Sunday, February 6, 2011
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
So what are some of the reasons that Egyptian people are revolting against Hasni Mubarak?
It was given scant attention but two years ago the Egyptians went out and rioted not about Mubarak but over a lack of wheat and grains. In other words food riots.
Poor harvests and especially the speculation of Wall Street (and other world casinos) have only added two more years of high prices. At the same time the Mumbarak regime was pushing for lower wages and reducing government programs.
Egypt’s food supply is highly reliant on the world food supply, as Egypt must import more than half of its food.
Now we are to 2011 where an average Egyptian spends over 50% of their income on food (the Average American spends 10%)
These price hikes are largely pushing the entire revolutionary sweep across the Middle East. From Tunisia to Yemen these price increases have hit hard, and the poor are the most effected.
A large part of the large increases in speculation is the deregulation of the Wall Street speculation markets by G.W. Bush. As regulation decreased, speculation (and thereby prices) increased and helped destabilize the Middle East. Yet another latent present from G.W. The Federal Reserve both under Greenspan and Bernake had their own roles to play as well.
Now I am in no way suggesting that this is the only reason that the Egyptian or indeed any Middle Eastern peoples are rising up, this is only the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. America’s small contribution to a revolution.
So now what is the price that America and other speculators must pay for their greed? Higher food prices of course. The Suez Canal and most of the world’s oil are in the areas now under unstable and unpredictable circumstances. Oil prices had been falling and then made a sharp spike up immediately following the news of mass uprisings, it has since stabilized but still at a much higher price than before the unrest. Oil futures in New York rose 3.2 percent based on the idea that a political coup could cause a supply disruption
Add this to the speculation on food and the severe weather the country has been seeing this year and we could see huge food price spikes here in the U.S. Processing, production, transportation and advertising costs all factor into food prices. Supply and demand both drive the price of commodities. U.S. food prices in December were only 1.5 percent higher than the previous year, so it looks stable.
Until you read last years joint report from the OECD and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which found that world food prices will raise up to 40% in the next decade. Add to this the inevitable rise in petroleum prices that affect production, packaging, shipping, and even the amount of money one has to spend on food and you have an explosive combination.
So what to do?
Get local, build a greenhouse, buy land, grow food, meet your neighbors, live a life, don’t let the revolution pass you by, and don’t be limited in your definition of a revolution.