Making Poverty

Making Poverty

Thomas Lines

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: B00BZ758W2

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this clear and intelligent book, Thomas Lines examines the role that global policies have played in creating a crisis of rural poverty. He explains the mechanisms of markets and supply chains, charting their impact on agricultural trade in the world's poorest countries. A desperate situation is emerging which could soon leave little place for hundreds of millions of smallholders across the world, as the global supply chains of giant food corporations and supermarkets swallow them up. Poor countries have become newly vulnerable to price changes for crops like rice and wheat, and the situation is set to deteriorate further if global policies do not change. The author argues that debates about world trade negotiations have only highlighted part of the problem: we must turn our attention to wider economic policies, the workings of the markets themselves and the division of power along the supply chains, to establish a practical set of solutions. Combining analytical rigour with a clearly accessible examination of the key factors, the author deftly points to the forms that these solutions could take.

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human rights and democracy; but while certainly desirable in themselves, the nature of the link between those virtues and economic development seems somewhat obscure, considering that China’s economic progress has been accompanied by a poor record on precisely those scores; and history shows China to be far from unique in that respect. However, in the policies actually pursued under aid programmes, the emphasis of governance tends to be placed once again on reducing the size of the state and

later, events on the coffee market were even more dramatic: In November 1940 the Inter-American Coffee Agreement was signed between the US and all Latin American producing countries. It inaugurated a system of export quotas for the North American market and thus ended the previous fierce competition among producing countries…. During the six months following the signing of the Agreement, prices soared by 60 per cent.27 Before the 1990s formal international commodity agreements (ICAs) operated

plan to cooperate on the palm oil, rubber, cocoa, timber and other markets in order to ensure price stability and eliminate the undercutting of their positions by others. ‘Farmers of both countries are always on the receiving end when prices drop’, the Malaysian commodities minister was reported as saying. These countries are the two leading producers of palm oil and the second and third producers of natural rubber.30 On the world tea market, discussions have been reported involving all four

suppliers in 1994, four have sought bankruptcy protection.35 The supermarkets’ market power enables them to acquire fresh produce from around the world throughout the year, overcoming the constraints of the seasons, and to extend their range into ever more exotic items produced in other climate zones. Their push for fresh produce explains much of the pressure on developing countries to export horticultural products such as fruit, vegetables and cut flowers, under the banner of diversifying into

started in Spain and Portugal in the fifteenth century. In earlier times the Silk Road’s passage across arid Central Asia had enriched oasis towns like Bukhara and Samarkand, fomented the Sogdian and Seljuk empires, and then that of Emir Timur (Tamerlane) in Samarkand; while, before the time of slavery, the Sahel was home to several great states, including those from which modern Mali and Ghana take their names. It is a further misfortune that poverty is exacerbated today by climate change, which

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