Fred Kaufman begins his new book Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food by identifying a troubling paradox of modern food production. In 2008, “farmers produced more grain than ever, enough to feed twice as many people as were on Earth. In the same year, for the first time in history, a billion people went hungry.” How could we produce more food and more hunger? The answer, Kaufman writes, is that food became virtualized, or in this case “financialized.” Instead of using data systems to find sensible ways to distribute real food, we have increasingly used them to trade virtual food as a speculative object, much like the complicated financial products that helped pump up the housing bubble. The result: Prices skyrocket, real food sits uselessly, people starve.