February 27, 2017
The co-occurence of Brexit and the Trump presidency demands close attention to the nature of the ‘special relationship’, one forged through wartime alliances but also shared language and histories of migration, trade, Evangelical Protestantism…and phenomenal acts of colonialism. In a post-Brexit world, we must take special care to heed America’s lessons in how not to organise society. The food bank will be my example.
It’s a staple of patching up holes in a damaged social safety net across the pond, and one that Britain appears to have embraced. Specifically, the common-sense notion that redistributing surplus or wasted food can redress household food insecurity. What can history teach us about the economic rationales for doing so, and what can research into redistribution on both sides of the Atlantic add to this critique? We face a time where European ties look set to be exchanged for American ones. Without a cultural-economic crystal ball, I’d like to point out the way charitable food redistribution has long served to redress the imbalances of capitalist food markets in America, at a time when US-UK food markets could see greater harmonization, yet income inequality and state solutions to address it look set to calcify or worsen.