Feeding the World or Turning a Profit? How Transnational Agri-Business Firms Use Discourse to Shape Their External Environments

  • Patrick O’Keeffe


Australian mainstream policy discourses around competition and markets portray firms as relatively powerless. This narrative suggests that firms’ market position depends upon their responsiveness to consumers’ preferences. This construction is consistently reproduced in policy documents endorsing wheat export market deregulation. In addition, agricultural firms portray their own identities as passive, efficiency-maximising actors, whose primary objective is to end food insecurity. Yet, firms also portray their capacity to “feed the world” as being dependent upon states rescinding barriers to market entry and exchange. I show how firms’ expansion of their geographic footprint is constructed as essential in allowing firms to fulfil their objectives of increasing food security. The reduction of barriers to trade, as well as consolidation in local and global markets through acquisitions and mergers, is normalised in this context.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick O’Keeffe
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Global, Urban & Social StudiesRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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