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What does food tell us about the economy?

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Economics Observatory or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The Economics Observatory article, featuring insights from economist Ha-Joon Chang, delves into how food is a critical lens to understand broader economic issues, especially in the current cost of living crisis
• Chang's perspective ties the nutritional quality, origin, and the cost of food to economic theories and global market dynamics

🔭 The context: In his book, Chang highlighted a parallel between the evolution of food culture and economic thought over the course of the past few decades
• This link is shown through various economic phenomena, such as international supply chain disruptions and their subsequent impact on food shortages and rocketing prices

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: It has become evident that there is a significant impact of geopolitical events and global supply chain disruptions, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on food inflation
• This highlights the interconnectedness of global events and their direct effect on food availability and prices, stressing the need for more localized and resilient food systems

⏭️ What's next: The article points to the need for a broader societal conversation about food security, inflation, and the role of international trade in setting food prices
• Experts suggest focusing on small-scale, community-based agricultural systems and a reconnection with healthier diets over market-driven choices

💬 One quote: "We’ve got to have a really big societal conversation that a lot of our prices are not set in the UK: they are set abroad." (Swati Dhingra, London School of Economics)

📈 One stat: Approximately 40-50% of food in the UK is imported, which, when combined with imported energy and manufacturing materials, means about 80% of food supply chain costs are influenced by international factors

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