Worth a Look: The Real Cost of Cheap Food

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Crime (Corporate), Disease & Health, Economics, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Worth A Look
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Amazon Review

‘This is an engaging, brilliantly argued and very well-written text. It is among the best books about agri-food issues I’ve read in recent years. Its structure is logical, its arguments are coherent and practical, and it draws on a huge, diverse and up-to-date literature.’ Geoffrey Lawrence, Professor of Sociology, University of Queensland, Australia

Michael Carolan’s book is an arresting account of the invisibilized costs of our food system. His comprehensive detailing of the political, cultural, ecological and health impacts of industrial food clearly reveals the artificial economy of pricing, demonstrating the multiple relations of food beyond its appearance as simply a commodity.
Philip McMichael, Cornell University, US

The Real Cost of Cheap Food is a must read for anyone truly interested in understanding our impaired food system and what we need to do to redesign it. As Carolan points out so brilliantly, the problem with cheap food isn’t just about the “externalities” we ignore, but it lies at the heart of how our food system is designed and requires that we take a fresh, comprehensive look at the problems inherent in our globalized food system. Those problems include the poverty and the potential civic unrest and conflicts it foreshadows, its implications for human and environmental health, and what it all portends for community well-being and the need for cultural transformation. This is one of the most comprehensive treatments of this important issue available today and can serve as a guide for everyone interested in redesigning our food system for the decades ahead. Frederick Kirschenmann, Iowa State University, US

Product Description

This challenging but accessible book critically examines the dominant food regime on its own terms, by seriously asking whether we can afford cheap food and exploring what exactly cheap food affords us. Detailing the numerous ways that food has become reduced to a state, such as a price per ounce, combination of nutrients, yield per acre, or calories, the book argues for a more contextual understanding of food when debating its affordability.

The author makes a compelling case for why today’s global food system produces just the opposite of what it promises. The food produced under this regime is in fact exceedingly expensive. Thus meat production and consumption are inefficient uses of resources and contribute to climate change; the use of pesticides in industrial-scale agriculture may produce cheap food, but there are hidden costs to environmental protection, human health and biodiversity conservation. Many of these costs will be paid for by future generations – cheap food today may mean expensive food tomorrow. By systematically assessing these costs the book delves into issues related, but not limited, to international development, national security, health care, industrial meat production, organic farming, corporate responsibility, government subsidies, food aid and global commodity markets. The book concludes by suggesting ways forward, going beyond the usual solutions such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and community gardens. Exploding the myth of cheap food requires we have at our disposal a host of practices and policies. Some of those proposed and explored include microloans, subsidies for consumers, vertical agriculture, and the democratization of subsidies for producers.

Worth a Look (DVD): One Man, One Cow, One Planet

Advanced Cyber/IO, Atlases & State of the World, Change & Innovation, Collective Intelligence, Collective Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Complexity & Resilience, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Crime (Corporate), Cultural Intelligence, Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Earth Intelligence, Economics, Environment (Solutions), Ethics, Gift Intelligence, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (Public), Key Players, Methods & Process, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace Intelligence, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics of Science & Science of Politics, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Public Administration, Reform, Reviews (DVD Only), Science & Politics of Science, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Technologies, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Threats, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Phi Beta Iota: The industrialization/ chemicalization of agriculture, in combination with the corruption of every aspect of society beginning with governance and extending to the media, has allowed for the desecration of the Earth and the poisoning of humanity.  This has been done with the explicit consent and encouragement of the so-called elites of the West, who have a vision of eugenics and the covert eradication of the poor and uneducated over time.  These elites do not see that the brainpower of the three billion poor is the only thing that can restore natural harmony and sustainable agriculture as well as legitimate governance and natural capitalism.  The time has come to create M4IS2–public intelligence in the public interest.

Review (Guest): Brain Trust — The Hidden Connection Between Mad Cow and Misdiagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease

02 Infectious Disease, 07 Health, 07 Other Atrocities, 11 Society, 5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Earth Intelligence, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Government, Impeachment & Treason, IO Sense-Making, Justice (Failure, Reform), Military, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Dr. Colm A. Kelleher

5.0 out of 5 stars As a neurologist, I found it frightening, November 21, 2004

By Stephen Wong (Pennsylvania, USA) – See all my reviews

As a trained neurologist working at a school of medicine, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of BSE and its human counterpart, nvCJD. But clinical knowledge is only one piece of the puzzle.

Drawing upon epidemiologic, forensic, political, medical, scientific, and historical sources, the author has provided a truly chilling account of the importation of prion disease samples from the small cannabalistic Fore tribe in New Guinea for U.S. animal experimentation in the 1950’s and ’60’s, with credible links to the current epidemic of animal prion disease in North America (CWD or chronic wasting disease, TME or transmissible mink encephalopathy, and BSE), as well as the current epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease in developed countries (i.e., those eating mass-produced livestock). The author also speculates that the cattle mutiliations in North America in the past few decades may have been programs designed for the surveillance of prions within the nation’s food supply.

Some disturbing points made in the book are:

Continue reading “Review (Guest): Brain Trust — The Hidden Connection Between Mad Cow and Misdiagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease”

Review (Guest): The Psychopath Test — A Journey Through the Madness Industry

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Civil Society, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Crime (Organized, Transnational), Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
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Jon Ronson

5.0 out of 5 stars A Serious Topic Tackled with Humanity, May 12, 2011

‘People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get what they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.’
– Robert Hare, Ph.D

I’ve been hooked on Jon Ronson’s writing since ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’ was first published. Ronson cuts right to the heart of important topics by having the guts to ask the difficult questions. His literary style is equal parts journalistic rigour, deep compassion and incisive observational humour that often shines the light of ridicule on darker human behaviours. ‘The Psychopath Test’ explores psychiatry, psychopathology, medication and incarceration of ‘dangerous’ individuals. The book reads like a mystery novel, which – driven by Ronson’s compelling prose – makes it difficult to put down.

Continue reading “Review (Guest): The Psychopath Test — A Journey Through the Madness Industry”

Review: Long Strange Journey–An Intelligence Memoir

6 Star Special, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), History, Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Patrick G. Eddington (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars6+ Deep Moral Practical Look at Loss of Integrity Across US National Security

February 28, 2011

FINAL REVIEW

It is difficult for any intelligence book to make it to my 6+ category, or top ten percent. What brings this book to the very top of the heap is the skillful weaving of a constant appraisal of the moral in tandem with the practical. Sight unseen I knew this book would be a five, but it jumped to six when I read it from the back to the front and saw:

Page 354: The Agency has become inbred, ossified, parasitic…a prescription for the abuse of individual rights and fatally flawed analyses of the world-at-large that have plagued CIA over the past 30 years…

In the same concluding chapter he slams Congress for not demanding full access to classified information and the Congressional intelligence committees for serving as controllers of Congressional access rather than oversight bodies, with a particular disdain and disinterest in whistle-blowers; the Pentagon for infecting its own troops with alleged medicine that cause neurological problems, and for consistently covering up and lying to one and all about the causes of Gulf War syndrome; and the US Government generally for isolating “military medicine” from civilian medicine to the point that the troops are guinea pigs for bad science, and then victims of cover-ups that would not be countenanced outside the Pentagon.

Continue reading “Review: Long Strange Journey–An Intelligence Memoir”

Review: The Blue Covenant–The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Survival & Sustainment, United Nations & NGOs, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Overview and Update As of 2007

August 27, 2010

Maude Barlow

I now realize that this book is a sequel to Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water and I will read and review that book next.

First off, am really starting to pay attention to Right Livelihood, the Alternative Nobel that seems to avoid really big mistakes that have characterized the Nobel Peace Prize in recent decades (Kissinger to Obama). I first learned of this award when Herman Daly, conceptualizer of Ecological Economics, spoke at one of my conferences, and now I am going to look into this and post a listing of recipients at Phi Beta Iota, where all my reviews can be easily exploited across 98 distinct categories, something not possible here at Amazon.

Up front I will still say that Marq de Villier’s Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource is the best book around, along with the The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World’s Most Critical Resource.

This book joins with Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit and its own prequel Blue Gold (now also coming out as a new DVD Blue Gold, along with another DVD, For Love of Water not found, author may have meant instead Flow How did a handful of corporations steal our water) to make the case for water as a human right. The book ends with a Blue Covenent in three parts.

Two points in this book hit me hard:

Continue reading “Review: The Blue Covenant–The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water”

Review: The World’s Water 2008-2009–The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

5 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Complexity & Catastrophe, Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Education (General), Education (Universities), History, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evolving Series, Multiple Authors, Deep Value

August 26, 2010

Peter Glick, Heather Cooley, Michal J. Cohen, Mari Morikawa, Jason Morrison, and Meena Palaniappan

Although I continue to recommend The Atlas of Water, Second Edition: Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource as the best overall combination of content, visuals, and price, this book is a solid five stars and represents not just the current biennial report, but in the comprehensive index and tables of contents at the back, the volumes that preceded this one.

This is a multi-author work, and whiled Peter Glick is clearly the lead, other authors are Heather Cooley, Michal J. Cohen, Mari Morikawa, Jason Morrison, and Meena Palaniappan. I continue to be annoyed by Amazon’s oblviousness to academic standards in relation to properly crediting authors, even when publishers correctly list them.

