Letters Response

Jack Winkler replies to Joachim von Braun

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3359 (Published 31 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3359
  1. Jack T Winkler, professor of nutrition policy1
  1. 1Nutrition Policy Unit, London Metropolitan University, London, UK
  1. jtw{at}blueyonder.co.uk

Von Braun is right: we are into our second food price crisis in four years.1 Worse, such crises will recur throughout the 21st century as climate change desiccates swathes of the earth, spreading food insecurity.

He proposes a long term programme to cope: improve agriculture, reform trade, increase reserves, control speculation, end export bans, create safety nets, provide preventive healthcare. It would work—on some more blessed planet. But in the venal contemporary world we actually inhabit, full of gross income inequalities, nationalist agricultural subsidies, and inadequately regulated global markets, it is just a laundry list of desiderata.

We are moving in the opposite direction. Consider what has happened in the past two months alone.

  • (1) Talks to reform world trade have failed—again. The World Trade Organisation’s Doha round is dying, and …

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