Zerohedge has an alarming chart of the level of youth unemployment in Europe.
Masses of unemployed youth are not conductive to political stability. Even if those aged 16 or 17 were excluded from the chart it is likely the unemployment level would still be high. Extreme conditions can result in extreme solutions. If the democratic political process fails to generate solutions then the people will turn to alternatives. While Europe is the focus of this chart, having more than 40 million Americans on food stamps suggests they too will face social problems.A commentator on Zerohedge makes a good point:
smb12321 The reason Europeans don’t get to live beyond their means forever (free everything) is the ancient law – you can’t forever spend more than you make. Redistribution is as old as society and the result is always the same: Smart, creative and hardworking individuals get ahead. Lenders have concluded that the EU with its declining, dispirited citizenry will never “grow” itself out of recession while consuming more than they produce.
Yes, austerity is a vicious whirlpool but what is the alternative? Printing money, confiscating wealth, changing the social system? Chances are 100-1 that given the power, governments will distribute wealth to its supporters (thus building another overclass).
The comment is just as pertinent to the USA. The US bailout bonanzas are just the latest in a long line of government gifts to the connected class. Prior to the GFC I thought Japan with its lost ‘decade’, or possibly British style stagflation were best case possibilities for the USA. After all the US extraordinary measures, Putin’s Russia and Gangsta capitalism come to mind. I overestimated the decency of the US establishment. It’s been thoroughly corrupted. It no longer reflects the values of bedrock America. Hopefully America as a whole still reflects the values of bedrock America. If not, hello USSR.