CeASR Seminar: From Differential to Monopoly Ground-Rent: The Uneven Develo...
Global Inequalities Programme
Speaker: Dr Thomas Purcell
This paper critically investigates the social, historical and geographical dynamics of global cocoa commodity chains (GCC) in Ecuador. Ecuador is the world’s largest producer of fine aroma cocoa, a particular type of bean with special flavour qualities that can be a source of significant price premiums on the world market. The expanded production and appropriation of these ‘premiums’ is driving the current government’s upgrading project. Drawing on the Marxian approach to ground-rent we interrogate the territorial roots of this primary commodity chain and critically evaluate the strategies designed to improve small-holder productivity and incentivise national industrial processing. This paper argues that because the magnitude of ‘premiums’ available for Ecuador’s fine aroma cocoa is objectively limited in their existence as consumption (monopoly) rents, the government’s project, in lieu of a public differential
pricing policy, is effectively subsidising the second-tier suppliers that export bulk raw cocoa from Ecuador to global traders and manufacturers.
Refreshments will be provided at 2.45pm.