The Food Ethics Council’s new discussion paper – ‘Food prices: the Ethics of Financial Speculation’ – suggests a way of getting past what can seem like an intractable problem. Accepting that it will probably never be possible to prove conclusively that speculation drives food price volatility and inflation – or to prove it doesn’t – the paper instead urges that we adopt the ‘precautionary principle’: given the strength of the case that speculation might be a causal factor in exacerbating food poverty, we should regulate unless opponents of regulation can prove their case. The paper also addresses wider questions about how to maximise the social value of food commodity markets.

The paper was written by Chris Sutton, FEC research associate.

Download the paper.