The drought that has swept across much of the United States will likely drive up food prices throughout the Nation and, some people fear, may even spark global unrest as food becomes scarce in some parts of the world.
The Federal government said this week that U.S. consumers should expect rising prices on agricultural goods like milk, beef, chicken and pork in the next year. The government also said that a price jump should be expected in processed foods, many of which contain corn as a staple ingredient, because of the drought’s devastating toll on corn crops. About 88 percent of corn crops are growing poorly or have been destroyed.
The government indicates that consumers should expect a 4 to 5 percent price increase on beef next year, and a slightly lower increase on pork, eggs and dairy.
The New England Complex Systems Institute predicts that while the rising prices will likely have a nominal impact on American consumers, those in developing countries who import U.S. agricultural goods will likely be heavily affected.
“The drought is clearly going to kick prices up. It already has. What happens when you have speculators is that it goes through the roof,” said NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam. “We’ve created an unstable system. Globally, we are very vulnerable.”
In conjunction with the rising prices, the researcher says that mass social unrest and violence in parts of the world are possible.