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Food Crisis, Greatest Threat to Social Stability

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 8:12
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(Before It's News)

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This article was written by Jeff Thomas and
originally published at  "">International

Recently, I was in a pharmacy and overheard the pharmacist say
to someone, “There’s so much unpleasantness on the news these days,
I’ve stopped watching.” The pharmacist has my sympathy. I’d love to
be able to ignore the deterioration of the First World. It is, at
turns, tedious, depressing, disturbing, and infuriating.

Unfortunately, we’re now passing through what, before it’s over,
will be the most life-altering period in our lifetimes. As much as
we’d like to behave like ostriches right now, we’d better keep our
heads out of the sand and be as honest with ourselves as we can if
we’re going to lessen the impact that these events will have on

I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of a
possible shortage of food
. History is filled with examples of
cultures that would endure most anything and still behave
responsibly… but nothing causes greater, more
unpredictable, or more violent behavior in a people than a lack of

Interesting to note that whenever I converse with people on the
finer points of the Great Unraveling, when I mention the words
“famine” or “food riots,” even those who are otherwise quite
comfortable discussing the subject tend to want to discount the
possibility that these will be aspects of the troubles that are
headed our way. For this very reason, I believe that we should
shine a light on this eventuality.

The Present State of the Industry

In America, the food industry is not in good shape. Normally,
the food industry relies on a low-profit/high-volume basis, leaving
little room for error. Add to this fact that many business owners
and managers in the food industry have given in to the temptation
to build up debt over the years. Following the 2008 crash, many
have been struggling to get on top of that debt. Inflation has made
that task especially difficult. Some have been keeping their noses
above water; others have gone under.


In future years, hyperinflation is a very real possibility.
Historically, whenever a government creates massive debt and
greatly increases the printing of currency, dramatic inflation, if
not hyperinflation, results. Those businesses that are already on
the ragged edge will find that when they’re paid, they cannot buy
the same volume of goods for the same amount of dollars. This will
be true throughout the entire food-supply chain. Of course, little
inflationary blips are the norm in business, and businesses adjust
to them. The problem comes when there
are large increases that
continue steadily over a period of months. When
this occurs, we’ll see a greater frequency of food-supply
businesses going belly up.

In a normal business climate, the failure of some businesses
would aid the competition, as they would have new markets to take
on, but if the remaining businesses are already having trouble,
they will not be in a condition to expand. The disappearance of
large numbers of providers will result in a failure of delivery to
the next business down the chain. Nationwide, distribution will
become inadequate. This, of course, will not be uniform. Some areas
will suffer worse than others. Those types of areas that are
already chronically problematic will be hit hardest.

Those who are the most likely to go down the earliest will be
those who have the highest overheads and the lowest volume.
Typically, these are the small stores—the ones on street corners in
every city.

These stores are critical. If a supermarket in the suburbs
experiences a shortage, purchasers may drive across town to another
supermarket. Not so in the city. If a corner store has empty
shelves, or worse, closes completely, the purchasers in that
neighborhood must walk to the next neighborhood to buy, and they
might not be welcome there if the people in that neighborhood are
already having problems with supply at their local store. Worse,
should the second store also close, the number of purchasers is
redoubled. When the shoppers from two stores arrive at the third
store, physical conflict between shoppers is a near certainty.

Panic Sets In

Food panic doesn’t necessarily occur if a retailer carefully
assesses his increased market and rations sales so that everybody
gets a slightly lesser share. In fact, I’ve personally seen this
work well in the event of a natural disaster in my home country.
The panic does occur when the availability suddenly
becomes non-existent (even for a brief time) and
the shoppers are unsure when it will be resumed.
In an inner city, this is exacerbated by three factors:

  1. Shipments from suppliers become erratic and insufficient.
  2. A significant increase in the number of shoppers cleans out the
  3. Individual shoppers become unreasonably demanding.

This last factor, in any inner-city situation, is almost always
responsible for the chaos that evolves into a riot. It works like
this: A mother complains that there is no bread for her children to
have a sandwich. Her husband becomes angry at the problem and goes
down to the corner store, demanding a loaf of bread. The store
manager says that he cannot release the bread until the next
morning when the neighborhood knows they can each come and buy one
loaf only. The man, becoming angrier, goes in the back and takes a
loaf of bread. The manager resists and is shot.

