Last year, high bread prices led to bread riots across Mozambique. This summer promises to create similar economic conditions and protests.
Early modern historians are very familiar with the dynamics of bread riots in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century societies. A number of well-documented studies have shown recurring patterns of malnutrition, famine, disease, infertility, and death associated with subsistence crises. Bread riots represented community responses to the political and social institutions responsible for creating or worsening such economic conditions.
Modern bread riots, such as those in Mozambique, can be usefully analyzed in comparison with early modern patterns. Many aspects of the economic and political situation in early modern Europe are completely foreign to the situation in Mozambique, yet certain dynamics of food shortages and protest modes seem surprisingly similar.
NPR reports on the bread riots in Mozambique.