The Cause of Riots and the Price of Food
Last night I was listening to a podcast with Marjory Wildcraft of Backyard Food Production and Grow Your Own Groceries fame on the Preparedness Radio Network (you can find this podcast here) where she and the host were discussing the potential impact of this year’s drought on the food supply. If you want the Cliffs Notes version of the discussion, they both thought it was going to lead to notable higher prices in food and ethanol fuel, but I’d encourage you to listen to the podcast to hear their perspective (and you can read my perspective from a few weeks ago here).
Wildcraft brought up a study done by MIT where they decided that food prices were the primary factor in determining the likelihood of riots. I suppose this is a common-sense kind of thing, but it’s interesting to see it put to charts and graphs. I think the study also recognizes that some of the factors that are catalysts to riots aren’t independent of each other, it’s just that when people can’t afford to eat things get urgent real quick. The article has a quote something along the lines of “societies are just three squares away from unrest”. The Romans knew this with their “bread and circuses” policy, where they kept the populace fed and entertained, thus keeping them complacent. Sound familiar?
According to the article, they notified the US government that food prices were about to cross the threshold into dangerous territory only a few days before the Arab Spring kicked off in Tunisia. They also predict that global food prices will get up there again in August of 2013. We’ll see. In the mean time, get prepared so you don’t get caught off guard with this sort of thing.
A good way to get prepared and have some degree of food sovereignty would be to watch Marjory Wildcraft’s DVD and put the things in it into practice. It’s worth the cost if you’re into urban homesteading and looking for ways to turn your land into something more productive.