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Basic economics, innit?

The FT is reporting that the world is facing a rice crisis.

As they note, the price of rice is rising very fast.

That is partly because India has put a ban on the export of some types of rice most commonly bought in developing countries, and placed minimum prices and export tariffs on other types of rice, like basmati, most commonly bought by countries like the UK.

So, what should we do then?

Well, exactly what Spud says we shouldn’t which is have more speculation – yes, futures, options, commodity exchanges! – in rice.

Because some of us recall back when Spud was shrieking – along with the World Development Movement, now Global Justice – over how we really must tax speculation. For the WDM report (as I gleefully pointed out at the time) noted that rice had less speculation than wheat and corn. And also greater price movements from smaller changes in supply and or demand. Which is as standard econmoics would have it too – it’s right there in Adam Smith.

Speculation in futures etc dampens price movements.

So, to solve the problem Ritchie is complaining about we should do the opposite of what Ritchie normally suggests. And how normal is that?

11 thoughts on “Basic economics, innit?”

  1. Well, Oz should be able to grow more rice, if anyone wants it.

    Unless of course the current drought gets in the way.

  2. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Given the very noticeable increases in food prices one can only wonder what havoc this is wreaking in non western countries. Yet we hear none of it. Compared to last time around when the west was barely affected but it supposedly caused Arab springs.

    BiG in Hong Kong.

  3. I sniggered and applauded when I saw Jim’s post below, commenting on Murphy’s blog about rice.

    I thought it was a piss-take and gave Jim an uptick. But then I thought, hang on, it’s Murphy’s blog, his commentators are varying degrees of cranks, nutjobs and cvnts. Maybe Jim is real and means it?

    jim says:
    October 24 2023 at 1:13 pm
    I blame neoliberalism

  4. I presumed it was the temperature or insolation, Jim. They grow rice up Valencia. They don’t get much more rain than we do. You need flat & irrigation. East Anglia would be perfect, otherwise. I don’t think stooping peasants in black pyjamas & conical hats are actually a requirement. Although is the UK actually short of those now?

  5. So too Grandola, Alcazar do Sul, pretty much straight line wets from Valencia. Rise – river delta, we’re far enough south.

  6. ‘Although is the UK actually short of those now?’

    I thought they were all housed in five star hotels at the taxpayer’s expense, BiS??

  7. I think that’s the ones in the white night dresses with the towels round their heads, Bb. The other lot are fully occupied in nail bars, we’re told.

  8. North of Italy around Milan is also rice country (Arborio, mostly, after the village of the same name). It’s at the same latitude as Lyon, so not noted for its hot weather (by Italian standards, at least). The Po supplies the water.

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