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(Independent)   Wall St: "We'll make a killing out of this food crisis"   (independent.co.uk) divider line 49
    More: Hero, Wall St, shortages, international development, Glencore, Robert Fisk  
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3378 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Aug 2012 at 8:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



49 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2012-08-23 08:38:41 AM
Of course they will. You were expecting otherwise?
 
2012-08-23 08:45:52 AM
Its already being done. food prices went up long before they should have.

Anytime the news talks about something costing more and people accept that its going to happen, things cost more, whether they should or not.

Its almost as if the news was in on it or something. This is why you see 3 "oil prices may be headed higher" stories a year.
 
2012-08-23 08:50:42 AM

I sound fat: This is why you see 3 "oil prices may be headed higher" stories a year.


More like "Supply may be tightened because of X (weather, iran, refineries may close)" and by that afternoon gas is up 20c a gallon at every station....
 
2012-08-23 08:55:04 AM
Yea... you'll make a killing... literally.

If you take away somebody's food and let them starve to death, you're a thief and a murderer.

If you take away somebody's food and let them starve to death at a profit you're a savvy investor.

As it has always been. This is hardly new or unique to our society. We just made the evil a lot more efficient, really.
 
2012-08-23 08:57:04 AM
Wow, that's one extremely out-of-touch dude... Not realizing that all of us don't have a pathological need to only think about life in as far as it relates to the 'I have more money than you' game.

All those fleshy balls in Africa sure help him in playing the market on food pellets though, they're good sports, he's gonna make a killing and move up two points on the list.... Then he'll feel whole, you'll see!
 
2012-08-23 09:00:03 AM
On one hand, it's their job to make their shareholders and investors money. You fail at that, you get fired. With or without a golden parachute.

On the other, BIGGER hand, they're a bunch of soul-less jackholes who should get the French Revolution treatment.
 
2012-08-23 09:07:15 AM
If anyone should see this man in their day to day activities, as unlikely as that may be, please murder him for the good of humanity. If you need to murder everyone within the same city block as him, I think that is acceptable as well.
 
2012-08-23 09:13:41 AM

xanadian: On one hand, it's their job to make their shareholders and investors money. You fail at that, you get fired. With or without a golden parachute.

On the other, BIGGER hand, they're a bunch of soul-less jackholes who should get the French Revolution treatment.

 
2012-08-23 09:14:59 AM

Hagbardr: Of course they will. You were expecting otherwise?


Nope, but one kind of hopes that heartless shiatheads would somehow realize that a percentage point less profit turning into saving millions is actually a 'good' thing.
 
2012-08-23 09:20:51 AM
But let's make sure he doesn't have to pay any taxes! He's out there creating jobs!
 
2012-08-23 09:22:31 AM

Cinaed: Nope, but one kind of hopes that heartless shiatheads would somehow realize that a percentage point less profit turning into saving millions is actually a 'good' thing.


Meh, tons of the things you use on a daily basis are produced on the misery and suffering of the third world - they are just less hypocritical than you.
 
kab
2012-08-23 09:23:01 AM
Welcome to capitalism.
 
2012-08-23 09:25:56 AM
It's not just Wall St. I had a co-worker at an old job whose family owned a farm. From what he told me most of the time they're just barely break-even because the grocery business is so competitive -- the only time they'd see any real profit is if there was some disaster somewhere, then they can mark up the produce and sell it at a premium.

And you know what, those higher prices will get more people into farming, and that'll be better for everyone. You might have heard about "urban farming" becoming a trend (although probably a small one); if the drought continues to restrict the supply then urban farmers could become a bigger factor in the market.

There are lots of flaws with the capitalist system, but generally speaking distribution of simple commodities isn't one of them.
 
2012-08-23 09:27:12 AM
Karl Marx heard whispering from the grave, "I told you so."
 
2012-08-23 09:31:35 AM

Vegan Meat Popsicle: We just made the evil a lot more efficient, really.


This was easy to predict. The glorification of psychopathy creeps me out more.

lilplatinum: tons of the things you use on a daily basis are produced on the misery and suffering of the third world - they are just less hypocritical than you.


You speak for yourself.
 
2012-08-23 09:31:37 AM
Let them eat cake!
 
2012-08-23 09:39:27 AM

dragonchild: lilplatinum: tons of the things you use on a daily basis are produced on the misery and suffering of the third world - they are just less hypocritical than you.

