According to the story of Exodus, Egypt suffered ten “plagues” before Pharaoh finally agreed to release the Hebrews from bondage. Those plagues included waters becoming blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally, the deaths of all firstborn Egyptian children.
That list of plagues surprises in the sense that it did not expressly include famine. The Egyptians were harassed, annoyed, and troubled—but they weren’t generally starved unto death.
However, recent events suggest that Egypt may be about to suffer an “Eleventh Plague”—famine.
Over the past 20 years or more, the US has used the fiat dollar’s status as the “world reserve currency” to export American inflation to foreign countries. As a result, the prices of food and other commodities have been rising globally to keep up with the depreciating dollar. As the dollar inflates (grows less valuable), foreign food prices rise, and foreign people find themselves less able to purchase food. They begin to starve.
• Although the Arab Spring of A.D. 2011 appeared to be a purely political upheaval, it was largely a food riot fueled by the hunger of starving people of North Africa.
The Arab Spring resulted in significant political changes. People hoped that political change would bring better lives and more food. However, if the Arab Spring changed the political climate, it didn’t change the Egyptian food supply.
Almost two years after the Arab Spring, Egyptians are still starving
• Earlier this month, the Egyptian Gazette reported that, “The bloody civil disturbances that rocked Egypt during the past ten days were food riots as much as anything else.”
President Obama (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) has leapt into this humanitarian crisis by selling Egypt 20 updated F-16s and 100 Abrams tanks.
Interesting, hmm? The Egyptian people are starving and Obama sends them tanks and fighter jets. To paraphrase Marie Antoinette, Obama has apparently said, “Let ’em eat tanks.”
Not to be outdone, the International Monetary Fund has instructed Egyptians on the need to reduce the government’s budget deficit by reducing food and fuel subsidies, which keep more than 40% of Egyptians who are unemployed or underemployed alive.
According to the Washington Post, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government views the current unrest in Egypt as a problem of too much “demand” for food rather than an inadequate “supply”. I.e., the problem isn’t that the government has failed to provide enough food. The problem is that is that Egyptians (almost half of whom live on less than $2 a day) are eating too much.
Therefore, the government proposes to reduce its bread subsidy to three hand-sized loaves of pita bread per person per day, about 400 calories’ worth.
The Egyptian government is telling people who live on less that $2 a day to eat less.
We can guess what the Egyptian people may soon tell their government to “eat”.
• As David P Goldman observed, “A state that can’t feed its people is a failed state, and that’s why the Egyptian state is at the brink of collapse . . . . We are watching something unique and terrible in modern history, namely the disintegration of a society of 80 million people, with the prospect of real hunger—a self-made famine brought about by social and political disaster rather than crop failure or war. It is horrific and dangerous.”
We shouldn’t be surprised to see another “Arab Spring” Egypt by the end of A.D. 2014. Or, rather than a public uprising, perhaps we’ll simply see the Egypt’s national collapse. Either way, Egypt is headed towards the “eleventh plague” of famine and then, political disintegration.
It might happen this year, but I’ll bet that within the next 24 months Egypt may cease to exist as an intact nation and degenerate into civil war or perhaps a patchwork of districts and tribes run by autonomous “warlords”.