Shortage of Bread Contributed to French Revolution

Armstrong Economics Blog/Agriculture Re-Posted Jan 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Food shortages have historically contributed to revolutions more so than just international war. Poor grain harvests led to riots as far back as 1529 in the French city of Lyon. During the French Petite Rebeyne of 1436. (Great Rebellion), sparked by the high price of wheat, thousands looted and destroyed the houses of rich citizens, eventually spilling the grain from the municipal granary onto the streets. Back then, it was to go get the rich.

There was a climate change cycle at work and today’s climate zealots ignore their history altogether for it did not involve fossil fuels. The climate got worse at the bottom of the Mini Ice Age which was about 1650. It really did not warm up substantially until the mid-1800s. During the 18th century, the climate resulted in very poor crops. Since the 1760s, the king had been counseled by Physiocrats, who were a group of economists that believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of land and thereby agricultural products should be highly priced. This is why Adam Smith wrote his Wealth of Nations as a retort to the Physiocrats. It was their theory that justified imperialism – the quest to conquer more land for wealth; the days of empire-building.

The King of France had listened to the Physiocrats who counseled him to intermittently deregulate the domestic grain trade and introduce a form of free trade. That did not go very well for there was a shortage of grain and this only led to a bidding war – hence the high price of wheat. We even see English political tokens of the era campaigning about the high price of grain and the shortage of food to where a man is gnawing on a bone.

Voltaire once remarked that Parisians required only “the comic opera and white bread.” Indeed, bread has also played a very critical role in French history that is overlooked. The French Revolution that began with the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 was not just looking for guns, but also grains to make bread.

The price of bread and the shortages played a very significant role during the revolution. We must understand Marie Antoinette’s supposed quote upon hearing that her subjects had no bread: “Let them eat cake!” which was just propaganda at the time. The “cake” was not the cake as we know it today, but the crust was still left in the pan after taking the bread out. This shows the magnitude that the shortage of bread played in the revolution.

In late April and May of 1775, the food shortages and high prices of grain ignited an explosion of such popular anger in the surrounding regions of Paris. There were more than 300 riots and looking for grain over just three weeks (3.14 weeks). The historians dubbed this the Flour War. The people even stormed the place at Versailles before the riots spread into Paris and outward into the countryside.

The food shortage became so acute during the 1780s that it was exacerbated by the influx of immigration to France during that period. It was a period of changing social values where we heard similar cries for equality. Eventually, this became one of the virtues on which the French Republic was founded. Most importantly, the French Constitution of 1791 explicitly stipulated a right to freedom of movement. It was mostly perceived to be a food shortage and the reason was the greedy rich. Thus, a huge rise in population was also contributed in part by immigration whereas it reached around 5-6 million more people in France in 1789 than in 1720.

Against this backdrop, we have the publication by Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798. He theorized that the population would outgrow the ability to produce food. We can see how his thinking formed because of the Mini Ice Age that bottomed in 1650. All of this was because of climate change which instigated food shortages. Therefore, it was commonly accepted that without a corresponding increase in native grain production, there would be a serious crisis.

The refusal on the part of most of the French to eat anything but a cereal-based diet was another major issue. Bread likely accounted for 60-80 percent of the budget of a wage-earner’s family at that point in time. Consequently, even a small rise in grain prices could spark political tensions. Because this was such an issue, and probably the major cause of the French Revolution among the majority, Finance Minister Jacques Necker (1732–1804) claimed that, to show solidarity with the people, King Louis XVI was eating the lower-class maslin bread. Maslin bread is from a mix of wheat and rye, rather than the elite manchet, white bread that is achieved by sifting wholemeal flour to remove the wheatgerm and bran.

That solidarity was seen as propaganda and the instigators made up the Marie Antoinette quote: Let them eat cake. . Then there was a plot drawn up at Passy in 1789 that fomented the rebellion against the crown shortly before the people stormed the Bastille. It declared “do everything in our power to ensure that the lack of bread is total, so that the bourgeoisie are forced to take up arms.” 

It was also at this time when Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-1781), Baron de l’Aulne, was a French economist and statesman. He was originally considered a physiocrat, but he kept an open mind and became the first economist to have recognized the law of diminishing marginal returns in agriculture. He became the father of economic liberalism which we call today laissez-faire for he put it into action. He saw the overregulation of grain production was behind also contributing to the food shortages. He once said: “Ne vous mêlez pas du pain”—Do not meddle with bread.

The French Revolution overthrew the monarchy and they began beheading anyone who supported the Monarchy and confiscated their wealth as well as the land belonging to the Catholic Church.  Nevertheless, the revolution did not end French anxiety over bread. On August 29th, 1789, only two days after completing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the Constituent Assembly completely deregulated domestic grain markets. The move raised fears about speculation, hoarding, and exportation.

Then on October 21st, 1789, a baker, Denis François, was accused of hiding loaves from sale as part of a conspiracy to deprive the people of bread. Despite a hearing which proved him innocent, the crowd dragged François to the Place de Grève, hanged and decapitated him, and made his pregnant wife kiss his bloodied lips. Immediately thereafter, the National Constituent Assembly instituted martial law. At first sight, this act appears as a callous lynching by the mob, yet it led to social sanctions against the general public. The deputies decided to meet popular violence with force.

So, food has often been a MAJOR factor in revolutions. We are entering a cold period. Ukraine has been the breadbasket for Europe. Escalating this war will also lead to accelerating the food shortages post-2024. It is interesting how we learn nothing from history. Wars are instigated by political leaders while revolutions are instigated by the people.

