The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices (paperback)

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9780133381054: The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices (paperback)

Over the past two years, food prices have soared -- and plummeted. As crops are increasingly shifted to biofuel production, will food prices soar again? Will people starve as a result? What are the hidden relationships between the food on your plate and the gas in your car? Will economic recovery lead directly to massive price inflation in both food and energy? In this book, one of the world's leading experts untangles the complex global relationships between food, energy, and economics and helps readers come to their own conclusions about the future of food. Pat Westhoff reveals what really causes large swings in food prices and what is likely to cause them to rise and fall in the future. Westhoff discusses all the factors that drive changes in the cost of food: not just biofuel production, but also weather, income growth, exchange rates, energy prices, government policies, market speculation, and more. Next, he walks through several of the most likely scenarios for the future, offering insights that will be indispensable to consumers, commodity speculators, and policymakers alike.

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From the Back Cover:

"The Economics of Fooddemonstrates why policy makers have long relied on Patrick Westhoff and his FAPRI colleagues for sound, objective, comprehensive, and unbiased economic and policy analyses." --Rep. Collin Peterson, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture

 

"I found the treatment of the issues in this book to be well balanced and straightforward. Westhoff does a great job of clearly explaining a very complex set of interrelationships." --Michel Petit, Former President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and Former Director of the Agriculture Department of the World Bank

 

"Patrick Westhoff'sThe Economics of Foodprovides a thorough look at the many different contributors to the recent run-up in food prices and subsequent drop. With all of the one-sided analysis I've read over the years, this really is a breath of fresh air, providing a balanced and thorough approach to the food and fuel discussion." --Jacqui Fatka,Feedstuffsnewspaper

 

"This is a highly readable explanation of food and prices. The author answers virtually every question commonly asked about food and hunger and demonstrates how reliance on the common wisdom can lead to faulty conclusions. Anyone would be well educated by this book." --Chuck Abbott,Reuters

 

"Patrick Westhoff has produced a readable explanation of why food costs what it does and how prices are affected by diverting crops into making motor fuel. Any journalist, policy maker, or ordinary citizen wanting to understand the food-versus-fuel debate would do well to start by readingThe Economics of Foodand absorbing Westhoff's analysis." --Philip Brasher,The Des Moines Register

 

In recent years, food prices have soared--and plummeted. As crops are increasingly shifted to biofuel production, will prices soar again? What are the hidden relationships between the food on your plate and the gas in your car? Will economic recovery lead directly to massive inflation in both foodandenergy? What do food prices have to do with world hunger?

 

Now, one of the world's leading experts untangles the complex global relationships between food, energy, and economics and helps readers draw their own intelligent conclusions about the future of food. Patrick Westhoff reveals whatreallycauses large swings in food prices--and what may make them careen wildly in the future.

 

Westhoff discusses the factors that drive food pricing: not just biofuels but also weather, income growth, exchange rates, energy prices, government policies, market speculation, and more. Next, he walks through several scenarios for the future, offering indispensable insights for consumers, commodity traders, and policymakers alike.

 

  • Policies matter--more than you realize
    Government's surprising impact on food prices--domestic and foreign
  • Money in your pocket, food on your plate
    How changes in income and the broader economy affect food prices
  • Speculating on speculation
    What market speculators can--andcan't--do to food prices
  • Stuff happens
    Predicting the impact of the surprises you can't predict

About the Author:

Patrick Westhoff grew up on a small dairy farm in Iowa, just a few miles from the “Field of Dreams.” He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Iowa and then spent two years in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, working with small-scale farmers. After getting a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas, he moved back to Iowa and earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University in 1989.

 

From 1992-1996, he served as an economist with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. He worked on several major pieces of legislation, including the 1996 farm bill.

 

Westhoff has spent most of his professional career studying agricultural markets and policies with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), first at Iowa State University and now at the University of Missouri. FAPRI analysis is used by the U.S. Congress, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and national institutions in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In November 2007, he was named a co­director of the FAPRI unit at the University of Missouri (MU). The author also teaches and advises graduate students in the MU Department of Agricultural Economics.

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