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Tue Sep 11, 2012, 02:58 PM

 

We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say

It looks like the future is just about here.

We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say

What’s the number one reason we riot? The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many—poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc—but the big one is more primal than any of the above. It’s hunger, plain and simple. If there’s a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it’s food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.

The MIT Technology Review explains how CSI’s model works: “The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause.” Plot the data, and it looks like this:



Yet the cost of food hasn’t quite yet risen to the catastrophic levels reached last year. Around the time of the riots cum-revolutions, we saw the food price index soar through 220 points and even push 240. This year, we’ve pretty consistently hovered in the 210-216 range—right along the cusp of danger. But CSI expects a perilous trend in rising food prices to continue. Even before the extreme weather scrambled food prices this year, their 2011 report predicted that the next great breach would occur in August 2013, and that the risk of more worldwide rioting would follow. So, if trends hold, these complex systems theorists say we’re less than one year and counting from a fireball of global unrest.

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Reply We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say (Original post)
GliderGuider Sep 2012 OP
phantom power Sep 2012 #1
Kablooie Sep 2012 #25
Junkdrawer Sep 2012 #2
littlemissmartypants Sep 2012 #3
bigmonkey Sep 2012 #6
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #4
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #5
NickB79 Sep 2012 #7
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #8
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #12
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #9
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #11
pscot Sep 2012 #19
4dsc Sep 2012 #22
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #24
hunter Sep 2012 #10
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #13
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #16
raouldukelives Sep 2012 #26
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #14
truebrit71 Sep 2012 #15
Speck Tater Sep 2012 #17
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #27
XemaSab Sep 2012 #18
NickB79 Sep 2012 #20
AverageJoe90 Sep 2012 #28
Kolesar Sep 2012 #21
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #23
LouisvilleDem Nov 2013 #29
GliderGuider Nov 2013 #30
LouisvilleDem Nov 2013 #31
GliderGuider Nov 2013 #32

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:08 PM

1. oopsie

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Response to phantom power (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 08:52 PM

25. So is that girl letting all the musicians out of the box?

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:12 PM

2. I would also warn our all-too-clever leaders that pitting poor against poorer works ONLY....

when people are not hungry.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)


Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #3)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:55 PM

6. Bob Marley?

I think.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:43 PM

4. Global riots are only theoretical thus far.....but only for now.

 

Last edited Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:16 PM - Edit history (1)

I don't see actual global riots occurring for several decades, but then again, that doesn't mean we're not in dire straits; we are, and more regional riots(such as what happened in the Middle East) are pretty much inevitable, sad to say(and likely to become more widespread!). Even more tragically, this is a problem that could have been fixed long ago, but wasn't because of greedy interests such as Monsanto and others who raised profit above anything else, including the well-being of people, and this planet.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:50 PM

5. OK, I'm changing my mind about you.

 

"I don't see actual global riots occurring for several decades, if at all"

Words fail me. How much deliberate work does it take to become this resistant to reality?

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:01 PM

7. They already occurred, back in 2007-2008

What the fuck do you think sparked the Arab Spring in the Middle East? Fucking riots over food prices.

Jesus Christ, how dense can people be?

On edit: this was meant for AverageJoe, not you GG

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #7)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:05 PM

8. No sweat, I figured that out pretty quick

 

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #7)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:10 PM

12. Yes, I know that. But that was a REGIONAL riot, not a global one.

 

I didn't say that food riots didn't occur at all. C'mon, Nick, learn to read a little, and stop assuming stuff.



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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:05 PM

9. Should clarify a few things.

 

Admittedly, I was being a little optimistic, but I would like to point out that there haven't been any food riots in North America, Australia, Japan, or Europe yet........and I did take into account the possibility of improvement as well(on the other hand, the "if at all" part was a mistake, in retrospect, so I'll be correcting that.).

On the other hand, things very well could go down the shitter and we could be seeing riots in the rest of the world, too, like what has already occurred regionally in the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Asia. (I'm hoping that won't be the case)

Please try not to assume that I'm deliberately resisting anything. I do understand, very well, how dire things have already become in many parts of the world in terms of food & water shortages.



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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #9)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:09 PM

11. Do you understand why things have become dire in many parts of the world?

 

And do you understand why the root causes mean that the direness will gradually spread to more and more affluent parts of the world?

And no, "Monsanto" isn't the answer. They are one issue, but they're not a root cause by any stretch of the imagination.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #11)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 10:13 PM

19. Ask him if he understands what a $10 loaf of bread

will do to the average American's food budget.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 07:16 AM

22. It is amazing isn't it.

 

reality is something for other people I guess.

