I can't believe I am even writing a post about world famine at the same time I feel like a stuffed pig. I attended a wedding for a very under-deprived young couple last night- Mr and Mrs 'Have.' It was one of those quarter of a million dollar weddings that featured exquisite food and set on a beach with a tropical tiki theme. Every morsel was so delicious that it was rather hard to know when to stop and give your stomach a rest before the next course. The food spread out for 400 people last night could have fed a small country. Seriously. $200/plate to boot. I need to lose weight. I shouldn't have been there.
From Global Famine, by Michael Chossudovsky: Famine is the result of a process of "free market" restructuring of the global economy which has its roots in the debt crisis of the early 1980s. It is not a recent phenomenon as suggested by several Western media reports. The latter narrowly focus on short-term supply and demand for agricultural staples, while obfuscating the broader structural causes of global famine....
Poverty and chronic undernourishment is a pre-existing condition. The recent hikes in food prices have contributed to exacerbating and aggravating the food crisis. The price hikes are hitting an impoverished population, which has barely the means to survive.
With large sectors of the World population already well below the poverty line, the short-term hike in the prices of food staples is devastating. Millions of people around the World are unable to purchase food for their survival
These hikes are contributing in a very real sense to "eliminating the poor" through "starvation deaths". In the words of Henry Kissinger: "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people."
In this regard, Kissinger had intimated in the context of the 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests" that the recurrence of famines could constitute a de facto instrument of population control.
According to the FAO, the price of grain staples has increased by 88% since March 2007. The price of wheat has increased by 181% over a three year period. The price of rice has increased by 50% over the last three months
It's become quite clear that deregulation in just about every area of existence has created havoc somewhere else. This "every man for himself" attitude cannot work for much longer... except if you're filthy rich. This era would be another sad chapter in world history except for the fact that even the media is deregulated and makes you wonder what will even make it to the history books.
Speculative Surge in Grain Prices
The media has casually misled public opinion on the causes of these price hikes, focusing almost exclusively on issues of costs of production, climate and other factors which result in reduced supply and which might contribute to boosting the price of food staples. While these factors may come into play, they are of limited relevance in explaining the impressive and dramatic surge in commodity prices.
Spiraling food prices are in large part the result of market manipulation. They are largely attributable to speculative trade on the commodity markets. Grain prices are boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations on the New York and Chicago mercantile exchanges. It is worth noting that in 2007, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), forming the largest Worldwide entity dealing in commodity trade including a wide range of speculative instruments (options, options on futures, index funds, etc).
Speculative trade in wheat, rice or corn, can occur without the occurrence of real commodity transactions. The institutions speculating in the grain market are not necessarily involved in the actual selling or delivery of grain.
The transactions may use commodity index funds which are bets on the general upward or downward movement of commodity prices. A "put option" is a bet that the price will go down, a "call option" is a bet that the price will go up. Through concerted manipulation, institutional traders and financial institutions make the price go up and then place their bets on an upward movement in the price of a particular commodity.
Speculation generates market volatility. In turn, the resulting instability encourages further speculative activity.
Profits are made when the price goes up. Conversely, if the speculator is short-selling the market, money will be made when the price collapses.
This recent speculative surge in food prices has been conducive to a Worldwide process of famine formation on an unprecedented scale.
The Absence of Regulatory Measures Triggers Famine
These speculative operations do not purposely trigger famine.
What triggers famine is the absence of regulatory procedures pertaining to speculative trade (options, options on futures, commodity index funds). In the present context, a freeze of speculative trade in food staples, taken as a political decision, would immediately contribute to lower food prices.
Nothing prevents these transactions from being neutralized and defused through a set of carefully devised regulatory measures.