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Imagine if we bought food the way we buy housing. Instead of buying the food you need right now, you would buy a contract giving you rights to a stream of food in perpetuity. Foodowners would eagerly support government policies that restrict the production of food because that would push up prices. And they might reap windfalls from rising prices without selling their contracts: They could refinance, cashing out the equity in their appreciated food contracts to spend on caviar and crême brùlée contracts, or on nonfood items. People might start buying contracts on food they don’t even want to eat in hopes of selling later at a profit. That might lead to a food bubble. And if food prices crashed, a lot of highly leveraged foodowners would end up in bankruptcy. That would all be pretty stupid.

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