Raj Patel

Raj PatelRaj Patel, author of the internationally acclaimed Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, is a trail-blazing critic of conventional agricultural development policies. His subsequent book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, expands his critique of the food system to encompass economics as a whole. It was a 2010 New York Times best seller on both the non-fiction and business lists. Publishers Weekly calls it “shrewd and absorbing,” while Michael Pollan says it “shows us a path out of the darkness of the economic woods.”

His most recent book, coauthored with Jason W. Moore, is A History of the World In Seven Cheap Things: A Guide To Capitalism, Nature, And The Future Of The Planet. It builds upon his previous analysis of the economy with a rich history illuminating how and why the way things are is so profoundly unacceptable and destructive. In driving unceasingly to make the basics of life – nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives – ever cheaper, our economy has transformed and devastated Earth and cast a pall over our common future.

After stints working at both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, Patel has since been an activist opposing their policies on four continents. He is a Fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy and an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Patel has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, PBS, and Al Jazeera. In addition to numerous scholarly publications in economics, philosophy, politics and public health, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and he has contributed to the Financial Times, LA Times, The New York, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer.

He testified before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on the origins of the 2008 global food crisis. According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, he “successfully connects the dots of seemingly disparate issues like hunger, obesity, free trade, rural depopulation, and food safety to create the picture of a food system run by corporate greed.”

Patel earlier co-authored Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice and Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform. He writes regularly for the leading British newspaper The Guardian, and has contributed to the Los Angeles Times,, The Nation, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer, among others. His work on sustainability, food and economics has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has also published widely in the academic press, with articles in peer-reviewed philosophy, politics, sociology and economics journals.

Patel holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford, a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Visiting Professor at Rhodes University in South Africa. He was formerly a visiting scholar at both UC Berkeley and Yale. He has spoken throughout the United States as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Raj Patel speaks on food and agriculture, making the case for reform of a globalized food system that simultaneously produces hunger and obesity while destroying sustainable ways of life, and on the relationships between our economic system and environmental and social needs. With the publication of A History of the World In Seven Cheap Things, he now speaks in depth about a new way to both understand our history and reclaim our future.

Videos of presentations and interviews, audio programs, and information about his books are available here. To discuss Raj Patel as a possible speaker, email Dennis Church at

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