High Levels of Youth Unemployment – and Runaway Inequality – Cause Riots

Recipe For Disaster

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies.

The great American historian Will Grant wrote in 1969:

In progressive societies the concentration[of wealth] may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.

A 2011 study this month by economists Hans-Joachim Voth and Jacopo Ponticelli shows that – from 1919 to the present – austerity has increased the risk of violence and instability.

Peter Turchin (professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and an adjunct professor in the departments of Anthropology and Mathematics at the University of Connecticut) pointed out in 2013 that inequality is cyclical, skyrocketing until – periodically – revolution forces concessions from those who have grabbed all the wealth.

Indeed, leading institutions and economists all over world warn that runaway inequality could cause violence and unrest.

For those who work for a living, the level of inequality in America today is arguably the highest in world history.

Ron Paul said today:

We know about the militarization of the police and their overreaction in the drug war.

We also noticed that some people who are on the receiving end of excessive police force are overreacting too and people can get pretty nervous about that as well, but the big, overwhelming thing that drives the problem in the inner city is back to economics.

If we had a thriving economy, the problems in the inner city wouldn’t be there, but when you have an entitlement system, Keynesian economics and the Federal Reserve fixing it up for the rich to get richer and the remaining part of the middle class, the upper middle class that might be remaining, the rich even go after them to tax them to try and keep this [system] going.

A high level of youth unemployment is also a leading cause of riots. As we noted in 2011:

Youth unemployment is rising globally. As the New York Times reported last August:

Youth unemployment across the world has climbed to a new high and is likely to climb further this year, a United Nations agency said Thursday, while warning of a “lost generation” as more young people give up the search for work. The agency, the International Labor Organization, said in a report that of some 620 million young people ages 15 to 24 in the work force, about 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 — the highest level in two decades of record-keeping by the organization, which is based in Geneva.

The youth unemployment rate increased to 13 percent in 2009 from 11.9 percent in the last assessment in 2007.

“There’s never been an increase of this magnitude — both in terms of the rate and the level — since we’ve been tracking the data,” said Steven Kapsos, an economist with the organization. The agency forecast that the global youth unemployment rate would continue to increase through 2010, to 13.1 percent, as the effects of the economic downturn continue.  ***

Indeed, as I have previously pointed out, youth unemployment is also very high in the U.S. And when those who have given up looking for work and those who are underemployed are taken into account (i.e. using the U-6 measure of unemployment), it is clear that the youth of much of the world are suffering Depression-level unemployment.

Postscript: As Ron Paul notes, there are other reasons for the riots in Baltimore. But high levels of youth unemployment and inequality are big factors.

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  • paul

    The rich appear to believe that they now have the technology to overwhelm the poor however numerous they may be.

  • Libertybelle

    I blame this mostly on the GOP. Corps should be taxed at such a high rate for moving manufacturing overseas that they would have to think twice about leaving. Then I blame the Dumbocrats for unions. Unions were once rich but never started a business and paid the employees the outrageous wages they demanded others to pay. Unions are evil.

    Bring American owned companies home. Tax them back.

    • the silenced masses

      Unions are evil? Did you know that in societies with strong unions the people have a much higher quality of life? Unions raise the standard of living for non-union members as well. Do some research and learn what working conditions were like before those evil unions came along. Do some research a learn that the declined in the quality of life in the west has coincided with the decline in the power of unions.

      Did you know that the only jobs being created now are low-paying minimum wage jobs? This wouldn’t be happening in a society with strong unions, we wouldn’t have the social inequality that is now destroying the West. You should also take the time to learn about the efforts the government, media and corporate world have made to demonize media, that way you will understand where your misinformed beliefs about unions comes from. All you are doing is regurgitating elitist propaganda

      • Libertybelle

        Don’t be stupid.

        • the silenced masses

          I guess it is stupidity expecting brainwashed zombies to accept the facts, instead of sticking to their owned delusional beliefs. This is what happens when you dumb down the population, people start believing their idiot opinions are as valid as fact.

          Go turn on your television so you can find out what your opinions are for today

  • Apr 29, 2015 Illegally Detained at an Internal Border Checkpoint

    We live in such a ridiculous, tyrannical, totalitarian police state.

    After visiting Big Bend National Park (INSIDE the United States), we were forced to stop at an internal border patrol checkpoint some 50+ miles north of the border. Multiple times we were told we were being detained until we answered whether or not we were U.S. citizens.


  • Libertybelle


    Just have libs/Democrats pay to fix it.
    They always pretend to care for the poor so I am sure they will help.
    The President says he can fix the problem in Baltimore with more money.
    That could happen over night! You could call it uber hope and change.

    There would be no need to wrangle any messy legislation out of congress either.


    1. Those evil rich folks can open their wallets wayyyyyy wide to being in businesses for the community. Folks like Soros, Pelosi, the Clinton’s, Corzine, Roseanne Barr, Warren Buffet, David Letterman, Katie Couric, Oprah, Teresa and John Kerry, Arlan Spector, Michael Moore, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Steyer, Sergei whatshisname, and so forth–they love the poor and want to help. Compassionate Dems (arent’t they all !) have enough money to provide a job ( and more!) for every person in the worst areas of Baltimore.

    And we know how much Dems and their groopies love, love, LOVE the poor!!! And > !!!

    2. Soros could bus the protestors to the wealthiest congressional districts and counties in America and let those excitable young’ins have at it as Salon online advocates! By the way “Eight of the ten richest congressional districts in America are represented by Democrats. Eight of the ten richest counties in America also voted for Obama.” (John Hawkins, Townhall).

    Doesn’t that sound exciting!!!!??? The hope! They change! The dollar bills!

    3. Then Soros could bus the little darlings to Salon employees’ homes and let the precious little ones take liberties of neighborhoods as only a Salon writer would advocate for others. What a charming idea! Dems/libs/progs/lefties are so kind!

    Their moral superiority just oozes out into the atmosphere around them (and no carbon emissions either!).

    Problem fixed.

    These things are so easy to fix when rich Democrats dot the fruited plain like middle-class businesses going up in flames in LA, Ferguson, or Baltimore riots….(voice fading off in dreamy contentment)

    JUST JOKING FOLKS! Don’t not ever approach a rich Democrat or supporter.

    XXXXX > warning to protestors: Don’t get near those rich Dems/llbs/progs/commies, they will probably shoot you dead before you can say “the Democratic Party Loves Me”.

    Have a super duper day in Baltimore! And remember, the rich bazillionaires in the Democratic Party and or their backers LOVE YOU.