The Right to Food and Buyer Power
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
November 29, 2010
German Law Journal, Vol. 11, pp. 1190-1244, 2010
Modern global food supply chains are characterized by extremely high levels of concentration in the middle of those chains. This paper argues that such concentration leads to excessive buyer power, which harms the consumers and food producers at the ends of the supply chains. It also argues that the harms suffered by farmers are serious enough to constitute violations of the international human right to food, as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and more specifically, in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. World competition law regimes cannot ignore these human rights imperatives. To a certain extent, these imperatives can be accommodated under existing consumerist competition law theories by the interpretive mechanism of conform‐interpretation. However, when one comprehends the truly global scale of modern food supply chains, it becomes obvious that conform‐interpretation alone will not suffice. Instead, the protection of a minimum level of producer welfare congruent to those producers’ rights to a minimum adequate level of food must find a place among the aims of any credible theory of competition law. Moreover, the same globalized nature of these food supply chains means that current doctrines of extraterritorial jurisdiction of competition control have also to be revised.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 55
Date posted: December 2, 2010 ; Last revised: December 18, 2010