The rise of the middle classes in emerging markets, coupled with a soaring world population, underpin an increase in the price of basics such as wheat, corn and sugar.
But the situation is going to be made much worse by the scarcity of water – the most important commodity there is.
"Water remains a more problematic commodity than food and fuel: though cheap in its natural state, it is expensive to process and expensive to transport, especially in the quantities necessary for agriculture," according to a report from a Washington-based think tank released last month.
"Past water shortages have been temporary or small-scaled; future groundwater depletion will be massive and effectively permanent."
It argued that the real wild card for political and social unrest in the region is not war, terrorism, or revolution – it is water. "Current patterns of water use accurately reflect the fact that water is free or nearly so, and its supplies are unlimited," CSIS says.
"Without some sort of water tariff that at least covers the economic cost of producing water – and more ideally covers the social cost of using water – it is hard to imagine that patterns of use will change much."
Water is being taken from underground aquifers more quickly than they can recharge. This means the water supply is shrinking – and in some cases becomes too salty to use for either agriculture or drinking.
Quite simply, demand has to be curbed by increasing the price but rising prices can spark the type of social unrest we have seen over the past few weeks.
The Rule of Threes says you can live 3 weeks w/o food but only 3 days w/o water. It looks like the "cost of living index" is going to have to be changed pretty quickly to the "cost of existing index".