CORNERING FOOD SUPPLIES.
The Wheat Pit in Chicago is the scene I of the greatest gambling operations that the world ever witnesses, and it has been keeping up its reputation'if or making and destroying fortunes during the past week. One James A. Patten has practically cornered the existing wheat supply, and has incidentally made an enormous sum of money out of it, his profits amounting to J£loo,ooo in a single day, and half a million sterling in •less than a week. This gentleman always conducts his affairs on a colossal scale, An admiring, Chicago paper -recently stated that it was quite a common event for him to "carry" 15,000,000 bushels of wheat at a time, and that the "bull" movement that he has just brought,off so triumphantly involved at least 25,000,000 bushels. This is all very interesting, but what concerns, us chiefly is that' the great rise in the price of wheat, which Mr. Patten has so successfully engineered, has meant that the cost of food has been raised for millions of people who have no chance of sharing Mr. Patten's profits. A listening world has no doubt with proper respect and gratitude Mr. Patten's assurance, conveyed in our cable messages to-day, that' he "does not intend advancing prices further." - But the movements' in the wheat market during the past \veek compel- us to reflect seriously whether it is right that the price of food should be allowed to depend upon the irresponsible eapriqe of a handful of over-rich and unscrupulous speculators. We do not need to go into details to prove that the operations in the Chicago vvheat pit are simply gambling on a gigantic scale. And though we do not suppose that the Otago 'Trades' arid Labour Council will be able to affect American or cosmopolitan public /Opinion on this subject, we entirely sympathise with the resolution adopted by that bodylast night protesting against any, form of commerce or finance that involves "gam r Mmg 1 for the food of the people." Even iii the United States, where "high finance" is practically, omnipotent, public 'sentiment has revolted against this iniquitous system. Leiter's wheat corner, Armour's beef corner, Baehr's coal corner, Sully's cotton corner, within the past ten'yearij brought misery and destitution to- mil T lions of helpless men arid women, to whom the lawless greed of these plutocratic magnates was absolutely a matter of life or ; death. Maiiy tjmes the leaders of public opinionin America have demanded that stock exchange speculation in the necessaries o| life arid the faw materials of; manufacture shall be. made illegal; but so far without result. Yet though \ve can hardly hope to modify the course of events 'outside our own country, we can do what may be done to discourage arid check the" introduction of such systems here; and-we:trust that the,:ingenuity of our legislators arid the organised strength of our workers combined will enable U3 to keep New Zealand free from/so pernicious'and insidious an evil.' .'
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