By Stan Szymanski
Noted journalist (once upon a time journalists were actually recognized as ‘noted’-not just paid off propagandists) and author Alfred Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.”
‘Sri Lanka warned of an unprecedented default and halted payments on foreign debt, an extraordinary step taken to preserve its dwindling dollar stockpile for essential food and fuel imports.’
So the war, the disruption in the supply chain and the at least perceived upheaval in the currency markets has caused a sovereign country to have to make the decision between national financial solvency and the ability to procure food for its people.
According to the article, inflation in Sri Lanka is running at 20% and the country suffers from daily power blackouts of up to 13 hours at a time. If the government of Sri Lanka cannot pay its debt service and is opting to buy food instead of financial compliance it is basically trying to fend off an ‘Arab Spring’ at home.
In 2011, during the Arab Spring, a popular slogan at demonstrations that would eventually topple the military government of Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, was “bread, freedom and social justice.”
The politicians are trying to hold onto their power. They know that if there are riots over food, due either to lack of availability or skyrocketing price, that they will end up like Mubarak.
Ukraine and Russia together account for about 30 percent of the worlds’ grain production. The Ukraine may not be planting anything near a full years’ worth of crops. Russia has a war to wage and will be carefull with its grain for itself and its strategic partners. Three agricultural behemoths Cargill, ADM and Bunge control 90% of the global grain trade. Depending on where these companies loyalties lie, these are the seeds that may germinate into something much bigger than the Arab Spring.
Unrest and riots have broken out in Peru over the impact of inflation on that nation-it ain’t pretty-check out the Twitter videos documenting this.
The movement of common people rising up to petition their government for the redress of grievances (or just the lack of food) has caught on and is now picking up steam. Picking up steam just like today’s CPI report showing that inflation is rising at the fastest rate since the early 1980’s. So not only will we have social unrest, but also high inflation, supply chain disruptions and war.
Is this all going to happen in a far away place? Hardly. Last week I was looking at a food item on Tuesday that cost $33. I had to wait until we got paid to get that ration. My wife and I went back to get it on Friday and the price had gone up to $39(!). That is an 18.2 percent increase in -3- days! How many more increases will happen to that item this year? We bought it and were happy to get it.
You can consider protecting your ability to eat by converting your funds into tangible food stuffs (this is not financial advice-consult your advisor).
Today you have received advance admonition that the storm clouds have gathered, a downpour has started and a funnel cloud is off in the distance, heading towards you. Are going to get into the storm cellar or are you going to get a lemonade and watch the show from the eye of the cyclone? Better yet, get into the root cellar with the goods that you have (hopefully) put up or a rainy day.
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