Re: 69p to £1.29 flour price hike

Malcolm Ramsay malcolm.ramsay at
Fri Dec 17 23:47:58 GMT 2010

"Markets are made dysfunctional by monopolists and speculators."

I think you're aiming at the wrong target here, James; markets are dysfunctional 
because the rules by which they operate are fundamentally flawed - mostly the 
monopolists and speculators are just taking advantage of the world as they find 

The biggest single flaw, as far as I can see, is the fact that ownership rights 
of all kinds are defined without any time limit on them (as you pointed out, in 
regard to corporations, in your post on Assange and B.P.), and that's what we 
need to focus on. To my mind, raging at the people who are benefiting from the 
current system distracts attention from the real problem, which is the laws 
governing the circulation of wealth. (People generally focus on the distribution 
of wealth, but it's the circulation which really matters; get that right and the 
distribution comes right automatically, but redistribution on its own doesn't 
produce a lasting solution.)

You mention 'the very first concern of a responsible government'. But part of 
what makes progress so difficult is the fact that we don't have responsible 
government, nor do we have the mechanisms of accountability which would produce 
it - and the political mechanisms we do have actually make it possible for 
government to deny responsibility by pretending that the electorate is in 

People talk about democracy as though its primary benefit is letting the people 
pick their leaders. I came to the conclusion years ago that the opposite is 
true; its primary benefit is giving the people an opportunity to kick their 
leaders out. But the way it works at the moment isn't satisfactory because, 
whatever the interval is between elections it will be too short for the 
government to give its full attention to the job, and too long for the people to 
be properly sovereign. The single most important feature of a political system, 
to my mind, is a mechanism whereby the public can spontaneously initiate a 
change in government; people in power would know that they could lose it at any 
time, but it would not be necessary to have fixed terms, so they should find it 
easier to take a long view. It wouldn't be too difficult to have a mechanism 
like that .... but it would require a much greater sense of responsibility from 
the public.

And of course, persuading enough people that a major change like that is 
necessary will be virtually impossible as things are at the moment. In the last 
couple of years I've come to the view that reforming the current system 
incrementally isn't going to be worthwhile any more; I think we've reached a 
stage where truly effective reform will only come about through metamorphosis, 
through a new society being established in a form which can grow (without 
directly challenging the existing system) until it makes the existing political 
structures redundant.

But that will need people to commit to something which, in its early stages at 
least, will offer nothing except sacrifice. When it comes down to it, one of the 
greatest strengths of the existing system is that it appeals to people's 
self-interest, because it allows us all rights to pursue our own interests 
regardless of the common good. I think we will only see truly fundamental reform 
when people are prepared to give up those rights, by joining a society which 
requires them to act responsibly as individuals and which imposes legally 
enforceable sanctions if they don't.

The most obvious right that needs to be given up, to my mind, is the right to 
bequeath to any person more wealth than can be regarded as their fair share. I'm 
looking to set up a society with that in mind - which I'm tentatively calling 
the Socially and Economically Responsible Freeholders Society (SERFS) - because 
even if we can't put things right for the present, it will at least give future 
generations a better chance. If we don't do that, we'll be passing on to them 
the same problems that we've inherited, and then the current inequality could 
persist for centuries to come.

I seem to have wandered quite a long way from the topic of flour!


From: james armstrong <james36armstrong at>
To: democracyvillage at; diggers <diggers350 at>
Sent: Friday, 17 December, 2010 20:54:25
Subject: [Diggers350] 69p to £1.29 flour price hike

 starvation has just been made more real . 

The most basic of our foods, and the most universally consumed, both here and 
world-wide,  has overnight (literally) increased in price by some 87 per cent. 

Strong bread flour has increased in price per one and a half  kilo bag  from 69p 
to £1.29 in Tesco  and Waitrose in Dorchester and Exmouth .  Check in your local 

This increase , if reproduced world-wide, will condemn millions to  starvation. 
Russia has banned wheast exports. The wheat crop n Australia has been batterd by 

Yet there is absolutely no need for this hike.
Flour if  stored in the correct conditions keeps almost indefinitely.  
If the UK government was either competent or public spirited it would store 
flour, and  release it on the market in such instances.   (India does so) 

There is a powerful UK  lobby benefiting from these conditions. The NFU ad 
nausea  raise the spectre of  ‘food (in) security’.  If  wheat supplies were 
insecure  the very first concern of a responsible government would be -.  

A)    to store flour and  assure continuity of supply and stability of price.
B)     to  encourage land utilization  for food ensure the vital crops were 
planted in sufficient quantities.
In fact , I have just learned the bizarre fact that the City of London (where 
almost no-one is resident) has its own (Con) MP . - That is the City , where the 
commodity speculators operate.
The markets for crude oil, petrol, natural gas, the supply of new houses , wheat 
and now flour  are being manipulated  by individuals and corporations in the 
City  and the government is in their pockets.
Another bizarre happening, in Ireland the   supply of new houses is 90,000 (est) 
and the need 45,000 (est).   In UK the supply 2009 was 160,000 and the estimated 
need (conservatively), 250,000.   Markets are made dysfunctional by monopolists 
and speculators.  

We are currently reeling from the banks and shadow bankers speculating in 
Sovereign states are at risk when  spivs speculate against their  currency 

Multi national speculators a re  currently out of control. 
Uncut is turning into un-fed before our eyes. 
 Listen out for the  next commodity to be hi-jacked .

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