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Invisible Giant: Cargill and its Transnational Strategies Paperback – September 20, 2002


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Frequently Bought Together

Invisible Giant: Cargill and its Transnational Strategies + Merchants of Grain: The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply + Mastering the Grain Markets: How Profits Are Really Made
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 2 edition (September 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745319580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745319582
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent book which draws readers into an Orwellian 1984 environment and leaves shivers. Don't read it alone." -- Republican News

"Brewster Kneen's strong analysis of Cargill should be required reading for anyone interested in how we get our food." -- Catholic New Times

"People who are concerned about the influence of corporations...could hardly find a better primer on corporate thinking and conduct..." -- The Boycott Quarterly

About the Author

Brewster Kneen is Canada's foremost analyst and critic of agribusiness. He has written several books on different aspects of food and its production and also publishes a monthly newsletter, The Ram's Horn.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By John D. Longwell on December 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No other company epitomizes the global concentration in worldwide commodity trading and processing like Cargill. Although it's the largest privately-held company in the world, few people realize the scope of Cargill's activities or its influence on the food we eat and even the salt we put on our roads in the wintertime.
Kneen's second edition of this book, published in early 2002, is timely and poignant. Even though at times it reads almost like a textbook, Kneen's work meticulously describes Cargill's business segments and its geographic reach. Cargill's classic approach is to enter a market in a modest way and establish a "beachhead." From there, it expands its ownership and influence, often becoming the dominant force in an industry. In addition, Cargill has the political muscle to affect public policy towards trade and agriculture, not only at the Federal level in the U. S., but also through state, provincial and local governments worldwide.
Although no fan of Cargill or big agribusiness in general, Kneen nevertheless presents a fairly balanced, at times almost antiseptic analysis of this secretive and very powerful company.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the influence of large corporations on key economic sectors - especially agriculture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DW on January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this with the "Merchants of Grain" as a gift for someone who just got a job with Cargill. They arrived on time and in great condition. If you are interested in Cargill or agricultural commodities, these are good books to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven Forth on November 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A compilation of information on Cargill, the world's largest private company. Needs a better analytical framework but there is a lot of important information here about how global food production is organized. Cargill's ability to think of the world in terms of production basins, water-borne transportation routes and consumption centers is useful, shows why Cargill needs to be a transnational. The use of IP to mean 'identity preserved' is a good indication of the importance of provenance to the future of the food system. It was also interesting to think about how Cargill organizes its value web to manage risk, and frequently to off load risk to smaller players who are not in a position to say no.

The author slips in the occasional value judgement, and I tend to agree with them, but he does not do the extra work to justify them. Five stars for research, two stars for organization and analysis, rounded up to four stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bookbuyer on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Invisible Giant gives a highly detailed look inside Cargill. The book covers the history of company and provides very specific information about Cargill's activities and business.

However it's clear from the introduction that the author is arguing against Cargill and this becomes annoying very quickly. Rather than write a book against Cargill, or simply a book about them, he will provide a few pages of information with subtle attacks or vague insinuations.

For instance on pg. 24 he points out that by working a single buyer of commodities, Cargill has an advantage in the market. Although this is obvious and happens in any other market, with any other company, Kneen finds it necessary to add "Pity those who believe in the propaganda of 'competition'. "

Or when talking about exports to the USSR and grain subsidies Kneen writes "Cargill's sales (the figures include subsidies) went from $2 billion in 1971 to $29 billion in 1981. Figures are not available for the intervening years. Once has to draw one's own conclusions".

Kneen tries to insinuate things like Cargill's bidding for commodities is manipulative and anti-competitive or that $27 billion in sales increases over a decade are purely from exploiting the taxpayer and subsidies. However he never will actually come out and say these things or provide any evidence.
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