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The Political Economy of Food Production Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Indust­ria­liz­ation and Coloni­alism

Food has frequently been a means of genocide within the colonial project. The food in reside­ntial schools was partly respon­sible for the large number of deaths within the assimi­lation project. Much of the nutrit­ional inform­ation we have at the moment is likely a result of nutrit­ional experi­ments performed on children in reside­ntial schools.

Sugar, coffee, and tea fuel coloni­alism, plantation slavery, and indust­ria­liz­ation.

Factors leading to the indust­ria­liz­ation of food include new preserving techno­logies, mechan­ization of produc­tion, retailing and marketing, and transp­ort­ation and distri­bution processes.

Biotec­hnology is the techno­logical interv­ention in the biological compos­ition or make-up of living things, including cellular or molecular interv­ent­ions. This process is associated with genetic selection and genetic modifi­cation. Genetic modifi­cation may also enable the patenting of foods and seeds, and is associated with a reduction in biodiv­ersity, rather than an expansion.

Food and Global Economic Policy

Global­ization comes directly out of British imperi­alism and coloni­alism. All of the organi­zations that facilitate global­ization were built on instit­utions formed immedi­ately after the second world war, and therefore reflect the power dynamics of the time. The balance of power under global­ization is very unequal.

McDonald’s is seen as the icon of global fast food. It was regarded by many as destru­ctive of food tradit­ions, enviro­nments, and health. Altern­atives draw on gendered, racial­ized, and class-­based relati­ons­hips. Complex relati­onships between local/­global, slow/fast.

What's so bad about "­McD­ona­ldi­zat­ion­"? The ration­ali­zation of the process of producing food, the reliance on techno­logy, effici­ency, and control, standa­rdi­zation rather than diversity, alienation of labour (McJobs), and the dehuma­niz­ation of the process of eating.

Other anxieties over fast food include: enviro­nmental impact, impacts on food cultures and tradit­ions, health impacts, and working condit­ions. These are deeply gendered, classed, and nation­alist concerns.