In an article about, among other matters, unrest in the Middle East, the Sydney Herald of Australia postulates that "food has become the new gold."
"The surge in global food prices is not the underlying cause of Arab revolt, any more than bad harvests in 1788 were the cause of the French Revolution."
"Yet they are the trigger, and have set off a vicious circle. Vulnerable governments are scrambling to lock up world supplies of grain. Algeria bought 800,000 tonnes of wheat last week, and Indonesia has ordered 800,000 tonnes of rice, both greatly exceeding their normal pace of purchases. Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Bangladesh are trying to secure extra grain supplies."