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Forum Post: A coorelated cause of RIOTS and price of food (MIT complex systems institute)

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 24, 2012, 12:29 a.m. EST by kaiserw (211)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

<p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.technologyreview.com/view/425019/the-cause-of-riots-and-the-price-of-food/"><img alt="Incoming" src="http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/files/68282/Riots.png" /></p>

What causes riots? That's not a question you would expect to have a simple answer.

But today, Marco Lagi and buddies at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, say they've found a single factor that seems to trigger riots around the world.

This single factor is the price of food. Lagi and co say that when it rises above a certain threshold, social unrest sweeps the planet.

The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause. Both these sources are plotted on the same graph above.

This clearly seems to show that when the food price index rises above a certain threshold, the result is trouble around the world.

This isn't rocket science. It stands to reason that people become desperate when food is unobtainable. It's often said that any society is three square meals from anarchy.

But what's interesting about this analysis is that Lagi and co say that high food prices don't necessarily trigger riots themselves, they simply create the conditions in which social unrest can flourish. "These observations are consistent with a hypothesis that high global food prices are a precipitating condition for social unrest," say Lagi and co.

In other words, high food prices lead to a kind of tipping point when almost anything can trigger a riot, like a lighted match in a dry forest.

On 13 December last year, the group wrote to the US government pointing out that global food prices were about to cross the threshold they had identified. Four days later, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia in protest at government policies, an event that triggered a wave of social unrest that continues to spread throughout the middle east today.

That leads to an obvious thought. If high food prices condition the world for social unrest, then reducing the prices should stabilise the planet.

But what can be done to reverse the increases. Lagi and co say that two main factors have driven the increase in the food price index. The first is traders speculating on the price of food, a problem that has been exacerbated in recent years by the deregulation of the commodities markets and the removal of trading limits for buyers and sellers.

The second is the conversion of corn into ethanol, a practice directly encouraged by subsidies.

Those are both factors that the western world and the US in particular could change.

Today, the food price index remains above the threshold but the long term trend is still below. But it is rising. Lagi and co say that if the trend continues, the index is likely to cross the threshold in August 2013.

If their model has the predictive power they suggest, when that happens, the world will become a tinderbox waiting for a match.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1108.2455: The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East

TRSF: Read the Best New Science Fiction inspired by today’s emerging technologies.

From: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/425019/the-cause-of-riots-and-the-price-of-food/

21 Comments

21 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Ever think about the fact that these assholes want people to die off? Everything in their actions points to that. Their support of the MIC and stupid wars around the planet on a more or less continuous basis for decades is but one example.

I have a theory that they want to bring about global planetary destruction, famines, pestilence, etc. because it aligns with their biblical beliefs about end-time Revelation horrors. They want to hasten it because they think they will be raptured out of here ASAP. They are so wrapped up in this mental illness that they will oppose any sane opposition to reverse the current horror trends because they fervently believe their Lord is coming soon to take them away...and they therefore don't care about us "lost" souls. Too bad for you sinners...you should have repented.

Ya get it? They are INSANE!!!

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (24945) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

And someone really should take them away.

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[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

I live in the South, and I can tell you without any question or doubt whatsoever that my personal experience from occasional interactions with them supports 100% what I have previously indicated. They are looking up at the sky and praying ceaselessly for the 2nd coming. Might be different where you live, idk.

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[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Yes I agree with you on that point about RNC leadership...probably not religious at all, or negligible, and thus just parasitic users of the believers for their own political agenda. A guaranteed voting block they can always count on that they probably couldn't care less about except during election time.

Is there anything more (R)epugnant than the (R)epugnacons???

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[-] 1 points by sandysterling (10) 2 years ago

Are you a full time poster here? My name's Sandy and I'm working on an article for a small magazine called the Boston Politician.

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[-] 1 points by ediblescape (235) 2 years ago

Agree.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Good Post

The 'Reign Of Terror' started because people could not afford flour.

Saw article today about sales in oranges (food futures) up today because of threat by Hurricane Issac. Sales of food futures should not be allowed.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (24945) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Shows how absolutely sick unrestrained capitalism can be. Driving up the price of food. Pathetic.

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

That's not capitalism that is driving this trend, really at all. Inflation is driven by monetary policy (FED) who is printing to try to keep the US from crashing like greece (impossible in the end) and to keep the TBTF banks alive. In a word, it's soft fascism.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Agree. Totally sick, totally cruel, most extreme selfishness.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (24945) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Actual profits over people - it can't be any clearer then that.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Are the elite trying to start conflict? Excuse to kill?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (24945) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Conflict has always been viewed as somewhat of a population control. But not very effective if you look at results. After conflict people breed like rabbits - it is life affirming.

Now as far as the Elite are concerned - it is good business. Arms manufacturing and sales as well as all the sundry equipment necessary to wage war/conflicts.

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists. – Ernest Hemingway

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Good Points

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (24945) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

thx - ghastly horrific monstrous business all the way around.

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