DOI link for Interrogating Waste
Interrogating Waste book
This chapter outlines the concept of vastogenesis, the premise that waste-generation is a core biopolitical component of mass consumption. Over the last few decades, globalizing capitalism has led to increased sectoral concentration in which a few hegemons dominate wholesale/retail goods, inducing vastogenesis as a critical mechanism of profitability. Vastogenic mechanisms connect global zones of mass food production to zones of mass consumption through reflexive production, distribution and transport systems and waste is deconstructed and analysed as a proxy exchange value through (a) the value of the waste itself, and (b) as a mechanism for accelerating consumption and material throughflow.
The UK is used to explore the conceptual territory of waste and how growth in vastogenesis is intensified by contractual domination, sub-contracting and monopsonist practices by global food hegemons which simultaneously control commodity and food prices at the bottom of the food production chain, complemented by control over sale prices in zones of food consumption through food abundance. Appetite creation is also examined as a driving force of vastogenesis through constant expansion of food ranges and attempts to capture market share by appeals to the symbolism of sophistication, selling a globalist, cosmopolitan diet in zones of mass food consumption.