The Food Bubble

commodity speculator



A 2010 investigative article by Frederick Kaufman, published in Harper’s, attempts to explore the roles played by financiers, hoarders, and Wall Street giants alike – most notoriously, Goldman Sachs – in exploiting commodity prices, riding roughshod over them, until the bubble exploded. The consequences were monstrous: at the height of global financial crisis, nearly 1 billion people worldwide had not enough food to eat as prices inflated in manifold. Worse, even in the United States itself, nearly 50 million Americans relied on food stamps to obtain subsidized provisions by government.

Read the full article by downloading the PDF file here: Harper’s – The Food Bubble.




“It’s absolutely mind-boggling,” one grain trader told the Wall Street Journal. “You don’t ever want to trade wheat again,” another told the Chicago Tribune. “We have never seen anything like this before,” Jeff Voge, chairman of the Kansas City Board of Trade, told the Washington Post. “This isn’t just any commodity,” continued Voge. “It is food, and people need to eat.”

The global speculative frenzy sparked riots in more than thirty countries and drove the number of the world’s “food insecure” to more than a billion. In 2008, for the first time since such statistics have been kept, the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward. The ranks of the hungry had increased by 250 million in a single year, the most abysmal increase in all of human history.