Handbooks on Globalisation series
Edited by Guy M. Robinson and Doris A. Carson
Chapter 1: The globalisation of agriculture: introducing the Handbook
In the last four decades there has been a radical restructuring of the scope and character of the production and distribution of many goods, including food. This process has been termed ‘globalisation’, shaping people’s lives in profound cultural, ideological and economic ways. The term has become part of the standard vocabulary of the social sciences, as it has been widely recognised that the world is experiencing a new and qualitatively different phase of capitalist development (Galbraith, 2002; Stiglitz, 2003; Steger, 2009). The characteristics of globalisation include the worldwide spread of modern technologies of production, particularly including in communications but also into farming, the agricultural supply sector and food processing. This involves money, production and trade as part of what has been termed ‘the borderless world’, and the networking of virtually all the world’s economies, fostering ever-closer functional integration (Yeung, 1998; Ohmae, 2005; Snyder, 2009). It also refers to the linking and interrelationships between cultural forms and practices that develop when societies become integrated into and dependent on world markets as part of the congruence and homogenisation of capitalist economic forms, markets and relations across markets (Cowen, 2004). So globalisation is the process whereby the world is becoming ever more interconnected through new forms of trade and cultural exchange. This is increasing the production of goods and services, often involving transnational corporations (TNCs) that have established subsidiaries in many countries.