Two More Bodies Recovered in Aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Posted originally on the CTh on January 14, 2023 | Sundance

Their names will not make national headlines, and generally everyone has moved on, but to their families and friends Ilonka Knes and James Hurst mattered.  As CTH readers may remember, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian we shared that many missing people would be found in the months after the storm, and unfortunately many more will likely never be found.

The body of Mrs Ilonka Knes (82) was found in the mangroves and back bay salt marsh near Fort Myers Beach and has been positively identified. The body of her husband Robert was found in the days immediately following Hurricane Ian.

Additionally, the sailboat “Good Girl” was found submerged with human remains believed to be the body of James ‘Denny’ Hurst (73).

Mrs. Knes and Mr Hurst bring the total number of Hurricane Ian victims in Lee County, Florida, to seventy-five.  Mr. Hurst was the final “official” missing person on the local list; however, there are many more yet unaccounted that were not from this immediate area.   The physical devastation is widespread, but the emotional toll on the families and friends of the missing has been beyond imagining.  Tonight, two more families have answers.

(FLORIDA) – During Thursday’s news conference, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno released new information regarding the area’s recovery.

“Most of us have gotten back to a sense of the new normal. For some, still missing their loved ones, every day since the storm has been difficult,” said Marceno.

The sheriff said his agency originally attempted a well-being check at what was left at the home of Ilonka and Robert Knes in the aftermath of the storm.

The body of Robert Knes was found shortly after Ian struck, but there were no signs of his wife during the days and weeks following the disaster.

Marceno said it wasn’t until mid-January that a debris removal crew found remains in a dense patch of mangroves, that later tested positive, through the use of dental records, to be that of Ilonka. (more)

The power and duration of Hurricane Ian killed more people than Hurricane Andrew and the storm that hit Southwest Florida last September is now recorded as the deadliest storm in the past 87 years.

If you live anywhere along the coastline of the United States, inland to about 50 miles, please remember to always take these storms seriously.

After this storm, and having been through four previous direct impacts, including Homestead AFB (Andrew), I would say this….  If there is even a remote chance you would ever encounter this type of a hurricane event, EVACUATE.  Do not try and hunker down if there is a looming possibility of having to rely on a structure to withstand 150+ mph wind for a full day.  Just leave.  With all of my preparations in place, and all of the knowledge I possess in storm survival, I would never attempt it again.

It is more than three months since Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida and beyond the chaos and debris that still remains visible almost everywhere, they are still recovering bodies.  Please take hurricane preparations seriously.

Lessons from Ian – Part One

Lessons from Ian – Part Two

A Technical Study of Relationships in Solar Flux, Water and other Gasses in the upper Atmosphere, Using the December, 2022 NASA & NOAA Data

The attached report on Global Weather for December 2022 Data we have a charts showing the relationship we tween CO2 growth and Temperature increases going up since we started to measure CO2 in the atmosphere in 1958? These Charts by plotting showing CO2 as a percent increase from when it was first measured in 1958, the Black plot, the scale is on the left and it shows CO2 going up by about 32.4% from 1958 to December of 2022. That is a very large change as anyone would have to agree.  Now how about temperature, well when we look at the percentage change in temperature also from 1958, using Kelvin (which does measure the change in heat), we find that the changes in global temperature (heat) is approaching almost .5%.

This is Chart 8 The red plot, starting in 1958, shows that the thermal energy in the earth’s atmosphere increased by almost .40%; Based to these trends, determined by excel not me, in 2028 CO2 will be approaching 430 ppm and temperatures will be on the way to16.0o Celsius

The NOAA and NASA numbers tell us the story of the Changes in the planets Atmosphere As Carbon Dioxide go up

The attached 40 page report explains how this chart was developed .

Ice Age – the Come Rapidly

Armstrong Economics Blog/Climate Re-Posted Dec 29, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

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COMMENT: Marty you may remember this.

When this hit upper midwest I was in middle school in San Diego. I was in the library every morning before school following this, Voyager and Viking.

I watched another rendition of this video on youtube and it cut out the portion where the chief scientist at Lamont-Doherty (Columbia) stated ice-age conditions can return inside of 10-20 years time at any time (or something like that).


RD, San Marcos Ca

REPLY: With Ice Ages, we find a similar pattern of cyclical pattern formations as we do in markets. About 2.6 million years ago, that is when the Earth entered the Pleistocene period. This was marked by an interesting cyclical pattern whereby there were these deep ice ages that came at regular 43,000-year intervals. Then about 1 million years ago, the Earth entered what is known as the Mid-Pleistocene transition period. It was here where these ice age cycles suddenly expanded from 43,000-year intervals to nearly 100,000-year cycles. The last one was about 11,000 years ago. This is not referring to the Mini-Ice Age of the 1600s.

What we do know is that there were tiny changes in Earth’s orbit. These events are known as Milankovitch cycles. They are believed to have driven the planet in and out of these ice ages. However, it is also now assumed that these Milankovitch cycles have not correlated to the sudden jump in nearly doubling the Ice Age cycle length.

Preliminary data from Antarctic Ice Core saw a transition from glacial to interglacial conditions about 430,000 years ago which is known as (Termination V). This transition into the present interglacial period needs to be looked at from intensity using our Energy Models. Scientists look at the magnitude of change in temperatures and greenhouse gases. What seems to be overlooked is the cycle of these warming periods. The interglacial stage following Termination V was quite long running the course of about 28,000 years compared to the 12,000 years period so far in the present interglacial period.

What this is warning is that an Ice Age is not entirely out of the question post-2032. I am awaiting access to the data from the 2.7 million-year core and then run it through Socrates to see if we are indeed going to see a 12,000-year interval or a doubling effect. What does appear to be likely, which explains the frozen animals in Siberia, is that we can see an Ice Age hit within less than 10 years.