Authors: Naomi Hossain and Jeffrey Hallock
2022 saw an unprecedented wave of protests about the affordability of and access to the basics needed for everyday life, signaling a global economic failure to provide goods at prices people can afford.
Between November 2021 and October 2022, people took to the streets in over 12,500 events protesting the rising cost of living as well as shortages of fuel, gas, and electricity. Erupting on a global scale, these protests took place across different world regions, in all types of political regimes, and in rich, middle, and low income countries alike. In several countries, these protests further escalated into larger national political crises, featuring significant violence, casualties, and demands for political change.
In this study, Naomi Hossain and Jeffrey Hallock take a closer look at the wave of food, energy, and cost of living protests in 2022. Their analysis shows that most protests were triggered not by generalized price rises or shortages, but by specific governmental failures to act to protect citizens against their effects. Cost of living protests unite people across societies on grievances that are deeply and widely shared.