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Heavy-handed policies such as B.C.’s “speculation” tax target symptoms rather than causes.

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The war on speculators is in high gear in both Europe and the United States, driven by ignorance and populist sentiment. French President Nicolas Sarkozy exemplifies the negative attitude toward speculators that is increasingly common. He has made numerous disparaging remarks, including accusing speculators in agricultural commodities of extortion and pillaging. Mr. Sarkozy has championed food security and curbing commodity price volatility as priorities of France's G20 presidency.