You speak for yourself.


Seeing as you are obviously using a computer I speak for you too.
 
2012-08-23 09:46:28 AM
I'll gladly lose my shirt Tuesday for a hamburger today 

/because I'll have to strip to so I can eat
 
2012-08-23 09:47:44 AM
They're making about $2 billion a year out of arbitrage. While it is a bit vulture, it's not that much globally. I still insist that firms without a real interest in receiving a shipment should be required to pony up the full value, no margin trades.
 
2012-08-23 09:54:08 AM
Who needs food I ride the bus.
 
2012-08-23 09:59:21 AM
Battles in general are neat to look at, but their plot pertenance can often be given while most of the battle itself is not shown. Dramatic storytelling has been doing that for pretty much all of human history prior to CGI..
 
2012-08-23 10:05:36 AM

lilplatinum: Seeing as you are obviously using a computer I speak for you too.


I'm actually using cybertelepathy, unlike that outdated hunk of hardware made by third-world misery you apparently care so deeply for.

Nothing makes the world better like guilt by association, eh?
 
2012-08-23 10:09:30 AM
They're a commodities trading company. I'm not saying they're nice people, but I hate the automatic assumption that they must be horrible. It seems the thesis of the article is that Glencore are evil people, because they are going to make money from a situation which will lead to misery and suffering for money. Know who else profits from misery and suffering? Doctors.

Of course Glencore is going to make a lot of money when there's a massive disruption in worldwide production; it's more opportunities to trade. The real question is whether more or less people will go hungry as a result of their actions. Generally speaking, the global trade that organizations like Glencore enable leads to fewer and less severe shortages, and that's a good thing. That they'll make good money in the process is inconsequential.
 
2012-08-23 10:09:47 AM
Glencore's director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: "The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.

Here's what "arbitrage opportunities" means in commodities trading: it means you buy a lot of a commodities -- say, wheat -- where it's cheap, and then sell where it's expensive. Where is wheat cheap? In places where you have a bumper crop, maybe because the weather's been particularly good in that area. Where is wheat expensive? Where there's been a natural disaster, a drought let's say, and an area is deprived of wheat that it needs. So this is just a matter of getting supplies from a place where it's not needed to a place where it is. Yes, they're extracting profits from their customers, but the ability to extract profits will other producers (farmers in this case) to ship to those needy areas, and 1) that will mean they get the supplies that they need, and 2) that will ultimately lower prices.

Three self-critiques: 1) Yes, the trader extracts costs from both the seller and the customer, and if they were able to cut out the middleman both would benefit. But this ignores the fact that many sellers -- medium-sized farms for example -- would not be able to find customers who would be able to pay more on the other side of the world. The ability of the intermediary to match up the most able producer with the neediest customer adds a lot of value to the system.
2) Obviously the ability to extract profits becomes toxic when the trader has monopoly power -- then they'd be able to essentially cut out the ability of the producers to profit from their own, uh, produce. But as far as I could tell Glencore doesn't have that kind of position -- in fact they mostly trade in metals and minerals. And they have other equally or more powerful competitors like Cargill and many large financial institutions.
3) Prices could also be made expensive in places with artificial barriers to trade, such as warlords who don't allow outsiders in, or who extract bribes. The former case is probably irrelevant as the commodities trader would probably not be willing to undertake the risk of engaging in the black market. The latter case is certainly very dangerous, as one producer or trader could essentially bribe a warlord to wage war against a competitor. This is why you have laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and strict enforcement of those laws are certainly a necessary function.

In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.
 
2012-08-23 10:18:17 AM
YAY Famine!

Wouldnt a smart country stockpile food for the coming shortages, instead of wasting as much food as they can to precipitate the shortage?
 
2012-08-23 10:18:35 AM

dragonchild: I'm actually using cybertelepathy, unlike that outdated hunk of hardware made by third-world misery you apparently care so deeply for.

Nothing makes the world better like guilt by association, eh?


I don't particularly care about the third world nor do I feel guilty for being lucky enough to have been born there. I never claimed I did.

I just pointed out the inherent hypocrisy of people who cry about the third world while generally living a life built on their backs. I wasn't the one crying because a company makes money selling food to poor people.
 
2012-08-23 10:20:05 AM

dragonchild: Nothing makes the world better like guilt by association, eh?


And, incidentally, it would be less guilt by association than guilt by participation.
 
