Over the last year we have seen food prices rise at an alarming rate with the pundits pointing in all directions as the possible area to blame. It is drought and other adverse weather conditions, it is the increase population, it is the bio-fuel drive, it is increase demand from the growing middle class in China and India and so they go on. There is absolutely no doubt these factors do play a part in the increase but what is driving the prices up quicker than any other factor is undoubtedly the speculators, “non commercial traders” as they are called in the financial circles.
Before 2007 the percentage of trading in the world’s food markets controlled by speculators was about 12%, today it is 43%. That is a lot of extra money being pushed into the food market with the result that prices start to rocket. What we are talking about is greed little people with millions scurrying around looking of ways of turning their millions into billions and they don’t give a damn of the consequences to the rest of us. The other bunch of greedy speculators that are pushing the price of food through the roof are of course the speculators in the oil futures markets. We live oil, as it its price goes up so does food transportation, fertilisers and the energy required to process that food. These two groups are holding the world’s population to ransom in their quest for ever more millions for themselves and their shareholders.
In 2007 before the prices started to shoot up there were 800 million people on this planet who could not get enough to eat, with the daily increases in prices this figure is also shooting up dramatically. We are now hearing of food riots in countries across the globe, the speculators are starving the world in an attempt to increase their already over abundant wealth. Our political “Leaders” are meeting here and there in capitals across the world and making noises but they don’t have the muscle nor the will to control the big corporate greedy beast that is devouring our planet.
While those government representatives are uttering vacuous mush on the subject the developed governments are subsidising one of the elements of the price increases, bio-fuel. It is stated that by 2017 40% of the maize production in the US will be for bio-fuel. This will certainly increase the speculators wealth and will certainly help keep the internal combustion engine going but will do nothing but more harm to that ever growing, starving multitude of 800 million+ .
This is the capitalist system, it is not set in tablets of stone, it is not the only way to organise our societies, it is a man made system that fosters greed in parallel with poverty. It can be removed and a fairer and more humane system set up in its place if the people so desire.