The Handling of the Economic Crisis May Lead to Civil Unrest

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CNN's Jack Cafferty notes that a number of voices are saying that - if our economy continues to deteriorate (which it very well might) - we are likely headed for violence, and civil unrest is a growing certainty.

Watch the must-see CNN viewer comments on this issue:

Newsweek wrote two weeks ago:

is beginning to break through. Gas and grocery prices are on the rise,
home values are down, and vast majorities think the country is on the
wrong track. The result is sadness and frustration, but also an
inchoate rage more profound than the sign-waving political fury
documented during the elections last fall.




search of the earthly toll of this outrage, NEWSWEEK conducted a poll
of 600 people, finding vastly more unquiet minds than not. Three out of
four people believe the economy is stagnant or getting worse. One in
three is uneasy about getting married, starting a family, or being able
to buy a home. Most say their relationships have been damaged by
economic woes or, perhaps more accurately, the dread and nervousness
that accompany them.

Could these emotions escalate into revolt?

Why Are People So Angry?

Why are people so angry?

Well, as the Newsweek article points out:

earnings have soared to an all-time high. Wall Street is gaudy and
confident again. But the heyday hasn’t come for millions of Americans.
Unemployment hovers near 9 percent, and the only jobs that truly
abound, according to Labor Department data, come with name tags,
hairnets, and funny hats (rather than high wages, great benefits, and
long-term security). The American Dream is about having the means to
build a better life for the next generation. But as President Obama
acknowledged at a town-hall meeting in May, “a lot of folks aren’t
feeling that [possibility] anymore.”

By way of background,
America - like most nations around the world - decided to bail out their
big banks instead of taking the necessary steps to stabilize their
economies (see this, this and this).
As such, they all transferred massive debts (from fraudulent and
stupid gambling activities) from the balance sheets of the banks to the
balance sheets of the country.

The nations have then run their
printing presses nonstop in an effort to inflate their way out of their
debt crises, even though that effort is doomed to failure from the get-go.

Quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve is obviously causing food prices to skyrocket worldwide (and see this, this and this).

But the fact is that every country in the world that can print money - i.e. which is not locked into a multi-country currency agreement like the Euro - has been printing massive quantities of money. See these charts.

the austerity measures which governments worldwide are imposing to try
to plug their gaping deficits (created by throwing trillions at their
banks) are causing people world-wide to push back.

As I warned in February 2009 and again in December of that year:

high-level officials and experts warn that the economic crisis could
lead to unrest world-wide - even in developed countries:

  • Today, Moody's warned
    that future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest
    in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world,
    that in the coming years, evidence of social unrest and public tension
    may become just as important signs of whether a country will be
    able to adapt as traditional economic metrics, that a fiscal crisis
    remains a possibility for a leading economy, and that 2010 would be a
    “tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers”.
  • The U.S. Army War College warned in 2008 November warned in a monograph
    [click on Policypointers’ pdf link to see the report] titled “Known
    Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy
    Development” of crash-induced unrest:

    military must be prepared, the document warned, for a “violent,
    strategic dislocation inside the United States,” which could be provoked
    by “unforeseen economic collapse,”
    “purposeful domestic resistance,” “pervasive public health
    emergencies” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” The
    “widespread civil violence,” the document said, “would force the
    defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend
    basic domestic order and human security.” “An American government and
    defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic
    order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security
    commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at
    home,” it went on. “Under the most extreme circumstances, this might
    include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United
    States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity,
    an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in
    a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance,” the
    document read.

  • Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said:

    "The global economic crisis ... already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period," said Blair. "And instability
    can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law
    and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the
    international community

    "Statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one-to-two-year period."***

    crisis has been ongoing for over a year, and economists are divided
    over whether and when we could hit bottom. Some even fear that the
    recession could further deepen and reach the level of the Great
    Depression. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political
    consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in
    Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

    made it clear that - while unrest was currently only happening in
    Europe - he was worried this could happen within the United States.

    [See also this].

  • Former national security director Zbigniew Brzezinski warned
    "there’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if
    people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even
  • The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned
    the the financial crisis is the highest national security concern for
    the U.S., and warned that the fallout from the crisis could lead to of
    "greater instability".

Others warning of crash-induced unrest include:

Unemployment is soaring globally - especially among youth.

And the sense of outrage at the injustice of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer is also a growing global trend.

worldwide told their people that bailout out the giant banks was
necessary to save the economy. But they haven't delivered, and the
"Main Streets" of the world have suffered.

As former American senator (and consummate insider) Chris Dodd said in 2008:

it turns out that [the banks] are hoarding, you’ll have a
revolution on your hands. People will be so livid and furious that
their tax money is going to line their pockets instead of doing the
right thing. There will be hell to pay.

Of course, the big banks are hoarding, and refusing to lend to Main Street. In fact, they admitted back in 2008 that they would. And the same is playing out globally.

As I noted in February:

Agence France-Press reports today:

International Monetary Fund stands ready to help riot-torn Egypt
rebuild its economy, the IMF chief said Tuesday as he warned governments
to tackle unemployment and income inequality or risk war.

No wonder former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski ... warned the Council on Foreign Relations that:


the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically
activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. There are
only a few pockets of humanity left in the remotest corners of the
world that are not politically alert and engaged with the political
turmoil and stirrings that are so widespread today around the world.


needs to face squarely a centrally important new global reality: that
the world's population is experiencing a political awakening
unprecedented in scope and intensity, with the result that the politics of populism are transforming the politics of power.
The need to respond to that massive phenomenon poses to the uniquely
sovereign America an historic dilemma: What should be the central
definition of America's global role?

central challenge of our time is posed not by global terrorism, but
rather by the intensifying turbulence caused by the phenomenon of global
political awakening. That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing.

It is no overstatement to assert that now in the 21st century the
population of much of the developing world is politically stirring and
in many places seething with unrest. It is a population acutely
conscious of social injustice to an unprecedented degree, and often
resentful of its perceived lack of political dignity
. The
nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the
Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can
be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious
passions. These energies transcend
sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well
as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still

That turmoil
is the product of the political awakening, the fact that today vast
masses of the world are not politically neutered, as they have been
throughout history. They have political consciousness.


awakened mankind craves political dignity, which democracy can
enhance, but political dignity also encompasses ethnic or national
self-determination, religious self-definition, and human and social
rights, all in a world now acutely aware of economic, racial and ethnic
inequities. The quest for political dignity, especially through
national self-determination and social transformation, is part of the
pulse of self-assertion by the world's underprivileged


live in an age in which mankind writ large is becoming politically
conscious and politically activated to an unprecedented degree, and it is this condition which is producing a great deal of international turmoil.

turmoil is the product of the political awakening, the fact that today
vast masses of the world are not politically neutered, as they have
been throughout history. They have political consciousness.

Watch an excerpt:

Postscript: Violence Is Not the Answer

I've repeatedly noted, I am against violence for a number of reasons,
the most important being that people advocating violence have probably
not thought through
George Orwell's analysis that:

in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will
tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap
and simple, the common people have a chance.

I agree on the urgency of fundamentally changing things so that our
nation (and world) aren't driven over a cliff, I believe that - instead
of violence -
other methods must be found.

that energy of being willing to die to protect your and your family's
freedoms, and put it into demanding change in an effective manner.