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Sun Nov 10, 2013, 02:20 PM

Saudi police in Riyadh clash with migrant workers

Source: BBC

Two people have been killed and scores wounded as Saudi police clashed with protesting foreign workers in a district of the capital, Riyadh.

A police statement said hundreds of people were arrested in the Manfuhah neighbourhood.

Video on social media websites showed security forces in riot gear using truncheons to disperse large crowds.

Last week police rounded up thousands of migrant workers after an amnesty linked to new employment rules expired.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24888304

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 04:47 PM

1. Hadn't realized the Saudization program from, oh, 7-9 years ago was still going on.

The Sa'udis know the real reason for the Arab spring.

A lot of unemployed people who, because of cultural constraints, cannot have the "honor" and "dignity" required. Jobs adequate to get married, have a wife and kids, etc., etc. It's how Tunisia started its revolution--a guy wasn't allowed to have his own business to support his family without paying crippling, dishonoring bribes.

See interviews. "Now that we have democracy, we'll have prosperity." It's a means, not a goal; many Westerners think of it as a goal, not a means--with a strain of (conservative) thought even proposing that prosperity leads to democracy.

Other kinds of group honor are still ripping apart Iraq, Libya, Syria.

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Response to Igel (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 07:54 PM

3. Syria started with food shortages too, as I recall.

Some people just do not starve to death quietly, for some reason.


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Response to bemildred (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 11, 2013, 02:44 PM

4. And none of the commentators mentioned that Revolts occur AFTER the solution of the Food Shortage.


I love tech geeks, they think they know it all and start to site high tech solutions.

Food and Revolutions

Now, Karl Marx (an name NOT to be mentioned in polite company) observed that revolts do NOT occur as an economy deteriorates but as it bounces back. As things go from bad to worse, no revolts take place. Revolts occur when things have bottomed out and things are improving. The main reason for this is people can not think of revolt until they are feed, once feed they get to think about WHY they went unfed and revolt.

Thus the Great Famine of 1787 lead to the French Revolution of 1789. The European Famine of the 1844-1846 lead to the revolution of 1848. The worse year for Russia was 1916, things were looking good when both the February and March revolutions occurred in 1917. In Germany, things were so bad in 1918, that they surrendered, but then had their own revolution in 1919 (started in September 1918 thus it was the Republic of Germany that Surrendered on 11-11-1918 not the German Empire that had gone to war in 1914).

The end of WWI, released a lot of tensions, thus you had massive revolts all through Eastern Europe (most were repressed) but nasty strikes hit the US in 1919 and you had the West Virginia Coal war in 1921.

Farming techniques - The Three Sisters

As to the geeks farming theories, Grain production in the US is extremely high, not only in total amounts but per acre. Most of this improvement over the last 50 years has been in improved seeds, through that appears to be coming to an end as the increase in production per plant has dropped since the 1960s and appears to be heading for Zero (Zero increase in amount of food per plant, not zero production of food). This increase in food production per plant has permitted the US to maintain its export of food. With the increase heading for Zero (and more and more land given to Corn instead of Wheat so that the Corn can be made into Fuel) we have seen a steady increase in the price of food since about 2006. The price does not look like it will come down in the near future.

Now, while production per acre per crop has increased over the last 50 years, the production of food per acre has in some areas has DROPPED. The reason for this is on smaller farms (less then 50 acres) the tendency even in the US is to grow more then one crop on any acre of farmland. The conversion to larger farmers relying om mechanization to harvest has eliminated these smaller farms, but to an extent these smaller farms still exist.

The American Tradition of planting the "Three Sisters" on the same acre of ground, make it impossible to use mechanized harvesting machines on those crops. The Three Sisters were corn, pole beans and pumpkins. The Corn was the main source of food being a grain, but Corn is noted for withdrawing Nitrogen from the soil, thus wears out the soil quickly. Beans, are Nitrogen fixers, i.e, they take Nitrogen from the air and fixes it into the soil for both its use and the use of other plants (i.e. corn). Pole Beans, on the other hand need something to grow on (Bush beams do not, but Natives use the much more productive climbing beans). The problem is once you plant the beans, you can no longer take a mechanical harvester and harvest all of the corn for by doing so, you kill all the bean plants. The Third sister, pumpkins, provided ground cover that prevented weeds from growing and thus permitted the others to grow to full height.

