Master's Theses

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

International Relations

Keywords

Food, Security, Globalization

Abstract

"Is food security a threat to Global security? Recent history suggests so. After all, since 1947 the international community has struggled to implement agreements on agriculture in the name of preserving peace. Most recently, in the last of the Doha Development Round negotiations, efforts have been made to enhance food security (with measures such as equal access to resources, trade liberation, and the removal of tariffs for developing countries). In my thesis I will explore both the theory of these policies and their efficacy in practice. More specifically, I will examine the limitations of past policies (such as ""anti-dumping"") aimed at promoting food security in the world, and propose more effective alternatives. My case study focuses on the practice of “dumping” in Haiti – namely, the underselling of cheap food grains by developed nations to gain market shares and trade advantages. This phenomenon has caused great harm to the Haitian economy, damaging their food production, increasing their food dependency on exports, and making them vulnerable for price spikes – all of which has, in turn, lead to social unrest and riots. In the case of Haiti, dumping has also been the result of an international shift towards liberalization without limits: the promotion of free and open trade through the removal of all barriers. This is, perhaps, one reason why international efforts to curb practices such as dumping (which compromise food security) have been unsuccessful: they fail to impose and enforce the limits needed to preserve a more level playing field and balance of trade. With this in mind, I will examine current agricultural and trade policy with an eye towards reform, returning to the theories of John Maynard Keynes to illustrate that truly “free” trade requires limits and international enforcement, and that such limits can, theoretically and in practice, benefit the entire world – rather than, simply, increase the divisions separating rich and poor, haves and have nots, developed and developing nations. And this sort of understanding is, ultimately, a necessary foundation upon which to address a problem – food security – that is growing and threatening to pose an increasingly serious threat to world security. "

 
 

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