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Response to 4dsc (Reply #22)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 07:42 AM

24. Always keep an open mind.

 

And give others the benefit of the doubt. Read the sub-threads between AverageJoe90 and me in the OP on McKibben before you cast too many aspersions. Things are not entirely as they first appear.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:07 PM

10. It'll happen quick in the USA.

Animal feed prices will soar, the price of ground beef will plunge for a few weeks as dairies and feed lots sell off their livestock, and then all meat will be $12 dollars a pound and more.

It won't be so bad in the USA where more people will learn to eat less meat, but it will be absolutely wretched in places where people are poor and the diet is already largely vegetarian.

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Response to hunter (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:13 PM

13. I heard Detroit might have came close

 

but there was so much vacant land in the inner city that they just started a thousand community gardens instead.

I suspect riots are more likely where people depend on direct government intervention to ensure affordable, available food. Reducing bread subsidies is a perfect way to trigger food riots, for example.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #13)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:19 PM

16. I find this to be very true, which is why I think the Republicans are desperate to torch.....

 

welfare. They want to live out their evil law-and-order fantasies, while destroying the lives of millions in the process. They WANT inner-city people to starve. They WANT martial law in the cities. They WANT America to complete the journey towards a police state.
Which is why they have to be stopped this November.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:33 AM

26. Totally, but it ain't just the Republicans.

Its the corporations. The Republicans are just cheaper to manipulate. But everyone gets touched in a small way by the wealth of Wall St. Sadly, I believe your scenario is all too possible. Financed all the way by investments in the corporate dream of world domination & exploitation.

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Response to hunter (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:13 PM

14. It very well could, sad to say.

 

Maybe not for a few more decades, but it may indeed happen sooner than we think, which is why I sincerely believe that the time for action is NOW. Better to be cautious than sorry, IMHO.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 04:16 PM

15. Wow... how awesome!!!

 



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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 06:32 PM

17. Sadly, overshoot only ever ends one way. nt

 

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 08:19 PM

27. Not always for the absolute worst, though.

 

Truth is, we're a pretty damned resilient species. I don't doubt there are rough times ahead but I should point out that we've survived disasters far worse(and far more sudden, I might add!) than global warming; if you can recall Toba, that one event wiped out about 95% of our ancestors, who not only had no time to prepare, but didn't know how to survive & adapt until it was too late. We have the advantage of thousands of years of accumulated knowledge.

The question that should be asked is, when are we going to shape up, and halt this disaster currently in progress? With all factors taken into consideration, will it be 3*C warmer by 2100 or 6 or 7?

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 07:07 PM

18. You mean no more

?

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #18)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 06:45 AM

20. We need it to make ethanol for the Hummers

Hand it over.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #20)

Thu Sep 13, 2012, 08:51 PM

28. Or, better yet, hemp oil. nt =D

 

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 07:09 AM

21. Uh, this report is a *year* old

Where's the "food riots"?
Animal House?

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #21)

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 07:18 AM

23. The story itself is 2 days old.

 

The report the story refers to was published last year. However a quote from the story says: "Even before the extreme weather scrambled food prices this year, their 2011 report predicted that the next great breach would occur in August 2013"

As far as I know, August 2013 is still almost a year in the future.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 02:27 AM

29. Oh well

Another Malthusian prediction bites the dust...

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Response to LouisvilleDem (Reply #29)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:15 PM

30. Having fun?

 

Or just stalking by?

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #30)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 11:10 PM

31. Just searching the archives...

...to better understand where your beliefs originate from, and whether you have shown any ability to alter your opinion when the evidence fails to back up your predictions.

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Response to LouisvilleDem (Reply #31)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 11:39 PM

32. I think you will find such evidence if you look honestly.

 

I've changed my position on a lot of things over the last 10 years: the severity of the post-peak downturn in oil supplies, the value of nuclear power and terra preta for combating climate change, the value of spirituality as a framework for understanding the universe, the likelihood that the world will adopt effective carbon controls, the nature of consciousness...

I'm actually very flexible. My current position is the result of change, as I recognized that the ongoing evidence didn't support my previous technologically based optimism. My previous position was that there were a large variety ways in which we could avoid a catastrophic outcome to the unfolding ecological crisis. Evidence showed me that position was unsupportable for a variety of reasons from technical insufficiency to a misunderstanding the nature of the human brain - so I changed.

My position is heavily based on science. I draw my supporting evidence thermodynamics, evolutionary biology, anthropology, evolutionary psychology and ecology.

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