Monday, July 19, 2010

Wall Street Greed Kills

Goldman Sachs gamed world food markets to net a handy billion dollars last year, raking in rich returns on the backs of the world's hungry. That billion, by the way, is but a small fraction of the bounty Goldman hedged out of the weakest and poorest on behalf of its clients.

The WDM's Great Hunger Lottery report says "risky and secretive" financial bets on food prices have exacerbated the effect of poor harvests in recent years. It argues that volatility in food prices has made it harder for producers to plan what to grow, pushed up prices for British consumers and in poorer countries risks sparking civil unrest, like the food riots seen in Mexico and Haiti in 2008.

Deborah Doane, WDM director, said: "Investment banks, like Goldman Sachs, are making huge profits by gambling on the price of everyday foods. But this is leaving people in the UK out of pocket, and risks the poorest people in the world starving.

"Nobody benefits from this kind of reckless gambling except a few City wheeler-dealers. British consumers suffer because it pushes up
inflation, because of unpredictable oil and raw material prices, and the world's poorest people suffer because basic foods become unaffordable.

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