Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hooray! The Washington Post wakes up!

Finally- the Washington Post today has this:

"Speculators have always played a prominent role in commodities markets, but in the past year, they have literally overwhelmed them, causing a dramatic increase in trading volume, volatility and prices and disrupting many of the normal relationships between producers and end-users."

"The difference this time, however, is that even before it bursts, this bubble is causing economic discomfort for households and businesses around the world, and misery for hundreds of millions of hungry people who suddenly cannot afford a bowl of rice or scrap of meat."

Emphases mine.

Now.  We just have to get that broadly understood.

Spread the quotes- cite the article.

And here is exactly the target- foundations, and universities-

"Many of these were the same hedge funds and hot-money investors who had gorged on sovereign debt of developing countries, tech and telecom stocks, subprime mortgages and commercial real estate and now needed a new thing to focus on. Others -- including, it is said, some sovereign wealth funds -- looked to commodities as a hedge against the falling dollar. But perhaps the biggest push came from pension funds, foundations and university endowments whose managers had all gone to the same conferences and read the same academic papers, suggesting that a basket of commodity futures would provide a good hedge against stock and bond market declines."

If you're an alum- let your college know you are concerned about the university financing famine.  Do you contribute to a foundation?  Same thing.

A phone call is worth 20 emails.  But emails do count!

The iceberg CAN move.  :-)


MissAnna said...

I've been showing my dad (wheat farmer, Washington state) the articles you've been including on in your posts. If you're curious, here's what he had to say:

"I was talking to the head of Northwest Grain Growers last week and he could have written this article. He thought that wheat should never have gone much over $10 and shouldn't be under $10 now. As funds get bigger and bigger they look for ways to make more money and the futures are the newest way. We farmers have often said that futures should be abolished or at least limited for only farmers to use. But as always, capitalist greed can create and it can also destroy. It sometimes feels that the producers of the commodities exist only to legitimize a basis for commodity futures trading. The traders on Wall Street make way more money off farm commodities then the farmers ever do.

Here is a tip: Invest in NH3 futures. With $6 corn and $8-$10 wheat, the speculators are driving the price skyward. Get out by the middle of August, though. Which August, I'm not sure."

How can this be legal if even the farmers are questioning the current prices? And when the commodities market collapses, in addition to everyone who already cannot afford basic food, are we going to wipe out the last remaining family farms? At some point, all we'll have left is giant corporations that control the world's food source. (And thanks so much for pursuing this issue, Greenpa)

Theresa said...

Greenpa! I was so excited when I was driving home yesterday because on the CBC's radio program, 'As It Happens', they had an in-depth interview with a lady who was outlining in detail how futures trading is causing the spike in food prices. This is what the blurb on the CBC website said about the interview:

"FOOD CRISIS: FUTURES Duration: 00:07:16

Amid the global food crisis, where tens of millions of people have found themselves unable to pay for food -- there is another crisis of sorts:

Determining the exact causes of the surge in food costs. Today, the House of Commons debated the impact of biofuels as an alternative energy strategy. That's besides the debates already underway about shrunken harvests, the declining U-S dollar, climate change, an increased middle class in China and so on.

But now, there is speculation on speculation itself.

This week, UN officials blamed futures-markets speculation for the recent jump in commodities prices.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and author, and her most recent book, Web of Debt, deals with the specific issue of investment schemes.

We reached her in Los Angeles."

And then the interview continued. The message is getting out there!

Greenpa said...

Miss Anna- the trick is to get the farmers to SCREAM about it. The fact that it IS legal, does not mean it SHOULD be. They just sneaked it in, via political appointees- it never went through any legislation. Get your dad mad! :-)

Teresa- yay! It DOES feel good when somebody picks up on it.

Sigh. But then: BBC today they go right back to: "Poor harvests, global warming, increasing demand and the transfer of food land to biofuel production have all been blamed as factors in the crisis."

The speculators of course already have denial machinery working- whenever somebody raises the topic, they do all they can to quash it. Of course- they're making huge amounts of money, every day.

And where does that money come from? The consumer- and the poorest people on Earth.