There is no reason for them to set prices so high otherwise than to make a quick buck, but this is at the world’s expense because if the farmers can’t afford to farm people can’t afford to eat. This hurts everyone all over the world causing a global crisis. Should they be held resonsible for the famine that they are causing. What are your thoughts on this?
Food price rises are at the top of politicians’ agendas everywhere. Gordon Brown invited two dozen powerful and knowledgable figures to Number 10 to discuss the issue, and Douglas Alexander http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressr… announced a ВЈ455m aid package for affected countries. It’s the hottest issue at the UN’s trade conference in Accra this week. And it will feature heavily when the G8 meet in Japan in July.
But there’s an elephant in the room. The first priority for the world’s leaders is, quite rightly, to do what they can for people around the world who are suffering, and even dying, because of the steep rise in prices. However, no one seems to have asked who is benefiting from this crisis – and what that tells us about how the world works.
It might seem that price rises should be good news for developing countries, many of which export the crops whose prices are rising. Prices are up so farmers, and whole countries, should be quite literally raking it in. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Some people certainly are making a lot of money – but it’s not the people, or the countries, who are actually producing these commodities.
Last week Cargill, the largest agricultural company in the US, announced profits for the third quarter of their financial year that were up 86% on the same period the previous year. That followed a year-on-year 35% rise in profits between 2006 and 2007. Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill’s main rival for the top slot in world agricultural trade, reported profits up 25% between 2006 and 2007.
It’s clear that world agricultural markets are not doing the job that we want them to do. While the World Food Programme has to beg donors for an extra $500m to get food to the starving, and while poor people the world over find their weekly wage buys them less and less, big companies are doing very nicely out of the current situation.
How have companies like Cargill and ADM managed to get into a position where they can make gargantuan profits out of a situation that means misery for pretty much everyone else? Part of the answer is in changes to the world economy. Since the 1980s, agricultural markets have been involved in a headlong process of concentration at every level. This process has been driven by changes in policy, as trade and investment rules have been liberalised everywhere. There are fewer traders, processors and retailers in almost every country than there were 20 years ago. Those that are left can then get on with the serious business of making money, using their power in the market to extract as much profit as possible from both farmers and consumers.
What that means for farmers in, say, Uganda, is that they are very small fish in a pond where sharks have all the power. Imagine a farmer selling coffee. She might have seen a bit of an increase in her price over the last few years, and that’s undeniably good news. But the prices paid by consumers of coffee have gone up much faster than the price that the Ugandan farmer gets from selling it – and the difference means higher profits for the companies in between. Meanwhile the Ugandan farmer is paying higher prices for the food she has to buy too – again, meaning higher profits for the companies that sell it to her.
For 30 years, global trade policies have been based on the assumption that what’s good for business is good for all of us too. And food price rises have certainly been good for business. It may seem outrageous that some of the poorest people in the world can’t buy food, while shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank. But, in the insane logic of the world economy today, we should all be happy because company profits are growing
oil prices are set by worldwide oil speculators. oil companies are no saints but they are not setting the prices. As for world famine all i can say is the uncontrolled populations of 3rd world countries is the reason. Consider Haiti which will never be able to grow enough food.Since destroying 90% of their trees they have also lost most of their top soil due to eroision. They cannot EVER feed themselves again unless the island is completely redone ( nearly impossible) so what have the Haitians done? they reproduce. with an average of 6 kids and a population fast approaching 10 million what future do Haitians have?
All I can say is like it or not Global warming is here to stay for a while and we better begin to relocate some crops further north and Russia is going to feed the world and trade across the polar cap with America if we can be friendly . Canada will be the rich new farm land in 30 years and we better get busy building roads in cooler climates now so when things real warm up we are ready .
I don’t think they are interested in causing the results plaguing the world by their avarice. I believe they are interested in profits at a usury level, made possible by greed and incompetence of politicians who long ago sold whatever remained of any character they might have possessed.
I also believe that what our oil companies are doing, in the name of ":good business":, is traitorous behavior, in our current financial condition.
Our country teeters on the brink of depression and the oil companies get $4 a gallon and want $5. Our politicians do nothing since most are as incompetent as the oil companies are greedy!
Maybe that’s just me.
Correction my dear Watson, correction.
The LIBERAL media is the culprit. The oil companies are just trying to turn a profit. The media is putting a ":spin": on it to cause ":havoc, discord and seemingly famine": on the price of oil, food, gasoline and anything they can gather.
Without misfortune and calamity the LIBERAL media has nothing to report and they will go broke. No sell papers, no make money. No make money, out of a job!
Your question assumes oil companies are causing global famine.
What makes you think that it is they, instead of thick-headed politicians and dictators who are deliberately starving their people as a means of subjugating them?
I think the вЂњcausesвЂќ of global famine are far more complex than simply pinning the blame on an unpopular, easy target.
I think it is the media that is driving the economy. Who says you have to have a car and a gas guzzling car at that? Who says you have to need all those things like shoes that cost $129 cause some sport star wears them. Why do we need American Dolls? Why do we need all that plastic? Do not blame the oil company, if you do not buy it they will not make it and then not sell it. We can drive hybrids or use other means of energy like solar if the public would really demand it.
Absolutely! It is there fault. Farmers are being forced to grow corn and leave out wheat, soy, etc, to make money to feed there families by supplying the oil companies with ethanol. It’s a horrible chanin reaction. I say we somehow strike, car pool, ride bikes, whatever but let them know they can’t run us! Gas prices go up yet your salary stays the same NO FAIR!
In the short term high prices are called inflation filled. In the long term, its going to be called scarce supply and high demand. For current madness: Most pointed at inflation. Some of the fault should be pointed at govts that have nationalized their oil reserves which I don’t blame them for doing. Its natural that govts want to control things and their own land’s resources. Don’t blame the oil companies for everything. Everyone should reason that they themselves are greedy bastards that want to enrich themselves. Thus, everyone wants profits/needs motivation of some sort.
Personaly I think the devil knows his free reign is almost over so he is hittimg humanity with the best he has got and greed for money is his inside weapon.He has the greedy oil companies in his clutches.Most people do not have the sense to just stop all unnecessery burning of fuel. It can be done !