Report: Food and Energy Shortages Will Cause Social and Political Instability, Geopolitical Conflict

by | Jan 13, 2011 | Headline News | 40 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    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 “water-food-energy” 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 without  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 year’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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      1. Dead on. People, please stock up-don’t be left to starve. The government is not going to come to your rescue with food or water when the chips fall. Remember Katrina, and that was just a taste of the hellstorm that’s coming.

        You don’t “need” that new i-phone, or that Vegas getaway, of that new jet-ski, or any such nonsense.  If you have a family you have an obligation to have enough food and supplies to weather an emergency. Common sense is the key and everything you buy can be used later for other purposes and the food can be rotated–nothing goes to waste.

        It’s not just an insurance policy, it’s a lifeboat and investment in life.

        Don’t be intimidated by cost or get overwhelmed by the loonies out there that have gone way overboard on this. Start small, if you have to, and buy a little extra every week at the supermarket to sock away.

        It’s not going to break the bank for you to add some extra cans of food, dry goods, and water bottles to the back of a closet or shelf.

        Emergency bars, MREs, Dehydrated foods, and Freeze-dried foods are great and have different shelf lives-please consider stocking up as much as you think you’ll need. If done a little at a time it adds up and is better than doing nothing at all.

        Don’t go for volume, go for quality and taste-eating nothing but some stale old Salteens for 6 months is not going to work out, trust me.

        Think of the kids and get treats. There is nothing worse than making this worse for them than it has to be.

        Stock up on open-pollinated seeds too and learn to garden-it might just save your life!

      2. Comments…..Preps are already getting harder to acquire. Everytime I go to stock up some more, I get less for my money. Add the crappy winter we are having and my heat bill has gone up 40% from last year. I keep on trucking though.

        “It can happen so quickly, that most people will not even realize the dangers until it’s too late.”

        Thats a good reason to start your own garden. 
        Learn everything you can about gardening and seeds so you wont be hungry. My guess is that seeds will be worth more than gold.

        To your survival,

      4. I have been caught up (somewhat) only once in a “food/social unrest” stepping out of a chartered bus on the sand dunes of Cairo, Egypt.  Small kids & teenagers waited there for for the tourists that visited the pristine pyramids while the city streets of Cairo were littered with 10 foot tall mounds of maggot infested steaming trash. 
        The children were begging for money and the Egyptian Police were there with 12 foot black leather bull whips.  These kids knew just how long those whips were.  I have seen poverty in many countries before.  Two to three of these small kids could bring any unsuspecting person down.  They were quick & skilled (children) and the police always expected a pay off inside the Egyptian Museum.  I’ve seen riot crowds in Israel with flaming bottles & shark feeding frenzies and nothing matches’ the scene in Egypt.  Individuals were weak prey.

      5. When? 

      6. Comments…..I was shocked when shopping the other day I saw my elderly next door neighbor stocking up on pet food where the shelves have been pretty bare lately. The problem is that my neighbor doesn’t have any pets. She admitted that there were many seniors like her who were using pet food to supplement their diets. I gave her a C note and told her to put back the pet food and I will take her down to the county seat and make sure that she gets every damn dollar 50 years of paying taxes entitles her to so that she doesn’t have to eat pet food. These folks are too proud to ask for help. Please check up on your senior citizen neighbors.

      7. Thanks Mac

        The writing’s on the wall for everyone to see now.

        The unprepared may pose the biggest threat. People are going to eat and feed their families, one or another.

      8. Understatements.
        Consider this possible scenario.
        Money gets tight.
        Postal fees rise a penny and USPS considers dropping Sat delivery. USPS closes smaller P.O.s
        Social programs get reduced funding. Some minor programs discontinued. Cities retain some measure of funding for all social programs due to cost efficiency in delivery while rural areas become too expensive to service.
        Slow exodus from rural to urban. It is all about jobs and services.
        Farmers participate in ag programs to offset ag commodities price manipulation.
        The higher the level of complexity, the greater the risk of breakdown. Money sucks, metaphorically and literally. Literal first. Money is just a symbol, a compact instrument representing a productive expenditure of energy. The metaphor? Vote density. The denser the population, the more voters and therefore the last place for programs to get cut. People are lazy and will relocate to where the benefits are greatest.
        Contained, controlled and compliant or else. I think many folks on this and other sites are far too paranoid about the government. Granted that they aren’t the brightest, BUT provided nobody launches an offensive against the gov’t, we will be pretty much left alone.
        Think about it. We consume a comparitively small amount of government services. We tend towards achieving self-sufficiency. By and large, we understand each of us has much farther to go to be safe, secure and well-fed. Sure the gov’t will monitor us. READ MY LIPS. The gov’t isn’t going to waste time, money and resources on folks who pay thier own way and don’t cause problems.

