I've been noting in the last few weeks the instability in the world's food markets: rice, corn, wheat, soy oil, etc. Some of this instability has caused riots and arrests.
In Egypt it has also caused death. Now, Egypt is a pillar of the "moderate" orbit in the Arab world. It also has an enormous birth rate, unemployment rate, crime rate, corruption rate, and all kinds of other rates that indicate dazzling inefficiency, lack of imagination, and stunted will. (It is also the country that Israel is always told to rely on to bring recalcitrant Arabs around. In the meantime, it can't police the Gaza-Sinai frontier. So, on a regular basis, arms are funneled through tunnels that are at once illegal and really quite easy to detect. Right now three Palestinians are stuck in a tunnel that has collapsed.)
In any case, back to bread and the Egyptians. David Schenker has done a short paper for the Washington Institute on the economics and politics of a society where people are paid just to hang around and wait. (At least, it reduces the unemployment rate.) The paper also explains why farmers prefer to feed their cows bread and not grain.
The ruling pharoah knew not Joseph.