Superbly written, well researched, and ambitious in its scope, Stuffed and Starved is an eye-opening exploration of capitalism's logic when it comes to food. The title comes from the striking fact that Patel takes as his starting point - that there are 800 million hungry people in the world, and a billion overweight people. He proceeds to unpack this fact in the rest of the book, touching on the rise of ubiquitous ingredients such as soy or corn syrup, supermarkets, genetic engineering, and the economics at work behind these developments. I found the sections on the supply chain particularly good. Patel doesn't need to ram his points home or play the guilt card. He presents the facts and the need for change is evident. Those changes, he suggests, include eating locally, rediscovering food as a pleasure, breaking the power of supply monopolies, and ensuring a living wage for everyone along the chain of production. As a writer based in South Africa who has worked for the World Bank, Raj Patel is well placed to speak to both sides of the development debate. He has done so compellingly, and I will keep an eye out for anything he writes in the future.
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