A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things

Raj Patel
15 Feb 2023
6:00 PM
3560 Memorial Union
  • Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture
  • CALS Office of Diversity and Inclusion Programs
  • Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Department of Political Science
  • MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment
  • Global Resources Systems Program
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. Based on the latest research in political ecology, together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel will demonstrate the cost it takes to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. A range of social movements have already proposed radical new ways to value the planet and its webs of life and care for a turbulent twenty-first century.

Raj Patel is an award-winning author, film-maker and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the US, UK, and EU governments and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems. He has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. In 2016 he was recognized with a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award and he cotaught the Edible Education class at UC Berkeley with Michael Pollan. In addition to scholarly publications in economics, philosophy, politics and public health journals, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Times of India, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. His second, The Value of Nothing, was a New York Times and international best-seller. He is the coauthor with Jason W. Moore of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. His acclaimed latest book, co-authored with Rupa Marya, is entitled Inflamed: Deep Medicine and The Anatomy of Injustice.

The ISU Book Store will be at the event selling copies of Patel's books.

This lecture was recorded and will be available for two weeks on the available recordings site: https://www.lectures.iastate.edu/recordings/available-recordings