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Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Salad Days of Revolution turn to Rot

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
February 04, 2011

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** The First Act of a World Convulsion
*** Let Them Eat Cake
*** Salad Days of Revolution turn to Rot
*** And More

The First Act of a World Convulsion

Fear and anger are raging in the Arab world.  Nations are falling into rebellion like dominoes.  Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordon, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain…and more.  The whole place seems to be coming unglued in rapid succession.

Cornerstones of Arab stability [there’s an oxymoron] over the last quarter century are crumbling to rubble faster than a Haitian flat in a 7.0 earthquake.  Ground zero, at the moment, is Egypt.  Clearly, as the week’s progressed, the situation’s turned from bad to worse. 

Here at the GDO we’ve been watching the spectacle with uneasy interest.  We have an inkling that we’re witnessing the first act of a world convulsion.

What grounds do we have to support this notion?

Nothing much.  Just a hunch…a suspicion.  Our gut tells us it is so; all the reason to take things serious.

~~~~~~Food Crisis Survival~~~~~~

How to Survive the Coming Food Crisis

What would happen if a natural, civil or economic disaster prevented us from growing, transporting and importing food?

Food prices would rise and supermarket shelves would go empty.  Within three days there’d be no food left in most people’s homes.  Chaos and anarchy would break out.  Thousands (if not millions) would starve.

Are you prepared for such a situation? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We don’t pretend to be experts on Egyptian politics, North Africa, or the Middle East.  Nonetheless, we won’t let that stop us from making an observation or two.  But be forewarned…what follows is worth the price you paid for it.

Let Them Eat Cake

Rare is the revolution ignited by a populace with a full stomach.  Aside from the American Revolution, we’re hard-pressed for an example where the people didn’t go hungry before they went mad.  Historically, surges against an oppressive regime are sparked by a steep and extended rise in food prices.

Leading up to the French Revolution, for example, famines were commonplace.  In fact, in one instance, when Louis XVI’s oblivious wife, Marie Antoinette, learned the peasants were out of bread, she remarked, “let them eat cake.” 

What followed were the Flour War riots.  Not long after that, Louis XVI’s head rolled off the guillotine chopping block.  Then things really got bad. 

The Reign of Terror reigned over the land for the next 10-years.  And the assignat currency, backed by the seized land of the revolution, blew up in a destructive bought of hyperinflation.  Before it was over Napoleon had channeled the discontent of a generation into a damaging misadventure to invade all of Europe.

If only there had been a little more bread to go around.  For an empty stomach, as you can see, is a malevolent condition.  The latest uprising proves no different…

“Rising food prices not only helped ignite civil unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and other developing nations in recent weeks,” reported TheStreet on Tuesday, “but threaten to curb global business operations by pressuring margins and disrupting the world’s oil supplies.

“Tensions may have eased Tuesday amid hopes for a peaceful resolution to the crisis and an expected end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, but food inflation -- a major catalyst to the region’s instability and call for change -- is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

“The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said its index of global food prices was at record highs, spiking 25% internationally in 2010, higher even than where the index was in 2007-8 during the last food-price inflation crisis.”

Salad Days of Revolution turn to Rot

No doubt, Egypt is merely a prelude to numerous civil and regional wars.  The existing power structure is being stood on its’ collective head.

Youthful idealism and cries for revolution combine for an intoxicating exploit.  Throwing a brick through a window and booting a dictator out of power is certainly thrilling.  Of course, the question many rebellions neglect to ask is…what comes next?

Democratic rule?  Freedom?  Liberty?  One can only hope…

More often something far more chaotic, despotic, and repressive takes hold.  When the Russians tossed out Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia, they got Vladimir Lenin and then Joseph Stalin.  For the next 70-years freedom was a scarce resource.

While the spontaneous demonstrations and the people on the street in Cairo raise their fists for freedom, behind the scenes, something far different is mounting.  From what we gather, the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist group, is quietly positioning itself to gain power in Egypt.

What this means we don’t entirely know.  But if the initial intent of the revolution was greater freedom and liberty…greater Islamic power and influence would trigger a bear market in individual sovereignty.  You can see it…and certainly smell it…

In short order, the salad days of revolution have turned to rot.

Sincerely,

M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

P.S.  The thought that the globe’s leading nations (like the United States and Canada) could suffer even a temporary food shortage (no less a prolonged food crisis) seems unthinkable to most people.  Do you realize how close our technology-driven agricultural industry is to experiencing such a crisis?  In fact, it is because our food system is so sophisticated, integrated and advanced that it is so vulnerable.

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