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Against speculating with food

29.01.2016 – Jürg Müller

Speculating with food is the “most abhorrent form of profit-making”, according to the Young Socialists (Juso) who have submitted an initiative aimed at bringing an end to this practice. The popular initiative will be put to the vote on 28 February.

Banks drive up food prices by speculating and are “partly responsible for starvation in the world”, according to the group behind the initiative. Because Switzerland as a “hub of commodities traders and financial players” is actively involved, the initiative calls for provisions to combat speculating with agricultural commodities and foods.

The conservative opponents of the initiative argue that factors other than speculation are responsible for price increases, namely growing market concentration, poor infrastructure in some places and protectionist measures. Banning speculation would not be expedient and would damage Switzerland as a location for business. In times of climate change and poor harvests, the speculation of hedge funds does actually have an adverse effect but these are global issues which Switzerland cannot resolve through this initiative, they say.

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