Endless Appetites: How the Commodities Casino Creates Hunger and Unrest

Overview

The international food crisis—particularly the availabilityand affordability of food products—has become one of the mostpressing challenges of our time, and is being talked abouteverywhere from college campuses to emergency UN meetings. WhileAmerican farms are more prosperous today than ever before, the samecannot be said for those in other parts of the world. Since 2007,farm-product prices have risen at ridiculous rates, leading toincreasing hunger, malnutrition, and social and political upheavalaround the ...

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Endless Appetites: How the Commodities Casino Creates Hunger and Unrest

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Overview

The international food crisis—particularly the availabilityand affordability of food products—has become one of the mostpressing challenges of our time, and is being talked abouteverywhere from college campuses to emergency UN meetings. WhileAmerican farms are more prosperous today than ever before, the samecannot be said for those in other parts of the world. Since 2007,farm-product prices have risen at ridiculous rates, leading toincreasing hunger, malnutrition, and social and political upheavalaround the world.??Endless Appetites: How the Commodities CasinoCreates Hunger and Unrest explores how crop markets—firstestablished in the 1800s to help stabilize agricultural commodityprices—are increasingly acting like an investors' casino, withprices absorbed by rich nations taking food from the mouths of poorones.

Drawing on his experiences visiting farms and talking withfarmers around the world—in Ethiopia, Kenya, Thailand, andNicaragua—as well as in the United States, acclaimedjournalist Alan Bjerga examines the growing international foodcrisis firsthand. Raised on a farm in the Midwest during the lastfood crisis, Bjerga has the personal and professional experience tounderstand the plight of individual families and make the kind ofintelligent, insightful suggestions for change that only an expertcan.

As grocery store prices continue to rise, it is clear thatsomething has to be done to stabilize food prices and close thehunger gap, not just at home, but around the world. Increases infood prices in 2011 set new records, and things are only going toget worse unless we act now. Endless Appetites takes the readerinside the commodities system at the center of the heartbreakingrise in worldwide hunger and considers how to solve the problem offood security for everyone.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"“Endless Appetites is ideal for someone interestedeconomics and global markets, packed as it is with numbers. But theinformation in this book is important for anyone who is concernedabout the future of our food supply—which should probably beall of us.”
Serious Eats!

"Worth checking out … Based on the author's personalvisits to farmers around the world, Bjerga explains how the crisishappened (short answer: greed), it’s tragic effects, and whatnow has to be done to reverse them."
The Atlantic

"Some of Bjerga’s best writing is about the inner workingsof the Chicago Board of Trade and other markets, and when he bringsAmerican agricultural history into the story of what othercountries have not had and do not have to encourage stableagricultural development. … Bjerga’s skill is in theway he forces the reader to make connections between aspects ofagriculture that do not normally appear together. And the book ischock full of unusual observations."
AgWeek

“My Thanksgiving holiday book discovery will becomeChristmas season reading. ... Lest you think this is just anotherrant at financial and trading institutions, be aware that Bjerga isa veteran commodities writer and Washington correspondent."
Lee Egerstrom in Hindsight: The Minnesota 2020Blog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118043233
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Series: Bloomberg Series , #151
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Bjerga has covered food and agricultural issues for more than a decade for Knight-Ridder Newspapers and Bloomberg News. He won the Glenn Cunningham Agricultural Journalist of the Year Award from the North American Agricultural Journalists in 2005. In 2009, he was recognized for covering U.S. food aid and famine in Ethiopia by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the North American Agricultural Journalists, the New York Press Club, and the Overseas Press Club. In 2010, Bjerga was President of the National Press Club and the North American Agricultural Journalists.

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Table of Contents

Author’s Note viii

Prologue xi

CHAPTER 1: Floors, Fields, and Famines 1

CHAPTER 2: Chicago Makes a Market 13

CHAPTER 3: Elephants in the Kiddie Pool 25

CHAPTER 4: A Recipe for Famine 39

CHAPTER 5: The View from Rome 51

CHAPTER 6: Hot Air 65

CHAPTER 7: Promise 79

CHAPTER 8: The Price of a Cup of Coffee 97

CHAPTER 9: A Better Banana 113

CHAPTER 10: Thai Quality 131

CHAPTER 11: Steps Up 147

CHAPTER 12: Harvest of Hope 159

Notes 169

Acknowledgments 189

About the Author 191

Index 193

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