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Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages

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A scientific model supported by the Foreign Office has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change.

The model, developed by a team at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, does not account for society reacting to escalating crises by changing global behaviour and policies.

However the model does show that our current way of life appears to be unsustainable and could have dramatic worldwide consequences.

Dr Aled Jones, the Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, told Insurge Intelligence:  “We ran the model forward to the year 2040, along a business-as-usual trajectory based on ‘do-nothing’ trends — that is, without any feedback loops that would change the underlying trend.

“The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots.

“In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”

The model follows a report from Lloyds of London which has evaluated the extent of the impact of a shock scenario on crop production, and has concluded that the “global food system is under chronic pressure.”

The report said: “The global food system is under chronic pressure to meet an ever-rising demand, and its vulnerability to acute disruptions is compounded by factors such as climate change, water stress, ongoing globalisation and heightening political instability.

“A global production shock of the kind set out in this scenario would be expected to generate major economic and political impacts that could affect clients across a very wide spectrum of insurance classes. This analysis has presented the initial findings for some of the key risk exposures.

“Global demand for food is on the rise, driven by unprecedented growth in the world’s population and widespread shifts in consumption patterns as countries develop.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projects that global agricultural production will need to more than double by 2050 to close the gap between food supply and demand.

The FAO found this year that over 5 per cent of the population in 79 developing countries would be undernourished.

independent uk

31 Comments on "Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages"

  1. pennsyguy on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 7:57 pm 

    One of the smartest things I ever did was to be born in the USA in 1949. I like to think that I’m leaving some resources for future generations, but I do like to feel righteous and benevolent. Good luck to young people, I think they will need it.

  2. Makati1 on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 10:16 pm 

    Interesting Western spin on reality. Take the 47+ million Americans off of food stamps and THEN take your poll. Or those millions in Europe that are also being fed by their governments. I think you would see a lot of dark green in those areas.

    So much BS on-line these days and in the ‘news’. I do not dispute the light green in the Ps, but that will get no worse when the SHTF. It may actually improve as many will go back to food production and out of the cities. Not so for the West.

  3. Apneaman on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 10:59 pm 

    Mak while I agree the US could explode soon the Philippines has it’s own problems. There is no country that is not going to suffer greatly. As far as Russia and China are concerned the Philippines are in bed with the enemy and they are practicing war games with them as I write this. So lets say the Empire really starts to unravel and they pack up and go home. What does that mean for the current regime and US expats living there? Sure your friends think your decent, but millions still have that bitter taste from when the US raped, enslaved and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their ancestors back in 1898-99 and made many generations lives shit. Old hates never really die. It tends to get bloody in client states after an Empire leaves or is defeated – often civil war and pay back time.

    Philippines, US, Japan Hold Military Drills Near S. China Sea

    Philippines agrees to 10-year pact allowing US military presence

    Defense accord would let US military return to south-east Asian nation amid increasing tensions with China over territory


  4. Apneaman on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 12:29 am 

    The invasion of the USSR – 22 June, 1941
    Nazis invaded USSR 74 years today

    ” This how Hitler was greeted across Galicia and Western Ukraineby the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (‪#‎UPA‬) and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (‪#‎OUN‬)”

    ” These groups have now been declared national heroes and founding fathers of the nation by the West-backed ‪#Maidan‬ Putsch regime in Kiev.”

  5. Apneaman on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 12:35 am 

    Tom Engelhardt: Armed Violence in the Homeland

  6. HARM on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 12:55 am 


    The chart is about the percentage of people UNDERnourished, not MALnourished. Big difference. Many Americans are clearly malnourished, but virtually zero are undernourished. (Bad) food is very plentiful and cheap here, arguably more so than in any other country –and we have the obesity stats to prove it!

  7. MSN Fanboy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 2:05 am 

    More proof that Makati is a foolish bigot. Ps is just as ….. Ah why even try.

  8. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 6:08 am 

    Mak, is just a dellusional old man. He is poor and living in a poor apartment witnessed by his statement he survives on a social security check. He is planning to move to a farm that he says does not have fossil fuel energy. Anyone that knows history knows old people do not make it long without fossil fuel energy per historic accounts. Some did in stable situations but not many. This is just as true for me. I discount my survival by half or third and that is if I can avoid being killed if there is a dangerous collapse or NUK war.

    The reason Mak bothers me is he is spreading disinformation about Asia and his P’s riding this out fine and the US in particular being destroyed. It is his constant irritating diminishment of the US that is a blemish on this board. We know how bad it is going to get in the US Mak doesn’t have to cram it up my ass then tell me how wonderful his delusional life is going to be.

