Twitter didn’t cause the Egyptian revolution—bread did:


By Dylan C. Robertson

Media determinists of all stripes have hailed the role of Twitter, Facebook and other social media in prompting the recent pan-Arab revolts. Though it could be argued that these revolts were bound to happen eventually, the catalyst isn’t likely social media — it’s food.

One of the main causes of the French Revolution was a combination of a mismanaged economy and climate change that resulted in soaring bread prices. The Egyptian uprisings have been compared to the French Revolution by many columnists (and the comparison dismissed, as well). On the same note, The Daily Telegraph declared the events in Tunisia and Egypt to be “food revolutions.”

The cost of food is on the rise, with devastating impacts across the Global South. At the start of a recent podcast episode, NPR’s Planet Money discussed the rising cost of wheat, which makes up roughly 70 percent of bread prices in Egypt but only two percent in the U.S.

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