Between 2003 to 2008, commodity index speculation increased by 1,900 per cent from an estimated $13 billion to $260 billion. Thirty per cent of these index funds are invested in food commodities. As the Agribusiness Accountability Initiative states, “We live in a brave new world of 24-hour electronic trading, triggered by algorithms of composite price indices, fits of investor ‘lack of confidence’ and of unregulated ‘dark pools’ of more than $7 trillion in over the counter commodities derivatives trades.”
The world commodity trading has no relationship to food, to its diversity, to its growers or eaters, to the seasons, to sowing or harvesting. Food diversity is reduced to eight commodities and bundled into “composite price index”.
Seasons are replaced by 24-hour trading. Food production driven by sunshine and photosynthesis is displaced by “dark pools of investment”. The tragedy is that this unreal world is creating hunger for real people in the real world.
In The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away with it — a cover story for Harper’s — Fredirick Kaufman says, “The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention. That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment.