A Coming Great Global Angst
Richard (Rick) Mills
Monday, 23 January 2012
As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information
Our agriculture system is concentrated on producing a very few staple crops – there is a very serious lack of crop diversity. Corn, wheat, rice and soy are the main staples and production is oftentimes half a world away from where the majority of the crop would be consumed. The world’s extreme poor exist almost exclusively on what is a ‘buy today, eat today’ plant based diet – wheat, corn, soy or rice provide the bulk of their calories.
Taken together, this means if we get hit by a particularly bad harvest in one area, if a severe El Nino strikes, or more localized severe weather phenomena strikes, food supplies can get totally out of control in many countries.
Considering that the global food supply chain is weak (easily disrupted by lack of transportation, weather, insurgency, stealing) and non-existent in many areas then you have a recipe for potential disaster in many regions of the world.
Inefficient supply chains, intensified weather phenomena and a race to secure dwindling supplies of commodities by developed economies (and their richer inhabitants) all mean the very basics of human survival will become increasingly scarce for the poorer people in the developing world.
Hundreds of millions of marginalized people, people perhaps counted by the billions, across all nations, will feel the extreme pinch of increased prices, across all asset classes, on their household budgets. But especially so in what those people need the most – water, food and clothing – the bare essentials necessary for survival. Socio-economic turmoil – lawlessness, poverty, lack of adequate medical facilities and attention, low to no employment, low wages, disease, no clean drinking water or water for irrigation and shortages of food or unaffordable food can all cause socio-economic pressure to build in many countries.