Why do big investment houses have the right to speculate in ways that can lead to death? Speculation in food, in water. While there are fortunes to be had in creating bottlenecks that restrict access to the very things people cannot survive without do nations and leaders have a moral right or duty to suppress this sort of perfidy?
A study released last week by Cornell University reveals that the relatively recent scourge of food insecurity manifested in substantial food price hikes is mainly the result of investor speculation and ethanol conversion.
"...The two sharp peaks in 2007/2008 and 2010/2011 are specifically due to investor speculation, while an underlying upward trend is due to increasing demand from ethanol conversion. The model includes investor trend following as well as shifting between commodities, equities and bonds to take advantage of increased expected returns. Claims that speculators cannot influence grain prices are shown to be invalid by direct analysis of price setting practices of granaries. Both causes of price increase, speculative investment and ethanol conversion, are promoted by recent regulatory changes---deregulation of the commodity markets, and policies promoting the conversion of corn to ethanol. Rapid action is needed to reduce the impacts of the price increases on global hunger."
If nothing else, it's high time we were honest with ourselves. Our 21st century concept of deregulated market capitalism is entirely accommodating of practices that inflict suffering, even death on the most vulnerable for the sake of nothing more than maximizing investor profits. And let's be honest enough to understand that these greed-driven practices will eventually spark retribution on us.