In the 18th century, London was the financial center of the world economy, and merchants crowded the coffee houses to plan their global operations. Speculation was rampant, as it still is. Today, however, it has one positive function: to provide liquidity to the commodity futures markets such as the London Coffee Terminal Market, used by coffee merchants to hedge their financial risks and guard against adverse price fluctuations.
But futures markets do not protect producer countries, like Brazil, against long-term falls in commodity prices. FREE MARKETS FOR FREE MEN shows how 150 years of deterioration of the trade terms between commodity buyers and producers has deepened Brazil's debt, despite international accords such as the International Coffee Agreement, designed to regulate trade and protect producer nations.
FREE MARKETS FOR FREE MEN looks at both the micro-economic workings of the futures markets, explaining how they work, and the macro-economic realities of trade in a deregulated world economy which confront today's commodity producing countries, like Brazil.
"Choice Pick... [Curling's and Clayton's] curiously effective amalgam of actuality and simulation reveals some unsuspected truths about the way the wonder bean has also kept commerce and politics in a state of maximum alertness ever since the first revivifying cupful of the brew was swallowed."—The Times (London)
"College courses in international economics and business would find these materials of interest, especially those dealing with problems of emerging economies."—Library Journal
"COMMODITIES delves deep into the quagmire of the World Debt Crisis, providing a powerful argument against the depoliticisation of events like 'Feed the World,' which insists on treating famine relief as an issue unrelated to the politics of inequality."—New Music Express
"Recommended for all libraries."—Choice