Do you recognize that quote? Niobe said it in Matrix Resurrections. The instant it came out of her mouth, it struck me as so very true that I rewound the movie, listed to it again, and wrote it down.
“Nothing can breed violence like scarcity.” That’s what we have to look forward to as empty shelves become more frequent and as food scarcity grows.
Every year, we see violence at Black Friday sales when the best deals for the coolest items sell out. People fight over a $40 kid’s toy or small appliance. They snatch items out of other people’s hands. Other folks get into a scuffle over their place in line, waiting for the doors to open.
Think what they will do when they are fighting over the last few cans of chicken noodle soup or loaf of bread. If they will push, shove, pull hair and throw punches over a doll, think what will happen when it’s over a meal for a hungry kid. I’m thinking the knives and guns will come out, right there in the store aisles. Or maybe they’ll let you go through checkout and pay for the items and then rob you as you push the cart to the car.
Not me. When the shelves go empty for what looks to be that last time, I’ll be at home enjoying the food from my prepper pantry and guarding the approach.
We’re going to see shortages of food and energy all over the world in the coming year. Countries with lower standards of living, where people already spend half their income on food, will see it first. Then it will spread to more wealthy countries.
There will be two kinds of violence: First, it will be anger at the regime, and the citizens will protest and go on strike. Work will grind to a halt, busses will not run, and the streets will teem with angry mobs. Government buildings may be stormed and burned. That may lead to some changes that make people feel better, but it’s unlikely to result in more food on the table or lower gas prices at the tank not unless the government comes up with some money for subsidies.
The second kind of violence comes later, and its citizen vs citizen. When protests and petrol bombs fail to put food on the table, people are going to loot privately owned stores. They are going to kidnap rich people or their children and hold them hostage to raise money for food. As the rule of law falls apart, gangs will form on a neighborhood basis. Each gang will protect a neighborhood from outsiders who want to rob and pillage. They will set up checkpoints and search your car, charging you a fee or taking what they find if you are not from their neighborhood. The police may chance them away from time to time, but only so they can set up their own roadblocks and extort money and food from people.
The violence in the U.S. will initially be directed at the stores. The problem of looting smash and grab robberies will move from high-end luxury stores to grocery stores and even the dollar store. Ever see a liquor store or a convenience store in a bad neighborhood where there are two locking doors? You can’t open one unless the other is locked, forming an airlock of sorts. I expect that approach to become more common in all sorts of stores in all parts of the country.
That won’t help much at night when they can rob the place by throwing something through the window. As food prices grow and supplies drop, expect to see armed guards popping up and more and more stores. They will be window dressing to make the shopper feel safe, but they may have a deterrent effect.
I expect more sophisticated thieves will target trucks leaving food distribution centers and hijacking loads. The food will then find its way to discount grocery stores and black market stores set up on a mobile basis. A guy will drive up at a crowded corner, pop open the back of his big SUV and start selling something he got off a hijacked truck. We’ll see gangs that traffic in drugs selling baby formula and canned goods because they will already have the infrastructure and manpower.
Rising food prices will quickly widen the gulf between the haves and the have nots. Rich people who don’t even look at prices will breed resentment between those who are suddenly eating beans, rice and ramen, and that will make them targets. Right now, criminals in California and following rich people home from expensive restaurants and clubs, judging their value as targets based on the car they are driving or the watch they are wearing. That kind of follow home robbery is going to spread, but you will be targeted by how many grocery bags you pile in your SUV.
Eventually, you’ll be shopping in multi-vehicle convoys with someone riding shotgun in every vehicle. Your only other option will to order your groceries delivered and hope the driver is not robbed on the way there.
As the gap between those who can buy food and those who go hungry widens, expect there to be more anger, which will lead to more violence. This will lead to protests and rioting, which will allow people to get their anger out but probably hurt their chances of getting food.
I don’t see it ending well, because Niobe was right. Nothing can Breed Violence Like Scarcity.