WORLD MARKET: WHEAT PRICES IN TROTSKY’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY “MY LIFE”

July 3, 2011 at 10:08 am | Posted in Books, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Literary, Russia | Leave a comment

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My Life, by Leon Trotsky

Chapter 1

Yanovka

Sacks of wheat now fill the barns and the sheds, and are piled in heaps under tarpaulins in the courtyard. The master himself often stands at the sieve and shows the men how to turn the hoop, so as to blow away the chaff, and how, with one sharp push, to empty the clean grain into a pile without leaving any behind. In the sheds and barns, where there is shelter from the wind, the winnower and the tare-separators are working. The grain is cleaned there and made ready for the market.

And now merchants come with copper vessels and scales in neatly painted boxes. They test the grain and name a price, pressing earnest-money on my father. We treat them with respect and give them tea and cakes, but we do not sell them the grain. They are but small fry; the master has outgrown these channels of trade. He has his own commission merchant in Nikolayev. “Let it be awhile, grain doesn’t ask to be fed!” he says.

A week later a letter comes from Nikolayev, or sometimes a telegram, offering five kopecks a pood more. “So we have found a thousand roubles!” says the master. “And they don’t grow on every bush!”

But sometimes the reverse happens; sometimes the price falls. The secret power of the world market makes itself felt even in Yanovka. Then my father says gloomily, returning from Nikolayev: “It seems that — what is the name? — the Argentine, sent out too much wheat this year.”

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