Hunger in the Balance

Overview

Food aid has become a contentious issue in recent decades, with sharp disagreements over genetically modified crops, agricultural subsidies, and ways of guaranteeing food security in the face of successive global food crises. In Hunger in the Balance, Jennifer Clapp provides a timely and comprehensive account of the contemporary politics of food aid, explaining the origins and outcomes of recent clashes between donor nations—and between donors and recipients.

She identifies ...

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Hunger in the Balance: The New Politics of International Food Aid

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Overview

Food aid has become a contentious issue in recent decades, with sharp disagreements over genetically modified crops, agricultural subsidies, and ways of guaranteeing food security in the face of successive global food crises. In Hunger in the Balance, Jennifer Clapp provides a timely and comprehensive account of the contemporary politics of food aid, explaining the origins and outcomes of recent clashes between donor nations—and between donors and recipients.

She identifies fundamental disputes between donors over "tied" food aid, which requires that food be sourced in the donor country, versus "untied" aid, which provides cash to purchase food closer to the source of hunger. These debates have been especially intense between the major food aid donors, particularly the European Union and the United States. Similarly, the EU's rejection of GMO agricultural imports has raised concerns among recipients about accepting GMO foodstuffs from the United States. For the several hundred million people who at present have little choice but to rely on food aid for their daily survival, Clapp concludes, the consequences of these political differences are profound.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Clapp investigates the forces that have shaped international food aid from its inception during the 1950s through the present. From tied versus untied food aid to issues associated with genetically modified organisms, local and regional purchase (LRP), and monetized food aid, Clapp exposes the particular policies and institutional contexts of donor nations that impact recipient nations and food aid processes. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice (1 November 2012)

"The book brings into sharp focus the conflicts among developed and developing nations over issues such as global food security. . . . It is written in a clear and compelling way and should serve as an excellent introductory text for those seeking to study the intersection between food production and international relations."—Calestous Juma, International Affairs (May 2013)

"In her new book, Hunger in the Balance: The New Politics of International Food Aid, Jennifer Clapp lucidly and concisely deconstructs the evolution and current orientation of the international food aid system. Deftly navigating how donor nations attempt to reconcile individual economic and political interests with (a) evolving norms concerning aid effectiveness and (b) the need for adequate and sustainable aid flow, this volume will undoubtedly serve as a benchmark in food aid scholarship for years to come."—Nicholas C. Parker, Agriculture and Human Values (September 2013)

"Clapp helpfully reviews te debates surrounding food aid and the changes in policy by the major donors—the United States, the European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia, generally in that order—that have led to a decline in overall aid since the mid-1980s and a trend toward more emergency assistance."—Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs

"In this lucid, well documented and entirely convincing book, Jennifer Clapp explains how the provision of food aid to hungry people in poor countries has always been (and largely remains) at the mercy of powerful interests in donor countries, above all the United States."—J.E. King, Global Change, Peace, and Security

"Even experts steeped in the details of food aid policy debates will learn things from this extremely perceptive and carefully researched account; I certainly did. Clapp clearly and meticulously explains the ideological, institutional and interest group dynamics behind evolving food aid debates. She flags interesting emerging issues . . . [and] clearly lays out the analytical basis for each perspective on why food aid has been so politicized and some of the testable implications of each theory."—Christopher B. Barrett, Journal of Developmental Studies (November 2012)

"Though there is a wealth of research considering the economic effects of food aid on both donor and recipient countries, Hunger in the Balance seeks to explain trends and changes in food aid politics as they relate not only to donor and recipient economies, but policies, corporate interests, and the food itself. . . . Hunger in the Balance takes on complex political ideas and applies them in a clear and cogent way."—Contemporary Sociology (December 2012)

"The author presents a succinct and full assessment of modern food aid, discussing its nature and specificity. In this book on the policy of aid giving she defly avoids ideological arguments and opinions, focusing instead on an objective analysis of the influences involved."—Political Studies Review (2013)

"Jennifer Clapp has forensically dissected post-Cold War international food aid policy with remarkable thoroughness and presented it logically, concisely and accessibly in Hunger in the Balance, a fact all the more admirable for the slimness of the book. It offers a substantive contribution to food aid discourse . . . in addition to serving as a valuable primer for anybody new to the subject. . . . It is easy to see this book becoming a common reference for students, policy professionals and researchers."—Andrew Wilbur, Journal of International Development

"Jennifer Clapp's up-to-date book about the international food regime pulls together her own interviews of policymakers at the center of the food aid system with the existing literature on the food policies of the European Union, the United States, and Canada. Clapp provides a sophisticated history of the food regime and deals in a remarkably even-handed way with all of the major current issues related to food aid policy. She capably explains controversial issues and demonstrates not only why the contemporary regime has such a strange structure but also why much of that structure is likely to persist. If there were books on every aspect of global governance as good as this one is, all of us would be much wiser."—Craig N. Murphy, University of Massachusetts Boston

"Hunger in the Balance provides an insightful account of international food aid and the uncertainty surrounding its future in an era of food scarcity, global trade conflicts, and controversies over biotechnology. Jennifer Clapp's analysis of the food aid issue illuminates key features of the global food system, international institutions, and the politics of development."—Adam Sheingate, The Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801450396
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/2012
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Clapp is Professor and CIGI Chair of Global Environmental Governance, Balsillie School of International Affairs and Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo. She is the author of Toxic Exports: The Transfer of Hazardous Wastes from Rich to Poor Countries and Hunger in the Balance: The New Politics of International Food Aid, coauthor of Paths to a Green World, and coeditor of several books.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations IX

Acknowledgments xi

List of Abbreviations xiii

1 Food Aid Politics: The Old and the New 1

2 Past and Present Food Assistance Trends 15

3 Donor Policies on the Question of Tying 46

4 U.S. Debates on Tied Food Aid 69

5 The GMO Controversy 94

6 Food Aid at the WTO 118

7 The 2007-2008 Food Crisis and the Global Governance of Food Aid 139

8 Conclusion: Prospects for the Future of Food Aid Politics 161

References 173

Index 195

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