    I would like to be Mak’s friend and discuss doom and prep in regards to both our locals in a balanced and respectful way. So much is dependent on the type of collapse but one thing is certain we older folks will not live like our fathers and grandfathers did. We will die off much earlier. Mak is the classic school playground braggart who is in the worst shape. Not only is he poor he is old and poor in a poor overpopulated country.

    I am not delusional about my situation. NUK war and catastrophic economic collapse is my biggest concern in the short term with climate change longer term. I am more involved in prep than many on this board and I will be honest I wonder how I can make it even with all the preparations I have done and plan to do. I am at the mercy of my local for longer term survival and that means there are far too many variables out of my control. I will have a good front row seat to watch this fantastic event unfold but my days are likely just as numbered a little bit later.

    It is going to come down to being young, in the right location, with lots of luck. Just do the math 1 out of 7 will maybe survive the coming die off. The big question is when will this start and how long will it take but it will happen I can assure you. The chances of ecological disaster and runaway climate change leaves little for these young people that survive. The only hope I have is maybe we have 10 years of modest decline. Maybe once a crisis starts we can buy ourselves some time to starve slowly instead of quickly. Having some food is better than no food.

    I see the possibilities of descent all over the board but I see nothing out of the many cornucopians here who can offer the kind of solutions to change this fateful situation. All the cornucopians do is offer hope in a fantasy world of technological and social progress. Much of what they crow about has not even been invented or perfected. It is a big lie and farce. I am talking both green and brown delusions.

    Mak, is a doomer but a fake doomer. He wants to doom the other guy but talk up his survival. That is a doomer lie. I am not going to live a lie. I give myself 10 years at best if I am lucky and that is with a degree of preparations many here just can’t achieve. I am doing this because it is my passion not because I think it will buy me much more time. What I am doing is hope for a few more months or if very lucky a few more years. That is it.

    Die offs and bottlenecks do not discriminate. You will be allowed points for age and location and that is it. We are all facing unprecedented challenges that will cull a global population in overshoot. It is as simple as that.

  9. Makati1 on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 6:17 am 

    Apneaman, I know all of the Ps faults. I have lived here over 7 years. I do not fear China or the Filipinos. I fear the US meddling and causing a war that no-one here wants. If they do cause it, I hope it comes to the lower 48 this time. If the US stayed on its own property,(the 50 states)and minded it’s own business, the world would have peace.

    As for the US military going home. I think all but the elite here would cheer. Ditto for Japan and South Korea. After all, the wars are only desired by the 1% to make even more money. It is NOT desired by the average person on the street.

    I love how people who do not live here, have never even been here, especially in the last 10 years, or only read propaganda in the US, think that they know all about it. There is a Presidential election coming up next year here and the US is trying to get one of their puppets elected. Where have you heard that one before? The US is a meddling old bitch that should mind her own business. There is enough problems at home in the US that are being ignored.

    Many forget that there are millions of Filipinos who live in the US now. Some as expiates with good jobs in Silicon Valley. Others are in US colleges and med schools. Others will be taking care of you if you go to the hospital, etc. I would say that there is a higher percentage of Filipinos that have been to the US than there have been Americans in the Ps.

    The old ideas of WW2 are over, and forgotten by most. I have never noticed any animosity toward Americans. I have read that any visiting American military men now have a curfew of 10PM and are not allowed to bars and do a lot like before. No more rapes. The US is begging to be allowed back into the country, but is being told no.

    The US corporations will not leave the Ps, even if the military does. The 40 story office building beside my condo is a call service center filled with young Filipinos working for US corporations and banks. I had a problem with my Citi account and the person that answered when I called was in Cebu…lol. We talked about the weather and other current events here.

    Other US corporations here: T.G.I.Fridays, McDonald’s, Wendys, Burger King, K.F.C., 7-Eleven, ACE Hardware, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, just about every food corporation is in the grocery stores, and on and on. Ditto for Chinese investments and corporations. Ditto for Japanese, South Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and on and on. Asia is coming together, not falling apart.

    China wants the US out of the South China Sea just like the US wants the Caribbean free of trouble makers. Suppose Russia built a navy port in Cuba. Or moved weapons systems into Canada on the US border? How is that any different than what the US is doing to other countries? 1,000+ military bases and counting is not a peace loving country. That is a war mongering country.

