Some argue that volatile and high food price are just part of a “perfect storm” combining with climate change
, population growth
, resource scarcity, and urbanization
leading to social unrest
When the public becomes too desperate in such conditions, they may attack shops, farms, homes, or government buildings to attain bread or other staple foods such as grain or salt, as in the 1977 Egyptian bread riots
Often, it is more than an issue of hunger and the need to obtain bread for immediate caloric satisfaction; food riots are part of a larger social movement, such as the Russian revolution
or the French revolution
. Thus in places with low political freedom there is an increased likelihood for social unrest when food prices are volatile or suddenly rise.
Historically, women have been heavily involved in leading food riots; food riots have thus served as a form of female political action even in societies without women's suffrage
or other guaranteed political rights.
Due to a wheat
crop failure in the mid-western United States because of drought in 2012, as well as simultaneous dryness during the start of the Russia's wheat season, a deficient monsoon
rainfall in India and a drought in Africa's Sahel
region, predictions were made for a possible outbreak of protests and riots akin to previous years. Yaneer Bar-Yam, the president of the New England Complex Systems Institute
, said that computer modelling
suggested an outbreak of instability, while he also blamed the use of corn for ethanol
as exacerbating the problem. However, the director of trade and markets and the Food and Agriculture Organization
, David Hallam, said that there was no imminent danger of such an outcome, though a worsening change in climate and government policies, such as export bans and panicked-buying, could trigger such a scenario. Oxfam
added that a one percent increase in the price of food could lead to 16 million more falling below the poverty line.
The International Food Policy Research Institute
's Director-General Shenggen Fan
suggested a global crisis could "hit us very soon. [Using corn for ethanol] actually pushed global food prices higher and many poor people, particularly women and children, have suffered."
Reports of events leading to the 2007–08 world food price crisis and the 2007–08 world food price crisis
illustrate that it is challenging to find a single causal factor for food riots and highlights the need to multiple pre-emptive strategies to be adopted in different context given that food prices are said to remain volatile
in the coming years. International commentators focusing on Africa have associated the riots with poverty and hunger hence the call to explore strategies to boost productivity and lower food prices.
Yet on-the-ground reports highlight that the riots were driven by multiple factors coming together such as popular dissatisfaction with socioeconomic and political situation of the country and the availability of social media that helped rioters to mobilize.
In this case some have called for broader structural changes to improve employment, equality and address social injustices.
, the steep fall in oil prices hit the economy hard in the 2010s. With a high rate of inflation (set to top 1,600% in 2017),
the destruction of Venezuela´s industrial base has led to a famine
in many parts of the country.
- ^ Patel, Raj; Philip McMichael (2009). "A Political Economy of the Food Riot". Review (Fernand Braudel Center). 32 (1): 9–35. JSTOR 40647787.
- ^ a b Sneyd, Lauren; Alexander Legwegoh; Evan DG Fraser (2013). "Food riots: Media perspectives on the causes of food protest in Africa". Food Security. 5 (4): 485–497. doi:10.1007/s12571-013-0272-x.
- ^ Godfray, H. Charles J.; Crute, Ian R.; Haddad, Lawrence; Lawrence, David; Muir, James F.; Nisbett, Nicholas; Pretty, Jules; Robinson, Sherman; Toulmin, Camilla; Whiteley, Rosalind (2010). "The future of the global food system". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 365 (1554): 2769–2777. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0180. PMC 2935131. PMID 20713383.
- ^ BBC News (19 March 2009). "Global crisis 'to strike by 2030'". BBC News UK. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- ^ "Egypt battle toll: 43 dead". The Age. 21 January 1977. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- ^ Walton, John K.; Seddon, David (2008). Free markets and food riots: The politics of global adjustment. Cambridge MA: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-631-18245-0.
- ^ Thompson, E.P. (1993). Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Political Culture. New York: The New Press. pp. 233–234.
- ^ Robert Kennedy. "Food riots predicted over US crop failure - Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
- ^ Ann, Luzi (14 August 2012). "Global Food Crisis May Hit Us 'Very Soon,' IFPRI's Fan Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- ^ UNNews Centre. "Global food prices expected to remain volatile in coming years, warns UN official". UN News Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- ^ UN. "The Secretary General's High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis". UN. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- ^ Demeke, M.; et al. "Country responses to the food security crisis: Nature and preliminary implications of the policies pursued" (PDF). FAO, Rome (Italy). Policy Assistance and Resources Mobilisation Div.
- ^ Talley, Ian (2016-07-18). "Venezuela's Inflation Is Set to Top 1,600% Next Year". WSJ.com. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- ^ "'We want food!' Looting and riots rock Venezuela daily". Reuters. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2017 – via Reuters.
- ^ Casey, Nicholas (19 June 2016). "Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
Last edited on 24 January 2021, at 23:27
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