Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade (eds): International trade and food security: exploring collective food security in Asia
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Trade, the subject of the present book, is essential to the four key requirements of food security: food availability, access, utilization, and stability of supply. However, trade as a concept has typically had a bad press; it is often caricatured as a game in which one side must win and the other must lose. Traders are seen as exploiters who buy from the poor at the lowest prices possible and then sell later at a considerable mark up. But we are all traders and, if it is such a bad deal, why do we trade? I am a keen vegetable gardener and take pride in eating my own produce. If I had to survive solely on what I grew, however, I would be very hungry. So I trade with my local supermarket, buying what I need to supplement my own production (and a lot else besides) by trading some of what I earn elsewhere for what the supermarket can provide. Trade should be an activity from which all benefit.
In thinking about modern trade, it is instructive to go back to Adam Smith’s ground breaking...