I have been writing about the cost of Putin’s war on Ukraine quite a bit, as my lovely readers know. But I haven’t been analyzing the global cost of the conflict nearly enough.
“Ukraine war” has been one of the most googled words this year (I believe it was #3). The biggest reason for that is because of the sheer loss of life and suffering Putin caused to Ukrainians.
But the war has also caused inflation, debt, and supply shortages across the Globe.
Indeed, according to some estimates 2022 has been the second worst year ever for poverty alleviation, after 2020. And Putin is behind it all.
There are a number of immediate factors we should consider when we talk about the global toll of Putin’s war:
- Supply shortages
- The financial crisis.
- The energy crisis.
I’ll discuss each in succession.
1. Supply Shortages
We have all been hearing about food shortages since the outbreak of the war. Ukraine has long been called the “breadbasket” of Europe — and the world.
Both Hitler and Stalin realized this, leading to both of them fighting over the cities of then-Soviet Ukraine, from Odesa and Kyiv to Kharkiv and Donetsk.
Combined, Russia and Ukraine provide approximately one-third of global wheat and barley. So, when Putin launched his full-scale invasion, there were obvious ramifications to this supply.
Putin’s war caused an immediate uptick in the FAO food price index hit, as Oleksandra Drik reports. And accordingly, more than 2 billion rural workers and the livelihoods of their families are at risk because of the conflict.
We have good reason to assume that Putin knew this and used it as leverage in the conflict.
2. The Financial Crisis
We can’t talk about the food crisis and supply shortages without touching on the global financial crisis Putin’s conflict caused in the wake of a pandemic that already put the world into extraneous debt.
As Drik writes,
“In just a couple of months after the full-scale…