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The Bread and Mammon crowd, which is to say those who like to expalin American behavior with biblical precedents, should love this. We are once more defying the Bible. As the AP reports, “The two biggest U.S. warehouse retail chains are limiting how much rice customers can buy because of what Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., called on Wednesday “recent supply and demand trends.” The broader chain of Wal-Mart stores has no plans to limit food purchases, however.
The move comes as U.S. rice futures hit a record high amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains may be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores [emphasis mine]. Sam’s Club followed Costco, which put limits in at least some stores on bulk rice purchases.”
The chief culprit, as it is in the Great Matzah Crisis of 2008, is hording.
Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas.
Their pleas did not find a sympathetic audience at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where regulators said high prices are mostly the result of soaring world demand for grains combined with high fuel prices and drought-induced shortages in many countries.
Hording is exactly what God warns the Israelites not to do in Exodus 16:13 when he rains down manna from the sky.