        The gov’t will hold it together as long as they can. Centralizing the distribution system for goods and services demands it. The gov’t might not be the brightest, but they aren’t idiots. They see what is coming. It is a matter of an orderly transition to a new order. NWO is the stuff of political science major’s fantasies and the paranoid. There will be new ordering, but it will tailored to each society’s needs, values (and yes Dorthy) thier dreams and aspirations.

        We can bet that it will be  a mess. TEOTWAWKI, but not the end of the world. The nature of nature is change. Man abhors change. Man is lazy (conservation of energy) and will almost always follow the path of least resistance offering the greatest rewards for the least effort. *
        The scenario is already happening.
        Once the human intellect can accept the new situation, the organism quicky adapts to its new environment. Failure to adapt usually results in destruction of the organism.

        * There are notable exceptions. Among these are farmers, those engaged in resource extraction and most of the physically and mentally demanding occupations. There might be as many as 7.

      9. People are going to eat and feed their families, one way or another.

      10. When a domino that causes many other columns to fall.

      11. Comments…..Overtheedge, like your reasoning.  I would sure like it if the zombies stayed in the cities where all the bennies are.

      12. Overtheedge:

        Myself and a couple neighbors are counting on your vision to come true. 

        Once the ‘suckers of the govt tit’ leave our valley in search of greener pickings in town, we plan to block the only two access roads into this valley with a couple hours chainsaw work, and maybe a big, new drainage ditch where the roadbeds used to be.  🙂

      13. Are you testing missles out there?

      14. Thanks for the info…stock up wile you can.

      15. What if your spouse travels the US when SHTF and is cought in the grid lock

      16. I like the way the boys think.  Always have a diversion & plan B.  I know you do.  You are my hero.  I like Stihl with a long bar & used Mobil 1 10w50.  Make sure you post the sign.

      17. How on earth are you supposed to store enough water?  I live in a small town and we are on city water.  There are no sources of water close enough  that I would enjoy hauling water uphill from.  Do you think we will be safe in a small town?  I know it’s much better than the city, but not as good as the country.  We do have a large yard that we could try to grow food on.  So far our attempts have not been great.  We need to have the soil tested.
        BTW, we just had a snow storm.  All the stores are running low on some supplies – eggs, milk, frozen foods, etc.  This is day 4 of the trucks not being able to get through the ice in Atlanta.  I’m surprised the supplies are holding up this well.

      18. @Lindayou have to make it happen. You can get new food grade(non-BPA) 55 gallon plastic drums for about 50 bucks and used ones for around 25 bucks, I am sure even in your area. One company out of Utah sells them for a little more but will deliver them empty to you through UPS for only 9 dollars shipping.

        Also check the National Geological Survey and see if your house is over an aquifer-or near one.

        If worse comes to worse and you have no room for drums you can get a water drill that missionaries use to tap wells in 3rd world countries, they cost around $200 bucks from multiple sources.

        It’s not going to be easy to make it all happen, I know, life is tough right now but consider the outcome if you don’t when SHTF.

      19. Linda…my Dad had a place near Lavonia Ga back awhile before he passed away…I remember the red clay and glittery rocks….water there was excellent quality and only about 20′ deep.
        If its anything similar where you are you can drive a wellpoint into the ground then get a handpump or some such thing and have it as a backup water source,I hand dug a well awhile back 20′ deep through rock and clay in another state till I hit a water vein,put a 18″ polypipe down into it and its a good resource,driving a couple wellpoints would be a safer(physicly speaking) and less work…it might be an option for you.

      20. @ Linda  January 13th, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.