2012-08-23 10:22:22 AM
Now if only there was a way to make a killing on Pestilence...

Oh Wait!
 
2012-08-23 10:36:29 AM
Capitalism, the best advertisement for Communism ever.
 
2012-08-23 11:07:06 AM

RockofAges: So. People who live within a superstructure cannot criticize the superstructure?

Yea, that makes sense. Just so you know, individuals are entitled to personal worldviews that differ from the current state of affairs.


You can certainly criticize, offer points of improvements, etc. You are also entitled to whatever worldview you damn well please, even if it is hypocritical. Others are also entitled to call people out on such worldviews.

But the original post I replied to was them calling grain traders "heartless shiatheads", that sort of vitriol is rather hypocritical - implying that that profession is inherently evil when it is highly likely the person purporting it lives a lifestyle equally destructive to people.

When you leave such moral accusations at the floor then you can certainly have a discussion about how to make things better without being a total and utter hypocrite.
 
2012-08-23 11:20:40 AM

Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.


No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.
 
2012-08-23 11:24:29 AM
1. Government mandates that billions of pounds of edible corn should be burned every year instead of using non-edible sources of fuel.

2. A drought polishes off the rest of the corn crop, but the government does not back off the mandate to burn the edible corn.

3. Smart people bet that corn prices will go up. Profit!

4. Not-so-smart people complain that smart people made money.
 
2012-08-23 11:30:29 AM

beta_plus: Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.

No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.


Nice hyperbole. But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

Anyway, I do find it interesting that an individual almost certainly wouldn't allow a person to die of starvation right next to them if they had a means of assisting (unless they're psychopaths), yet if said person is 4000 miles away, it's just a statistic and a "we should pray for them" situation, with no thought given to the fact that society is, indeed, choosing profit over their life.

The proximity variable changes the whole equation.

Tom Morello recently said it best: "...the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So...they convince themselves that 'Those people are undeserving. They're . . . lesser.'"
 
2012-08-23 11:34:01 AM

chi_tino: 1. Government mandates that billions of pounds of edible corn should be burned every year instead of using non-edible sources of fuel.

2. A drought polishes off the rest of the corn crop, but the government does not back off the mandate to burn the edible corn.

3. Smart people bet that corn prices will go up. Profit!

4. Not-so-smart people complain that smart people made money.


3b. Complete morons don't put two-and-two together to understand who's lobbying for the continuation of the aforementioned mandate, then run around asking "what's the problem?".
 
2012-08-23 11:52:16 AM

beta_plus: Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.

No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.


Oh, it's you again. I suppose I should thank you for your insightful and substantive commentary. And I will to, if you happen to ever provide any.
 
2012-08-23 12:03:51 PM

lilplatinum: When you leave such moral accusations at the floor then you can certainly have a discussion about how to make things better without being a total and utter hypocrite.


I don't require my friends to be perfect to criticize my flaws. I fail to see how a discussion that starts with a gentlemen's agreement to avoid any criticism of one another due to your "house of glass" treatment of the superstructure leads to improvement. In my experience, it leads to Congress.
 
2012-08-23 12:54:36 PM

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: beta_plus: Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.

No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.

Nice hyperbole. But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

Anyway, I do find it interesting that an individual almost certainly wouldn't allow a person to die of starvation right next to them if they had a means of assisting (unless they're psychopaths), yet if said person is 4000 miles away, it's just a statistic and a "we should pray for them" situation, with no thought given to the fact that society is, indeed, choosing profit over their life.

The proximity variable changes the whole equation.

Tom Morello recently said it best: "...the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So...they convince themselves that 'Those people are undeserving. They're . . . lesser.'"


Tom Morello is also worth about 60 million...I'm sure he would gladly give up most of that to help feed the starving kids in America...
 
2012-08-23 02:14:43 PM
Gun industry opens door, looks in, smiles, walks away
 
2012-08-23 02:23:40 PM

beta_plus: Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.

No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.


Politics tab is three to the right. Thank you.
 
2012-08-23 03:06:19 PM
SacriliciousBeerSwiller

beta_plus: Arkanaut: In any case I don't believe any of these critiques invalidates the practice of commodities trading, only that it needs to be policed and prevented from acquiring monopoly power. They may be assholes, but they serve a necessary -- even beneficial -- role.

No, on Fark all rich people are evil unless they support Obama without question.

