COMMODITIES: The Heirs of Joseph

Modern grain dealers can trace their roots to the Old Testament's Joseph, who advised the Pharaoh to store grain in bountiful times and release it during famines. Despite its ancient lineage, the risky business of buying, storing, shipping and selling grain has remained as obscure as it is enormous. Recently, half a dozen major grain-trading companies have been bobbing up in the news with unusual frequency because of their role as middlemen in the Soviet Union's billion-dollar purchase of U.S. wheat and other crops. The sale has also raised charges from Democrats that some Nixon Administration officials unfairly tipped...

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