The agribusiness/food sector is the second most profitable industry in the
United States — following pharmaceuticals — with annual sales over
$400 billion. Contributing to its profitability are the breathtaking strides in
biotechnology coupled with the growing concentration of ownership and control
by food’s largest corporations. Everything, from decisions on which foods
are produced, to how they are processed, distributed, and marketed is,
remarkably, dictated by a select few giants wielding enormous power. More and
more farmers are forced to adopt new technologies and strategies with
consequences potentially harmful to the environment, our health, and the
quality of our lives. The role played by trade institutions like the World
Trade Organization, serves only to make matters worse.
Through it all, the paradox of capitalist agriculture persists: ever-greater
numbers remain hungry and malnourished despite an increase in world food
supplies and the perpetuation of food overproduction.
Hungry for Profit presents a historical analysis and an incisive
overview of the issues and debates surrounding the global commodification of
agriculture. Contributors address the growing public concern over food safety
and controversial developments in agricultural biotechnology including
genetically engineered foods. Hungry for Profit also examines the extent
to which our environmental, social, and economic problems are intertwined with
the structure of global agriculture as it now exists.
Hungry for Profit demystifies the reasons why hunger proliferates in
the midst of plenty and points the way toward sustainable solutions. Perhaps
most important, it highlights the ways in which farmers, farmworkers,
environmental and sustainable agriculture groups — as well as consumers
— are engaged in the struggle to create a just and environmentally sound
food system which, its editors argue, cannot be separated from a just and
environmentally sound society.