chapter  2
25 Pages

Cheap food, globalization, and development

WithMichael Carolan

Cheap food would not only help to feed a growing non-farming population but would prevent rising food prices, which would in turn help to offset the initial low wages offered in cities. Cheap food has put hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers out of business. Trade liberalization inevitably leads to a flood of cheap food imports. In other words, without government intervention there could be no globalization, or any market economy at all for that matter—no contract enforcement, food-safety oversight, publicly funded roads and utilities. The idea of agriculture as a handmaiden to the development of the rest of the economy—where urbanization and economic growth of key sectors are the real ends sought—is slowly being supplanted by the view that agricultural development should be pursued in its own right. In 1954, the United States government created Public Law 480 with the passing of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act.