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 Pete LarsonResearcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.
- New publication! Snakebite victim profiles and treatment-seeking behaviors in two regions of Kenya: results from a health demographic surveillance system in Tropical Medicine and Health (BMC)
- New publication: Ambient air pollution and non-communicable respiratory illness in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review of the literature
- New publication: “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on temporal patterns of mental health and substance abuse related mortality in Michigan: An interrupted time series analysis” (Lancet Regional Health – Americas)
- New publication: “Long-Term PM2.5 Exposure Is Associated with Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Infections among Children under Five Years of Age in Kenya, 2014”
- New publication: Environmental and Household-Based Spatial Risks for Tungiasis in an Endemic Area of Coastal Kenya