Raj Patel

British academic

Raj Patel (born 1972) is a British-born American academic, journalist, activist and writer.

Raj Patel


  • We are all familiar with the idea: Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime. That sounds reasonable enough. … But think of the model that rests on. It constructs people in developing countries that sort of people sitting by the rivers and eating fish and then they look at the river and said: "- So what's that? - It looks like a fish. - Well, how do we get it out? - Well I have no idea, we would have to wait for white man to come and tell us." It's important to remember that actually there are systems of governance that already exist. There are models of development that already exist in developing countries that actually are much more sustainable than the model of free markets that we have been trying to export.
  • When you introduce markets in food, then you introduce two very simple rules. The first rule is this: if you have money you can get the food from wherever around the world. The other rule markets impose is this: if you do not have money, you will starve. This is an important point … The reason why people starve is because of poverty … not because of a shortage of food … but because the only way to access the food is through the market.
  • The question is: why are there markets of food at all?
  • Generosity makes us happiest. We'll be happier people when we share, not when we impose, but when we learn from one another. Because when I'm connected to everyone I disappear … in being excellent you lose yourself. And when you're connected to everyone, that's the best thing that can happen.
  • The problem is that we are living now with the consequences of the others people mistake. It would be nice to make our own and learn from them. That is the art of democracy. That is the art of citizenship.

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