The Rising Risk of Social Unrest

The risk of social unrest is on the rise around much of the world, according to polling data summarized in the International Labour Organization’s latest World of Work Report (ht: Tortsen Slok).

The ILO estimates that the risk of unrest has risen the most in advanced economies over the past five years, followed by the Middle East & North Africa and South Asia:

With people in the streets from Athens to Oakland, the ILO clearly has a point about the advanced economies.

And what factors contribute to a rising risk of unrest? The ILO pegs six, all of which sound familiar:

• Income inequality and perception of injustice: Perception of economic and social disparities, and increasing social exclusion, is said to have a negative impact on social cohesion and tends to lead to social unrest (Easterly and Levine, 1997).

• Fiscal consolidation and budget cuts: Austerity measures have led to politically moti- vated protests and social instability. This has been the case in Europe for many years, from the end of the Weimar Republic in the 1930s to today’s anti-government demonstrations in Greece (Ponticelli and Voth, 2011), but has also been a feature in developing countries, especially in over-urbanized zones, where protests have arisen following the implementation of austerity programmes imposed by the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank (Walton and Ragin, 1990). Meanwhile, societies that are more indebted tend to have higher levels of social unrest (Woo, 2003).

• Higher food prices: In addition to collective frustrations regarding the democratic process, rising food prices were also central to the developments associated with the Arab Spring (Bellemare, 2011).

• Heavy-handedness of the State: In countries where the State has resorted to excessive use of force (police and military) to tackle social upheavals instead of focusing on the actual causes of unrest, such actions have often exacerbated the situation (Justino, 2007).

• Presence of educated but dissatisfied populace: Countries with large populations of young, educated people with limited employment prospects tend to experience unrest in the form protests (Jenkins, 1983; Jenkins and Wallace, 1996). This has been the case recently in many southern European countries, such Greece and Spain.

• Prevalence of mass media: Past studies have highlighted the impact of radio on the organization of demonstrations, and clearly the use of the Internet (e.g. through the use of Facebook and Twitter) have played a role in recent incidences of unrest.

6 thoughts on “The Rising Risk of Social Unrest”

  1. It is not the top 1 percent, it is the top .05 percent that created a very very unstable dysequilibrium….

    How it all ends ….. quantitatively ….

    The Debt-Money-Asset System Macroeconomic Quantum Collapse: The Wilshire’s 8 August 2011 3/7/5 of 6/4 Weeks :: x/2.5x/2x/1.6x Collapse. As Ford Motor Company goes, so goes the Global Macroeconomic debt-money-asset system. [Edit or Delete]0 comments
    Nov 5, 2011 1:19 PM

    November 2011… Ford points the way….as Ford Motor company goes… so goes …..

    October 2006: The last posting in the Economic Fractalist: As GM goes so goes …. Is Saturation Macroeconomics a patterned science…?

    Yes …… to both the statement and the query ….

    In 2009, GM, wirh 250 billion dollars of debt, ceased to exist – as a derivative asset known as an equity- and as a real company. GM declared bankruptcy with resultant complete losses to stock holder speculators and reduced benefits to 35 year GM employees. This is what happens when bad debt is viewed as a performing asset and thereafter suddenly disapears from the ledgers of those owning the bad debt asset.

    In early 2009 the growth of the equity valuation of Ford emerged before the composite Wilshire. Ford’s valuation nadir occurred on 20 February 2009, 11 trading days before the Wilshire’s nadir on 6 March 2009. Because weekly time units are broader 5 day strokes, Ford nadir occurred 2 trading weeks before the composite general market reached its defining final fractal unit low.

    Ford’s four phase fractal series from its 20 February 2009 low of x/2.5x/2x/1.5-1.6x was 21/52/2x/1.5-1.6x weeks. This represent the classical quantum 1st/2nd/3rd/4th fractal series: three fractal phases of growth and one phase of decay. The debt-money-asset macroeconomic system has integrated and self organized Ford’s 3rd and 4th fractals into yet another x’/2.5x’.2x’/1.5-1.6x’ 4 phase fractal series with a base fractal of 11 weeks starting on 29 June 2010 for 11/28/22/13 of 17 weeks, The last 17 weeks is again self assembled into another classical Lammert saturation macroeconomic quantum four phase fractal series.

    Within the next four weeks, there will be a historical nonlinear Global Stock Market Crash representing very large time scale second fractal nonlinearity. This is the terminal portion of the 85th quarter of a 34/85 quarter first and second fractal series for the Wilshire and the global interconnected money-debt system system dating to the Wilshire’s 1982 nadir low and yo the US thirty year bond’s low in 1982.

