Saturday, January 27, 2007

(Unpublished) Letter to the Editor, NYT

To the Editors:

We were surprised by a missed opportunity in two articles related to corn prices, published on the same day ("Cost of Corn Soars" and "Wall Street Is Betting on the Farm," 1/19/2007). Our own research focuses on the economics and cultures of corn in Mexico, so naturally we have followed the news of rising tortilla prices with interest. While the first article mentions that perhaps Mexican companies are hoarding corn supplies and that ethanol has driven up the price in the U.S., the second article, which does not mention Mexico, reveals another major factor: Wall St. traders are speculating heavily on agricultural commodities, particularly corn. Wall St. has long influenced economies around the world, and given the evidence of increasing speculation in farm commodities, its role in the Mexican tortilla crisis should not have been overlooked.

Daniel Nemser
Daniel Buch
San Francisco, CA

The authors are graduate students in Spanish and Sociology (respectively) at the University of California, Berkeley.