jurnal diet and decolization

Diposting oleh Andri Ansyah on Senin, 13 Juni 2016

Gretel H. Pelto and PerttiJ. Pelto
Diet and Delocalization:
Dietary Changes since 1750 During the past two cen-
turies virtually all of the populations in the world have experi-
enced dramatic changes in their dietary patterns. In the industrial-
ized countries changes in food patterns have been associated with
improved levels of nutrition and public health, although some
nutrition-related diseases are increasing. Similar processes of
change in the less industrialized nations, however, have often had
serious negative effects. We examine here some of the primary
processes of change in food resources and distribution over the
past 250 years, focusing on three main transformations that have
had profound effects on global eating patterns. Our primary thesis
First, the general direction of transformations in food use
throughout the world in the past two or three centuries has
involved an increasingly rapid "delocalization" of food production
and distribution. By "delocalization" (discussed more fully below)
we refer to processes in which food varieties, production meth-
ods, and consumption patterns are disseminated throughout the
world in an ever-increasing and intensifying network of socio-
economic and political interdependency. From the point of view
of individuals and families at any one place on the globe, delo-
calization means that an increasing portion of the daily diet comes
from distant places usually through commercial channels.
Second, in the industrialized nations, delocalization has been
associated with an increase in the diversity of available foods and
the quantity of food imports, and, therefore, with improved diets.
In earlier periods this improvement of diet, especially through
diversification, primarily benefited the upper social classes, but during the twentieth century the effects have diffused to a wide
spectrum of people in the "developed" world.
Third, in the less industrialized countries of the world, the
same processes of delocalization have tended to produce opposite
effects on dietary quality, except for the elite. Until recent times
many peoples in the Third World have been primarily dependent
on locally produced food supplies, which remained largely outside
the networks of commerce. As these populations have been drawn
more and more into full commercial participation, economic and
political forces have encouraged concentration on one or two main
cash crops, with an accompanying deterioration of food diversity,
as well as a loss of local control over the distribution system.
Thus, world-wide food distribution and food-use transformations
have occurred at the expense of economically marginal popula-
These general ideas about changes in food availability and
dietary patterns have been discussed for a number of years. Here
we present them in a manner that is intended to encourage his-
torical research on these associations. To date there has been
relatively little careful empirical investigation of the relationships
among social change, dietary change, and nutritional status and
health. Research questions need to be framed in a manner that
permits hypothesis-testing and a refinement of the general model.
transformations in dietary patterns that have taken place in the
past two and a half centuries are one key aspect of the much larger
picture of massive social and economic change that has affected
all parts of the world. The specific dimensions have varied widely
in relation to particular historical, political, and ecological con-
ditions, but the basic food-use changes of interest to us have
largely come about as a result of three fundamental developments:
I. A world-wide dissemination of domesticated plant and
animal varieties.
2. The rise of increasingly complex, international food dis-
tribution networks, and the growth of food-processing industries.

3. The migration of people from rural to urban centers, and
from one continent to another, on a hitherto unprecedented scale,
with a resulting exchange of culinary and dietary techniques and
Each of these processes has been powerfully influenced by
national and international politico-economic forces, cultural and
religious movements, and other factors. One fundamental sector
of great importance has been the development of new technolo-
gies; in particular, transportation and communications technolo-
gies have played major roles.
Our rationale for focusing on the three processes listed above
rests on a view of the basic elements of delocalization as they
affect the behavior of particular local communities. That is, if we
picture the dietary possibilities of people in a French rural com-
mune, a small valley in Mexico, or an island in Polynesia, their
food selections will change if:
a. New plant and animal varieties are introduced to the
community for local production, or locally produced foods are
removed from the community for sale elsewhere.
b. New foods are made available through commercial or
governmental channels.
c. The people themselves move to a new area, or they
receive immigrants from elsewhere, resulting in cultural exchange
of culinary/dietary preferences.
Changes may also occur because of purely local develop-
ments of new food production or preparation techniques, but
such occurrences are generally much less frequent.
Throughout our discussion of dietary change we confront
the philosophical question of basic causes. Attempting to isolate
clear, necessary and sufficient causes may have some utility in
relatively simple systems. However, human behavior is more
understandable if we conceptualize a system of complex, inter-
connected forces (including biological, psychological, economic,
political, technological, and other factors), so that a focus on one
component as a prime mover rests more on philosophical or
stylistic preference rather than on demonstrable, empirical evi-
dence. Understanding the developments in human food use pat-
terns of the past 250 years depends, first of all, on sorting out the primary (descriptive) trends and processes, leaving for the future
the search for the more or less clear prime movers.
THE CONCEPT OF DELOCALIZATION The concept of delocaliza-
tion, which is central to our analysis of changes in human dietary
patterns, is one major aspect of all the historical changes to which
people give various labels such as modernization, development,
progress, acculturation, and so on. In using the term delocaliza-
tion we are focusing attention on one fundamental, apparently
undirectional tendency in human history, particularly of more
recent centuries. Delocalization has many different facets, but
there are two that are most important for our discussion here.
First, there is the delocalization that results in the reduction
of local autonomy of energy resources, due to dependence on
gasoline-driven equipment for transportation, local industry, and
other essential processes. In recent times this loss of local energy
autonomy has been quite striking in the remoter areas of the globe
where motor-driven boats, snowmobiles, and other equipment
have been widely adopted.
Second, in more complex urban centers, delocalization is
evidenced in the increased sensitivity (of prices, costs, etc.) to
political fluctuations in any sector of the world energy and food
network, as can be seen, for example, in the world-wide impact
of Soviet grain purchasing policies, OPEC price manipulations,
coffee and sugar production levels, and the beef consumption
demands of the international fast-food industry.
derstanding of delocalization in matters of human food use is to
consider the opposite-local autonomy. In small-scale hunting
and gathering societies, such as those of the Inuit (Eskimo) and
the San peoples of the Kalahari, or among our ancestors of pre-
agricultural times, the great bulk of food supplies and other en-
ergy resources had to be obtained from the immediate local en-
vironment. For that reason hunting-gathering societies have al-
ways been rather small-usually no more than 300 to 400 persons
in the local group (often much less), with population densities
that seldom exceeded ten persons per Ioo square miles.
Among a great many small-scale cultivator peoples of central
Africa, the Amazon rainforest areas, and the South Pacific, local ....

