Digests of Academic Papers Relevant to Burning Questions

Tiny Beam Fund produces plain-language digests of academic papers

Each digest focuses on several recent (published within the last five years) peer-reviewed journal articles relevant to particular burning questions.

The unique feature of these digests is that key points and important information in an article that are especially relevant to a burning question are summarized and presented in bullets in plain language.

New digests are produced in-house every 4-6 weeks.

July 2019 Digest


  1. “Re-evaluating food systems and food security: A global perspective.” Lawrence, Geoffrey. (2017)
    • This paper helps one understand two overarching developments or “macro-processes” that play key roles in driving the formation of global industrial food systems (including industrial production of food animals) and the introduction of such system into low- and middle-income countries. They are: 1. Neoliberal globalization, 2. Financialization.
  2. “Livestock production and the water challenge of future food supply: Implications of agricultural management and dietary choices.” Weindl, Isabelle, Benjamin Leon Bodirsky, Susanne Rolinski, Anne Biewald, Hermann Lotze-Campen, Christoph Müller, Jan Philipp Dietrich, et al. (2017)
    • This paper highlights and quantifies how four things are linked in various regions of the world: 1. Production of food animals (including intensive production); 2. Dietary changes and choices; 3. Agricultural water consumption; 4. Water protection policies.
    • More specifically, it argues that if one is concerned about the problem of animal agriculture (especially intensive food animal production) affecting global water resources, then changing people’s diets is not enough. Policies to protect water resources are needed.
  3. “Meat consumption in China and its impact on international food security: Status quo, trends, and policies.” Yu, Xiaohua. (2015)
    • This is an Editorial that introduces a special issue of a journal. The topics covered in this special issue include:
      • Meat consumption trends: 1) Income elasticity. 2) Consumption away from home. 3) Food safety certification. 4) Slow down of rate of meat consumption.
      • Meat production trends: 1) Large-scale pig farms. 2) Environmental and technical efficiency. 3) Non-point source pollution.
      • Importing feed grains rather than directly importing meat.
      • Trends in price of meat products: 1) Meat price’s importance in consumer price index. 2) Major role played by the government. 3) Changes in pork price affecting scale of pig production. 4) Close connection of meat price and feed price.
      • Discrepancies in statistics related to meat production and consumption, especially related to pork.

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