        Rain falls. If you don’t want to go the cistern route, use food grade buckets topped with ordinary screen to keep out the bugs and bird poop to collect rain. Am not an expert but your local rainfall is probably potable. A five gallon bucket full of rain (yer drinking water for the next several days) weighs about 41 pounds. How far can you carry 41 pounds on a level surface? Before acquiring exotic supplies getting in shape will have survival value.

        Berkey water filters. Various others. Every prepper site has its advertisers. Until two weeks ago I stocked up on 6 % chlorine bleach until I found it has a short shelf life. Bleach “purifies” water against some hazards. So does filtering through a bowl coffee filter. So does boiling. All those methods have their plusses and minuses. Bleach decomposes to salt water after about a year.

        One prepper site recommends pool shock. Purchase it a pound or two at a time. I can’t recall the ratio, but something like 1/4 cup of liquified pool shock purifies 100 gallons of several water contaminants. It isn’t the silver bullet. Isn’t perfect, but that site recommended it as a good home based business, a good “charity supply” for post-SHTF.

        Forget about improving your soil unless you’re gung ho into gardening. Raised beds.  Build a twin bed sized rectangle about waist high. Fill it will the “ideal” mixture of soil you create to grow what you intend to grow. Decide on what you want to grow, learn what its soil requirement is. That’s the soil you fill it with. I think there’s an article about that on

        No matter where one lives, you will be only as “safe” as you are capable of defending what’s yours. You will have no help. LE will not ride to your rescue. One might read the article in Rawles’ archives “Retreat Security: I am your worst nightmare,” by Jeff T about organized post-SHTF raiders who survive by raiding and killing preppers like us.

        Incremental prepping … I have my doubts about that. Is it better than nothing? Yes. The time for incremental prepping was several years ago. As a commentor above said, we don’t need the consumer baubles and bangles. That vacation in Tahiti isn’t gonna feed you when the trial comes. Having as much food and water in your home as you can secure is the best investment. Ya can’t eat gold or silver. My point is buying an extra two cans of pinto beans … how much time do you think you have? Think “an extra ton” not an extra can.

      21. Linda,  We have been busy buying tons of flats of water when it is on sale – I think we have enough for 3 months for a family of 4.  We rotate it so it doesn’t go bad.

        We also purchased a katadyn pocket ceramic water filter (after MUCH research).  It filters 13,000 gallons before you have to replace the filter & has a lifetime guarantee which tells me it’s made well so even if they aren’t around it will hopefully still work.  We’ve got coffee filters to “pre-filter” the big stuff out first & have considered using a sand pre-filter system.  We would also have to go about a mile or 2 for water from the river but I’d do it rather than have none.  Plus you could fish while you are there.  You can also catch rain water out of gutters just boil it or filter it first.

        I like the well ideas.  Seems like they are small enough that you could get by with one in your yard even if the neighborhood or city doesn’t allow them.  Just as a backup.  Looks like I’ve got a new project to research.

        Also folks, I’m headed to the LDS cannery this weekend (i’m not Mormon but I’m going anyway, they are OK with it).  Gonna stock up on more dried beans, rice, milk, flour, wheat, dried apples, oats, etc.  Their prices went up as of Jan 1st.  Some items went up slightly and some went WAY up. 

        Food inflation IS here.  Like it or not.

      22. Getting good water ain’t rocket science.

        Imagine four poles in a square/rectangle. Think short flagpoles.
        Plastic tarp.
        Connect tarp and raise when it rains. Remove and store when it ain’t.  At center of one side, pull down to make drain. Drain water into buckets. Because you have a roof over you (the tarp) you can relax in a lawnchair and change buckets as they fill.

        The reason for removing the tarp is to keep it clean between rains and protecting it from wind/sun damage.
        Any questions?

        Dirty water? Ever hear of a solar still using clear plastic?  Desert survival manuals cover solar stills.

        Did you know that pert near every town has a library? Ever use it? Don’t count on the internet always being up. Knowledge is power. Fear and paranoia accomplish nothing.
        A few years ago, extreme cold temps prevented me from going to the community well for a few weeks (in many rural areas, people haul water). Survived just fine on melted snow water. Tastes flat, but plenty good for cooking and flavored drinks.

      23. I’ve been bugging friends and relatives whenever I get the chance… regarding getting out of the banks/stock market and buying metals and survival gear/food. 

        I agree that a lot of people are going to be caught flat when the SHTF.  They’re going to get hauled off to the FEMA camps.

