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The Neoliberal Regime in the Agri-Food Sector - Crisis, Resilience, and Restructuring

Abstract

For the last three decades, the Neoliberal regime, emphasising economic growth through deregulation, market integration, expansion of the private sector, and contraction of the welfare state has shaped production and consumption processes in agriculture and food. These institutional arrangements emerged from and advanced academic and popular beliefs about the virtues of private, market-based coordination relative to public, state-based problem solving. This book presents an informed, constructive dialogue around the thesis that the Neoliberal mode of governance has reached some institutional and material limits.

Abstract

For the last three decades, the Neoliberal regime, emphasising economic growth through deregulation, market integration, expansion of the private sector, and contraction of the welfare state has shaped production and consumption processes in agriculture and food. These institutional arrangements emerged from and advanced academic and popular beliefs about the virtues of private, market-based coordination relative to public, state-based problem solving. This book presents an informed, constructive dialogue around the thesis that the Neoliberal mode of governance has reached some institutional and material limits. Is Neoliberalism exhausted? How should we understand crisis applied to Neoliberalism? What are the opportunities and risks linked to the construction of alternatives? The book advances a critical evaluation of the evidence supporting claims of rupture of, or incursions into, the Neoliberal model. It also analyzes pragmatic responses to these critiques including policy initiatives, social mobilization and experimentation at various scales and points of entry.

The book surveys and synthesizes a range of sociological frames designed to grapple with the concepts of regimes, systemic crisis and transitions. Contributions include historical analysis, comparative analysis and case studies of food and agriculture from around the globe. These highlight particular aspects of crisis and responses, including the potential for continued resilience, a neo-productivist return, as well as the emergence and scaling up of alternative models.

Citation

Wolf, S.A. and Bonanno, A. (eds) (2014) The Neoliberal Regime in the Agri-Food Sector: Crisis, Resilience, and Restructuring. Routledge, London and New York.

 

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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