Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Upcoming Grocery Costs

Corn "Futures"

Yep, we all know grocery costs will be up this year due to the widespread drought in the US. Corn is in almost everything for sale at the supermarket even if it doesn't look like corn. Never mind the cost of bread, or wheat flour...

What I don't understand is how much food prices are affected by Gamblers... those guys who play the "Futures" market, and "wouldn't know a corn stalk from a hoe handle". (See Source for quote)

Right now the highs in corn prices are over $8 a bushel, wheat over $9, soybeans over $17 and all three are expected to keep on climbing. These are unprecedented historic highs, as speculators (read: Gamblers) react (and likely overreact) to coming shortages.

Furthermore this year more acres have been put into corn than any time since the 1930s, and lots of that increase went on land too poor to grow profitable corn in any year. It was planted solely with the idea of taking advantage of the high prices. The risk is covered by subsidized crop insurance, another example of [our] money being used to encourage bad farming.


  1. Bill Moyers did an interview with Chris Hedges and one of the topics they touched upon was the manner in which Wall Street speculation on crop prices causes starvation in third world countries. Some really powerful stuff here:

  2. I have no problem with purely financial speculators. I kind of admire and respect them, the same way I do alligators and sharks. Yes, they get richly rewarded for correctly anticipating the future, but they can lose their shirts if they are wrong. As far as I know, they've never ask for a bailout. And sometimes it seems they're the only ones looking past the next quarterly report or election.

    People who degrade marginal land by planting a crop that cannot survive are an entirely different matter. I think no one should be able to get crop insurance unless they have successfully grown a crop at the same place at least 50% of the time (1/1, 1/2, 2/3, 2/4, 3/5, etc.).


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