|Waiting for the next speculative lack of food and other staple goods|
Taking as the starting point of our consideration the public debate that is often held on cheap and expensive oil and the role of speculators in the setting of its price,(1) as well as the forecasts for a new crisis of a lack of food, it would be worth noting the necessity of distinguishing two levels in the intersection of supply and demand:
The second level is completely unrelated to supply and demand and we are obliged to discuss – comprehensively this time – the subject of the operation of the market. This form of 'intersection' of supply and demand operates, of course, also in relation to the supply and demand of foods – and can thus lead whole peoples into starvation – as well as in relation to the demand for other natural resources.
In other words, we have a hypothetical financial intersection between supply and demand, which is completely unfounded and false and which ultimately devalues the rule itself of supply and demand in the economy and the real market, through the existence of an 'exotic' market. This, then, is something that we must regulate fully. The intersections of supply and demand in complex, complicated financial products, those financial derivatives and products, must be displaced from the regulations of the so-called free market. These are not true factors of a free market. They are the factors of its distortion. And all those who are 'exotically and toxically' greedy can shake their heads all they like.
Finance-imposed poverty is a crime against humanity
In other words, it does not serve the purpose of the market. The practice of speculating on the stock market with staple goods (water, energy, etc.) is a crime against humanity and, as such, must be placed completely outside the law. It is a crime against humanity as it condemns many people to die of starvation or to live on the margins of starvation. There are many who rise up or who are forced to rise up, at the risk of perhaps being killed, with the goal of liberating themselves from the imposed wretched conditions in which they live. The imposition of poverty in certain countries for reasons related to financial speculation on food, water and energy is an open crime against humanity. It is the same as the invasion and occupation of a foreign country.
When – during the last food crisis – the European Union Commissioner proposed that barriers should not be placed on the products of countries in which there is a famine so that they could keep products in their markets, through actual demand, he ought to have previously considered that the financialisation of the trade in staple goods, food products at least, should have been abolished. Energy and water as well as food are included in this category of staple goods.
The unchecked private sector distorts public policy
In amongst all this, we can see that public policy – and not the market – is distorted by the failures of the private sector. Public policy is distorted and entrapped both by the abolition of supply and demand, as we mentioned above, as well as by the abolition of free competition. The landscape does not change easily. The statements and reaction of President Obama to the organised opposition of the US banking system (the colossi with the hedge funds and the private equity funds) to the creation of an rudimentary regulatory 'network' to inspect their excessive 'risk' transactions still reverberate.(2) Public policy traps its funds in matters that do not come under its remit as a result of the negative consequences of the legitimisation of certain bad practices of the private sector. It becomes entrapped, that is, by not being able to invest in education, health, public goods and the environment, precisely because it has committed its resources, its available funds in order to cover the deficits of the private sector.
Ioannis Zisis, writer
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