This is the important part -- ag futures are insurance for farmers. You don't have to get it, but it limits your downside when you do, which is extremely important in low-margin, capital-intensive industries like agriculture. Banning the insurance may prevent one-off manipulations and limit the upside captured by speculators, but it also makes the industry much more dangerous, particularly for smaller players.
Note the futures market requirement for hedging.
I know nothing about futures, but how does it work?
Insurance works because a loss happens to some individual, not to all members of the class of people at all once. So insurers can cover the specific loss with pooled money.
But if ag price falls, every farmer (that is, all members of the insurance buyers) suffers loss, right? Won't it just bankrupt the insurance providers?
If you want. Better and faster than the popular vote for different representatives, you dont even have to be registered anywhere.
The US Federal Government doesnt have single item veto, and Congress wont care to revisit this even if they noticed later.
the onion futures act prevents farmers from having agricultural insurance on onion the same way they do on their other crops
the onion futures act can be repealed with very low effort by inserting it into a bill that congress has to pass, such as budget appropriation bills
didn't realize nobody caught that
I was wondering how they made so much money and why it doesn't happen anymore. Turns out the initial cornering of the market was done in secret at a standard price. Nowadays buying at such scale secretly is impossible, so the price goes up and makes cornering the market prohibitively expensive.
Planet Money is so good that I've worked my way through 10 years of back-episodes over the last year or so, it's one of few podcasts which is worth doing that.
To conclude, the reasons why Levitt and Dubner like geo-engineering so much are based on a misreading of the science, a misrepresentation of proposed solutions, and truly bizarre interpretations of how environmental problems have been dealt with in the past. These are, in the end, much worse errors than their careless misquotes and over-eagerness to shock highlighted by the other critiques. 
I find most podcasts that I have tried that originate in the US unlistenable because of the background music.
Movie tastes are very niche and this is why Netflix makes so many weird/off stuff. But movies right now are like an "all or nothing" proposition so they have to cater to the lowest common denominator.
But if you could do variable pricing, movies could stay in the theaters longer.
Also as recently as 15 years ago there were still "Dollar Theaters" that played past hits and it was totally a fun college-type thing to do to go with your buddies so that that one friend or friends would see it.
I think it would open up a whole new market of bargain-seeking/quirky behavior where the cheaper movies would be like a cult following type of deal.
Why would you buy a Tesla if there are so many people shorting them?
I could think of a couple ways that you could get people to see a dollar movie. What if you treat it like the dollar menu at McDonalds. The movies are shorter, say like 5-20 minutes but you get a combo of them so you fill up the same amount of time a normal movie would. So you see like 5 short movies for the same price as a normal feature.
I actually think that this might be viable with the rise of the semi-pro youtubers. The movie business already tracks dollars per minute as their metric for pricing content. Reducing length greatly reduces costs so more people could use that as a stepping stone for feature length films.
If you were long, among other reasons.
> The bill was unpopular among traders, some of whom argued that onion shortages were not a crucial issue since they were used as a condiment rather than a staple food.
in india, onions are so vital a staple that the onion price is a major economic index. see https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/new... for instance.
Basically you buy futures or options on the temperature, rainfall, and cloud cover. Super interesting!
So similar market forces are back, but fueled by advertising. The same thing happens with geographical data and million other data points.
...and we all know what happened to the FCOJ market in 1983.
The Eddie Murphy rule/what happens at the end of Trading Places
as well as on the onion King (https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?stor...) which I assume is where op found out about this story.
Onions are important.
I'm actually kind of surprised there isn't some law somewhere banning primary producers buying their own product.
Think about a mine buying in raw ore and then selling it, could make the mine look more successful than I actually was. Considering investment by the elite before the 19th century would have been direct into these kinds of operations, I'm surprised enough weren't burned to push for a law change.
I'm not suggesting the legislation would be a good idea, certainly not in the modern day. It just occurred to me that this would be an indicator of fraud, and from what I know about the history of publicly traded companies and the class of people who were investing in companies etc, I'm surprised this wasn't a law.
The article states that traders thought there was a glut because the onions were shipped out and back in again, in the 1950s. It would have been even easier 50-100 years earlier.
What most people understand by the word fruit is definition 2.
Apparently a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant, enclosing the seed or seeds--not a bulb like an onion.
In many ways, it's easier enforcement-wise to just ban the thing, especially if you don't think it's actually important to have in the first place.
Another possibility might be something like a tax on hoarding large amounts of food e.g., each day it sits around without being sold or consumed past some grace period like one year. Maybe only tax profits achieved by hoarding food, similar to long term versus short term capital gains, unless you sell after a crop failure.
Corners happened again later, famously on silver with the Hunt brothers.
Perhaps a 'review' date would be more practical!
For example a case is decided based on an old law, that law has now gone, is that case no longer a precedent?
/s but sort of no /s
Laws aren't clean enough for diffs.
refactoring isn't a bad idea but is quite difficult.
Laws aren't written and can't be written as exactly specified specs.
Laws are written to be interpreted loosely by human judges and applied to a bunch of difficult real world messiness. Not clearly defined interfaces and types.
Progressive at the time but kind of disgusting that no one has thought to strike it from the books in the past 50 years.