Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Food profits - up!!

Food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland announced today that - happily - their profits for the last quarter are UP!  42%, overall.

And Wall Street rejoices to have some good news, somewhere, so stunningly out of touch with reality are they.

Reading the whole article- with a wary eye- is quite telling.  Gosh, it turns out that nice profit jump (ADM is enormous) stems mostly from - speculation.

"Results were driven by an almost sevenfold increase in profits at ADM's Agricultural Services division, from $46 million to $366 million. The division includes the company's grain-trading, -transporting and -handling businesses."

Ok?  "sevenfold" - is not 42% - it's 700% of normal.  They're playing down the huge jump by spreading the statistic over the entire company.  "grain trading, ... businesses."

Or a 600% increase.  Either way.


Somehow, the big corporations would like the world to believe that they are helpless to prevent these huge profits.  Gosh, they're just lucky, and the profits are being forced upon them by circumstances beyond their control!

But really- there's not a thing in the world stopping them from just saying- "Boy, our customers are suffering, I hear.  Maybe we should settle for a.... oh, 10% profit increase?  Instead of 600%?"  Incidentally, big boys- that might mean that your customers will survive - to provide you some profit next year.  They're starting to die, you know.  Because they can't afford your product.

Anybody home?

And, thank goodness, the UN is launching a special task force on the global food crisis!

They're begging for a paltry $700 million dollars- which any of these billion a year hedge fund managers could give them- this afternoon- out of their personal pocket.

Find a little time, and look at the comments on blogs around the world on hunger- search them for the words "speculation" or "profiteer".  They're not there.   We need to put them in front of the public.

Here's the current BBC comment URL

And here's one for the Washington Post.  And here is one for a live forum this afternoon on the WP - with author James Gustav Speth- (Dean of Environmental Studies at Yale - he thinks the current environmental movement is too wimpy) you can submit questions live or ahead of time...

The more times it's repeated- "speculation/profiteering is a big part of the problem- and it's one we could shut down, tomorrow" - the more that possibility will be mentioned.  We're at near zero right now.

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