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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2002
In this remarkable book, Vandana Shiva effectively contrasts corporate command-and-control methods of food production with the small farmer economy that predominates in the third world (especially in her native India). In contast to what many here in the U.S. might perceive as the conventional wisdom, Shiva makes a strong argument that local, small scale agriculture is superior to the agribusiness model for a number of reasons.
First, Shiva points out that many of the productivity gains attributable to the Green Revolution were achieved by dramatically increased inputs of fertilizer, seed and water. When one compares units of input with units of output, however, native practices produce higher yields -- especially when one takes into account the multiple uses derived from a single product.
For example, mustard oil is a vital product used by many of India's poor for cooking, seasoning, medicine and other uses. But it has been banned by the Indian government (under highly suspicious circumstances) in order to allow imports of soybean oil products. While giant corporations benefit from expanded sales, native industries have been destroyed, contibuting to poverty and malnourishment.
Shiva discusses the commercial fishing and aquaculture (shrimp farming) practices that inevitably result in environmental destruction and reduced catches. She compares this short-sighted approach with traditional Indian fishing techniques that have successfully sustained themselves for generations while protecting important ecosystems such as mangrove forests.
Shiva discusses corporate patenting of seeds, which insidiously transforms the cooperative ethic of seed sharing into a criminal offense. The author supports a non-cooperation movement in India that is resisting corporate attempts to claim ownership of seeds that have been cultivated by countless generations of farmers.
Shiva's sacred cow / mad cow metaphor effectively and appropriately contrasts agribusiness with small farming. India's sacred cows live in harmony with the environment, performing multiple services and producing multiple products for the community; whereas mad cows are a grotesque manifestation of an industrial system obsessed with uniformity, technology and profit.
Shiva also touches on the topic of genetic engineering (GE) and discusses the threat it poses to biodiversity, food safety and human health.
The Afterword to the book alludes to the WTO protests in Seattle. Shiva believes this watershed event proves that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of unaccountable corporate power, yet she believes that positive change is possible. This opening of consciousness to new possibilities may be attributable to the extraordinary work of people like Vandana Shiva, whose intelligence and compassion is abundantly evident in this book. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2000
In Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking Of The Global Food Supply, renowned environmental activist Vandana Shiva charts the impacts of globalized, corporate agriculture on small farmers, the environment, and the quality of the food we eat. Shiva writes about genetically engineered seeds, patents on life, mad cows (and sacred cows), shrimp farming, and more. Stolen Harvest is a passionate, articulate, highly recommended "wake up" call to the public regarding the role of genetic engineering in commercial agriculture, the growing domination of agribusiness with respect to world food supplies, and the need for sound environmental thinking with respect to feeding the burgeoning populations of the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2000
If you deplore the WTO and MN corporate control over the world's food supply through intellectual property rights and patents on genetically engineered seed - then reading Stolen Harvest is a must. Vandana Shiva brilliantly reveals the current crisis that Indian farmers are facing as Monsanto and other mega corps are jeopardizing the livelihoods of impoverished persons (worldwide) through seed monopoly and a centralized system of agriculture commerce. Shiva discusses the impact of industrial farming and aquaculture on the environment and how it stresses local populations and threatens the diversity of species. A MUST READ!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2005
It is an excellent book. Everything you need to know about corporate handling of "OUR" global food supply and their "inhumane" business practices. The world isn't stupid and these companies need to smarten up and take responsibility of their action. We, as citizens of the world, should rise-up to these takeovers. The best part was the "Steal the Sunshine" claim, too funny. Thumbs up to Dr. Shiva. Excellent READ.
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on April 7, 2015
This book does have alot of facts in it - but I was a little disappointed that most of the book covers India, and not so much about the rest of the world. But the author is from India - and she does make the point of explaining that what happens in India has a major impact on the rest of the world.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2001
this is a great book, i highly recomend it. i must warn you its not for the weak stomached, this book will CHANGE your view on the food you eat. i didnt eat for a week after reading this.
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0 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2000
Well, it started out a bit dry, but the plot moved along nicely. The characters lack developement, and the denoument could have been better. I'd give it two stars, which I've indicated above by giving it two stars.
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