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Food for the Few Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America by Gerardo Otero

Food for the Few Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America


Food for the Few Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America by Gerardo Otero

Recent decades have seen tremendous changes in Latin America's agricultural sector, resulting from a broad program of liberalization instigated under pressure from the United States, the IMF, and the World Bank. Tariffs have been lifted, agricultural markets have been opened and privatized, land reform policies have been restricted or eliminated, and the perspective has shifted radically toward exportation rather than toward the goal of feeding local citizens. Examining the impact of these transformations, the contributors to Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America paint a somber portrait, describing local peasant farmers who have been made responsible for protecting impossibly vast areas of biodiversity, or are forced to specialize in one genetically modified crop, or who become low-wage workers within a capitalized farm complex. Using dozens of examples such as these, the deleterious consequences are surveyed from the perspectives of experts in diverse fields, including anthropology, economics, geography, political science, and sociology. From Kathy McAfee's Exporting Crop Biotechnology: The Myth of Molecular Miracles, to Liz Fitting's Importing Corn, Exporting Labor: The Neoliberal Corn Regime, GMOs, and the Erosion of Mexican Biodiversity, Food for the Few balances disturbing findings with hopeful assessments of emerging grassroots alternatives. Surveying not only the Latin American conditions that led to bankruptcy for countless farmers but also the North's practices, such as the heavy subsidies implemented to protect North American farmers, these essays represent a comprehensive, keenly informed response to a pivotal global crisis.


A unique and important contribution to our understanding of agrarian development, the linked roles of state and the private sector in the diffusion of technology, neoliberal globalization, hopes for alternative futures, and the sociology of knowledge... Fred Buttel would have been pleased with the innovative and careful scholarship of the book. Scott Whiteford, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona

About the Author

GERARDO OTERO is Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th August 2010


Gerardo Otero

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University of Texas Press


335 pages


Agriculture & farming
Genetic engineering



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