A Wave of Unrest Is Coming


The Economist “has built a statistical model to examine the relationship between food and fuel-price inflation and political unrest. It reveals that both have historically been good predictors of mass protests, riots and political violence. If our model’s findings continue to hold true, many countries can expect to see a doubling of unrest this year.”

“The greatest risk is in places that were already precarious: countries such as Jordan and Egypt that depend on food and fuel imports and have rickety public finances. Many such places are badly or oppressively governed. In Turkey the supply shock has accelerated ruinous inflation caused by dotty monetary policy. Around the world, the cost-of-living squeeze is adding to people’s grievances and raising the chance that they will take to the streets. This is more likely to turn violent in places with lots of underemployed, single young men. As their purchasing power falls, many will conclude that they will never be able to afford to marry and have a family. Frustrated and humiliated, some will feel they have nothing to lose if they join a riot.”

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