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By Terry Weiss, Money Morning
Nearly 60% of all U.S. farmland has now been devastated by the drought gripping the Midwest. As a result, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, household grocery expenses are set to swell nationwide.
Consumers are already paying record prices for beef, chicken and pork. But corn prices are soaring, too - up nearly 50% over the last six weeks - as crops continue to shrivel in what is officially the largest U.S. drought on record. Wheat prices are also up 50%.
A wet August would not improve the harvest, or prices.
According to global economic trend forecaster Chris Martenson, a former VP of a Fortune 300 company, the surge in food prices is not temporary.
"We've uncovered a catastrophic pattern in our nation's food system," Martenson said, "one we believe could soon hasten a world food crisis -a chain of events that could lead to massive food inflation, even riots."
Martenson's research is garnering widespread attention this month, after appearing in a newly released documentary.
His findings reveal that this catastrophic pattern is not limited to food prices...
The work of this team of scientists, economists, and geopolitical analysts has garnered such attention, they were brought in front of the United Nations, UK Parliament, and numerous Fortune 500 companies to share much of their findings. Click on the short video above to see the eerie pattern.
YOUR MONEY - AND WAY OF LIFE - IS AT RISK
"We found the same catastrophic pattern in our energy, water and economic systems," Martenson said. "And these systems could all implode at the same time. Food, water, energy, money. Everything."
The pattern Martenson identified affects the entire global economic system. It's eerily similar, he explains, to the kind of pattern you see in a pyramid scheme, one that escalates exponentially before it collapses - with little notice.
"What this pattern represents is a dangerous countdown clock that's quickly approaching zero," said Keith Fitz-Gerald, another member of the documentary's investigative team, and the president of The Fitz-Gerald Group. "And when it does, the resulting chaos is going to crush Americans. Our way of life is in jeopardy."
Dr. Kent Moors, an adviser to 16 world governments on energy issues as well as a member of two U.S. State Department task forces on energy, agrees.
"At first, the pattern is almost impossible to perceive. Everything looks fine, just like in every pyramid scheme. Yet the insidious growth of the virus keeps doubling in size, over and over again - in shorter and shorter periods of time - until it hits unsustainable levels. And it collapses the system."
The impact on the U.S. dollar - and any dollar-denominated assets - could be severe, which is unwelcome news for the struggling currency. Inflation looms.
In the coming years, according to a USA Today report, it could take $150,000 of annual household income for a family to afford basic living expenses - and an occasional night at the movies. Already, "52% of Americans feel they barely have enough to afford the basics."
"You've got higher food prices, higher fuel costs, more people, and less land to use for growing food," Fitz-Gerald said. "If our research is right, Americans will have to make some tough choices on how they'll go about surviving when basic necessities become nearly unaffordable and the economy becomes dangerously unstable."