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Posted Wed Apr 6 2011: from SeekingAlpha:
Food Prices and Global Hunger Equal Riots, Civil Wars and Revolution
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the United Nations puts out a global hunger index (pdf). The most recent was from 2010, well before this year's 45 percent price spike in foodstuffs. According to the IMF, each 10 percent increase in food prices doubles the likelihood of civil disorder, riots or worse by 100 percent [The Food Riot and Revolution Index]. By my math, we are at a four or five-fold increase and still ramping up. In the FAO's scoring, a hunger score above 30 is considered extremely alarming, 20-29 is alarming, and 10-19 is serious. With the massive food inflation, I submit that it's reasonable to add about 10 to the old, quickly outdated (by the day) 2010 number. If you care to argue this point, fine; but add something substantial. Nigeria was 18 in 2010, so this would be in the high 20s today, and at the upper end of the alarming score. Potential hotbed Pakistan was 19 in 2010. Another oil producer, Angola, had a 27 hunger index in 2010 and would now be in the extremely alarming category. Cameroon, a small African oil producer, has a 2010 score of 18. That country was severely impacted by food riots during the 2008 commodity bubble. Both Bangladesh, and emerging market darling India, were ranked 24 in 2010. With the spike, it would be well over 30 today. Don't be surprised if ethnic and religious turmoil breaks out in what are considered democracies. That will be hard for the U.S. to spin. I don't think the U.S. has enough aircraft carriers to cover these contingencies.
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