I am very glad to see that the publisher used Amazon’s Look Inside the Book capability and strongly recommend studying the book through that route if you have any doubts. This is a fairly priced master work. It is not for the average reader, for that I continue to hold Marq de Villiers Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, but any of the following that I have reviewed or will be reviewing in the next few days are world-class:

Continue reading “Review: The World’s Water 2008-2009–The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources”

Review: The Atlas of Water, Second Edition–Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource

6 Star Special, Atlases & State of the World, Complexity & Catastrophe, Disease & Health, Economics, Education (General), Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Geography & Mapping, Intelligence (Public), Survival & Sustainment, True Cost & Toxicity, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Single Best Book on Content, Visuals, and Price

August 26, 2010

Maggie Black and Jannet King

This is one of twelve books on Water that I have read or am reading, expecting to get through all of them in the near term.

In comparison to the other works, this is the single best book when considering content, visuals, and price. This is the one book to buy if you want just one book and for that reason it is the only 6 in the lot, although Marq de Villier’s book, the last one listed below, is in that group as well as the first book to really put it all together. Here are ten other books, reviews for all of which will be posted here at Amazon and at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog where you can access all my reviews on books about water with one click.

The Evolution of the Law and Politics of Water
Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building (Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation)
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It
Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water
Whose Water Is It?: The Unquenchable Thirst of a Water-Hungry World
Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink
Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource

It is a real shame the publisher has not posted the table of contents, which I find to be one of the most holistic and useful I have seen in a very long time, and/or used Inside the Book capabilities that Amazon makes so easily available.

Continue reading “Review: The Atlas of Water, Second Edition–Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource”

Review: State of the World 2010–Transforming Cultures–From Consumerism to Sustainability

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atlases & State of the World, Best Practices in Management, Complexity & Catastrophe, Culture, Research, Disaster Relief, Disease & Health, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Fives, A Bold Departure Elegantly Executed

August 25, 2010

Erik Assadourian et al

I’ve become someone jaundiced about the State of the World series, while always respecting the persistence of Lester Brown (Peter Drucker called people like us “mono-maniacs” essential as change agents), but this one knocked me off my seat just with the table of contents. From there I went to the Notes and saw a number of books new to me. You can visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to see the 1,600+ that I have reviewed, sorted into 98 non-fiction categories.

My first note:

A triumph, the most interesting, diverse, and relevant of the series to date. A bold departure, “just in time.”

The book opens with a timeline over multiple pages with illustrations, and the notes are worthy. The timeline is compelling broad view that I found very helpful, and would like to see more of.

Continue reading “Review: State of the World 2010–Transforming Cultures–From Consumerism to Sustainability”

Review: Eaarth–Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

4 Star, Atlases & State of the World, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Disease & Health, Environment (Problems), Environment (Solutions), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Future, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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4.0 out of 5 stars Starts Weak, Ends Strong, Not the Whole Picture

July 21, 2010

Bill McKibben

EDIT of 2 August 2010: However great the mind or the man, we all make mistakes. Paul Hawkins made his with Monsanto, I’ve made mine. ClimateGate established with clarity the fraud associated with both the fabricated science and the intended “sub-prime mortgaging” of the Earth’s atmosphere. Maurice Strong and Al Gore are pushing fraud, not fixing. Mercury and sulfer and methane are bigger problems than carbon, and global warming is a small element–not even close to being the main event–within Environmental Degradation, threat #3 after poverty and infectious disease. It troubles me when people vote against the messenger–McKibben is a great man–he’s also made a mistake. Get over it and do more reading, integrate more, and it will all come out fine.

. . . . . . .

I was so annoyed with the narrow first third that glorifies the likes of Al Gore, Thomas Friedman, and Larry “women can’t think like scientists” Summers that I was actually contemplating three stars. This is a weakly researched book that buys into the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Maurice Strong carbon fraud, while ignoring the vastly more intelligent findings of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, in which Environmental Degradation is #3 and more broadly defined.

Any book that quotes the discredited James Hansen of NASA and that builds a case around Op-Eds and undocumented assertions is a stain upon scholarship, and the first third of this book falls into that sinkhole. Despite many references to the Copenhagen summit, there is not a word in this book about ClimateGate (see the Rolling Update at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog) and therefore I find this author guilty of active misrepresentation bordering on a lack of integrity in this specific instance. The author is spending too much time with newspapers and not enough time with books representing the distilled reflections of others.

Having said that, and deducted one star for the lapse, I find the balance of the book absorbing, fascinating, and rich in gems of insight and fact. It should be read in conjunction with:

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
Human Scale
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
The Future of Life
Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America
The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters
The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the Obsession with “Climate Change” Turning Out to Be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History?
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

My criticism and praise of this important work are based on the above and the other 1,600 non-fiction reviews I have posted to Amazon, all more easily accessible in 98 reading categories at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Network.

Early points that got my attention:

Continue reading “Review: Eaarth–Making a Life on a Tough New Planet”