World Food System Disruptions in the Early 2000’s: Causes, Impacts, and Cures

The rapidly rising and more-volatile food prices of recent years are a significant in- dication of changes in global markets and a signal of resource scarcity. They pose new challenges in terms of food and nutrition security at the worldwide level. This article traces the main drivers and impacts of food price increases, and propos- es institutional changes in the world food system to help overcome chronic sup- ply constraints through enhanced productivity, combined with actions to address new causes of food price volatility, such as financialization of commodity markets and linkages to energy markets. The price crises of 2008 and 2011, and to a less- er extent in 2012, have been met with often, uncoordinated national policy adjust- ments with international implications. To prevent such collective actions failures in the international food system, comprehensive institutional changes are proposed.