Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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

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 a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did.

The number one determinant was soaring food prices.

Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.


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 told Al Jazeera.

"When people are unable to feed themselves and their families, widespread social disruption occurs.

"We are on the verge of another crisis, the third in five years, and likely to be the worst yet, capable of causing new food riots and turmoil on a par with the Arab Spring."



Spud said...

Or less...
Thank you for all the info.
Yours is my go to site for what's going on.
Was very concerned when you went dark...
Hopefully one day soon I can help contribute, this has been a trying year for our house also.
Keep up the excellent work !!