Coming Food Shortages
How war in Ukraine conflict is creating a global humanitarian crisis
The world is facing a potential food crisis because of the Russo-Ukraine conflict. As I discussed before, the impact of this conflict is global and long-term. A few of us geopolitical commentators have examined the potentially lasting effects on global commodities. Africa will especially feel the impact of this war, where food imports are critical.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a timeline earlier mid, last week that he expects Africa to face a “deep food crisis in 12-18 months.”
I don’t know where the timeframe comes from, but the crisis may occur sooner, judging from US production and Chinese food purchases in the first half of 2022. The population of Africa continues to explode. The world is also facing a rapidly approaching fertilizer shortage because of the war in Ukraine. These knock-on effects cause a perfect storm of a rapid decline in available food and the ability to produce more food.
Looking at the chart above, substantial portions of African food imports come from Russia and Ukraine. Devastation from the war and sanctions will cause difficulty filling the gap in the second half of 2022. It’s essential to take notice of the countries at the bottom of the chart, particularly Egypt.
See graphs in these links here:
Egypt is a country whose government’s stability depends substantially on inexpensive bread. Despite promises of increasing domestic planting of wheat, increasing production substantially is difficult for Egypt. The problem is exacerbated by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam filling that threatens the Nile River zone's food production. This situation can create a perfect storm where the Egyptian government faces food shortages and a disagreeable Ethiopian government. Pundits toss the word instability around a lot; however, this is an actual example of a severe crisis, especially when coupled with other upheavals in the Middle East and Africa.
Currently, India is rising to the occasion and is in final talks with Egypt to start exporting wheat. India is displaying its ability to act like a major power, having raised its relative share of world wheat exports from 0.14% to 0.54% in 2020. India’s total wheat production constitutes around 14.0% of the world’s total wheat production; however, most of that wheat is consumed domestically. It is not likely that India can substantially replace the disrupted wheat imports of these African nations.
The imports do not substantially impact the pending fertilizer and water shortages in a country like Egypt. In my understanding, some of the first Russian sanctions that will be lifted or circumvented will be on gas exports (if they were ever enforceable), given the impending food crisis.
Egypt’s case is particularly exacerbated, but similar situations exist across Africa. Compounding this are regional, transnational crime and terrorism, and the machinations of the Great Powers as they contend for power in that continent. The fallout from the Russo-Ukraine war will exaggerate and accelerate the diplomatic, economic, and intelligence fight between the United States, Russia, and China. Here, we will also see a situation where Russia and China will be unwilling friends in Africa. Russia wants (needs?) commodity prices to be as high as possible and benefit from instability to boost the value of their exports, which African nations export. China is in search of cheap commodities to import and the ability to expand overseas production, especially some manufacturing and agricultural products in the long term. China seeks to shift its economy to a more technological and service-oriented one to compete with the United States and the United Kingdom.
To emphasize a point, expanding the conflict from a regional one to a global war will kill millions of people because of food shortages from even more exporters facing disruptions. Do not let people like Adam Kinzinger gaslight you into believing there are zero consequences from starting a NATO-Russia war. World War 3 is a bad policy choice.
What if the coming food shortages are by design, a means to achieving an end that is too difficult to achieve because the problem that's been identified is "too big" to change with the choices that are available to society?
Would a crisis, would a shortage be helpful to change human consumption behaviors by increasing the price associated with those behaviors? And if so, since behavioral science-based nudges haven't been effective, the problem too large, would designing and orchestrating a massive crisis that necessarily changes the choice architecture available to humans serve as an ideal means to a desired ends?
"Climate change: “Nudge is part of the solution to almost any problem, but is not the solution to any problem.”
Climate change is one of the topics that received more attention in the New Nudge. I asked Thaler how nudges, an approach some have criticized for playing at the margins, might contribute to fighting climate change.
Thaler [12:57] : “Nudges help on climate change, but it’s too big of a problem. One of the things we say in various ways and repeat throughout the book is nudge is part of the solution to almost any problem, but is not the solution to any problem.
“I am with, I think, 100 percent of economists around the world in thinking that step one, if we want to deal with this crisis, must be to get the prices right. Economists are right about some things. If you make something free, people consume too much of it. We see that at all-you-can-eat restaurants or, even worse, open bars. Right now, emissions are free, and people are acting accordingly. So whether it’s a carbon tax or cap and trade, we’ve got to get the prices right (now, that’s easier to say than to do). "
I submit to you that this is not conspiracy. Behavioral Science-based "nudges," terms like "choice architecture" are the actual processes of achieving the changes desired by the most powerful entities in the world today. At the United Nations under Agenda 2030, shared with the goals and vision expressed by the World Economic Forum's Great Reset. There is even a Behavioral Science plan available in UN documents, developed with leading Global Behaviorists working in government agencies and private industries, especially within Big Tech. Google itself has a Chief Global Behavioral Scientist, Maya Shankar, who co-authored the UN's Behavioral Insights Achieving Agenda 2030 plan. She was formerly the head of the Social and Behavioral Science Team under Pres. Obama (now designated the Office of Evaluation Services under the General Services Administration.)
And similar teams exist in the UK as the Behavioral Insights Team and in the Covid SPI-B nudge units that developed the most oppressive liberty-sucking nonpharmaceutical intervention strategies the world has lived under since 2020, like completely ineffective and discredited lockdown policies, mandatory quarantines, and mandatory and coerced masking. Psychological tools of manipulation designed to effect a change desired by authorities.
Could the coming food shortages actually be a coordinated and orchestrated crisis designed to "nudge" people to make different choices within a "SIMPLER" architecture of fewer choices deemed "better" by a self-imagined more enlightened, smarter, benevolent elite that has struggled with using ordinary methods of persuasion to influence changes they believe will help the environment and prevent the catastrophic climate change they've been warning us about for half a century? Something to consider.
Millions of Africans starving is a small price to pay for some affluent soccer moms to preen and virtue signal.