What happens to your shopping basket, heavier or lighter?

Cheming Yang

In this issue, we reported the recent Notice on the Implementation of Marketing Standards for Farm Produce issued by the MOFCOM. This notice aims at establishing a mechanism which holds the mayors responsible for the “shopping baskets”. What are included in the shopping basket? Cucumbers, table potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cowpeas and winter melon. In his recent interaction with netizens, Premier Wen Jiabao stressed that he paid special attention to the market prices of pork and eggs. Although we have to praise the government’s efforts in taking care of feeding the people, these are all evidences that rising commodity prices are really hurting ordinary people’s life.

Our shopping basket is getting lighter and lighter with the same amount of money we spend in the markets and grocery stores. Why is this happening? Is it because there are more people to feed in the world? Is it caused by the poor yields of our crops? Are climate changes to be blamed? Well, they are all relevant and all irrelevant.

The real killer is still we have printed too much money. All the hot money flows around to find easy targets. And those targets exist mostly in the future markets for all sorts of materials and grains. If it is in the future, it is a fallacy not reality. Not all dreams will come true in the end and we keep allowing investing in fallacies. Then when the dreams become nightmares, we lose every penny to these capital games and the value of money depreciates because these transactions produce nothing tangible other than records and monetary notes. When the labor of most people worth miniscule and the dreams of few people become priceless, ordinary people cannot even feed themselves will inevitably become common place. Too much speculation is bad for the market and humans as a whole. We need to come back to focus on what we can produce in substance, not keep expanding capital games. Otherwise in the end, could we blame the climate? Or we only have ourselves to blame.

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