DELOCALIZATION AND FAMINE One of the more obvious, yet
infrequently noted, results of the delocalization of the products in the industrialized world is the elimination, except during war-
time, of disastrous famines. Food catastrophes, such as the Irish
potato famine, or the less well-known famine between I865 and
I867 in northeastern Europe, are no longer a threat in developed
nations. Recent Soviet grain purchases and shipments of food to
Poland show how modern commercial channels can redistribute
food in times of serious regional shortages.
In most of the world the channels of food distribution can
be expanded in response to regional shortages, although serious
distribution problems still remain. Recent crises in Bangladesh,
India, and parts of Africa demonstrate that in extreme situations
appropriate foods cannot be transported and distributed effec-
tively enough to the populations in need.22
McAlpin notes that population growth rates fluctuated
widely in India well into the twentieth century because of the
interrelated effects of periodic famine and disease. She points out
that the development of an effective railroad network helped
reduce the sharp impact of regional food shortages.23
Famines still occur in isolated parts of India, as they do in
some other parts of Asia, but McAlpin's data indicate that "mor-
tality from famines was not an important force in slowing India's
population growth after I921." Thus, the forces of delocaliza-
tion-the spread of transportation systems and food distribution
networks, plus governmental communications and food relief
systems-have effectively eliminated most (but not all) of the
impacts of regional crop failures and other disasters that in the
past led to severe periodic famine conditions.
the changes that we have described for the industrialized nations
have also affected parts of the Third World. The spread of diverse
food resources by means of the New World-Old World exchange
of cultigens and livestock has had a powerful impact on most of
the world. Thus, potentially, the populations of Latin America,
much of Asia, and many parts of Africa could have a greatly  expanded diversity of foods. Despite that potential, the lack of
economic purchasing power for all but a minority in the most
affluent sectors means that the diets of the majority are restricted
in quantity and quality.
Inequality of wealth is not the only factor that has contributed
to the declines in quality and quantity of food in rural sectors of
developing nations. Modern farming practices, including the
widespread use of chemicals-pesticides and herbicides-may
have unexpected, often unnoticed, side-effects on food use. For
example, the widespread use of herbicides in the maize fields of
Mexico has resulted in the elimination of a number of "weeds"
that had been regular, vitamin-rich additions to the peasant diets.24
Global delocalization of food resources involves a number of
major cost increases. A large part of the price of food items pays
for the processing, packaging, advertising, and shipment of foods,
as well as the profits of various entrepreneurs in the food chain.
Poor people cannot afford to pay these added costs, and hence
they are reduced to a narrower selection of the cheaper foods.
Although there continues to be some argument about "how
to define" malnutrition, there is little disagreement that for sheer
numbers, there are more millions of malnourished people in the
world than ever before. The most telling and shocking statistic is
the effect of malnutrition on child mortality. Berg estimates that
in I978 "malnutrition was a factor in the deaths of at least io
million children."25
A discussion of all the complex factors involved in contem-
porary problems of malnutrition is beyond the scope of this ar-
ticle, but we suggest that the poorer populations in developing
countries, especially in rural areas, have experienced declines in
total caloric consumption (per capita) and in dietary diversity as
traditional subsistence systems have been severely disrupted by
the forces of modernization, especially delocalization.
Delocalization captures some of the main dimensions of change
in food production and diet over the past 250 years. Historically, the process appears to be unidirectional, as most regions of the
world give up local autonomy to increased linkages with global
food distribution networks. The example ofJamaica, however, is
only one of many national policy attempts to counter delocali-
zation through political encouragement of self-sufficiency. Al-
though the process of delocalization is so complex as to appear
to be outside the range of local political decision-making, it may
not be an inevitable aspect of development.
In examining the relationship between delocalization and
changes in nutrition and health status, we are not claiming that
the process has been wholly positive in the industrialized countries
and completely negative in the Third World. Increased obesity,
problems of food sensitivities, and other, more subtle nutrition-
related problems may well be related to delocalization of food
patterns in the industrialized countries. At the same time, tradi-
tional food systems in developing countries are often far from
ideal from a nutritional standpoint, and, in many circumstances,
environmental factors severely constrain local food production.
There have been massive changes in local food systems over
the past 250 years as the world community has become knit into
a tightly inter-connected network of economic, social, and polit-
ical relations. The effects on nutrition and dietary patterns have
been powerful. World-wide food production capabilities have
increased greatly. However, serious problems of maldistribution
of food resources remain, and some problems are becoming
worse, not better. Although a considerable proportion of the
global community derives clear benefit from food delocalization,
many rural and urban low-income communities are experiencing
serious malnutrition.
Further analysis of delocalization of food may help to expli-
cate historical conditions. At the same time, improved under-
standing of the relationship between delocalization and nutritional
status may help to make nutrition planning and policy develop-
ment more effective in the future.

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