        I live along the Texas gulf coast… I’ve always kept extra food in the house…  the whole town shut down because of hurricane Katrina/Rita/Ike. While my less intelligent neighborst stood in line at depleted grocery stores for hourse, I was cooking up some really nice meals.

      24. I have posted this before, for those worried about short term water resources , that are known clean.
        Remember your hot water tank in most houses hold up to 40 or 50 or more gallons of clean water. Valve at the bottom of the tank even after the city supply is stopped flowing you will have that amount in reserve.
        still stock up, and have water pureification methods when that runs out.
        most dont think of what they may already have in storage.
        I also have 2 distilling units, one camp fire ready, the other electric,
        build redundant systems

      25. Great post Mac,
        this should just reaffirm the need to get stocked up at quickly as possible.  Make sure you get food and water stored up so that your family does not have to go without.   Those that think that it can never happen here had better rethink their situation because it is on its way.


        Berkey water filters. Various others. Every prepper site has its advertisers. Until two weeks ago I stocked up on 6 % chlorine bleach until I found it has a short shelf life. Bleach “purifies” water against some hazards. So does filtering through a bowl coffee filter. So does boiling. All those methods have their plusses and minuses. Bleach decomposes to salt water after about a year.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~I have a Berkey and WAS storing gallons of bleach..till I learned bleach purified water can harm your stomach…..So, I found pool shock @$4 a lb…makes thousands of gallons, lasts for years, no storage problem, because you mix when needed.
        Also have alum for clumps of sediment, coffee filters, and can boil if needed.

        Note: only ingredient calcium hyprochlorite when using this for bleach. Friend retired water district said also…do not use bleach for purifying if drinking and a Navy man on a ship said the same.

        An interesting site shared going to the consignment shops and getting blankets….wash and store for disasters.

        On my list of ‘to do’ things.

      28. Common household bleach is Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl).  One atom of sodium, one atom of oxygen and three atoms of chlorine.  Pool shock is calcium hypochlorite  (Ca (CIO)2).  One atom of calcium and two compound atoms of one atom of oxygen and one atom of chlorine.  However chlorine treatments intended for pools may contain cyanuric acid.  Pure cyanuric acid is non-toxic but commercial sources for it may be contaminated with waste matter.  

      29. Just read it in Steve Quale’s site. It was reported that the Mountain House company was facing shortages in some dried food items.
        So just for fun i entered their site and:
        Yes, all the #10 cans are our of stock, along with the 7day pack.
        That’s weird, unless they create some artifficial crisis in order to sell them in better prices in a couple of weeks,
        Some guy who reported this to Steve Quale, speculated that some Federal agency bought most of them.


      30. Manos,

        I am not sure who bought them out, but a Mountain House Sales Manager confirmed to me in an email that they are essentially out of stock right now:

        Steve has also added an update to his web site about this, suggesting it is not the Federal Government who bought out their supplies:

        Personally, I think the most likely reason is that people are waking up to the possibility of out of control food prices and, potentially, an economic collapse resulting from hyperinflation — this is also the reason cited by MH and large preparedness food distributors.

        I’d suggest dry goods like wheat, rice, beans, etc. to those who want to purchase food supplies but can’t get their hands on any Mountain House freeze dried.


      31. M0untain House Freeze Dried #10 cans and pouches are still available in retail stores like Cabelas Outfitters and REI, at least here in Minnesota. They might run a few dollars more, but unless you’re buying a lot of cans, it shouldn’t effect the decision to begin preparing. If you’re buying a large quantity of cans, you’re probably already well stocked… I find the MH products are just too much for anything more than keeping a few spare pouches in my camping supplies for some short preparation meals in an emergency. Beans, Oats and Spaghetti products are much better as far as price goes for medium term prep.(20$ for a days meals vs. 5$, when you have a family and are prepping for 4 this becomes really apparent)

      32. I hope all of you have earnestly prepped food, water, metal, and protection.  I personally can’t wait for this to begin.  I will be proud to set the world record for blasting starving, crazed looters as they swarm my food supply!  Good luck to all….

