has witnessed humanitarian accomplishments and scientific breakthroughs, accompanied by housed political and scientific progress.1

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Discussion

The most important aspects in the development of the contemporary state of events include economic interdependence, globalization, corporate capitalism, and nationalism. These are the fuel factors of the changes witnessed in society. In this context, globalization refers to expanding global relations economically and culturally. Economic interdependence, on the other hand, is the result of the division of labor and specialization, which covers the entire globe, with traces of inequality and unbalanced exchange of the produce of specialization. Nationalism is the established identity of the members of society with a given state, where these states and their people are linked in the sustainability of the affairs.

Corporate capitalism is a concept under economics and social science, describing modern capitalist markets, which are characteristic of bureaucratic dealings, hierarchical models, and dominance, which are developed for the pursuit of profit. In the middle of all these hierarchies and bureaucratic relations, there is a great imbalance in the supply of commodities, these including food, which is subjected to corporate monopoly. This paper is an account of the models that could be used to regain effective control of the global food balance, where farmers and consumers are not exploited. The paper will also offer insights into how the current world can be pushed into future food sustainability2.

The global food economy is characteristic of fast and immense growth, especially that resulting from highly populated nations like Brazil, China, and India. From the case of China, sustainable economic growth of nine percent has been maintained since the 1950s, which is driven by the pursuit of better living standards and the corresponding population growth. The global food demand is also shifting from that of basic commodities like rice and cereals to that of higher-value products like meat, vegetables, fruits, fish, oils, and fats.3

The demand for food products is also shifting from that of raw produce to processed and prepared food products. There is also, a shift from home-prepared food to out-of-home produce. As a result, there is also a shift in consumer demand, where it is defined in terms of variety, quality, and convenience. With such a shift, there is the problem of more eating and less exercising, in both developing and developed countries, a situation which is becoming a social issue, complementing that of the hunger witnessed at various parts of the world4.

The food economy is in the process of globalization, where growth in international investment and trade is continually outpacing the required growth in production. As a result, investing has become an increasingly significant instrument of realizing internationalization.

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For example, some of the OECD states of the world continue to sell their produce on the basis of foreign affiliates than trade. Further, the process is bound to extend, citing the increasing proliferation of regional and bilateral trade and investment deals. The situation is similar around the food supply cycle, which is continually becoming an open market center, where developing states will dictate more power, as consumers, suppliers, and users of technological models.5

There is also, the creation of restrictions to the mobility of food processing, distribution, and agricultural production, which are primarily dependent on soil conditions, the availability of irrigation water, and climate variations. Further, as a result of the continually increasing food demand, the prices of foodstuffs will remain high, leading to the usage of marginal lands into agricultural production.6

The challenges facing the food supply cycle include the challenges placed in the way of food companies within the food chain, due to the globalization process. This partly results from the shift of demand for value and specific requirements with respect to food requirements. International competition and resource scarcity are further pushing corporate firms into making the supply chain leaner, thus the need to introduce innovative ways of dealing with the increasing food scarcity. As a result, the food chain will result in producing on-demand, through the application of innovative transport and ICT models for supply coordination. Therefore, food supplies will be delivered where corresponding value can be drawn, which puts developing economies on the losing end.7

In the area of food supply sustainability, the economic instability of developing economies greatly impacts the demand for raw materials and natural resources, these including fossil fuels, water, and agricultural produce. Particularly, the shift to the demand for meat and dairy products has profound impacts on the demand for oilseeds, cereals, as well as that of water, land, and the general need for the discharge of nutrients. This results to pressure on the environment, thus the role of agriculture in the deterioration of the global ecology and the exhaustion of natural reserves. The impacts include climate change, land degradation, pollution of water and land resources, as well as the phase-out of biodiversity.8

In the area of policy, taking into account the changes in demand, the pursuit for value-added production, sustainability requirements, and the impacts of globalization, governments are obligated to search for a new balance in food and agricultural sustainability. Sustainability of the models and consumer wellbeing are also issues surrounding the future of food production. Particularly, policies will be needed in the areas of food quality, food safety, health, and sustainability.

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Transparency in food production will lie around value addition, employment creation, and a possible reallocation from agriculture to the foodservice, retail, and processing. In implementing such policies, governments can use incentives like subsidies; private responsibility, like information provision; and hierarchical structures, such as bureaucracy and regulation of the chain activities9.

Conclusion

From the report, it was discussed that in understanding the issues facing the current society, one will have to understand the historical events shaping the variations witnessed today. The factors shaping the situation around the current state of food supply imbalance and inclination to certain areas and not others include the impacts of globalization, economic interdependence, nationalism, and corporate capitalism, which have shaped the global food economy in different ways.

The high increase in food demand is resulting in a shift from natural foods like cereals and vegetables to the consumption of processed and secondary foods like meat and dairy products. Due to the shift to higher-level food classes, the environment and the welfare of individuals are threatened.

With the shifts in production models, there is a shift from bulk production to demand production, thus the inability of economically disadvantaged economies in accessing sustainable food supplies. The shifts to technological production in food production are also bound to favor developed economies, including Australia, America, and New Zealand. This is the case, as these economies are better endowed at the capture of the required labor, resource, and technological inputs.

The challenges facing the food cycle include the threat of eliminating small-scale producers and the unsustainable nature of eco-friendly food production. Towards the realization of effective food policies, governments and other players will have to come in in the areas of offering incentives, responsibility creation, and the control of food production and distribution.

Bibliography

Fulgoni, Linda. The globalization of private standards and the Agri-food system. Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007.

Patel, Raj. Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. New York: Melville House, 2008.

Swinnen, Johan, & Maarten Maertens. Global supply chains, standards and the poor: Some conclusions and implications for government policy and international organizations. Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007.

Weis, Tony. The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming. London: Zed Books, 2007.

Footnotes

  1. Linda Fulponi, The globalization of private standards and the Agri-food system (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007), 3.
  2. Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (New York: Melville House, 2008), 4.
  3. Tony Weis, The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming (London: Zed Books, 2007), 7.
  4. Johan Swinnen & Maertens Maarten, Global supply chains, standards and the poor: Some conclusions and implications for government policy and international organizations (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007), 12.
  5. Johan Swinnen & Maertens Maarten, Global supply chains, standards and the poor: Some conclusions and implications for government policy and international organizations (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007), 14.
  6. Johan Swinnen & Maertens Maarten, Global supply chains, standards and the poor: Some conclusions and implications for government policy and international organizations (Oxfordshire: CABI, 2007), 17.
  7. Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (New York: Melville House, 2008), 24.
  8. Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (New York: Melville House, 2008), 34.
  9. Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (New York: Melville House, 2008), 43.
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