    Anyway. There is nothing you can say that changes my perception of the world today. I am where I want to be when the SHTF because I see it as better than the US where I spent 63 years submerged in propaganda. Good luck on your choice and preps. We will all need them.

  10. penury on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 12:54 pm 

    Mak and Davy its fun and entertaining to discuss and argue as you do about the U.S. and P.I. i doubt that Davy has ever been to the P.I. In common with the majority of the world the Philippines has major population problems in the large cities, however once you get out into the countryside you will notice that the barrios and villages are much more self supporting. Get out of Manila, take a ride on the Rabbit to Baguio along the way stop at some of the local villages and meet the people. The people f the third world will survive easier than us first worlders. These people have been surviving for years and will continue. Yes the U.S. is richer if you measure wealth in money. But in the ability to survive we lose to the underdeveloped every time. Yes Manila, Makati, Pasay are doomed but so are Chicago, New york and Wa D.C. get over it.

  11. Steve Challis on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 3:03 pm 

    One thing that surprises me about you is that you live in Manila when you could live in the countryside on your farm.
    When I was in the Philippines I greatly preferred the more remote parts of the country and got out of the cities as soon as I could.

  12. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 4:38 pm 

    Pen said “The people of the third world will survive easier than us first world’ers.” Pen I have to disagree and agree. I disagree in you labeling the US first world’er. That is no longer true. The US is a mixture of first and third world. I can tell you that because I live in the Ozarks with both. Pen you are doing some serious generalizing with your above statement. Much comes down to location for either first world’ers or third world’ers. There is nothing magic about being a third world’er. They are no wonder people like Mak would lead us to believe. I know because I have traveled extensively and I prefer the company of the local people.

    I have not been to the Philippines but I have been all over Central America, Caribbean, and some of South America. Pen, are you going to tell me the P’s are much different. I have read plenty about the country. It is not rocket science.

    It is true your third world wonders may have once been able to survive better but I doubt any longer in places that are in overshoot. Much of the third world is in overshoot. It does not matter if they are rich or poor when the energy budget for humans is not there people starve. That is simple math. I do agree the rich urban dwellers globally are in a pickle.

    Is that getting over it or do I need more education?

  13. Joe Clarkson on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 5:13 pm 

    It seems obvious to me that when there is a great disruption of food supply, a locale that has a high number of people involved in subsistence farming will ride out the disruption better than a place where there are few involved. Since there are generally more subsistence farmers in developing countries, they will generally fare proportionally better than developed countries like the US.

    That doesn’t mean that there can’t be pockets of sustainable food production in the US, or vulnerable urban areas in countries like the Philippines, but if a general collapse cut off global supply chains and transport networks, most developing countries would have a larger number of survivors than the US.

    Complex cultures with vast numbers of highly specialized occupations will be more brittle than simpler societies where agrarian life includes a much higher percentage of the population. If food stops coming to the supermarkets, where would you rather live, in the country growing your own food alongside neighbors that are doing the same, or in a high-rise apartment in a city?

  14. joe on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 5:48 pm 

    Millions of Africans are heading north to Europe in what many people in influential circles believe will herald the greatest emigration crisis and revolutionary period in history as climate change drives humans out of fringe and vulnerable environments and into ‘better’ areas. Ironically better education and better food is going to drive dementia for even better living standards that third world nations simply will not be able to provide, thus the crisis. Islamism is a manifestation of the beginnings of the crisis ahead. Desperation will be next, we can see this off the coast of Libya now, the third stage could be outright war, such as Syria/Iraq but in a general theatre say from Albania to China and most of Africa. The Americas will probobly see even lower growth and greater need, eventually causing massive social unrest.

  15. Apneaman on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 6:12 pm 

    Where will the water for irrigation come from for any farming once the melt down of the glaciers is complete? Snow packs are but a shadow of themselves as well. Will subsistence farmers call up Joe’s drilling service and get him to drill a thousand foot well? All the aquifers are being depleted at break neck speed and the worst is yet to come. This is what it means to have almost no choices left.

  16. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 6:33 pm 

    Joe Clark, if you are in overshoot it is not going to matter if you are a subsistence farmer. Very few are true subsistence farmers anymore. Many are just part time farmers along with whatever else they can derive a living from.

    Many of you have this mistaken understanding of the third world. There is this fantasy of a noble tough people who live close to the land. That is gone and the land is gone. It has been polluted by the first world ways and consumption.

    If that was not bad enough there are far too many people for the carrying capacity in many third world areas. It is the global system that keeps these subsistence farming pockets going. Otherwise there is just too many people and too much ecological destruction. The third world is little better than the first world anymore.

