The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Financial Products Based on Starvation

May 19, 2008

A Belgian bank announced a new financial offering, indexed to the price of six agricultural products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, wheat, corn and soy. The bank invited its clients to seize this “opportunity,” produced by the “enormous growth of population, climate change, water scarcity and a lack of farm land,” for an estimated return on investment of 14%.

After this description appeared in the Belgian press, a spokesman for the bank apologized to “those people who were shocked by the slogan.”

But the bank didn’t reproach itself for offering such a deal, saying that its financial offering wouldn’t “cause the price of agricultural products to rise or fall.”

Not alone, no. But prices are being pushed up by the general speculation–which this investment is part of and from which it expects to profit.

In the capitalist system, banks are supposed to take advantage of any little changes in the market, even if it pushes entire populations into famine. Ordinarily, the bankers manage to hide their intentions a little better.