The Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition (CMOC), an alliance of commodity derivatives end-users and consumers, has compiled an excellent list of commonly held myths about speculation in commodity markets and facts that dispel them.
For example, here’s one of my favorites:
MYTH: Restraining financial speculation is against American principles and free market ideals.
FACT: Even America’s Founding Fathers worried about financial speculation and feared its excesses. In a letter to President George Washington on May 23, 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all the capital employed in paper speculation is barren and useless, producing, like that on a gaming table, no accession to itself” and said that it “nourishes our citizens’ habits of vice and idleness, instead of industry and morality.” He went on to warn of its “corrupting” influence on politics and feared that speculators would control the legislature and render “honest voters” essentially voiceless. His fears may have indeed come to pass (see the next “myth”). Stable, competitive and productive markets are American. Reckless gambling on the backs of American businesses, consumers and the economy is not. History has shown that completely opaque markets encourage fraud, manipulation and disruptive trading practices that endanger consumers, businesses and economic well-being. Furthermore, it is important to note that commodity markets were never meant to be financial markets. They were created as hedging tools for commodity-dependent businesses such as farmers and truckers, not as a playground for Wall Street investors. Speculators may serve a purpose by taking on risk and providing necessary liquidity. But these markets were never created to serve speculators.
Find the full list here.