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FOOD VS. POLITICS
送交者: jli270 2018年07月21日03:58:40 于 [焦点房谈] 发送悄悄话

FOOD VS. POLITICS

Jun Li

In this paper I will argue that eating is politics because food can cause conflict, relates to social progress, and can be a means of social relationship for human being.


First of all, food can cause conflict. Food is the fundamental stuff for human being to develop. The food does not distribute even either in the world or in one country due to nature reason or social reason. Some developed countries have too much food over demand from domestic; other developing countries do not have enough food to support their people to survive and to develop. It causes a lot of conflict in some countries. in Haiti, violent protests in Ivory Coast, forty killed in riots in Cameroon, demonstrations in Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bolivia, Indonesia, and now Egypt. The alarming increase in food prices is sparking conflicts ↑ throughout the world. On Tuesday, the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince came to a stand-still as protestor’s ↑ slammed the government for the high cost of living. Schools, businesses and government institutions shut down and several of the protestors were shot dead. In Jordan this week, the UN staff went on strike, demanding an increase in pay to meet the 50% rise of food costs. In the meantime, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, India, and Pakistan have cut rice exports to supply their own markets (Nielsen). Not only the conflicts happen in the developing countries, but also it happen these developed countries. Even now, developed countries have serious classical contradiction and classical differentiation. It also reflects on food conflict. The rich have very good food every day; but the poor do not have the opportunity to enjoy expensive food. Some time, they snatch somebody else food to eat. In the novel, Saturday, Ian McEwan described a conflict between a middle classical family and two poor people. ‘You know what?’ Baxter calls across to Nigel. ‘We have been here all this time and no one’s offering us a drink.’ … Perowne bends like an apothecary, and adds a slice lemon and an ice cube to each. H passes one to Nigel, and holds the other u for Baxter (McEwan 212). Here, the writer describes how the doctor is forced to service the two poor people in his house in London. Food causes foreign trade conflict among countries. Every country considers food to be country security. They do not like to import food from some countries else. Countries leaders think that imported genetically modified foods is dangerous to countries’ security. For example, united states always ask China and Japan to open their food market to United States. But China and Japan always reject the suggestion of United States. They insist on that their food should mainly from domestic suppliers in order to ensure their people safe. Therefore; food causes a lot of conflicts in the world.


Food relates society progress. If one look around the world, one will see that food is the sign for society progress. In developed countries, in the high level societies, people have opportunities to enjoy all kind of food. For example, New York City is one of the highest level societies. Over there, people have opportunities to all kind of food made by people with different culture background. On the other hand, in the remote small town in the developing countries, food is very monotonous and simple. In one word, the food presents the level of the society progress. In the same time, food also can promote societies to progress. Food is a factor of culture. When a new food appears in a society, it must bring new culture, new norm, and new thought to the societies. 30 years ago, people in China eat in traditional way. Meanwhile, people’s thought is conservative and culture is monotonous; right now, almost every city in china have Kentucky, McDonald’s, and some foreign food stores else. These foreign foods not only bring new food to China, also bring new thought, new culture, and new lifestyle to Chinese. Those new foreign food promotes china society to progress. In the novel, the chocolate, the author describe that the new food chocolate caused a small revolution in a conventional and conservative small village. Facing the new food, different level people have the different attitude to chocolate. The conservative village leader rejects the new food in order to maintain their power and social status; most people like the new food. Those people’ thought changes as the new food is popular in the society; the conservative leader’ influence gradually weak as the new food is popular in the society; those villagers’ lifestyles also change as the new food is popular in the society. The follows is the description in the novel: ‘It does not matter,’ replied Armande, ‘It’s still you that is doing it. Look at all the changes; me, Luc, Cao, the folks out on the river’ – she jerked her head sharply in the direction of Les Marauds – ‘even him in his ivory tower across the square. All of us changing speed up. Like an old clock being wound up after years of telling the same time (Harris 124)’. The dialog deeply reflects that the owner of the chocolate store affect the villagers by bring new food from Paris to the small village. So, food has close relationship with people’s thought, lifestyles, and norm. Food can promote the societies’ progress.


Food is a means of social relationship for human being. From the past to now, food play very important role for the social relationship for human being. First of all, food is a diplomatic mean for developed countries to control the poor countries. In 1974, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz stated that it is possible for America to use food as a tool against other states and to further the US’s goals. There are alternative uses of food power as well. An importer can refuse to continue import unless political concessions are made (Paarlberg ). Even now, United States still use food as a mean to realize its political purpose. United States presented a proposal if the North Korea stops nuclear weapon testing; United States will give North Korea food aid. Besides the above, food is a good means of interpersonal relationship in society. People use good food to celebrate their holidays; people enjoy delicious food with their good friends; people present their traditional food to show their culture. All of this can promote interpersonal relationship in societies. On other side, if people do not like their social environment, they will reject to eat or dislike food. This is the social property of food. In the novel, The Edible Woman, Margaret introduced a woman, Marian who is an independent and thoughtful woman. Marian does not like food when she feels to be dominated by peter; she recovers and likes food when she conquers her own passivity. At the last, Marian stops the unnatural relationship with peter, she recovers to eat food. “As a matter of fact I am,” I said. “I had steak for lunch.” This last remark had been motivated by pride. It still was miraculous to me that I had attempted anything so daring and had succeeded (Atwood 362).” This shows that food play very important role for people to set up social relationship.


In conclusion, as the global warming situation become worse, and global population increase, food will become more and more important either for countries or people. Some developing countries or areas will completely lose opportunities to produce food due to the dry weather. So, those countries have to rely on some developed countries to survive and to develop; this is opportunity for rich countries to control the poor countries. Meanwhile, people with different culture will have more opportunity than before to enjoy food together as the globalization develops. It will promote people and countries to set up good relationship; it will promote the societies to progress; it will be helpful to establish a new global political system. So, eating is politics.


Works Cited

Nielsen, Nikolaj . “Food crisis sparking conflict.” OPEN DEMOCRACY. 11 April 2008, n.d. Web. 13 Mar 2012.

McEwan, IAN. Saturday. 1st. Polmont: Ramdom House, 2006. 212. Print.

Paarlberg , Robert . “Food power.” Food power. 2012. Web. 14 Mar 2012. .

Atwood, Margaret. The Edible Woman. 2nd. Random House, 1998. 362.

Harris, Joanne. Chocolat. nd. Anchor Canada, 2008. 124. Print.


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