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Greens Blame Speculators For Rising Rice Prices

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Before I get accused of being obsessed with rice, let me explain that this is all anyone wants to talk about here. A week ago I could get them talking about Wall Street, Bear Stearns, the Fed and losses, losses everywhere, another bank on the brink. But now it's all rice, all the time.
Indonesia's put in export limits. Hong Kong demand is still expected to be high. Fertilizer, which is already getting pricey, is said to be setting up for another price explosion. But the real action, as always, is in the blame game. Whose fault are rising rice prices?
Some have sensibly pointed to the growth of biofuels as pushing prices higher. Others blame the high price of oil, which they say creates the demand for biofuels. But beware of the folks who blame oil. It sounds like a deeper level of analysis but it's largely a myth. Market forces are not creating the demand for biofuels. Government policies are. But its far more psychologically satisfying to blame those conniving Arabs.
The Greens--some of whom are genuine ideologues and others are biofuel profiteers--are blaming the ever present demons: speculators. It's those damned commodities traders, they say. This excuse works even better than the Arabs because commodities traders lack political clout and haven't quite figured out how to organize as part of the ethnic grievance industry. (It doesn't help that there isn't an ethnicity called "commodities traders." Yet.)
--John Carney, DealBreaker's editor, is trying to figure out how to convert biofuel into food while on vacation in Thailand.


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