    The worst is large cities in any location first or third world. Mega cities are just death traps and they are on all continents. The best is plain and simple low population areas that are food capable. There are many such areas that have not been overrun with people because of the economics. Many areas are not desirable to live in but they will support a population.

  17. Nony on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 7:00 pm 

    In 1970, the Malthusians said we would collapse by 2000. In 2040, most of even the youngest people that read those 1970 predictions will be dead. At some point, you have to stop trying to predict the end of the world and just go with the flow and enjoy your time. Who knows what things will be like decades away? There will undoubtedly be big problems we never imagined and big nice things to that we didn’t imagine.

    The future is not ours to see. Que sera, sera.

  18. GregT on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 7:18 pm 

    Stop living your life in the past Nony. Live life for today, and plan for the future using best current information.

  19. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 7:32 pm 

    NOo, you don’t see the collapse do you? It has been very apparent to many of us here for several years. It is a complex collapse process you fail to recognize because it is subtle and hasn’t touched you. NOo, you equate collapse to a market movements that can be graphed. We are talking multidiscipline and nonlinear.

    Collpase is everywhere but it is not that one event you want to accuse the doomers of missing. You are blind NOo. Hell yes lets enjoy life but what about those in collapse now what do you say for them. Oh, I know “Get a job”. NOo, the economy has splintered into those like you that can cavalierly say the doomers failed all is well and those living the doom we are preaching. Our doom is very real and the possibility of deep and dangerous collapse never more apparent yet you say pick up a fiddle and dance. We are saying Rome is burning get real

  20. Apneaman on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 7:39 pm 

    In Pompeii in 79 AD the volcano started rumbling, many said we should flee, but some idiot named Nonyus Stupidus Maximus cried “your all a bunch of doomer nutters” so many stayed and now they are a fucking tourist attraction, frozen in time – a testament to ape stupidity.

  21. Joe Clarkson on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 7:46 pm 

    Davy, I disagree with your assertion that of farmers in developing countries “few are true subsistence farmers anymore”.

    The last time I was in Fiji was 2003. At that time 70% of the population was involved in agriculture. I was involved in a solar lighting project that allowed me to meet dozens of farmers who definitely qualified as “true subsistence farmers”. Many of them lived beyond the reach of motor vehicles, not in locations that a tourist would be likely to see. Most of what those folks purchased with cash were items that they could easily live without.

    I was recently in Palau and saw more of the same. In Burundi, 94% of the population are small farmers, feeding mostly themselves.

    And there are some very remote locations where people are still living as hunter-gatherers. When collapse comes, they won’t even know. Don’t tell me that the danger from collapse is the same everywhere; it’s not.

  22. GregT on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 8:26 pm 


    I also have travelled around the world, and have visited some rather remote locations. I agree with you, and have attempted to make the same points before.

    Over 80 percent of the American population is urbanized, and up here in Canada it is closer to 90%. The vast majority of people here are two or more generations removed from the family farm. They wouldn’t have a clue how to take care of themselves, even if they did decide to leave the cities.

    In third world countries, the American dream is a relatively new phenomenon, most of these young workers grew up on the family farms and moved to the cities in pursuit of the ‘American’ dream. The family farms are still there, along with the experience and knowledge that has been passed down for generations.

    When things really go south, those who are already living in abject poverty will see little difference in their lives, they will still be living in abject poverty. Most of those who are used to living better than the kings and queens of old, are not going to survive. Plain and simply.

  23. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 8:29 pm 

    Joe, as many examples as you name I can name that are enslaved to the modern system and barely making it farming. Look at India and China and how many people are moving to the city because farming is no longer working. There are too many people eating up prime farm land for development. Modern agricultural practices are driving people off the land. Land, water, and forests are being degraded leaving little that can grow productive crops. I am not saying there are not pockets of successes like you mentioned but more and more there are failures. As population peaks more will be lost at the same time we have a need for a massive move back to the land.

  24. GregT on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 8:42 pm 


    Modern agricultural practices have almost completely driven us off of our lands. The same cannot be said for the third world.

    I agree that climate change and overpopulation are massive game changers, but both of those are problems that we all face.

    Think about your own learning curve, and how long it has taken you so far. Not a simple task, even with the support of modern civilization. The vast majority of these people have never even driven a car, never mind a tractor. They still use animals Davy, and human physical labor.

