Making Poverty

Making Poverty

Thomas Lines

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: B00BZ758W2

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this clear and intelligent book, Thomas Lines examines the role that global policies have played in creating a crisis of rural poverty. He explains the mechanisms of markets and supply chains, charting their impact on agricultural trade in the world's poorest countries. A desperate situation is emerging which could soon leave little place for hundreds of millions of smallholders across the world, as the global supply chains of giant food corporations and supermarkets swallow them up. Poor countries have become newly vulnerable to price changes for crops like rice and wheat, and the situation is set to deteriorate further if global policies do not change. The author argues that debates about world trade negotiations have only highlighted part of the problem: we must turn our attention to wider economic policies, the workings of the markets themselves and the division of power along the supply chains, to establish a practical set of solutions. Combining analytical rigour with a clearly accessible examination of the key factors, the author deftly points to the forms that these solutions could take.

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their determination to produce their own food after the harsh experience of famine in previous decades. Broadly speaking, these were also the policies of the British government before it went over to free agricultural trade in 1846, while Germany adopted a similar approach explicitly as it industrialized during the nineteenth century. In the United States, industrialization was achieved under the shelter of what were, until the 1930s, the highest industrial tariffs in the world;39 the only break

markets in particular and their role in defining poor countries’ trade, and discusses the inefficiencies and failures of these markets. Chapter 4 examines another source of problems with agricultural prices: the growth of corporate power among supermarkets and other firms at the consumer end of supply chains. Chapter 5 stands back and argues for a different approach to development in general, to enable poorer countries to concentrate on developing their own economies and trade with neighbours at

going to the other stages…. While African producers have incurred income losses, traders and firms in the higher steps of the value chain have been reaping significant benefits.2 This chapter will examine these trends, discuss their implications for agriculture in poor countries and consider what can be done about them. As hinted by UNCTAD (although not explicitly stated), the basic issue is one of power over the supply chain. Agricultural production has always been fragmented among thousands or

both public and private standards, the need for some coordination became apparent, so that produce that met the requirements of one importing country or purchasing firm would also be acceptable to another. Two founding agreements of the WTO in 1995 were drawn up to meet this need in the case of public standards.38 In principle, private standards set by commercial firms are meant to come under them too. However, the system has operated far from perfectly, partly because, as in the WTO more widely,

148 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 124, 129, 131 International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 6-7, 125, 129 International Tea Agreement, 1933, 83 International Tin Agreement, 87, 89-90, abandoned, 64 International Wheat Agreement, 87 Iran (Persia), 34, 64, 1979 revolution, 64 iron ore, price rise, 64 Jacobs, coffe roasters, 97 Jamaica: EU sugar quota, 78; remittances importance, 65 Jamshedpur, Tata steel mill, 17 Japan, 20, 130; protectionism, 53

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