Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Scariest Chart You'll See This Year

Complex systems theorists predict that August 2013 will be a tipping point in civil unrest as the world is swept up in global food riots.
Black dots are the food prices, red lines are the riots. In other words, whenever the UN’s food price index, which measures the monthly change in the price of a basket of food commodities, climbs above 210, the conditions ripen for social unrest around the world.
All of this is, of course, exacerbated by global climate change.  The drought in the US, the ongoing famines in east Africa, also caused by drought, rising sea levels, etc. will all contribute to the rising price of food.
This all goes to say that as long as climate change continues to advance—it seems that nothing can stop that now—and we maintain a global food system perennially subject to volatile price spikes and exploitation from speculators, without reform, our world will be an increasingly restive one. Hunger is coming, and so are the riots.
The original 2011 paper, The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East can be found here.  In it, the authors argue that high food prices do not necessarily cause riots, but that the create a climate whereby riots are much more likely.  A tinderbox, if you will.

This is yet another small piece of evidence that we are very nearly arrived at the world of Soylent Green.

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