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Top 85 most Exposed Countries to Social Unrest

Posted on: March 1, 2011

I used the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s calculation of how much of households’ total consumption was made up by food in 85 countries during 2008. The premise here is that hunger has historically sparked revolt. Indeed, food-price inflation seems to have been a significant factor in the recent wave of crises.

Most major countries are on the FDA list, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are no data for the likes of Angola, Congo, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Tanzania, Uganda and Niger. Iraq and Afghanistan also don’t make the list. Countries not on the FDA list aren’t in my index either.

Indeed, the FDA guide alone is probably the best indication of which countries are most unstable. Food makes up more than 30% of household consumption in 25, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Algeria. Worryingly, others include Pakistan (46%), Indonesia (44%), India (36%) and China (34%). It’s easy to see why the rampant food-price inflation of the past six months has been such a worry for these countries’ governments.

But back to my index; a more comprehensive and possibly spurious index.

The top 10 potential hot spots are led by Kenya and Cameroon and include Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Jordan and Azerbaijan. Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia are in the next 10, together with Vietnam, India and Uzbekistan. The top 30 is then made up of countries including Colombia, South Africa, Iran, Venezuela, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

Saudi Arabia is 39 out of the 85, Russia is 40 and Kuwait is 51. The highest-ranked European Union country is Romania at 37.

So which are the least (potentially) revolting countries? Bottom ranked is Sweden followed by Austria, Canada, Denmark and Germany. In terms of oil producers, Norway, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates look pretty safe.

Modest adjustments to the methodology alter the relative positions, but the conclusions are broadly the same. Poor countries with many young people are more likely to be hot spots than ageing, bourgeois Europe. On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to watch Ireland’s and Greece’s progress over the coming years.

The Full Revolting Index

Rank / Country / Index

1. Kenya 100.0
2. Cameroon 94.5
3. Pakistan 90.8
4. Nigeria 88.9
5. Indonesia 80.3
6. Philippines 80.1
7. Guatemala 79.2
8. Morocco 78.7
9. Jordan 78.6
10. Azerbaijan 78.6
11. Vietnam 77.9
12. Algeria 77.4
13. Libya 76.9
14. India 76.6
15. Uzbekistan 76.4
16. Egypt 75.3
17. Bolivia 74.7
18. Georgia 73.4
19. Turkmenistan 71.3
20. Dominican Republic 69.6
21. Tunisia 69.1
22. Ukraine 68.2
23. Bosnia-Herzegovina 67.3
24. Colombia 67.1
25. South Africa 67.0
26. Peru 66.2
27. Iran 65.7
28. Venezuela 65.5
29. Belarus 65.1
30. China 64.3
31. Kazakhstan 64.0
32. Macedonia 63.8
33. Brazil 62.0
34. Ecuador 60.4
35. Mexico 59.4
36. Turkey 59.1
37. Romania 59.0

Read More…

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