Sunday, December 14, 2008


Social Unrest

Certainly there are more pressing problems than social unrest, you might think, but the specter now haunts many countries and — as economic conditions worsen everywhere — threatens to engulf the world. If there is one thing that governments fear more than an attack from outside, it’s a disgruntled populace, and this disease is going to spread like wildfire. More and more people will find themselves without jobs, food, and homes, and when the number reaches a critical mass, it will rise like a tsunami approaching land. Some countries will have it worse. China and India, for example, are not only highly populous, but also have significant numbers of people who have just begun to taste the fruits of industrialism and the consumer culture. The US does not have such a large population, but its leaders will soon find that the sense of entitlement they instilled in the populace is turning into a colossal liability.

Mitigating this problem would require a redistribution of wealth, a revamped, powered-down socioeconomic system, and getting people to accept a lower standard of living. But the probability that governments will take such action is practically zero, so get ready for that tsunami.

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