Nice hyperbole. But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

Anyway, I do find it interesting that an individual almost certainly wouldn't allow a person to die of starvation right next to them if they had a means of assisting (unless they're psychopaths), yet if said person is 4000 miles away, it's just a statistic and a "we should pray for them" situation, with no thought given to the fact that society is, indeed, choosing profit over their life.

The proximity variable changes the whole equation.



Great so why don't you take your paycheck and endorse it over to "Food Aid for Africa" charity. It will help you sleep at night to know you are better than evil commodity traders.
 
2012-08-23 04:11:08 PM
Are there any commodities traders in the theater tonight? Get 'em up against the wall!
s18.postimage.org
 
2012-08-23 05:09:31 PM

lilplatinum: Cinaed: Nope, but one kind of hopes that heartless shiatheads would somehow realize that a percentage point less profit turning into saving millions is actually a 'good' thing.

Meh, tons of the things you use on a daily basis are produced on the misery and suffering of the third world - they are just less hypocritical than you.


That's your answer? The wider global economic structure makes it okay? Wage imbalance justifies it?
Or that I should, somehow, feel bad because there's a factory outside of Seoul that manufactured my computer, a plant outside of Shanghai built a microchip?

And to be perfectly honest, the places where most of my things are produced won't have nearly as much trouble as you'd think.
Mexico... South Korea... Taiwan... China... Europe. They'll get through.

Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean. They get screwed.

/loves some good ol' US food aid, one of the few good things we manage to do with our excess
 
2012-08-23 06:26:13 PM

xanadian: On one hand, it's their job to make their shareholders and investors money. You fail at that, you get fired. With or without a golden parachute.

On the other, BIGGER hand, they're a bunch of soul-less jackholes who should get the French Revolution treatment.


fark the French Revolution treatment.

Remember that the guillotine was designed to make executions more humane, particuarly for the upper class (the folks who has the right, by blood, to be decapitated).

People profiting off starvation should be hung, drawn, and quartered.
 
2012-08-23 06:36:41 PM

Insatiable Jesus: Capitalism, the best advertisement for Communism ever.


Yeah, because nobody ever starved under communism.
 
2012-08-23 07:22:48 PM

lilplatinum: Cinaed: Nope, but one kind of hopes that heartless shiatheads would somehow realize that a percentage point less profit turning into saving millions is actually a 'good' thing.

Meh, tons of the things you use on a daily basis are produced on the misery and suffering of the third world - they are just less hypocritical than you.


Just because we all live in a world built the backs of the 3rd World doesn't mean we need to sink all the way into depravity. Its a tragedy not an excuse, asshole.
 
2012-08-23 08:04:19 PM

AliceBToklasLives: People profiting off starvation should be hung, drawn, and quartered.


Now THERE'S an interesting method of execution. For anyone willing to actually DO that, it would take some balls.

/and guts
 
2012-08-23 11:04:55 PM

dragonchild: I don't require my friends to be perfect to criticize my flaws. I fail to see how a discussion that starts with a gentlemen's agreement to avoid any criticism of one another due to your "house of glass" treatment of the superstructure leads to improvement. In my experience, it leads to Congress.


I never claimed a "house of glass" treatment. I was specifically commenting against someone who was calling grain traders evil for their treatment. If those people are evil for their jobs repercussions on the third world than it follows that that everyone who abuses the third world is evil.

When you quit using ridiculous moral accusations at people like that, then you might be able to have substantive communication on how to make the disparity less... but when you use such accusations, you are a farking disgusting hypocrite.

nmemkha: Just because we all live in a world built the backs of the 3rd World doesn't mean we need to sink all the way into depravity. Its a tragedy not an excuse, asshole.


Rationalization is a hell of a drug. Its just the grain traders who are the bad guys, not me..Cinaed:

That's your answer? The wider global economic structure makes it okay? Wage imbalance justifies it?
Or that I should, somehow, feel bad because there's a factory outside of Seoul that manufactured my computer, a plant outside of Shanghai built a microchip?


No, that isn't my answer - as above, if one approaches the problem rationally fine. When one starts throwing moral accusations out without looking in the mirror, then you are being intellectually farking dishonest. Nowhere did I ever claim any sort of justification for anything.
 
2012-08-24 12:32:07 AM
Can someone remind me whether it was someone on wall street or someone in Washington that voted to burn our food for fuel...
 
2012-08-24 05:06:28 AM
One simple change is all that is needed. You can only buy commodities if they are physically delivered to your warehouse.
 
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