Thursday, March 12, 2009

Profiting from Starvation and Hunger?

Profiting from Starvation and Hunger?

“I suppose that's just capitalism but it's jolly disappointing. If society looked down on these funds then perhaps it would make a difference.”
Sir Michael Darrington (quoted in the The Times U.K. Newspaper, March 12, 2008.)

The funds Sir Michael was talking about are “hedge funds” that speculate in commodities.
The article in the Times newspaper also stated that Mr. Darrington “…has attacked speculators for driving up the price of wheat and fuelling famine in Africa.” If this is true, then we have reached a sorry state in the “financial markets” when wealthy human beings would take and make profits off the bodies of starving people. Are they human parasites that feed and suck their bloody paper profits from the hunger and misery of poverty-stricken men, women and children in poor countries? What kind of people would invest in “hedge funds” that profit from starvation?

A hedge fund manager had this to say: “Unfortunately, I think when people are trading commodities, I don't think they are even caring about social impact” (International Herald Tribune April 2, 2008) .

Will “the social impact” of this speculation in food, result in violence in poor countries around the world? Can we blame these starving people resorting to violence if the bread is being literally taken from their mouths by speculators in luxury office towers around the world?

“There are stocks of wheat and grain in the world, and crops are growing at the moment but funds are being set up as speculators see an opportunity to make some short-term money and someone has to pay for it (Sir Michael Darrington,The Times, U.K. March 12, 2008).

It is obvious who will “pay for it”: The poor and the hungry. Meanwhile, the fat cats of finance, who shuffle their paper “commodities” around the world and take their profits off the backs of the poor, enthuse over their “success” in the “markets” of money.

“When the fast money crowd sees things moving, they want to jump on. Until the bubble kind of bursts” (A hedge fund manager in International Herald tribune, April 2, 2008).

Perhaps the “bursts” will be more than the speculators expect. Starving people with empty bellies are going to be looking for the causes of their hunger. And if speculators are the reason the justified wrath of hungry people on the march will take some holding back. It could be these speculators will get more than they bargained for.

Stephen J. Gray
April 6, 2008.