May

7

 One notes the almost 5 year decline in the prices of Maize, Wheat, Soybeans and notably/most importantly, in the price of Rice.

I am often told to pull my head out of my ^%$#% and look at the real world. Well, I look directly at it now and say this: Why are the international food agencies not involved in these markets now (maybe they are?) buying whatever amounts necessary to begin alleviation programs.

They seem more interested in blaming evil speculators when prices are high.

Perhaps Stefan and Jeff could both rightly put me back in my myopic little box and correct my interpretation of the current situation?

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

I can't, Shane. Your comments are literally a meal for the billion and more who still live have not to mouth. The central banks and national treasuries and the electorates have avoided the follies of the 1930s; they have not assumed that only preparations for war can justify income subsidies. But those people who have "learned the lesson" of the Great Depression have also done their best to ignore what the people who survived WW 2 did to get back on their feet again. They hoarded.

The rise of grain prices that had Britain remain on food rationing longer than West Germany came not from crop failures but from the producers' decision to build up inventories rather than release them.

The Marshall Plan was about bribing the American farmers to trust the government for once to pay them a log-dated premium over the market large enough to justify current sales from the inventory and a commitment to "overproduction". Without such a Marshall Plan output could remain flat while prices rose because farmers were still reminding themselves of the lesson of the past half-decade.

After restrictions of the the risks that come with a world in which commentators on current events no one can remember.

Scott Brooks adds:

Because there's no power to be gained by actually helping people get ahead. A downtrodden, hungry, oppressed man will reach out to grant power over his life to anyone who tells him the lies he wants to hear.

Stefan Jovanovich adds:

I thought Shane was pointing out that the non-profitistas were not buying low after complaining about the speculators selling high in the past. That seemed to me a shrewd observation not only for its comment on the nature of the helping professions but also for its implicit reference to how international food relief got started in the first place. In any case, I appreciated taking what he wrote as an invitation to discuss the political origins of the Marshall Plan and an amateur exploration of how grain producers might be shifting to hoarding. (Jeff has been silent because he is busy actually trading; I suspect he is also being kind enough to refrain from publicly reminding me that current production is controlled by entirely different government rules than those around in 1948.)

Where, in this meander, does Scott's comment fit? Are we supposed to say "Oh, dear, the poor are being stupid - again?" In my own direct experience of being poor (not just broke but also cut off from the safety nets of family and professional connections), I don't remember having any "power". If I had, I would have been happy to trade it for lies, if there had also been some cash to go with it. The poor don't mind being used as the excuse for the ministering to their needs; why should they? They may get only one piece out of eight from the money being spent but it is still better than nothing.

Neo-socialism does not exist in America because "the poor" demanded it but because the markets are as cruel to the well-educated as they are to the rest of us. The Congregationalist claque in Massachusetts and the Quaker gang in Pennsylvania learned that straight off; and they did not like it. Their solution was no different from the 19th century Progressives, Kennedy's Peace Corps or the current LDS - tithes and non-profit jobs for respectable children and their elders and, of course, price supports paid for by government paper money.

The lie that will always sell is the notion that people can be helped "to get ahead" through anything but commerce.
 


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1 Comment so far

  1. Ed Wirkala on May 13, 2015 1:06 am

    So Stefan (having followed your input here for years), I wonder if you could amplify on your sentence, ‘The lie that will always sell is the notion that people can be helped “to get ahead” through anything but commerce.’

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