What happens when plebs can't afford bread, and the circuses aren't that entertaining?
Nothing good. Which is why the cost-of-living crisis is the #1 problem, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report - an annual poll of 1,200 government, business and civil society professionals.
According to the poll, there will be little respite from "energy inflation, food and security crises" in the coming years (or months?).
In the near term, nearly 70% of those polled say volatile economies and various 'shocks' are in the cards, while 20% or so of those polled say they fear "catastrophic outcomes" within the next 10 years, according to Bloomberg.
"Very few leaders in today’s generation have been through these kind of traditional risks around food and energy, while at the same time battling what’s coming up in terms of debt, what’s coming up in terms of climate," said Saadia Zahidi, WEF managing director, who warned that the world may be entering a "vicious cycle."
"We’re going to need a sort of new type of leadership that is much more agile," she told Bloomberg Television.
Next week will mark the annual WEF conference in Davos, Switzerland, where the global elite will sit around and discuss how best to run our lives.
The gathering begins at a time when inflation is at a four-decade-high across many advanced economies, with interest rates far more elevated than anyone was predicting 12 months ago.
The report calls for global cooperation, and warns that if governments mishandle the current crisis they “risk creating societal distress at an unprecedented level, as investments in health, education and economic development disappear, further eroding social cohesion.”
Increases in military expenditure could reduce support for vulnerable households, leaving some countries in a “perpetual state of crisis” and set back the urgent need to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. -Bloomberg
The worst case scenario, according to the report, is the risk of "geoeconomic warfare" - in which geopolitical rivalries are likely to increase economic tensions, exacerbating both short and long-term risks.
"In this already toxic mix of known and rising global risks, a new shock event, from a new military conflict to a new virus, could become unmanageable," according to Zahidi. "Climate and human development therefore must be at the core of concerns of global leaders to boost resilience against future shocks."
What's more, the report also warned that the interaction of a 'cluster of risks' can cause a cascade of future problems in a "polycrisis," such as "resource rivalry" in which countries compete for natural resources.