How has globalization changed the way we eat?
Marion Nestle is a consumer activist, nutritionist, and academic who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. Nestle received her BA, PhD, and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1988, Nestle was appointed Chair of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. She held that position until 2004, when she became the Paulette Goddard Professor in the same department.
Nestle is the author of numerous books, including "Food Politics," which explored the way corporations influence our nutritional choices, and "What to Eat," an survey of how to navigate the modern American supermarket. Aside from her books and teaching, Nestle writes a popular blog for the Atlantic Food Channel.
Marion Nestle: Well from the standpoint of food producers and food companies in the United States, the most important issue is price, or has been price. Keep the price as low as possible. So that has led to a consolidation of food production in a way that has driven out small farmers, so that through economies of scale food prices are kept low. It also has allowed food corporations to outsource the production of food. I once heard an official at the Department of Agriculture say that he didn’t think we should be growing food in America at all. We should be outsourcing all of it and using our land for recreation and housing. I thought that was really interesting. So much for Homeland Security. So we live in a . . . we live in a global world. We get an enormous amount of our food and food ingredients from countries like China that don’t have the same kind of safety standards that we do. We need to work on that, and we are working on that.
We need to make sure that we're not importing sub-par food.
A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.
- Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
- While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
- Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.
Is there a way for more human-centered algorithms to prevent potentially triggering interactions on social media?
- According to a 2017 study, 71% of people reported feeling better (rediscovery of self and positive emotions) about 11 weeks after a breakup. But social media complicates this healing process.
- Even if you "unfriend", block, or unfollow, social media algorithms can create upsetting encounters with your ex-partner or reminders of the relationship that once was.
- Researchers at University of Colorado Boulder suggest that a "human-centered approach" to creating algorithms can help the system better understand the complex social interactions we have with people online and prevent potentially upsetting encounters.