COVID-19 and the Modern Plantation: Debunking the Neoliberal Moral Economy

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Abstract

Plantations have long been justified by moral and racial hierarchies that value specialised, export-oriented producers over domestic or subsistence-oriented producers. In this paper, I associate this value hierarchy with the neoliberal moral economy, explain its roots in classical political economy, provide examples of its workings and argue that the Covid-19 crisis provides a crucial opportunity to debunk the (neo)liberal moral economy. Collective experiences of food insecurity wrought by the pandemic expose the fallacy of central moral economic values underpinning industrial capitalist food supply chains, such as comparative advantage. Shared experiences of food supply chain failures, borne by people in the global North as well as the South, strengthen the moral and economic legitimacy of alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural Dynamics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2021

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