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Law and the Political Economy of Hunger

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Law and the Political Economy of Hunger by Anna Chadwick

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This book takes as its starting point claims made by NGOs that financial speculators trading in commodity derivatives were instrumental in the causation of the global food crisis in 2007-11, which was aggravated by extraordinary levels of price volatility in markets for grain. Anna Chadwick examines debates over the causal significance of financial speculation in the production of food price volatility. Contradicting a prevailing tendency to cast these debates in terms of the distortion of food prices by financial investors, she argues that it may no longer be possible to conceptually distinguish 'true' prices for commodities from the prices listed on derivatives markets, or to meaningfully delineate between beneficial 'hedging' in financial markets and distortive 'speculative' trading. Chadwick critically examines new regulations that attempt to curb 'excessive' levels of speculation in financial instruments linked to commodity prices. After concluding that the new regulations may be of little help in the fight against world hunger, the author illuminates how existing legal regimes spanning domestic contract law, private property rights, transnational private regulation, categories of public international law, norms of international trade and investment law, and even human rights, actively contribute to the production of hunger in the world. If world hunger is to be eradicated, as successive initiatives of the international community would aim to ensure, greater attention needs to be paid to how different laws and legal regimes coalesce to obstruct vulnerable communities in accessing food, and continue to entitle an economic elite to command access to resources ahead of the needs of poor communities.

Author Biography

Anna Chadwick is a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow at the University of Glasgow. She started her current job after completing a two-year Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute, in Florence. She was awarded her doctorate by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in November 2015, and holds a Masters Degree in Public International Law and International and UK Human Rights Law (LLM) from King's College London, and an LLB from the University of Leeds. Anna spent one year working for the legal charity, Reprieve, where she undertook investigation and research on death penalty cases. She is also part of a joint research initiative on food and finance. In 2017, she co-designed and taught a new Masters course 'Food, Law, and Finance' at International University College of Turin. Anna has also taught courses on International Human Rights Law, and World Hunger and the Global Legal Order.
Release date NZ
December 31st, 2018
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Oxford University Press
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