2007–2008 world food price crisis  

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"Political scientist George Friedman has postulated that if high prices for oil and food persist, they will define the fourth distinct geopolitical regime since the end of World War II, the previous three being the Cold War, the 1989–2001 period in which economic globalization was primary, and the post-9/11 "War on Terror"." --Sholem Stein

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World food prices increased dramatically in 2007 and the first and second quarter of 2008, creating a global crisis and causing political and economic instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. Although the media spotlight focused on the riots that ensued in the face of high prices, the ongoing crisis of food insecurity had been years in the making. Systemic causes for the worldwide increases in food prices continue to be the subject of debate. After peaking in the second quarter of 2008, prices fell dramatically during the late-2000s recession but increased during late 2009 and 2010, reaching new heights in 2011 and 2012 (see 2010–12 world food price crisis) at a level slightly higher than the level reached in 2008. Over the next years, prices fell, reaching a low in March 2016 with the deflated FAO food price index close to pre-crisis level of 2006. Since then prices have been increasing, but as of 2017-05 they have not reached crisis levels again.

The initial causes of the late-2006 price spikes included droughts in grain-producing nations and rising oil prices. Oil price increases also caused general escalations in the costs of fertilizers, food transportation, and industrial agriculture. Root causes may be the increasing use of biofuels in developed countries (see also food vs fuel), and an increasing demand for a more varied diet across the expanding middle-class populations of Asia. The Food and Agriculture Organization also raised concerns about the role of hedge funds speculating on prices leading to major shifts in prices. These factors, coupled with falling world-food stockpiles, all contributed to the worldwide rise in food prices.

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