The Global Food System Casino | Common Dreams - by Vandana Shiva
Barclays, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan are all playing on the global food casino.
A 2008 advertisement of Deutsche Bank stated, “Do you enjoy rising prices? Everybody talks about commodities — with the Agriculture Euro Fund you can benefit from the increase in the value of the seven most important agricultural commodities.”
When speculation drives up prices, the rich investors get richer and the poor starve. The financial deregulation that destabilised the world’s financial system is now destabilising the world food system. The price rise is not just a result of supply and demand. It is predominantly a result of speculation.
Between 2003 to 2008, commodity index speculation increased by 1,900 per cent from an estimated $13 billion to $260 billion. Thirty per cent of these index funds are invested in food commodities. As the Agribusiness Accountability Initiative states, “We live in a brave new world of 24-hour electronic trading, triggered by algorithms of composite price indices, fits of investor ‘lack of confidence’ and of unregulated ‘dark pools’ of more than $7 trillion in over the counter commodities derivatives trades.”
The world commodity trading has no relationship to food, to its diversity, to its growers or eaters, to the seasons, to sowing or harvesting. Food diversity is reduced to eight commodities and bundled into “composite price index”...
Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the World Food Programme, related the Egyptian revolution of 2010 to the rise of food prices. “In many protests, demonstrators have brandished loaves of bread or displayed banners expressing anger about the rising cost of food stables such as lentils. When it comes to food, the margins between stability and chaos are perilously thin. Volatility on the markets can translate quickly to volatility on the streets and we all should remain vigilant.”
The growing concern about speculating on food has forced some banks to stop investing in food commodities. Germany’s Commerzbank and Austria’s Volksbanken have both removed agricultural products from their index fund products. Deutsche Bank had earlier done the same. It is time that every government and every financial institution put people’s right to food above the hunger for profits.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.