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New Research: Local Food Price Spikes Increase Likelihood of Unrest

 

Protesters marching in Cairo, "Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

Protesters marching in Cairo, “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

This is a cross-post by Todd G. Smith via New Security Beat (see the original post for some great questions in the comments section).

From the Roman poet Juvenal’s observations about bread and circuses to Marie Antoinette’s proclamation, “let them eat cake!” the link between food and political stability is well established in pop culture. In academic and policy circles, however, it’s a source of considerable debate.

Since 2008, when the FAO Food Price Index spiked to previously unseen levels, reports of so-called “food riots” have become common. In 2011, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) released a short paper presenting a compelling correlation between spikes in the FAO Food Price Index in 2008 (and again in 2011) and media reports of food riots across the Middle East and North Africa. (more…)

Fisheries and Conflict Zones: The Critical Role of Satellite Technology

Fonseca_gulf_depleted fisheriesIn an Oxford University Press (OUP) blog yesterday, Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak highlights a recent study she conducted on “global fisheries catch data” which shows that the data relied on by international organizations like the FAO may be, well, “fishy.” In particular, she highlights a major discrepancy between reported catches and estimated actual annual catches in the Persian Gulf, as revealed via satellite imagery: (more…)

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