The world is in chaos. Their are riots in London and Liverpool. A civil war in Syria. A famine in Somalia. The US is still fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus whatever you want to call what is going on in Libya. (From the shores of Tripoli…) Plus the credit of the United States was just “downgraded.” (Inherent question. There are three major ratings agencies. S&P controls 40% of the market. The other two control about 53%. Why are we listening to S&P and not Fitch’s or Moody’s?)
But is this really any different than any other time in the last, oh 600 years? From 1948 until 1989 the US was under constant threat of nuclear annihilation. Before that the Nazis and a depression were threatening the world. The teens saw WWI and the Russian Revolution. Famine, pestilence and war are standard for society’s since the middle ages. Plagues, fire, and short life spans were the norm. Human life was valued little. How many men died constructing the Hoover Dam? How many were starved by Stalin or Mao or the British Empire in India? Slavery and serfdom were the rules of law in most of the world. Colonization led to spreading of disease and terror. Now we are complaining about a “debt limit.”
It actually is a legitimate complaint. Life is about perception. It may be cliche to say that perception is reality, but that is truth. Americans now feel that they are in decline and lack the money to keep borrowing like they do. The truth of the matter is that interest rates on American borrowing is currently negative. America should be borrowing more money and paying off the old debt. There is the fear that China is catching up and may in the future present a military challenge to the great American power. China has one, twenty year old, Soviet aircraft carrier. Good luck with that.
The kids in London feel like outcasts because they are kids. They are attacking stores and looting Sony warehouses. It isn’t a populist uprising, it is a consumerist uprising. In contrast the revolutions in the Arab world are life and death struggles. Everything else is sound and fury, signifying nothing.