Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:36 am
WotE & the Middle East
Aka, holy crap this is a good time to be reading this book. The second part (which was this week's set of chapters) is all about the potential for collapse via water/soil shortages leading to food shortages. And most of the examples are in the Middle East (in case you didn't know, huge increases in food prices are implicated in Egypt). Also, at the UHC lecture today, many of the historical examples of revolution/sudden political change involved food crises. Both of these are impressively coincidental - and very cool, and very good reason for more people to read the book now, while all of this is going on.
On a more analytical note, I think it's probably for the best that it's all told in terms of food shortages - while I personally think that water has a much bigger role to play (we can rebuild soil and change practices, but plants still need a certain amount of water, as do power plants), it's a much better angle for most people - and probably will be the more directly visible piece of socio-political instability.
I find it interesting that there's very little discussion of economic disparity, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think it's an important part of the problem/solution, but it's also true that these problems are resource based and not economics based, and will affect everyone (some will be better able to cope, though). Thoughts? (feel free to create other threads for other topics, or just use this one).
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