Notice how the use of all three plants permitted increase productivity in all three plants on the same acre of land. If you use all three, you get increase production per acre of land of food produced, even as the amount of each crop per acre drops. The real down side is increase cost of growing the crops for you have to use manual methods of harvest,

Side note: Most beans raised in the USA today are Bush Beans. Bush Beans derived from Pole Beans but are less productive except on a per acre per crop per worker basis. i.e. Pole Beans have to be picked by hand and need either trellis or some other plant to climb on (i.e. Corn), Pole Beans will produce beans till the first frost, thus are VERY productive. Bush Beans were developed to permit mechanized harvesting of beans. They have short but thick stems so they do NOT climb other plants but instead grow as a bush. Thus tend to be grown by themselves and harvested just once.

Thus the Three Sisters can out produced conventional farming techniques on a food per acre basis, even while producing less of any single type of crop per acre (THree crops per acre is more food per acre then a higher per acre production of just one type of food).

Farming techniques - The need to replenish the soil

The Three sisters are derived from Native American Tradition of Farming, but that does not mean most Traditional Native American Farming techniques were good. Europeans brought with them farm animals, including the Horse, the Ox, the Cow, the Goat and Sheep. Along with these farm animals, Europeans brought with them the tradition of leaving land fallow for one year in four. During that off year, the land was left to nature AND to whatever farm animal grazed on that land. This permitted nutrients to be returned to the soil via what the animals left behind.

You must understand plants need just certain elements, first they need Oxygen and Hydrogen which they get from Water. Then they need Carbon, which they get naturally from the air around them.

Then Plants need the six macro-nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S);

Then Plants need the eight micro-nutrients: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn) and nickel (Ni) (1987).


In the days of old, leaving animals run on the land NOT farmed permitted the return of most macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients to the soil. Thus they were rarely an issue in most farming. The same for Sulfur, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Phosphorus, in that these occur naturally in the soil and returned via animals (Through they may have to be replenished if enough of any one of the elements are removed do to farming).

On the other hand Nitrogen, tends NOT to be returned to the soil and tend to be what most plants need after Oxygen, Hydrogen and Carbon. It is the number #1 item in most fertilizers. 80% of the atmosphere is Nitrogen, but most plants can NOT fix nitrogen from the air, but must get it from the ground (Beans and other Nitrogen fixers are the exception to this rule). The other main way Nitrogen is "fixed" into the ground is during lighting strikes (through this is minor compare to plant fixers). Most modern crops need nitrogen fertilizers to get any where near full production.


Nitrogen fertilizer is needed more in crops produced by irrigation then by rain fall, for rail fall tends to contain Fixed Nitrogen from lighting (this is also true of snow, thus farmers love deep snows, for it means more nitrogen in the soil the following growing season).

My point is running animals on fields with crops is an effective way to return all nutrients back to the soil with the exception of Nitrogen (Which is best returned to the soil via beans or other nitrogen fixing plant).

These techniques are old but effective, except if you look at a crop per acre basis. These techniques are also more manual labor driven, and for that reason have been largely abandoned in the US. Thus the US has seen a large increase in Crops per man hour, Crops per acre, while the actual food produced per acre has not increase anywhere near those two. Increase food prices will solve that.

I recently watched a James Cagney movie from the 1930s. This was after his days of playing a bad guy for the move had him as Government weight inspector, i.e. the person who goes around to make sure the scales are correct. In it he states that at that time (mid 1930s) 40% of house hold income went for food. It is now down to 25% (and remember the huge increase in overall income since the 1930s, especially 1945-1980 where the lower half actually saw a larger increase in the percentage of total income going to them as opposed to the pre 1930 and post 1980 norm that saw most of the increase in wealth went to the top 1%).

I bring up that Cagney Movie "Great Guy":


The IMDB site for Cagney:

Another technique was once the plants were a foot tall, run chickens in the field, they will tend to eat any weed seeds that land and leave behind nutrients (not to early, you need the plant to grow to large for the chickens to damage first).

