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How war stifled the first “globalization” of 1870-1913


If the energy crisis has monopolized people’s minds since the invasion of Ukraine, there is another, enormous one, in the food supply (see also p. 22). And it hits poor countries much harder, where a much larger share of household spending is on food. What is behind this food crisis, symbolized by the increase in wheat prices (see graph)?

Part of the answer is obvious: Ukraine is usually a major agricultural exporter, but it’s hard to continue to play that role when Russia is bombing your rail lines and blockading your ports. But this explanation is not enough. Russia has suspended much of its own grain exports, apparently in an attempt to contain domestic market prices.

Third largest exporter in the region, Kazakhstan did the same.

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