  25. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 8:45 pm 

    Greg, so you are saying the urban part of the 1.4BIL people in China are just going to move back to the family farm. IMA a family farm destroyed by pollution and development. I think there is going to be some serious dying off along the way. You just don’t migrate back to a farm and make it happen because you are a generation removed from the farm.

    I also want to make a point about your comment on 80% of the US is urbanized. We are a very suburban country meaning at the edges of city and country. There are many people that have hobby farms. It is not as bad as you paint. It is not good by a long shot but the way you frame it the third world has a smooth transition and the US will be a mess.

    There is nothing good from either side of the equation. It is clear much of the third world is in population overshoot and much of the west in consumption overshoot. Two sides of the same collapse coin. All parts of the world have mega cities with no future.

    The US is going to have hunger in its bread basket that’s for sure. Big US cities are going to depopulated I agree but I can’t see the optimism for the third world in general. Its a big world so all areas will have pockets of success but most will likely be failures.

  26. Makati1 on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 9:16 pm 

    Steve, the land the farm is on was a government grant, long ago, to my partner’s grandparents, long since dead. No one has wanted the land until now and the process to get all of the deeds, transfers and other legalities takes time. Not to mention paying decades of cheap, but necessary, back taxes, etc.

    This is a 3rd world country where things move slowly. Something that would take a day or two in the US may take a month or more here. There are no big centralized, computerized offices that make it easy, but it is cheap, in money terms. In the end, he will have clear title to 12.5 acres of good land to build on and farm. Two year round springs, even climate, plenty of rain to be managed, good soil, etc. And 100 miles, by foot, from Manila.

    There are no right-of-way laws here that guarantee access and it is in the center of other plots of undeveloped land. The quarter mile route, that makes a road possible, is thru several of these. It required tracking down the current owners and then arranging to buy the right-of-way, survey, transfer of deeds, etc. He has been doing all of this for the last 3 years. We now expect to break ground in the beginning of the next dry season, January 2016. The goal is to be moved out of the city by the end of 2016. We shall see. I don’t think we have too much time before the SHTF.

  27. GregT on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 9:27 pm 


    Our farmlands are mostly sterile. Without fertilizers, pesticides, and fossil fuels, we won’t be growing much of anything. Our soil has been destroyed by industrialization, and it isn’t going to become fertile enough, quickly enough, to stave off a massive population crash. You don’t just migrate en mass from the cities, without having somewhere to go, and the skills, tools, and the mindset to know what to do when you get there.

    It will be people like you Davy, that have collapsed early, or those that never modernized to begin with, that will have the best chances of survival in a collapse scenario.

    I am not picking sides here Davy, I’m just telling it like I see it. The vast majority of North Americans would be done for, in a rather short period of time. We have lived our lives so high off of the hog for so long, that most of us have long since forgotten what it means to survive, and I’m not referring to the Survivors on TV.

  28. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 9:37 pm 

    Greg, we are in agreement except I can’t find anything in the third world to warrant optimism. I can agree with you on the North American situation for sure but like I tell the corns “show me something with real substance that warrants optimism” the third world is not such a place in regards to our conversations.

    We can find pockets everywhere and they will be the seeds of whatever survives the collapse. Whatever advantage the third world has by being less industrial with AG is lost with population overshoot and ecological degradation. Many third world regions are unfortunately in the cross hairs of climate change sooner than other more developed areas.

  29. Steve Challis on Wed, 24th Jun 2015 12:47 am 

    Thank you for your detailed answer to my question.
    I wish you every success on your farm.

  30. Davy on Wed, 24th Jun 2015 6:33 am 

    Mak, it is a pity we are unable to get along. We could help each other out with moral support and trade doomstead stories. Yet, it looks like a Mexican standoff over geopolitical issues. I personally would rather focus on local issues of doom and prep and not the bigger picture which is a train wreck. The global world is too complex and large to generalize about one regions advantages over another.

    My position is all regions are in a collective disadvantage being connected in a global system and all locals have comparative weaknesses. I see no region that is a refuge. That is my position so when I am told how bad my local is and how great someone else’s is I consider that an attack for ulterior reasons.

    I may be wrong but I am too old to change. I will challenge anyone here who is on the attack against my local. It is a pity because it is really a waste of time pointing fingers and more important at this point to share survival information. Much knowledge is common across the globe for all locals. That is what we should be focusing on. Now back to the guerrilla warfare.

  31. Kenz300 on Wed, 24th Jun 2015 7:42 am 

    Endless population growth is not sustainable….

    The worlds worst environmental problem is unsustainable population growth….


    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

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