The immediate causes of the protests in Mozambique\’s capital, Maputo, and Chimoio about 500 miles north, are a 30% price increase for bread,
There have been frequent public protests about the price of wheat in Egypt this year,
Yet global commodity speculators continue to treat food as if it were the same as television sets, with little end in sight to what the World Development Movement has called \”gambling on hunger in financial markets\”. The recent US Wall Street Reform Act contained some measures that might curb these speculative activities, but their full scope has yet to be clarified. Europe doesn\’t have a mechanism to regulate these kinds of speculative trades at all. Agriculture in the global south is still subject to the \”Washington consensus\” model, driven by markets and with governments taking a back seat to the private sector. And the only reason biofuels aren\’t more prominent is that the oil they\’re designed to replace is currently cheap.
Clearly, neither grain speculation, nor forcing countries to rely on international markets for food, nor encouraging the use of agricultural resources for fuel instead of nourishment are natural phenomena.
So we\’re going to use the examples of Mozambique and Egypt, both countries where governments set the price of bread, as examples of free markets run rampant, are we?
Is ignorance of both facts and logic like this something that is innate or is it something that must be learnt before becoming a left wing columnist?