Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 2030 food riots

We have discussed food issues here often enough.  A new chart coming out of MIT is making the rounds showing that food pricing is set to start another mega-riot by 2030.

From the Abstract

Marco Lagi, Karla Z. Bertrand and Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute
10 August 2011 (hat tip: Mother Board via NC)

Social unrest may reflect a variety of factors such as poverty, unemployment, and social injustice.  Despite the many possible contributing factors, the timing of violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 as well as earlier riots in 2008 coincides with large peaks in global food prices. We identify a specific food price threshold above which protests become likely. These observations suggest that protests may reflect not only long-standing political failings of governments, but also the sudden desperate straits of vulnerable populations. If food prices remain high, there is likely to be persistent and increasing global social disruption.

From here (pdf)

To my mind 2030 is an awful long way off to be making pricing predictions.  If there is one pricing item that seems to be sensitive to the flapping of butterfly wings in Bolivia, it is food prices.
It also ignores that the countries that have been having the big riots have both youth bulges, and education bulges.  So in effect you have uplifted your youth to the status of dangerous revolutionaries, rather than leaving them in the more usual state of desperate peasants.


PioneerPreppy said...

Ya 2030 seems awfully far off and would suggest a drop in price for years since the level is so high now by their chart.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: Taleb, working finance, wrote that all the company VPs would spend all there time working on 5 (FIVE) year forcasts, and not a single one of them would survive 2 (TWO) years of events.

18 years is a pretty long time frame. Particularly for an envent that is so weather dependent.