Report: Food and Energy Shortages Will Cause Social and Political Instability, Geopolitical Conflict
Hey, don’t take our word for it. The Switzerland based World Economic Forum Global Risks for 2011 (Sixth Edition) assessment makes it clear where we’re headed:
The world is in no position to face major, new shocks. The financial crisis has reduced global economic resilience, while increasing geopolitical tension and heightened social concerns suggest that both governments and societies are less able than ever to cope with global challenges. Yet, as this report shows, we face ever-greater concerns regarding global risks, the prospect of rapid contagion through increasingly connected systems and the threat of disastrous impacts.
The â€œwater-food-energyâ€ nexus: A rapidly rising global population and growing prosperity are putting unsustainable pressures on resources. Demand for water, food and energy is expected to rise by 30-50% in the next two decades, while economic disparities incentivize short-term responses in production and consumption that undermine long-term sustainability.
Shortages could cause social and political instability, geopolitical conflict and irreparable environmental damage. Any strategy that focuses on one part of the water-food-energy nexus withoutÂ considering its interconnections risks serious unintended consequences.
For the time being, we see food shortages and price increases affecting third-world countries – Tunisia, Algeria, Haiti, etc.
It can’t happen here is often the take-away from those who want to close their eyes and pretend the threat is not as widespread as it really is. We’ve always had plenty of food in America.
But it can happen here.
In December of 2009 we published a report warning of the coming food shortages. The report cited discrepancies in inventory reserve data from the USDA, among other things. This week, we learned we don’t actually have as much food as was previously thought – be it because of bad inventory accounting or simply because we used it all up:
The Agriculture Department predicted this yearâ€™s corn production will fall about 4.9 percent to 12.45 billion bushels. That would leave inventories at the end of the season at about 745 million bushels, compared with 1.7 billion bushels in the previous year. On a global scale, the agency forecast inventories to decline 3 million tons, with more than two-thirds of fall coming in the United States.
Source: The Blaze
The trend of rising prices due to monetary instability and food production supply problems will continue, especially as we experience further population growth and natural disasters such as those experienced recently in Australia, Russia, and in Northern regions. The United States may very well see riots in the streets with broke, hungry and unemployed citizens who have nothing to lose shouting “we want sugar” and “we want rice” as many did recently in Africa.
The only thing keeping people from rioting in the streets and out of Great Depression style soup lines right now are government programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps. But at some point, austerity will take hold, whether it comes voluntarily in the form of government spending cuts for emergency programs or involuntarily in the form of dollar devaluation because our creditors finally pull the plug on excessive spending.
It can happen so quickly, that most people will not even realize the dangers until it’s too late.
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Date: January 13th, 2011
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