Predicting Global Revolutions, Civil Wars and Riots

Thursday, April 14, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Russ Winter

Every 10 percent increase in global food prices equates to a 100 percent increase in anti-government protests, according to a recent report from the International Monetary Fund. Looking at recent increases in foodstuff commodities — up a total of 45 percent since the arrival of QE2 last year — it’s no wonder there are revolutions, civil wars and riots breaking out across the globe. According to the IMF, a 45-percent increase in foodstuffs should quadruple the levels of unrest, and that seems to be precisely what’s happening.

Recent chaos caused by food inflation and hunger is being heartwarmingly marketed by propagandists as democratization. Remember the French Revolution and “let them eat cake.” The causa proxima was food inflation.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization also offers a global hunger index that measures levels of food stress around the world. According to the index, a hunger level above 30 is considered extremely alarming, 20 to 29 is alarming and 10 to 19 is serious. The index is a moving target that hasn’t been updated since 2010, well before the 45-percent spike in foodstuffs. Nigeria, for example, was 18 in 2010, so it would be in the high 20s today, at the upper end of the alarming score. Potential hotbed Pakistan was 19.

During the 2007 to 2008 food price inflation, the FAO’s estimated 175 million more people were classified as “seriously hungry,” bringing the total up to 1.05 billion. The financial bust that followed alleviated much of the food strife between 2009 and 2010. But inflation has resurfaced and is in fact expanding even further. The FAO Food Price Index now exceeds the 2008 spike. No new estimates are available yet, but anticipate 1.1 trillion seriously hungry people.

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