Amartya Sen, Egalitarianism, Environment, food security, Globalization, inequality, Joseph Stiglitz

Democracy is not Creating a Fair Food Policy!

The Americans have realised that their democracy is not working to create a fair society. As a witness of this, an eye-opening thought from world-renowned economist Joseph E Stiglitz has vowed again that “Most Americans want a higher minimum wage, they want gun control, they want access to healthcare … yet our democracy can’t deliver it.” His mind-blowing opinion has given a real sense of global economy. The advocate of billions poor, Nobel Prize laureate Professor Joseph E Stiglitz has expressed his stark view by underlining severe climate change, increasing inequality and the undermining of democracy are the biggest challenge for the present world. His has commented this while heading to Australia to receive the Sydney peace prize.

He has been sometimes mentioned as an ‘ignored economist’ in Washington because he has sharply criticised about the Washington Consensus (Neo-Liberalism), The World Bank, and The International Monetary Fund. He is a big critique of the US for the discontent of globalisation. In his own words, ‘‘The United State was, of course, one of the prime culprits, and this was an issue about which I felt intensely. I fought hard against this hypocrisy. It not only hurt the developing countries; it also cost Americans, both consumers, and taxpayers’’ (The Globalisation and Its Discontents P6, …edition). He is famous for the concept of “the 1 percent”, that means “Whereas the income share of the top 0.1% has more than quadrupled and that of the top 1% has almost doubled, that of the bottom 90% has declined,” (The Price of Inequality p3). His bestselling book The Price of Inequality 2012 explained in detail “how America had been growing apart, at an increasingly rapid rate. He argued forcefully that the severe inequality in the US was a choice of the country’s leaders: a consequence of their policies, laws, and regulations. The inequality is the result of political forces as much as of economic ones (The Price of Inequality p30). According to him, American inequality didn’t just happen, it was created by rent seekers. Much of the inequality that exists today is a result of government policy, both what the government does and what it doesn’t do (The Price of Inequality p28).  He argues that enjoying a Chinese cheap TV doesn’t really mean that they aren’t facing stark poverty (The Price of Inequality  p26). Managers are given enormous discretion to run the corporation for their own benefit in the name of employment creation and investment opportunities;  What lesson is learned here is firms pride themselves on their ruthlessness-cutting out so many jobs (ibid p 67).

He has written many bestselling books including The Globalization and Its Discontents   ,  Making Globalization Work  and The Price of Inequality  . I have gone through all these books. He served the post of Chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers (1993-97) and Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank (1997-2000). He was working in the White House when Russia began its transition from communism and later, he joined the World Bank during the financial crisis that began in East Asia in 1997. In the Globalisation of its Discontents – a collection of his experience – he has mentioned– ‘‘I saw first-hand the devastating effect that globalization can have on developing countries, and especially the poor within those countries.’’

According to him to abandon globalization is neither feasible nor desirable; it has been a life of billions of people in the world. The problems are not with globalisation, but with how it has been managed. Indeed, in another statement Stiglitz says- making globalization work will not be easy. Those who benefit will resist change, and they are powerful (Making Globalization Work P 13) and Global warming has become a true challenge of globalization (ibid p17) must be responsible for worsening the planetary system. So, in another bestselling book Making globalization Work, Stiglitz has prescribed some remedies for the success of globalisation. He has concluded that ‘another world is possible’ (The Price of Inequality P265) because of increasing inequality, derailed democracy and climate change. He is on the top among the heavy-weight think tank critique of the global governance and the role played by the number of richest countries for the global environment. For example, the Trump Administration is hesitant to follow the Paris Agreement 2015.

He has disclosed an example of odd condition of faster liberalisation of Chinese financial market presented to ZhuRongji, the then Chinese President in 1999 to gain World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) membership. Finally, Zhu Rongji was forced to return china without a signed agreement. (Globalisation and Its Discontents P63-64). According his indication China is, now, the biggest beneficent of globalisation and the US is biggest looser. Because China became the largest recipients of foreign direct investment (Globalisation and Its Discontents P183).  As a result, now, President Donald Trump has formally launched his Trade-War against China.

So, the three challenges underlined by Stiglitz are important to consider while achieving sustainable fairer food system and the stress-free climate.

Because if the state or the governance system is not clear on the subject matter, then the result will be the worst. According to Amartya Sen democracy is a means of making poor people capable to receive state-provided welfare. And, Harvard philosopher TM Scanlon has presented  the four biggest reasons why inequality is bad for the societies:

In the meantime, while receiving Sydney Peace Price, Stiglitz was apealing the world to be cautious that “The downhill slide has been pretty fast. America, I think, should be an important warning to other countries not to take for granted their institutions. I worry that things in the United States could get much worse”; where there are the biggest three challenges- rising inequality, the undermining of democracy and climate change to be addressed within the limited resources.

1, Economic inequality can give wealthier people an unacceptable degree of control over the lives of others.

2. Economic inequality can underminethe fairness of political institutions.

3. Economic inequality undermines the fairness of the economic system itself.

4. Workers, as participants in a scheme of cooperation that produces national income, have a claim to a fair share of what they have helped to produce.

Hence, the objectives of creating a fairer economy for the sustainable food system is an incomplete approach if the global governance system remains the same. Considering an egalitarianism, the role of the seven international principles of Cooperatives must be very helpful to improve the current global economy. I will be exploring this (egalitarianism) from the lens of Cooperatives in the future posts. Addressing those issues is essential as a remedy of inequality and exhausted climate. Please keep in touch and follow on Twitter and Facebook


6 thoughts on “Democracy is not Creating a Fair Food Policy!”

  1. This is such important information. Thank you. I try to be hopeful, but it is so hard to see how things can change with big money having all the power. Many elected officials say, “We can’t do anything to hurt business!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right. probably, elected officials do not know sustainable business can grow only in ethical soil and humanity. Thank you for the thoughts 🙂


  2. Editing in Gutenburg is technically difficult! missing words and paragraph; so many mistakes! Love classical editor!

    Liked by 1 person

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