Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blogs Against Kleptocracy - Food Speculators

Oil's sharp retreat in the last two trading sessions on the world commodity markets has revealed what everybody already suspected: The speculators are leaving the field having already made a bundle-o-cash.
Investors, like locusts, are opportunistic. They also move in swarms, descending on whatever is unprotected and likely to yield a bountiful harvest. This time around, hedge funds are widely blamed for leading the commodities frenzy, hiding behind what analysts call "supportive market fundamentals" while whipping up prices to the breaking point.

— Marketwatch

But hold on... If you think that unfettered speculation in energy futures is a danger to your well being, wait till you hear which commodity the 'locusts' are turning their attention to next:


Garden variety crop price manipulation has been going on for decades, but now speculators are turning their attention to what they call 'owning structure'. In other words, owning the means of food production as well as the distribution system. Everything from farms to fertilizer, processing to packaging, all in the hands of multi-billion dollar hedge-funds. But...unlike agribusiness, where the outlook is somewhat longer term and profits comparably smaller, hedge-fund investors demand enormous short-term gains. And how do you engineer such gains? Well, as Jim Hightower puts it:
...If you can lock down production and stockpile the supply – you can control price. If corn prices are lower than what investors want them to be, simply store the corn and force prices up. Or, if corn prices are down in the U.S., ship it to Japan or wherever else might be more profitable.
In short, engineer famine for the sole purpose of satisfying your investors, a situation that should not be tolerated in this, or any other country. This is the point where we transition from being a Corporate Kleptocracy to being just a normal kleptocracy.

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