Thanks to Jenny Goldie for reminding me about this blog post found on Zero Hedge. It gives a very general overview of the food/population dynamic globally, while making use of an interesting graph that seems to show correlations between spikes in a major food price index and outbreaks of social unrest over the last decade or so.
You are probably already aware that dry, scorching heat across the American midwest has pushed up corn prices more than 50% over the past five weeks. This obviously does not bode well for people whose ability to purchase adequate calories for survival is limited.
Deja Food: Will Social Unrest Surge As Corn Prices Soar?
With Corn hitting its highs again, we are reminded that global food production has been hitting constraints as rising populations and changing diets hit against flattening productivity, water and fertility constraints, and the likely early effects of climate change. As was described in the recent all-encompassing theory of global-collapse, there is general agreement that one of the contributing factors to the rolling revolutions beginning at the end of 2010 was increasing food prices eating into already strained incomes. It is unclear how much impact easing has had on food prices this time, weather has very much made its presence felt (as we noted here). From one omnipotent force (central bankers) to another (hand of god), the fear is that more broadly, food is likely to be a more persistent problem than oil supply. This is because we require almost continual replenishment of food to stay alive and avoid severe social and behavioral stress – food is the most inelastic part of consumption. This says nothing of the pernicious inflationary impact that will likely quell the kind of free-flowing printing so many hope to see from China et al.
The FAO food price index and outbreaks of social unrest. (Lagi et. al.)
Global food production has been hitting constraints as rising populations and changing diets hit against flattening productivity, water and fertility constraints, and the likely early effects of climate change.
One of the main effects of the Green Revolution of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s was to put food production onto a fossil fuel platform. Modern food production relies on pesticides, fertilisers, machinery, drying systems, long-haul transport, packaging, freezing and so on, all fossil fuel dependent. Modern seed varieties require more water, which requires more complex irrigation and aquifer pumping, again requiring more fossil fuel input, and putting more strain on already stressed water supplies. By various estimates, between six and ten fossil fuel calories are used to produce every calorie of food.
To read the full blog post, please click here: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/deja-food-will-social-unrest-surge-corn-prices-soar