Billy Wharton

Hidden beneath the spectacular street battles that forced Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office was a trigger that exists in dozens of countries throughout the world — food.

Or, more specifically, the lack of it.

Commentators have focused on the corruption of the dictatorship, or the viral effects of the Tunisian uprising or what appears to be akin to an Arab political awakening.

But the inability of the Egyptian regime to ensure a steady flow of food staples should also be viewed as a critical factor driving this seemingly spontaneous movement for freedom.

The US Senate passed the much-ballyhooed financial reform bill this week to applause from an increasingly thin crowd of Obama administration supporters.

Most focused on the “something is better than nothing” features of the bill. But this could barely disguise the fact that the new regulations will do little to curb the activities of the mega-financial institutions at the centre of the economic crisis that ensued in 2008.

A creeping assumption lies just beneath the surface of arguments concerning the disputed election in Iran.

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