Michael Klare’s article The Oil-Food Price Shock in the March 28th edition of The Nation asserts that rising food costs were at the core of the uprisings that began in Algeria and spread across North Africa. There were other contributing factors, he acknowledges, but notes that in all cases the rising cost of food was an issue.
Here in the land of Whole Foods, Walmart, and Piggly Wiggly, the thought that a 50% increase in the price of sugar or rice could send the denizens of Cambridge and Watertown and Arlington into the streets to foment revolt is laughable.
At least for now. Too many people can still gorge on too much in America. The legions of homeless and abandoned are not yet numerous enough to coalesce in a storming of the Bastille. Not enough people have yet connected the dots between the War Economy and their own incipient penury and impoverishment. But we’d be foolish to think that we in America are immune to such a cataclysm.