Food, Water, Population and Civil Unrest
Food security has been making the news.
I am not sure that my students appreciated the importance of population, food and water issues, but these were things that I had my students looking at in the fall.
I've said a few times that I disagree that emerging economies are going to do as much as people believe they will do and the primary reason is water issues. China, for example, has 2.5% of the water supply of Canada per person. There are serious, serious water pollution issues, lack of access to potable water for many and a rising standard of living will simply make these issues more serious. In my opinion, it will limit a growing standard of living faster than people realize.
Additionally, food supply is a serious issue. Food export controls have been imposed by Russia, China, India, Vietnam, Argentina, and Serbia. Increasing food costs have hurt poor people far in excess of any economic growth. How well will economic growth continue when people are rioting in the streets and destroying businesses? Food riots aren't a maybe, they are already here, in Haiti, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Sengal.
"Indonesians spend half their income on food, Vietnamese spend 65 percent and Nigerians spend 73 percent."
Information I found in the fall indicated that world food storage supply has been decreasing from over 200 days in 2000. Reading the link above, it has declined to 75 days. I am sure the information I was reading in the fall was indicating world supply was still at least double that, 155 days sticks out in my mind. Old information? Hording? Hedge funds??? I don't know, but this is about life, death, and probably war. What will the political fallout be if the rest of world watches their people starve and then they learn they couldn't afford to eat because of speculation by hedge funds?
Other information I've read indicates that in China even though wages have increased in the range of 10%, food prices have increased in the range of 20%, or about double the rate of incomes. How do people end up with a higher standard of living out of this?
I have a feeling that businesses involved in homeland security are going to have a boom.