The Politics of Poverty

Ideas and analysis from Oxfam America's policy experts

When does a trickle become a trend? And what about Goldman Sachs?

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Over a period of months, a number of institutional investors have begun taking steps back from the speculative rush into food commodities. Most recently, the Stockholm-based financial services group, Nordea, announced it would remove food commodities from their financial products. This comes after Deutsche Bank made a similar (if temporary) ban. In 2010, the California […]

Over a period of months, a number of institutional investors have begun taking steps back from the speculative rush into food commodities. Most recently, the Stockholm-based financial services group, Nordea, announced it would remove food commodities from their financial products. This comes after Deutsche Bank made a similar (if temporary) ban. In 2010, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System pulled back from commodities, saying, “social issues are a factor in all our investments.”

 

So, a trickle. Is it a trend?

 

Some activists are showing up at corporate shareholder meetings and trying various lobby and pressure tactics.

 

There’s some evidence that the commodities investment play may not be working out so well—speculative bubbles do correct eventually. But most of the biggest players remain serenely unfazed by both erratic performance and potential collateral damage (i.e. food price volatility). Goldman Sachs, under Robert Rubin, pioneered the field of commodity index funds. Goldman has been accused of creating the food crisis. Has Goldman ever answered?

 

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