How far would you go to feed your family? Economic conditions are rapidly deteriorating, and food costs are soaring globally, pushing millions of people into desperation. The UN has reported that 2.4 billion people did not have enough food to eat last year, and sadly, that number is expected to increase for 2023. A global rice crisis has erupted, with the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal severely restricting the flow of agricultural goods from that region. As a result, food costs are spiking all over the world.
While nobody is starving in the United States yet, food prices have become oppressive, and economic conditions are worsening. In just the past two months, 670,000 full-time jobs have been lost, and the unadjusted payrolls report for August was the worst since the Great Recession. A recent survey found that 61% of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, a number that is expected to rise in the coming months.
Low-income workers are particularly vulnerable, with 78% of those earning less than $50,000 a year living paycheck to paycheck. This is due to higher prices for food and other essential items, which make up a larger portion of their budget. In comparison, only 44% of those earning $100,000 or more reported living paycheck to paycheck.
As financial strain increases, people are turning to debt to make ends meet, resulting in unprecedented levels of debt. Total household debt reached a new high of $17.06 trillion in the second quarter of 2023, with credit card debt exceeding $1 trillion. Economists warn that as interest rates and costs continue to rise, debt levels may increase further.
Desperation is fueling a crime wave across the nation, prompting retailers to implement extreme measures. A Giant Food store in Washington D.C. has decided to remove all Tide, Colgate, and Advil products from its shelves due to rampant theft. This move comes as a last-ditch effort to avoid shutting down the unprofitable store. Other nearby stores have taken similar measures, locking up products or removing them altogether.
Incidents like these are becoming increasingly common, marking a societal shift towards lawlessness. Just recently, a group of masked thieves stole $9,000 worth of goods from a Home Depot store in California in broad daylight. These incidents reflect a growing trend of robberies and a general decline in social order.
Food shortages are also a growing concern globally. The recent spike in rice prices has caused countries to panic and scramble for supplies. The partial ban on rice exports by India has led to a roughly 20% reduction in global supplies. This, combined with the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon on rice production and Russia’s halt on wheat exports from Ukraine, has led to soaring prices. Vulnerable populations in poor nations are particularly at risk, and civil unrest has already begun in some parts of Africa.
As conditions worsen, more people are searching for alternatives. The number of Americans searching for the term “live off grid” on the internet has reached its highest level in years. This reflects a growing interest in finding rural land, building tiny homes, installing solar panels, and sourcing food and water independently.
It is evident that “Mad Max” conditions are looming on the horizon. Economic instability, rising food prices, and social unrest are becoming increasingly prevalent. It is crucial to prepare for what lies ahead and explore alternative solutions to navigate these challenging times.