Just a comment, they are ways to increase food production, but at a higher overall cost for food production. I think it is coming, will hit over the next 10-20 years. The big question will the Government encourage such farming or try to protect today's large farmer. People tend to forget that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually opposed the "Victory Garden" movement of WWII, for it would keep food prices down and thus profits down for farmers who raised vegetables

The Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) eventually gave in when it was found that most of the winter vegetables were raised in California by Americans of Japanese descent. When the Japanese were interned, they had to sell the land their owned to recently arrived Okies, who had arrived in California do to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. These farmers had a long learning curve since previously they had been grain farmers and now became Vegetable farmers. It took a while for these new farmers to learn, thus the USDA finally accepted the need for "Victory Gardens" for the duration of WWII, but quit all support with the end of WWII.

I mention the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for it has long been the tool of Corporate Farming, the USDA prefers to deal with large farmers for it means less need for outreach to such farmers.

Meatless Mondays were a WWI and WWII USDA programs:


But the USDA has always have had a problem with such programs, the USDA view itself having TWO equal agendas, first is to protect consumers, the second is to protect farmers. The later tends to overcome the former for Corporate farmers are willing to lobby the USDA while most consumers (and small farmers) can not.

More on Victory Gardens (with just a very brief mention of the USDA opposition to such gardens at the start of WWII).



WWII USDA Movie is support of "Victory Gardens":

Watch the people use horses and manual tools, and the clothing of the 1940s (And how much men's clothing have NOT changed and how much women's clothing has).

List of Items purchased as food from 1900 to 1980 as a percentage of Average income. This list goes form 31,4% in 1900 to 9.6 % in 1980. The movie Comment about 40% is what the average urban family spent NOT on a set number of items, but what was actually spent. A different number but closely related. While this site says prices in the 1930s was about 20%, it still shows the drop in percentage from the mid 1930s to the 1980s of over 50 Percentage points.


Now for some double speak from the USDA:

Based on current conditions, ERS's 2013 inflation forecast predicts increases of 1.5 to 2.5 percent for all food prices, with food-at-home (grocery store food items) prices predicted to increase 1.0 to 2.0 percent. This means that prices are likely to increase less than they did in 2012 and that annual inflation should be lower than the 20-year historical average of 2.8 percent. The impact of the 2012 drought on retail food prices has been less than initially forecast. The inflationary pressure of the drought has been offset by factors such as decreased exports of many U.S. agricultural products, a stronger U.S. dollar, low energy price inflation, and decreased prices for many commodities unaffected by the drought.


US Inflation rate in 1993 was 3.0%, it dropped to 2.6% in 1994 and 2.8% in 1995 but back up to 3.0% in 1996. It had been 4.2 % in 1992 and 5.4% in 1991.

Inflation continued to fall in 1997 to 2.3%, 1.6% in 1998 and 2.2% in 1999. In 2000 inflation was 3.4%, in 2001, 1.8%. in 2002 1.6%. Inflation did not fall that low till the Recession year of 2009 when it fell to -.4%. Then 1.6% in 2010, 3.2% in 2011, and 2.1% in 2012. The Average Inflation rate for the last 20 years is 2.5% (it would be higher if you went back further). Thus an increase in food prices will match the inflation rate.

Side note: Inflation has been low since 2008, mostly do to a drop in the price of housing. If you exclude housing, the inflation rate has been much higher then 2,5%, Oil price peaked in 2008 and have not fully recovered and expected to drop for another year or so (then go back up). Between housing and fuel, inflation has been kept in "Check", but food has continued its push upward (Thus the complaints of Senior Citizens as to the price of food and medicine, for their homes are paid for and their rarely drive any more).

Technically a 2.5% inflation rate would be good for the economy, but that occurs when such low inflation eat up over price items (mostly housing) that people do not want to sell at a lost (i.e. people keep the home till it is worth as much as they paid for it, even if the actual value has dropped do to inflation).

The expectation of 2.0% inflation in food is considered to LOW, it will be higher unless, as some economist predict we enter into another recession in the next couple of months. That may bring with it a further decline in price of housing and thus lower inflation rate, even well the rate of inflation for food and other necessaries will go up.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 07:36 PM

2. Coming soon to a city near you. n/t


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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2013, 02:51 AM

5. these moves will crash the economy... most GCC citizens absolutely refuse to do

either service jobs, or anything remotely resembling labor...

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