    This historical crash will forever change the debt-money-asset system and the system’s present bad rules favoring speculation of trading derivative assets such as equity and commodity futures over savings and promoting unregulated defacto virtual money expansion via financially engineered and highly leveraged derivative exchanges.

    The present rules created by the financial industry’s CEOs take unfair advantages with first use and special privileged elite use of the monetary system. It has led to tremendous macroeconomic system debt-money-asset dysequilibrium.

    Uncontrolled debt and money derivative creation and defacto money expansion has resulted in both oversupply and overpricing Housing supply and prices have been falsely elevated by the financial industry Elite’s special use and defacto systematic manipulation resulting in the enserfment of world citizens to debt obligations that are disconnected from wages and available jobs.

    The rules have resulted in an enormous of unrepayable bad dedt.

    The creation of the Euro monetary system for 500 million people is linked to the dollar and US debt system and to all major sovereign central banks. A shell game of monetary expansion has been colaboratively concocted by the Euro zone, London, Japanese, and US central banks. Large too big too fail banks and financial corporations have made tens of trillions of dollars of derivative bets on the continuation of sovereign debt repayment.

    It is the system’s valuation asset patterns that are self organized by the ongoing dynamics of the macroeconomic system’s bounded debt-money-asset interactive and countervailing elements. Default on debt will inevitably occur and in a time based, predictable, and highly quantitative pattern … Following the above 29 June 2010 11/28/22 week fractal, Ford’s final 4th fractal began.

    The 4th decay fractal of 17 weeks started on 8 August 2011 and is also composed of a x/2.5x/2x/1.5-1.6x series of 3/7/5 of 6/4 weeks which will complete the fourth fractal’s 17 weeks and the 29 June 2010 four phase 11/28/22/17 week fractal series.

    From the 8 August 2011 low, Ford is following a 12/30/24 of 24-30/18-19 day :: x/2.5x/2x-2,5x/1.6x ideal Lammert four phase quantum Fractal Series.

    The DAX and CAC followed a 9 August 2011 (3)7/17/17 day :: y/2.5y/2.5y decay fractal with the last 9 days of the 17 day third decay fractal forming an 8-9/21/4 of 22-23 day :: y/2.5y/2.5y decay fractal whose end low day matches Ford’s and the Wilshire’s low in 17-18 trading days.

    Assets other than debt and money are valued over a denominator of debt and money. When debt undergoes default, assets have a smaller denominator of money and residual debt.

    The March 2009 Wilshire’s empirical second fractal from nadir valuation points was 52 weeks in length and precisely matches Ford Motor Company. The Wilshire’s third and fourth fractal summation ideal length should be 74-76 weeks (3.5-6x of the ideal base of 21 weeks)

    For the Wilshire 6 November 2011 represents the 72nd week of a possible 3rd and 4th fractal sum of 74 to 76 weeks

    A macroeconomic system and asset valuations of that macroeconomic system have been massively leveraged by bad rules and unsound debt creation orchestrated by a defacto political-financialindustry-centralbank collaborative group into a very unstable position. A historical decay nonlinearity of equities and commodities will occur within the next 4-6 weeks following one of the two ideal Lammert quantum pathways.

    What is needed now and after the deluge is massive leverage at the real economic end: the people wage earner end – rather than the financial industry end, using sovereign currency for the purpose of citizen wage and job creation at the societally useful and stabilizing level.

  2. And the number one reason for social discontent; the economic murder of the body populace by corporations through the use of “corporate personhood” to leverage the assets of the richest against the poor and middle class.

    I’m not against corporations, I’m against the corporatocracy that controls the wealth of the commons through legal games like corporate personhood. I won’t believe corporations have the same rights as people until the state of Texas executes a corporation.

  3. For some reason this post stuck with me over the past few days. Mostly I think because I felt of the six items listed above there was something fundamental missing. What has since occurred to me is simply this: the social unrest that we see here in the States anyway is directly rooted in one additional factor not taken into account above.

    I’m afraid I’d have to echo Jimmy Kay above and suggest that the treatment of the corporation, “a creature of the law” as somehow comparable to what the framer’s were thinking of when they crafted the Bill of Rights is really troubling. But I’d go a step further. The origins of this whole way of thinking rests in the Supreme court case (Buckley v. Valeo, right?) that also equated money with speech. And I’d have to say that over the course of the 35 (?) years since the ruling? That the argument that those with great wealth would in effect “drown out” the average citizen is coming to fruition. That what John Rawls said is coming true; that what we’ve got is, “fair representation [as] representation according to the amount of influence effectively exerted.”

    And the result? A bunch of pissed off people from across the spectrum who’ve been lead to believe, who’ve been taught, who’ve been told all of their lives that our system of governance and distribution works one way.

    But who’s eyes are telling them that it actually works quite another.

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