You there, neoclassical economists, conservative idealogues, and fascist personalities, are you watching the riots in London? Are you watching the streets burn as the disenfranchised youth turn against everything? Are you making angry statements about the rampant criminality of it all? How the youth should be locked up along with their parents? How the army should be called in to lock down or shoot-up the streets?
To you, it is all about the individual. Society doesn't exist, only the individual does and he or she lives and dies by their own merits. The state? You say fuck the state as much as the kids burning the shops and attacking the cops and each other. This is your free-market free-fire zone at work. This is your economic crisis, the one that made your wet-dream of drastically reduced government come true. Cut back all the welfare you say, and people will have incentive to just go and get jobs. They'll all become entrepreneurs and slave away in the salt-mines so they can go to medical school or get MBAs. They'll be freely mobile labour, able to move to Sheffield or Northumbria at the drop of a hat if the market sent them there. They'd be able to buy stocks and become traders at the pull of a bootstrap. Or if they couldn't they'd just fade away into the ether or something as you bought up their decrepit neighbourhoods to gentrify with condos and overpriced lingerie shops.
You should be positively orgasmic over this. Government went and got all small and the dole-queens lost their cheques. But you're not pleased at all, are you?
Instead, you're scared. Terrified, as the zombie youth you created roam your cities, burning your shops, and bloodying your police, two-fingered rage to the cameras.
You still won't get it though. You'll scream for bigger prisons and more police to take all the lost kids away along with their prosecuted parents. You won't question your views, you won't listen to the people who might tell you exactly how we got here. Instead, you'll bemoan the lazy parents, call for compulsory youth camps and curfews (to be administered of course by the private sector), reinstate National Service for 16 and overs (at reduced pay of course because they're not adults).
Tottenham, Hackney, West Ham, places in Bristol or Liverpool, those are people's homes. Those places, poor and dysfunctional as they are, are the only places many of their denizens have ever known. They may not be employed or educated, but they must have something to do, they must have the means of feeding and bettering themselves. The youth must have some refuge, some means of a way out. The state provides these, government provides these. When you take those things away, you have taken away home and hope. This is not an incentive to get off the welfare and find a job. Without security of place, more so that security of jobs, there is uncertainty and fear.
Instead, this creates void where where a future should be.
The youth in England are at the bottom of a class-spectrum in these wealthy countries. Their problems are the immediate version of larger type faced by the those of us further up the line. In the US, those precious markets of yours have impoverished and displaced growing millions who maybe don't yet realise the hopelessness of their 'structural unemployment.' In the longer term those of us under a certain age see a future of dead oceans and scorched land and wonder what horror might await us, because you won't stop burning the ancient sun.
I warn you, what you see in London is the canary in the mine. We are watching, and we are angry. I pray, and you should fear, that we do not need our Mark Duggan to make you change.