Business: Corn Squeeze

He who sells what isn't his'n

Must buy it back or go to prison

This little ditty, no less than 60 years old, is one of the meatiest definitions of short-selling ever penned. Last week as trading in May grain contracts drew to a close on the Chicago Board of Trade, the economic profundity of the Gould definition was clearly demonstrated once again. Speculators had sold corn they did not own for delivery on the last trading day in May. Of course, the speculators hoped that in the meantime they could buy back the corn they had sold at lower prices. But...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!