To the overwhelming majority of Brits, of all races, creeds and colors, well off or in poverty, a fundamental change in social structure, is probably just as unthinkable as it was to those English citizens in the eighteenth-century. But, as long as the conditions that lead to violence continue, the rioting, with its emotional release and its material windfalls and illusory social gains will go on and on, hot summer after hot summer, as it did for centuries in Europe.
In most countries of Europe riot eventually turned into revolution. In England, and England alone, riots faded into insignificance in the nineteenth-century. France in 1789, led the way; it proved through the Reign of Terror that social change and political power could be achieved through mobs harnessed to a political ideology of social hope; a lesson never forgotten by the French or by the countries to which they exported their ideas. England nearly followed suit. Right up to 1850 revolution was possible. Then Britain was saved by the enormous affluence of the industrial revolution- supported by a dependent and exploited empire- and by the creation of a pattern of social hope for all classes through social programs and full political participation among other more complex factors at work. We appear to be on the cusp of a transition to a new age which also promises great wealth, but the technological unemployment, and deflationary impact assures that this will be a bumpy trip given that enormous productivity gains are being realized with a substantially diminished head count.
The harkening cry of JOBS and STIMULUS is not falling on negligence or stonewalling, it simply that this new economic cycle will operate very non-linearly until job and income growth becomes apparent. Until then, the socially and politically toxic blend of populism and income disparity appears to be the norm. To some noted talking heads such as the bear baiting and hunting David Rosenberg we are in a balance sheet cycles, which involve deleveraging, debt reduction, squirreling away, light hoarding and asset deflation. Hence, recoveries are fragile and have a low tolerance to the smallest of shocks. In this context, recessions occur every two to three years which puts a recession by this January squarely in the spotlight. Much to the delight of the cranky bears. Yet, 28% of the population has no debt, and S&P companies on average are flush with liquidity. They just ain’t flashing it.
…British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he would consider restricting the use of social messaging tools such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM) in a bid to prevent the kind of rioting that has swept the country this week. Speaking at an emergency session of Parliament in London, Mr. Cameron said his government would consider disrupting services such as Facebook, Twitter and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BBM service. RIM’s iconic messenger was favoured by rioters because its dispatches are encrypted, making them difficult for law enforcement to decipher….
It”s a great marketing coup by RIM, one that gives the BB underground and hip credibility on the street. Lots of free publicity and a lot cheaper than those cheezy U2 ads.It kind of closes the circle between its business users who often disrupt financial markets with this new class of emerging revolutionaries and insurrectionists. Hard to know why Tiger didn’t insist that his various adventures didn’t use a Blackberry with some enhanced features.
…Digressing from his prepared remarks, the Prime Minister eventually singled out the Canadian smartphone maker for its unique role in the week’s events. “The problem was, police were facing new circumstances, in that rioters were using BlackBerry – a closed network – so we have to examine that and figure out a way to get ahead of them,” Mr. Cameron said. Ironically, authoritarian regimes such as China and Iran have come under heavy criticism for placing similar restrictions on their citizens while social messaging tools have played a pivotal role in populist demands for democratic rights — including free speech and the right to protest — across the Middle East….
“I can understand why politicians would want to propose anything that might placate an angry public, but this is over the line and won’t help the British government in the long run,” said Vince Mosco,
ofessor of sociology at Queen’s University in Kingston. “It will undermine general faith that the British government supports the open networks that are necessary to run an advanced economy.” Read More:http://business.financialpost.com/2011/08/11/u-k-considering-bbm-ban/
Fortunately, these are not hunger riots or food inflation riots.But, its also disconcerting that the riots are modulated on the basis of consumerism gone awry, a consumerism that has bred legions of dysfunctional and disqualified consumers who are urged to spend on that which they can’t afford. They are always reaching as Coca Cola CEO Woodruff stated “within an arm’s length of desire” except they are several cricket pitches from getting into the game.
social inequality derives from the distinction between the haves and the have-nots, and the maintaining of the hierarchy is fundamental in safeguarding status as Thorstein Veblen explained. In our present advertising filled and brand driven world, having luxury objects seems more intensely desired and equally resented than at any other time. Hence, we have this growing anger driven by absence of possession and an equal impulse to obliterate what you can’t. Perhaps looting and burning are based on identical impulses that seek to gratify similar desires. For these have-not dysfunctional shoppers not buying, not participating in the consumer game is a kind of open wound permeating an identity of zero self-esteem and the stigma of marginalization. In a roundabout way its equated with an absence of individual dignity and of meaning in their lives.
…Countries such as India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have all threatened to ban BlackBerry messaging services entirely in the past year, partially due to their inability to monitor BBM content. The governments argue they need access for national security reasons, while human rights and free speech advocates argue any BBM ban would be tantamount to an act of repression.Unrelated men and women have been known to use BBM to communicate with each other in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, because their correspondence is considered a crime in those countries….
On Monday, as the the riots escalated, RIM said it would “engage with authorities” to assist in any way it could. The following day, a group of hackers known as TeaMpoisoN broke into the official BlackBerry blog to denounce the company’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement.
The group threatened to release the names, addresses and phone numbers of RIM employees unless the Waterloo, Ont.-based company refused to assist police in their efforts to track down those suspected of looting or committing acts of violence. It was then that David Lammy, British Member of Parliament for Tottenham, appealed to his followers on Twitter and later on BBC Radio for BBM service to be suspended in the country. Read More:http://business.financialpost.com/2011/08/11/u-k-considering-bbm-ban/a