Did Goldman Sachs Cause the Food Crisis?

No, says my colleague Michael Roberts at North Carolina State University.

Last week, Tom over at A View from the Cave asked me over Twitter what I thought of an article in Foreign Policy that claimed that Goldman Sachs had caused the food crisis. I did not have a chance to respond immediately because I had a coauthor in town, so I saved the article for later. Michael’s post this morning reminded me that I had forgotten to address Tom’s question.

I am fully in agreement with Michael. Moreover, I think it is unwise to make a causal claim like the one made in the Foreign Policy article — “Goldman Sachs caused the food crisis, y’all!” — without solid evidence to back that claim.

The author blames speculation? His conjecture is not much more than that.

Social scientists in many disciplines work extremely hard every day to design research projects, collect data, develop new statistical methods, etc. that will allow saying “x causes y” instead of just saying “x is positively correlated with y,” but the author of the Foreign Policy article thinks he can just claim that Goldman Sachs caused the food crisis and magically make it true? I don’t think so.