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Global Riots

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Topic: Global Riots
Posted By: abuayisha
Subject: Global Riots
Date Posted: 12 September 2012 at 7:57am

We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say

 Monday, Sep 10, 2012


What’s the number one reason we riot? The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many—poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc—but the big one is more primal than any of the above. It’s hunger, plain and simple. If there’s a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it’s food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.

In - - MIT Technology Review explains how CSI’s model works: “The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause.” Plot the data, and it looks like this:

Pretty simple. Black dots are the food prices, red lines are the riots. In other words, whenever the UN’s food price index, which measures the monthly change in the price of a basket of food commodities, climbs above 210, the conditions ripen for social unrest around the world. CSI doesn’t claim that any breach of 210 immediately leads to riots, obviously; just that the probability that riots will erupt grows much greater. For billions of people around the world, food comprises up to 80% of routine expenses (for rich-world people like you and I, it’s like 15%). When prices jump, people can’t afford anything else; or even food itself. And if you can’t eat—or worse, your family can’t eat—you fight.

But how accurate is the model? An anecdote the researchers outline in the report offers us an idea. They write that “on December 13, 2010, we submitted a government report analyzing the repercussions of the global financial crises, and directly identifying the risk of social unrest and political instability due to food prices.” Four days later, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire as an act of protest in Tunisia. And we all know -

Today, the food price index is hovering around 213, where it has stayed for months—just beyond the tip of the identified threshold. Low corn yield in the U.S., the world’s most important producer, has helped keep prices high.

“Recent droughts in the mid-western United States threaten to cause global catastrophe,” Yaneer Bar-Yam, one of the authors of the report, recently - - drought that has consumed 60% of the United States and the - - some say .

And it’s only going to get worse and worse and worse. Because of climate change-exacerbated disasters like these, “the average price of staple foods such as maize could more than double in the next 20 years compared with 2010 trend prices,” a - - exploitation from speculators , without reform, our world will be an increasingly restive one. Hunger is coming, and so are the riots.

Posted By: Caringheart
Date Posted: 28 September 2012 at 6:59pm
How do you explain then, the generations of Africans that have been dealing with starvation... literal starvation... and they are not rioting, just quietly dying.

No, it is more... it has to do with a way of thinking.

Posted By: Matt Browne
Date Posted: 09 October 2012 at 5:14am
Well, researchers depend on funding, so sometimes they create catchy headlines to attract readers. A headline like

The probability for riots in more than 50 countries in 2013 is 55%

And even this relies on so many variables and dependencies that serious predictions are almost impossible. Remember, almost no economist predicted the financial crisis to occur in 2007/2008.

There are occasional food riots in Africa, here's an example -

The overall trend regarding starvation is in fact encouraging. Poverty is declining. Literacy is rising. Life expectancy is rising. And the worldwide human community has greatly improved the logistics when dealing with local starvation disasters as long as the local people cooperate. Al-Shabaab in Somalia rather lets people die than accept free food from unbelievers.

A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt

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