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Growing Social Unrest

February 22, 2014

The Math That Predicted The Revolutions Sweeping The Globe Right Now

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By Brian Merchant

It’s happening in Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, Bosnia, Syria, and beyond. Revolutions, unrest, and riots are sweeping the globe. The near-simultaneous eruption of violent protest can seem random and chaotic; inevitable symptoms of an unstable world. But there’s at least one common thread between the disparate nations, cultures, and people in conflict, one element that has demonstrably proven to make these uprisings more likely: high global food prices.

Just over a year ago, complex systems theorists at the New England Complex Systems Institute warned us that if food prices continued to climb, so too would the likelihood that there would be riots across the globe. Sure enough, we’re seeing them now. The paper’s author, Yaneer Bar-Yam, charted the rise in the FAO food price index—a measure the UN uses to map the cost of food over time—and found that whenever it rose above 210, riots broke out worldwide. It happened in 2008 after the economic collapse, and again in 2011, when a Tunisian street vendor who could no longer feed his family set himself on fire in protest.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2014 6:28 pm

    Regarding me previous post, see here the internet link with informations from the newest developments.

  2. February 23, 2014 6:25 pm

    Thank you for this interesting post and your great work, as you gave me a glimpse of hope. Though when following discussions among climate scientists, the situation could be much worse. The arctic is just melting too fast, and the permafrost has started to melt. Massive amounts of frozen methane gas called clathrate is stored there. The amount of clathrate is about as high as all oil, gas and coal-reserves together. Methane Gas has a greenhouse effect about 20 times higher than CO2, in the short term even 100 times higher. Methane Gase is already erupting in considerable amounts from the seefloor north of alaska and elsewhere in the arctic since the fall of 2013.

    So the only solution would be cooling the arctic artificially. This is only possible with geo engineering. On the mean time, greenhouse gases should be reduced drastically.

    In this context, personal survival strategies seem to be important, but insufficient. The earth could be heated so much whithin a short time frame of less than 100 years that ANY life on earth would be destroyed.

    Thank you Mr Nelson. keep up your important work!

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