We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say (Late 2012)
“In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.”
“An anecdote the researchers outline in the report offers us an idea. They write that ‘on December 13, 2010, we submitted a government report analyzing the repercussions of the global financial crises, and directly identifying the risk of social unrest and political instability due to food prices.’ Four days later, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire as an act of protest in Tunisia. And we all know what happened after that.”
I suspect the threshold isn’t just tied to a number on an index, but also tied to other factors and may be more tied to velocity.