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@Keshaw, There is a lot of evidence on how speculation causes food price rises. A major one is that futures markets are used as a benchmark for physical markets, so while financial speculators do not tend to hold futures through to delivery their speculation still influences futures prices, which in turn exert a strong influence on physical prices.
This evidence is outlined in details in our new report ‘Broken Markets’ published yesterday. http://www.wdm.org.uk/broken-markets
However, as you say, there are other factors such as demand for biofuels or unfair trade rules that lead to high prices and an unfair global food system. However, these generally have a long term-effect on food prices and can’t explain the short term spikes and volatility that we’ve seen recently. Once again, these are all covered in the report.
We are also aware of the risk of promoting the idea that the food system is not complex, which is why we are increasingly talking about food sovereignty.
I have very mixed feelings about this kind of campaign. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that financial speculation caused the spike in food and oil prices we saw in 2008 (I looked at the papers on the WDM site, and I’ve been interested in this topic for a while.) But there are plenty of factors that I’m pretty sure did contribute to the increase, and will continue to push prices up in the coming decades – biofuels, running out of cheap oil, increasing demand for food from richer populations in emerging markets, bad harvests – basically, capitalism’s pathological way of dealing with the ecological/resource crises it has created. I think it’s better for greens and socialists to focus on these things and promote policies to tackle them (carbon quotas/taxes, reducing energy demand, global redistribution of wealth, whatever) than to go after the banks on this issue. (There are enough good reasons to go after the banks anyway!) We don’t want to promote the idea that there are no ecological/resource-scarcity problems to worry about, just deal with Goldman Sachs and we can go on enjoying low oil prices and cheap food.
Ooops, yes it does.Just didn’t see that wee microfying thingmy.
Good stuff!Doesn’t embiggen for me though.