The world food casino : excessive speculation from a human rights perspective

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Niebank, Jan Christian Nicolas
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The gap between the poor and the prosperous is getting wider. Some people suffer from hunger and die of starvation, while others make unthinkable amounts of profits. What if there is a link between the prosperity of one group of people and the misery of other more vulnerable groups? This is exactly the question which trading of food commodity derivatives provokes. This thesis argues that besides ethical considerations there are obligations under international law that bind states to ensure compliance with human rights, inter alia the right to food, by regulating markets in such a way that excessive speculation is prevented. In support of the argumentation a causal link between speculation and rising prices is discussed and the applicability of the precautionary principle is demonstrated. Based on the adverse effects that high food prices cause in developing countries, extraterritorial obligations are constructed. Finally, policy options are suggested to regulate food commodity markets in accordance with international human rights standards. Keywords: excessive speculation, agricultural commodities, precautionary principle, food security, right to food, obligation to regulate, extraterritorial obligations
Second semester University: Universite de Strasbourg.
food marketing, international obligations, right to food, speculation