Wednesday, August 10, 2011

E.J. Dionne in London on London (and the other cities)

Interesting follow-up to the last post (on Goldstone). Here we have Dionne talking the politics of all of this (in GB). We (democracies) have a problem having an adult debate. Yes, condemn, arrest, and punish. Stop rioting, but riots don't just grow on trees, they grow out of bad conditions. No rioting here on Magowan Ave. Wonder why not? We can't condone or reward, but we (and I say "we" because it can happen here) or the Brits would be dumb not to address causes. We'll see.

Goldstone on London

Jack Goldstone's New Population Bomb, certainly a great new blog, has another interesting post today, and it's about London. Simply put, we only describe the situation when we say that people (some) are acting reprehensibly, criminally, etc. Of course, but the question we really need to ask is "why?". How do we explain this outbreak of violence? Goldstone has the credentials, and as his recent post on the French Revolution demonstrates, we can (in some measure) learn from history. I believe that his conjectures about London (and Greece earlier) are very persuasive. The police shooting in London was just the match: without fuel, the match doesn't do much of anything. Compare London today to the Rodney King riots in LA: another match in a blighted area. With increasing economic volatility, if not outright downturn, expect to see more of this type of social unrest. (BTW, consider similar underlying conditions in the Arab Spring.)