In the US, the Pew Research Center reports that Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics. Likewise in the UK, IPPR reports that women are seeing severe discrimination when trying to borrow from British banks. It’s not a big surprise to any cynic that minorities are hit the hardest in times of economic crisis, but one of the hardest hit minorities worldwide are the younger generations. In the US, the wealth gap between young and old is the widest ever. CNBC has a series of articles on the global crisis. One more global problem which is also hitting the US is concentrated poverty, as the US once more sees growth in poorer areas.
Clearly, the previous recession is not the only culprit, but it exacerbated preexisting issues. And then what happened? An unemployed youth, 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, ignited the Tunisian revolution. The ensuing “Arab Spring” influenced both the London riots which spread throughout Britain and the Occupy Wall Street protests which spread throughout the US and around the world. While the English riots were actually ignited by a protest against questionable police actions and furthered by criminals, reports are coming in that the riots also spread, along with plain old hooliganism, because of frustrations among the youth about unemployment and underemployment. Likewise, the Occupy protesters pointed to rising unemployment as a key purpose for their demonstrations. Other non-English speaking countries, like Spain and Malaysia, used the Occupy movement to further their own existing agendas which were similar in nature–anti-greed, anti-corruption, anti-authoritarian, and also anti-youth-unemployment. The opinion pages are awash with ideas that the youth and minorities simply lack the right work ethic, but even if that were true, these protests clearly indicate that these people are frustrated, not lazy.
All of this happened after only one recession. Now, many experts say the troubles in the eurozone could spark a double dip recession impacting the globe. What will the knock-on effects be? To what lengths could global social unrest extend and how fast could they spread? Will there be a lost generation wave through the coming decades with high debt, low job experience, and criminal records? How quickly could the nations 0f the world pull out of such a crisis? What would the international power balance look like afterward? Could the signs of similar crises in the future be seen with a standard set for broader international metrics beyond GDP?