آیا سوپر مارکت ها، دستور کار سیاست مواد غذایی را تغییر می دهند؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2997||2009||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 37, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 1812–1819
Policy makers want supermarkets to serve the interests of important groups in society, especially small farmers and the owners of traditional, small-scale food wholesale and retail facilities. But consumer issues are also important, including “internalizing” the full environmental costs of production and marketing, and helping supermarkets be part of the solution to the health problems generated by an “affluent” diet and lifestyle. This paper places the supermarket debate in the broader evolution of food policy analysis, a framework for integrating household, market, macro, and trade issues as they affect hunger and poverty. Increasingly, supermarkets provide the institutional linkages across these issues.
Food policy analysis is designed to illuminate welfare trade-offs as producers, traders, and consumers are buffeted by changes in technology, prices, and tastes. These changes can come at the household, sectoral, macro, and global levels, and supermarkets in developing countries are affecting all the four. A “new” food policy paradigm has emerged to help understand this impact. The original food policy paradigm focused analysis on the links between poverty and food security (Timmer, Falcon, & Pearson, 1983). The new food policy stresses the “double burden” on societies facing substantial degrees of hunger at the same time they face rising levels of nutritional problems of affluence—obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. (Maxwell & Slater, 2003). (a). The food and health dimension At the country level, the concern in the original food policy paradigm for keeping food prices at a level that balanced producer and consumer interests, with price stabilization around this level being an important policy objective, gives way in the new food policy paradigm to equally important concerns for the budgetary consequences for governments (at national and local levels) of the health outcomes of dietary choices over entire societies. At the household level, the traditional focus on access to foods (including intra-household access and distribution) stressed income and price variables, with a very limited role for household education and knowledge (except possibly in the derived demand for micro-nutrients). Much of the quantitative research in food policy over the past three decades has involved a search for the behavioral regularities that linked households to these market-determined variables (Bhargava, 2008 and Timmer, 1981). The contrast with the new concerns is sharp. Health professionals either are pessimistic about the political reality of using economic variables to influence dietary choices (one debate is over the efficiency of taxing fats in foods, taxing fat people, or taxing the health consequences of being fat), or are doubtful that economic incentives will actually change dietary behavior where affluence permits a wide array of choices. Consequently, there is a much sharper focus on trying to change lifestyle through improved health knowledge and nutrition education. Supermarkets are becoming a part of that debate. Early evidence suggests that diets change for the worse when poorer consumers start using supermarkets, with highly processed and high-fat foods replacing less refined and more nutrient-rich foods (Asfaw, 2007). The international nutrition community is engaged in a pointed debate over whether approaches to changing lifestyles through education will work. In particular, if the dietary patterns of affluence have a significant genetic component—that is, humans are “hard-wired” for an environment of food scarcity and have few internal control mechanisms over dietary intake in an environment of permanent affluence and abundance—much more coercive efforts may be needed to change dietary behavior (and activity levels) than is implied by the education approach. On the other hand, such coercion directly contradicts consumer sovereignty and the basic principles of a democratic society. The more prominent attention in the new food policy to health problems arising from modern diets is tending to raise tensions between development economists and nutritional scientists. Supermarkets are both the purveyors of the food abundance (and much of the “junk” food sold) and a possible vehicle for bringing about dietary change, either through improved nutrition education within stores, health warnings on particular foods that cause nutritional damage, or even regulations on what kinds of foods are available for purchase. The rapid spread of private standards on food safety and aspects of production technologies shows that public policy is not necessarily the fastest or most effective way to bring about changes in food marketing. These standards could easily incorporate health dimensions as well, especially if lawsuits over “fast food” contributions to obesity begin to be won by litigants. Such private standards would, in effect, have supermarkets provide a public good (although not at optimal levels). Some supermarkets in the United States are experimenting with these health themes, but even in the United States this remains a niche market. There is no evidence that supermarkets are attempting to play this role in developing countries, apart from the advertised food quality and safety standards they enforce. (b). The poverty and development dimension One of the key messages for developing countries in Food Policy Analysis was the link between poverty and food security, at both the national and household levels. In turn, poverty was considered primarily an economic problem that could only be addressed in a sustainable fashion by linking the poor—mostly in rural areas—into the process of economic growth. A dynamic agriculture as a stimulus to forward and backward linkages within the rural economy served as the “prime mover” in this process. Through improved agricultural technology, public investments in rural infrastructure, and the end of “urban bias” that distorted incentives for farmers, policy makers could have a simple and clear approach to reducing poverty and improving food security. With success in the rural economy, migration to urban areas would be more of a “pull” process rather than a “push,” especially if favorable macroeconomic and trade policies were stimulating rapid growth in a labor-intensive manufacturing industry (and construction). In combination, these activities pulled up real wages and, when sustained, led to rapid reductions in poverty (Timmer, 2002 and Timmer, 2005). In many ways, this paradigm could be described as an “inclusion model” because of its focus on including the poor in the rural economy, including the rural economy in the national economy, and including the national economy in the global economy. Its greatest success was in East and Southeast Asia from 1960 to 1997, but the model has been under attack since then as the benefits of globalization seem not to have been as widely shared as hoped earlier. The failures of globalization provide another theme for the new food policy paradigm around the analytics of “exclusion.” At the national level, the question is why so many countries have been “non-globalizers.” The essence of the debate is whether the global economy, in the form of rich countries and transnational corporations, has excluded these countries from participating in trade and technology flows, or whether the countries themselves have been unsuccessful in the process because of domestic shortcomings in policies and governance, including corruption (Resnick & Birner, 2006). The debate has a local focus as well. Within an otherwise well-functioning and growing economy, many groups can be excluded from the benefits of this growth. Unskilled workers unable to graduate to higher technologies and uneducated youth unable to compete in a modern economy are a sizeable proportion of the work force in countries with poor manpower and training policies and resources. Globalization makes it more difficult for these countries to compete for trade and investment flows that would provide the first steps up the ladder of higher productivity (Goldberg & Pavcnik, 2007).