Saturday, August 13, 2011

London Riots

Thank you for the comment a few days ago and the request that I write a blog on the London Riots.   So here goes...

While there are never any excuses for looting or riots, especially like those in London and other part of England, there could be reasons and there could be lessons for us to note.  There are reasons for peaceful protest and politicians recognising that poverty and lack of jobs are not OK in countries where there is plenty of food and resources. 

Firstly we need to acknowledging that there is increasing anger and disconnection with society, being expressed by young people. 
There is also increased poverty and increases in the gap between rich and poor.  The prices at the supermarket go up every week, with specials no longer very special and cheap brands no longer cheap. 

Envy is an ugly emotion, but it is alive and well, but so is greed and the way incomes are rising for the top business people and those running both private and government enterprises, the more the toxic mix of envy and greed will create violence.    It almost sounds and feels like a mathematical equation. 
We have been warned by the researchers of The Spirit Level (see blog a couple of blogs ago) who pointed out that the large gaps between the rich and poor causing inequality do lead to more violence, higher prison numbers, more youth pregnancies and more.  

With inequality comes a break down of trust and a breakdown of social capital. The rich do everything they can to protect their homes and possessions and those who are hungry, unemployed, have been excluded from higher educations because of cut back in education funding express frustration, and this frustration turns to violence.

If our government cuts benefits and training allowances for young people after the next election and copies Cameron and the Republicans with big cuts in services then I suggest that we will see more violence in our countries. 

1 comment:

  1. You mention 'Envy is alive and well' and I think this is a major factor in the disruptions in the UK. Social and Political envy is in the first instance a intra- psychic phenomena and has the power to turn into resentment and harm. Those in medieval times well knew that 'envy' (evil eye) was a sin of the flesh and that the corresponding quality that would overcome it was 'gratitude'. This may well be the key to establish balance in these communities. While I do not propose that a whole generation of disaffected young people find something to be grateful for, programs that support creative thinking will go along way to establish a positive presence in a community drenched in 'envy' and resentment.