Power without borders?

Transnational corporations in the global food system

Authored by: Doris Fuchs , Tobias Gumbert

The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138718364
eBook ISBN: 9780429438233
Adobe ISBN:


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The global food system has been undergoing tremendous changes since the beginning of the twentieth century. With the production, distribution, and consumption of food being today globally integrated, these processes connect diverse and remote localities with global markets. The growing complexity of the global food chain, the increasing volatility of food prices, and the serious aberrations of overproduction and overconsumption of food products in the Global North vis-à-vis malnourishment and hunger in the Global South are only some characteristics of these wide-ranging changes and their impacts. Transnational corporations (TNCs) are the central architects of the contemporary shape of the global food system. From the production and trade in food and agricultural items to the level of processing and manufacturing and subsequently retailing and providing these items, business dominates the provision of food. Although international governing efforts provide some degree of regulation with regard to the activities of agrifood corporations, through various practices and mechanisms these corporations themselves play through various practices and mechanisms, a central role in the establishment of the rules that are supposed to monitor and control them (Clapp and Fuchs 2009).

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