Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nice graphs/charts showing the relationship between food prices and social unrest. Invariably it is the consequence of bad economic policy...

I often tell students the genesis of many/most incidences of civil unrest are for economic reasons, not  for "freedom" or "liberty"---these attributes usually come along later. The graph below shows the correlation between the spike in food prices and riots in various countries. The relationship is pretty strong wouldn't you say? The second chart shows why.
Source: Conversable Economist

In all poor and developing countries food is a much larger percentage of a families budget. They are more sensitive to changes in food prices and it can plunge people into crisis relatively quickly.

Economics is about the allocation of scarce resources to meet needs and wants. If basic needs are not met by the powers that be, then they can expect social problems and unrest. 
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