Pigou wept (updated)

Exhibit A

No community intent on protecting the fount of solidarity between its members can allow latent hostility to develop around a matter as vital to animal existence and, therefore, capable of arousing as tense anxieties as food. Hence the universal banning of transactions of a gainful nature in regard to food and foodstuffs in primitive and archaic society. The very widely spread ban on higgling-haggling over victuals automatically removes price-making markets from the realm of early institutions.
Karl Polanyi, The Economy as Instituted Process, 1957

Exhibit B

Another factor that we believe can support longer-term commodity prices, even at current valuations, is financial flows. Over the last several years, the interest by non-traditional commodity players to invest in this asset class has mushroomed…

Just as not all companies or currencies are created alike, so it is with commodities. In a perfect world, an investor would only own commodities with severe supply constraints…Agriculture is unique in terms of supply. Over the next few years, it does appear as if agriculture is broadly supply constrained. Structural changes in emerging market demands tied to more “western” diets is rising, while arable land to plant new crops is limited.
Strategist Report, Large Institutional Asset Manager*

Exhibit C

Population growth, resource scarcity and climate change are the three defining economic trends of our modern times. Individually, each constitutes a major issue. Together, they are all the more potent. Over time, in line with rising population and economic activity, these trends will converge further and their effects on global commerce will become ever more pronounced. Any sector positioned at the nexus of these trends will offer investors the best opportunity for returns in the mid-term and the potential for exponential returns over the long-term.
Farmland Investment Firm website*

And a late addition:

The agriculture markets are connected to the financial markets just like everything else,” said Kelly Wiesbrock, who helps manage $1.3 billion for San Francisco-based hedge fund Harvest Capital Management. “The current inventory situation is still tight pretty much across the board, which continues to lend itself to a lot of volatility, but probably higher than historical prices going forward.”

Emphasis added in all cases.

* I suppressed the names of the firms because they are only specific instances of a near-universal trend in investment management, one that includes a concurrent rush into infrastructure. My point is the larger pattern rather than the behavior of any individual company.

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