Speculation on the food markets. It's not cool. Honestly.
Speculation on the food markets works on the basis that you buy all the food, then sell it on for more money before you actually have to take delivery of it (Hence why you never see top investment banks wading through tonnes of corn dumped at their door to get to work). You do absolutely nothing to increase the value of this food, other than buy it at a slightly lower than market rate (the farmer/group should accept on the basis that, although they MAY get more, can they risk it? This is corn, not gold, it'll go off.) and then sell it on for as much as you can. The money in between these two prices is almost all profit. The good thing about food as an investment is that food will very rarely go out of fashion, since we need it to survive (You rarely see someone at a street corner begging for money to buy a few ounces of gold, do you?). Basically, food prices go up because people aren't really fond of starving to death, and the banks, acting as middlemen, rake in money.
It sounds like a good plan, crush the world's poorest and most vulnerable beneath the mighty boot of capitalism. It's ironic that the greatest and good of the policy of "Let the poor starve" are by and large, Christian nations. It's deeply hard to try and marry the morals preached by Christ with the avarice (7 deadly sins, fact fans) displayed by this policy of short-termism. There was the lesser known parable of Jesus, whereupon he has 5 loaves and two fish, demands an asking price from audience members and starts a bidding war for the bonds guaranteeing the promise of 2.5 loaves and a fish, driving the crowd into a frenzy where 4998 starved to death, but the two richest had a delightful lunch on the hill.
Why do we do stupid, morally bankrupt things, and call them "Good", whilst perfectly normal habits are labelled as bad? "MARIJUANA?! 10 years in prison!" says the Judge. "No, no, you misheard, I'm an investment banker." said our suited friend. "Oh. You collapsed the world economy with fiscal irresponsibility and reckless financial short-termism, along with artificially raising the world's food prices to squeeze the world's poor and watch as they starve. Here's your £2 million bonus. Thank god you didn't dare smoke something in the comfort of your own home.".
The whole thing is odd. I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed. I feel like the World's mum after he comes in late one night without telling us where he's been.
Of course, perhaps I shouldn't rage against the entire world. Perhaps I should just make a microcosm within that world my own and try and live within it, as someone advised. Hypothetically, in the future, coming home from work, I find my loving family at home. "On the upside, none of us have killed the world's most vulnerable today...Wait, Timmy, is that a starving Chinese woman under your desk?!"
"LET ME SEE, TIMMY!"
"NO! No! You can't see her! I mean, there's nothing to see!"
"Were you going to oppress her under the auspices of financial gain for the already-wealthy?"
"You're not my real dad!"
Capitalism is over-rated, at best. It's might as well be called "Screw the poor, I'm not rich enough yet"ism. This constant societal desire to display wealth unsettles me. "I'm not poor, I'm well off! Well, no, the bank owns my house, and the loan company technically own my car and sofa and TV, and I'm in crippling long-term debt that stops me living the life I truly want to lead. But I'm only 16 to 20 years (depending on windfalls from dead relatives) from being the proud owner of all the stuff I've long since thrown away!"
The marketplace is crying out for more regulation. Money-making, within reason, is an acceptable pursuit to partake in, like squash, or knitting. But when it spirals out of control, and the only way to win at squash is to start sacrificing human lives before every game, you need to put a lid on it. In a very real sense, this is the old ethical dilemma of "Would you kill a total stranger for £1 million?" and, in the case of the banks, the answer seems to be overwhelmingly "Yes.".