If you haven’t heard of Raj Patel, it’s high time you have. The British-born American academic, journalist, activist and writer has been called “the rock star of social justice writing” and for a brief moment in time was declared the messiah by followers of the New Age group Share International, founded by Benjamin Creme, a London mystic.
His ideas are provocative to say the least. He’s a libertarian socialist and has described himself as “someone who has very strong anarchist sympathies.”
He is perhaps best known for his 2008 best-seller, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, in which he dissects one of the world’s great contradictions: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).
In his latest book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, “he reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place. Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.”
Patel made a recent appearance at the Commonwealth Club and was asked about Michelle Obama teaming up with Walmart to promote healthy eating.