© New York Times
A recent report highlights the connection between food price increases and social unrest.
In August 2011, Marco Lagi, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and K.Z Bertrand released a report through the New England Complex Systems Institute(NECSI). The report, "The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East," reveals a link between the background trend of rising global food prices and riots around the globe using data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Food Price Index.

"When you have food prices that peak, you have all these riots. But look under the peaks, at the background trend. That's increasing quite rapidly, too," said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of NECSI, in an interview with Wired Science"In one to two years, the background trend runs into the place where all hell breaks loose."

Social unrest, the NECSI report explained, often reflects severe cases of poverty, unemployment, and injustice. While food prices might not be the primary cause of protests, it provides a platform for populations to revolt.