      33. From today’s news coming out of Tunisia,
        “…In the past four weeks, protests have swept the country over UNEMPLOYMENT, FOOD PRICE RISES and corruption. Security forces used live ammunition against protesters and dozens of people died….”
        A similar scene may be coming to a town near you in the not too distant future if many of our expensive social services are cut, i.e. “food stamps”, multiple social service/welfare programs, unprecendented extended unemployment benefits, defaulted or reduced retirement packages, etc..
        We will be seeing a LOT of rioting around the world in coming weeks, months and years concerning much higher FOOD prices, especially in poorer countries.

      34. emptyhandkiller,
        Be careful what you wish for. It would be far better to have a more peaceful, prepared, vigilant attitude–ready for most things and hoping it doesn’t come down.
        One pissed off but patient former military sniper can sit all day until you show your nose at a window or door and it’s light’s out. Hopefully you and your’s will be safe and sound. But try to cultivate a little emphathy for others who may be fine folks in desperate circumstances (what goes around, comes around). Most folks, given the chance, will probably work together –safety in numbers–to keep their neighborhoods safe.

      35. I’m a single mom living in an apartment with a lot of undesirables all around us.  It makes me very nervous if chaos breaks out and if we will be safe.  Worried  these people that are all around who don’t seem to ever go to work  and when their “entitlements” are cut off and what will happen when all hell breaks loose.  I have some physical silver and starting to stock up on food and supplies as I can afford it, but what if the crazies start beating down doors and setting fires?   I hope it doesn’t come to that, but that is always on my mind.

      36. Cindy,
        Tough situation but there are things you can do. First, work with what you’ve got. IF you have to stay there because of a lease, close to your job, etc.. then I’d get to know the good folks in your apt. complex. Preferably the BIG, TOUGH good folks. Perhaps form something of a “team” to keep things safer in your apt. complex–get together for some informal meetings maybe.  See who goes off to work everyday and leave a note for THOSE folks to get together for a potluck or to discuss items of common interest. Don’t have to talk about fears of a SHTF situation. Maybe just get a foundation layed for mutual trust and communication to begin with just in case some “emergency” comes up. I suspect the “crazies” are outnumbered by folks who don’t want to be messed with. On the other hand, even some bad-ass “criminal” types will occasionally take someone under their protective wings and have a “hands off” policy if you treat them decently.
        If all that doesn’t work, the next obvious step is to move to a better area. Even it that means sharing a house with a friend, family or perhaps another woman or two in similar situations. A discreet Craigslist ad might help–they’re free. Just do your usual “due diligence”–you don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. 
        Last but not least– #1 thing, get into the habit of praying for some guidance and help. Expect answers–God has a soft spot for woman and children. 
        Hopefully this advice will get you started in the right direction.

      37. Rhea

        Why don’t you “help” illegals to find jobs and prosperity in Asia?
        I presume all of them will appreciate your sensitivity.

      38. Rhea, you’re missing the boat.  Taxing the rich to “spread it around” (presumably to you and yours) does not work.  Right now we could not close deficit in Obama’s proposed budget for next year EVEN IF ALL INDIVIDUALS PAID 100% TAX ON THEIR INCOME.  I mean everyone, not just the rich.  There aren’t enough rich, middle and lower income taxpayers to pay for all the crazy spending.  And right now the bottom 45% of the taxpayers pay NOTHING.  But according to you, the rich don’t pay enough–right!  100% won’t pay the bills next year.

        Beans, bullets, bullion, bandages, Bibles.  Get ’em while ya can!

      39. NWFisher….  Of course you are right, but my own personal experience with my treacherous “family”, and my trusted “friends” has clearly illustrated to me that in my case, I will be alone.  Nothing but parasites and liars in my life, and I accept that.  I hope your situation is much better!  Keep preppin’!

      40. emptyhandkiller,
        Understood. You got dealt a bad hand. When you’ve been burned from the time you’re a little sprout, not trusting becomes second nature.  It’s just the “safe” thing to do. Kind of like a good dog that’s been beaten and kicked. It’s real hard to win it’s trust again. Getting hurt and betrayed gets old fast. Not good for critters or humans.
        There are some good folks out there however–a lot better than you and me. Sometimes they show up out of the blue. If one or two happen along–give them enough leeway to prove themselves.


      1. G-20 Governments Taking (The Wrong) Actions to Curb Food Inflation - [...] only is there a real and present threat to the stability of the economic system, but rising food prices…

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