The man, on his way out, grabs a carton of cigarettes and a
couple of six-packs of beer for good measure. The store, now
unmanaged, is looted. Those shoppers who are normally peaceful
people begin to panic and realize that it’s time to grab what you
can. In these situations, the food stores are generally cleaned out
quickly. In a very short period of time, a full-scale riot may be
in play. In most inner-city riots, the liquor stores are hit early
on, then the appliance stores, and so on down the line.

But this is no ordinary riot. Unlike a riot triggered by, say, a
TV news clip of some policeman beating a seemingly innocent man,
the trigger is ongoing and, more importantly, it is not, at its
heart, anger-based—it is fear-based. And it is
self-perpetuating. Shipments are not resumed to a store that has no
one running it. Worse, additional store owners close for fear that
they’re next. The situation
escalates very fast.

Enter the Cavalry

While the US and Europe have seen many riot situations and we
can, therefore, study how they play out, a series of
self-perpetuating riots has not taken place before. It’s likely
that, within weeks, a national emergency would be declared, and
rightly so. But how to deal with it?

Certainly, the president and state governors would quickly begin
to work with wholesalers to ensure that food got to the cities (and
any other locations that are also troubled). Needless to say,
suppliers will refuse, stating that, in such a situation, they
cannot get paid for any food that they deliver. Truckers will state
that they cannot accept the danger that their drivers will be
exposed to.

Politicians, feeling the pressure from their constituencies,
will want to act decisively, even if their decisions prove
ineffectual. In such cases, those politicians who are more
conservative may decide to send in truckloads of food to be handed
out for free, with the control of the Department of Homeland
Security to (hopefully) keep order. Those politicians who are more
liberal will believe that the right solution is to nationalize food
supply in their states (and possibly nationally)—to take over the
control of delivery.

As can be imagined, the results will vary from suburban
situations in which the store staff are still in place and the
provision of food at the retail level remains orderly, to
inner-city situations in which trucks will be routinely ransacked.
The evening news will show a clip of a “shopper” running down the
street with a case of boxes of cornflakes while heads of lettuce
roll on the pavement, some to be picked up, others to be

Meanwhile, at the other end of the supply chain, the wholesaler
is trying to explain to the politicians that if he’s not paid in
some way for the food he sends out, he simply cannot continue.
Politicians (especially the more liberal ones), not understanding
the workings of business, regard the businessman as simply being
greedy and fail to understand that, without an orderly flow of
money, business stops. The politicians place a temporary ban on all
food containers being shipped overseas (even though the overseas
customers may be the only truly reliable payers). The politicians
advise the wholesalers that they will be paid “eventually.” If the
money does not exist in the state’s treasury, some politicians may
even promise future tax credits as payment. As a result, the supply
of food breaks down on a major scale.

How It All Shakes Out

Historically, there’s nothing so chaotic as famine. As long as
people have a crust of bread and as long as it arrives regularly,
there’s a chance that events may be controlled. It’s the
very unpredictability of supply that causes
panic. And the greater the concentration of potential recipients,
the greater the panic.

Small wonder that, when I speak to friends and associates about
the Great Unraveling, this one facet often makes them recoil in a
desire to avoid the subject entirely. Once this particular house of
cards begins to fall, it will fall much faster than the economy in
general, and the results will unquestionably be extreme. So, if the
politicians are unlikely to effect a workable solution (at least in
the short term), how does this all play out? After all, no famine
lasts forever.

What historically happens during a famine is that chaos ensues
for a period of time. Some people are killed in attempting to take
food from the authorities who control the distribution. Other
people are killed on their way home by others who want the food
they are carrying. Others are killed in their homes when raided by
those who are hungry. Still, others die of starvation. It’s
horrific to say, but, after a time, in such situations, famine
becomes “the new norm” and, as illogical as it would seem, this is
the turning point. Chaos eventually devolves into hopelessness and
listlessness, and the panic disappears. Then, at some point, the
lines of supply are slowly restructured, generally on a more
limited scale than before.

Is there a timeline for the above to occur? This is for the
reader to decide. Each of us will have some general picture in our
heads regarding the likelihood and timing of a second crash in the
stock market, the rapidity and degree of hyperinflation, and the
many other aspects that make up the Great Unraveling of the

Therefore, those who accept that harder times are looming but
would rather not consider the likelihood of food riots and famine
would be advised to read the above article a second time and then
begin to plan. Those who do not presently have “backdoor”
situations in place may wish to set the wheels in motion and to
internationalize themselves. One thing is certain: Once riot
situations begin, there will not be enough time to plan.


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