Rising Food Prices Might Be Causing Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa
Turns out, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute had the same idea, but they applied it to food riots in the Middle East and North Africa. The results of their research are presented to the left.
The pattern is the same. Riots tend to be clustered during rapid price increases, and sparse (non-existent) when prices drop.
I have already written on the influence of Wall Street on price rise and volatility. This frightening pattern is no accident. If this result and mine are any indication, unrest will continue. Food prices will likely continue rising, with some intermittent drops.
My feeling is that the recent explosion of protest in Islamic countries is less related to a childish video, and more about individuals unable to properly feed their families. Given the United States financial sectors complicity in creating these conditions, they are right to be angry. Until the Americans become proactive toward regulating food commodity speculation, this situation will only worsen.
It is my opinion that this will be the most important issue of our time, and could very lead to massive instability and violence.
About Peter LarsonPost-doctoral researcher at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology
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