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#288441 - 03/18/18 06:31 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 442
Loc: UK
> Itīs interesting to know where that rule comes from. It helps judging it.

It appears to come from nowhere. Which is comforting. I'd rather the UKs security services don't preach the obviously false.
Famines are suprisingly non violent. Where was the anarchy in recent famines?

But it says a lot about a researcher who quotes non existent studies.

qjs

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#288442 - 03/18/18 10:37 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1369
I'm not persuaded by the rational calculation -- poorer people, because they have less money and thus stock less food, are more likely to resort to desperate measures. Human beings are not robots, and they don't behave like Vulcans. I doubt people's personality will just suddenly change in a disaster situation; e.g., a law-abiding citizen would just start raping and pillaging all of a sudden. Besides, if you accept the rational calculation above, you then must accept also the following:

1. "More likely" [to resort to desperate measures] just means "sooner." So that means there is no difference between the poor and the non-poor. They are all automata that run the following program: HUNGRY? SMASH THINGS!

2. What's to stop one of the non-poor from making the following, totally logical calculation? "The poor people, because they stock less food, will resort to desperate measures sooner. So I need to loot the stores before they do."

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#288443 - 03/18/18 11:16 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1239
Loc: North Carolina
I do not agree with the rule, and I have seen much more socially cooperative behavior in disaster situations in various cultures. However, if it goes on long enough people will change their behavior, and if they feel that scarcity is bad enough, and other people may be cheating, they will turn violent. Think "Maslow's hierarchy", when you are at the bottom and trying to survive you will do things you would not do otherwise. When people cooperate in emergency situations they have a social influence to do so, when they loot and riot they have a social influence for that also. Also think "relative deprivation". Their perception of their situation, and their perception of the social environment will influence how they act.

Human behavior can be fairly predictable, but it can also surprise you just when you think you have it figured out.

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#288444 - 03/19/18 01:48 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Teslinhiker Offline
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Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1330
The term "four meals away from anarchy" is nothing new and is a spin on the "three meals away from anarchy", "three meals away from revolution", "Any government is only 3 meals away from a revolution" and so on.

Many of these quotes have been around since the late 1990's and early 2000's and the link that OP posted is another spin on this one from 2004 - which is probably another recycled spin from another earlier quote.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/britain-four-meals-away-from-anarchy-fc9kfgc0w92

Google search by date.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#288445 - 03/19/18 06:49 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 442
Loc: UK
Society existed before electricity and could again. I was missing the point when I said people have 4 meals in the cupboards. It's 4 meals from when you run out, not when the electricity stops. We'd still have food and can live on that while we replaced the electric parts.
The rest of the world could always feed the affected parts.
Unless of course there is another millennium bug no one has thought of, that hits all chips in the world. Or something else unforseen.
Cheerful note: Nuclear launch systems have chips.

Researching past famines, the violence only starts when you reach the cannabalism stage. And often not even then.

At which point grammar becomes very important:

There's a lot of difference between:
"Let's eat; Grandma".
and
"Let's eat Grandma".
qjs


Edited by quick_joey_small (03/19/18 10:43 AM)

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#288446 - 03/19/18 01:24 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: quick_joey_small]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6228
Loc: southern Cal
As an historian and an archaeologist, I am struck by the failure to cite historical examples by the "X number of meals away from anarchy" advocates. Societies and groups have been severely stressed in the past and bad behavior has resulted in some cases (think Donner party, for example), but I don't believe those are the norm.

Show me the data....
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#288447 - 03/19/18 02:29 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1239
Loc: North Carolina
Was that bad to eat your friends? I am going to have to rethink my survival food strategy. I have always invited large people to hike with me, just in case.

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#288449 - 03/19/18 03:33 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Montanero]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1635
Loc: Ocala, FL
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Was that bad to eat your friends? I am going to have to rethink my survival food strategy. I have always invited large people to hike with me, just in case.

I found nothing in the Torah to indicate humans are kosher. I'll pass.

Jeanette Isabelle
_________________________
"A grain of wheat must fall to the ground before it can do any good. New life springs from fallen grain." -- Fleda Claes Johansson

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#288450 - 03/19/18 03:35 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1635
Loc: Ocala, FL
However, if I'm starving and someone hands me a ham sandwich, I'll just have to be unclean until sundown.

Jeanette Isabelle
_________________________
"A grain of wheat must fall to the ground before it can do any good. New life springs from fallen grain." -- Fleda Claes Johansson

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#288451 - 03/19/18 09:52 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1369
Thanks to Teslinhiker for the search. I found the following -- "four meals" apparently is a modification of "three meals," the origin of which is not clear. But it does seem to be a popular saying rather than the conclusion of any modern research effort. Also, "three meals" seems to mean food rather than a measure of time; i.e., if you don't get your three square meals a day, everyday, then you will eventually revolt against a system that cannot guarantee your food security.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Wikiquote:Reference_desk/Archive/2#A_society_is_only_three_meals_away_from_anarchy

I don't know how MI5 got the four meals from. The Times seems to think this sort of rhetoric has something to do with justifying MI5's budget. I'm unable to read to the end of the article without subscription. But now I see that it makes no sense to imagine 1.5 days without food and society will break down completely, with utter panic and chaos as a result. As some posters point out above, societies have survived famines, war, sieges, etc. without falling into chaos. I'd think that at one point in history, going without food for a day or two happened regularly. All of us probably have gone without food for that long or longer.

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