Author/activist Raj Patel is one of the leading authorities on the global food crisis and will be lecturing at Boise State on Thursday, Oct. 6, as part of the Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.
Patel believes food shortages and the rising price of food are the result of "high oil prices, an increasing demand for meat in developing countries, poor harvests, population growth, financial speculation and biofuels."
He is not afraid to place the blame for the current global food crisis on the World Bank and its current head, Robert Zoellick.
"We have seen price fluctuations before," says Patel. "But the reason we're seeing such misery as a result of this particular spike has everything to do with Zoellick and his friends."
Patel became disillusioned while working for both the World Bank and World Trade Organization and decided that they were part of the problem, not the solution. He has since become an activist and has taken part in several public protests in opposition to their policies.
Patel has bachelor's degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford, a master's degree from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in developmental sociology from Cornell University. Patel is also an award-winning writer, authoring two ground-breaking books on the current food crisis, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy.
Patel's visit coincides with 2011: The Year of Idaho Food--a grass-roots initiative aimed at encouraging and promoting public participation and community discussion on sustainability and local agriculture and its economic, environmental and social impacts.