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Below, I've posted a link that demonstrates how riots are linked to environmental stress, particularly the rise in food and fuel costs, along with cuts in social services, education (steep rise in tuition), and housing for the economically challenged, also known as the poor and working poor (and increasingly including the middle class).

I'd recommend this article to everyone. We need to reflect on the directions our respective governments are taking to increasingly protect the privileges of the rich at the cost of the middle class and the poor. Our social fabrics can only withstand so much stress before they begin to tear, and we are beginning to 'tear'. I say 'they' because such riots are not limited to the west but include the 'arab spring' and riots in Russia some years ago. However, we need to take care that we do not exacerbate the conditions that lead to such large group outpourings of frustration and anger. There isn't a nation in the world that is currently safe from these stresses, and we need to think about what causes them. The collective greed, for example, that called for deregulation of the food commodity markets so that speculation could increase by more than 100 percent (or perhaps 300 percent -- I'm not great with figures but it's explored in the article), is in large measure the catalyst for this kind of social breakdown.

I'm not sure any of us can afford to continue enriching the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. The costs are extreme when society breaks down.

Freedom to Riot: On the Evolution of Collective Violence by Eric Michael Johnson http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/2011/09/06/freedom-to-riot/?WT_mc_id=SA_CAT_EVO_20110906


Sep. 7th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)
I appreciate what you're saying, and there's no doubt the world is changing. However, there was a healthier society in the US, for example, when the nation was proud to say 'made in America' rather than outsourcing most manufacturing jobs to cheap labour in other parts of the world. Mind you, that certainly helps those other people while it enrichs the owners and stockholders ... and so much of that income isn't even taxed as is in the public record. Is it GE that didn't pay any tax on it's income generated outside the US?

We'll never agree on this because we come from different value and cultural backgrounds. In Canada, we've learned that sharing wealth doesn't lessen opportunities or dreams, but in fact expands and increases them. Our medical system, for example, costs less than yours per capita because we don't have to make a profit on treating illness and injury for stockholders.

And yes, riots like this have occurred throughout history and led to events like the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the fall of Rome and the second World War. While there have been positive outcomes to all of those events, I'm not sure we want to go the same route to bring forth change.



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