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English rioting for no apparent political reason, more a case of get what you can while the going is good.

Does it get much worse than this?

Is society really broken?

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  • Don't be like Chicken Little who thought the sky is falling. This isn't the end of the world even as we know it. Shit happens, outbreaks like that occur frequently all over the world and the world hasn't ended yet, neither has society. Is society broken? No, it just has … Read More

  • [quote] So what is "badly wrong"? Unlike the riots of 1981, these are not fundamentally about race or police heavy handedness. It is not some political grievance that rioters have in common, but rather the desire for a new pair of designer trainers and flat-screen TV. [/quote] Nothing new. The … Read More

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    Why do you think we are heading towards a 'Weimar Republic'? I assume there are clues you can share with me so I can follow your thinking; I would be especially interested in the correlations you draw between specific events from that time period with some more current events. Read More

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Don't be like Chicken Little who thought the sky is falling. This isn't the end of the world even as we know it. Shit happens, outbreaks like that occur frequently all over the world and the world hasn't ended yet, neither has society.

Is society broken? No, it just has a minor crack that will heal.

Edited by Ancient Dragon: n/a

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Experience and Wiseness Speaks. :)
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So what is "badly wrong"? Unlike the riots of 1981, these are not fundamentally about race or police heavy handedness. It is not some political grievance that rioters have in common, but rather the desire for a new pair of designer trainers and flat-screen TV.

Nothing new. The vast majority of riots aren't about anything substantive (how many cars have been overturned and set on fire in L.A. Laker "victory" parties?). Even the L.A. Riots of 1992, which started out with a bunch of really angry people ended up as a big happy looting free-for-all. Riots are one of the few times one can completely give in to the ID without that pesky superego butting in. We all occasionally want to just throw a brick through a random window for fun, but societal norms and morals tend to restrain us, plus the fear of consequences. My guess is that if you asked most of those people rioting why they were rioting, they wouldn't be able to articulate any real grievance. A riot is just a really cool "happening".

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Living in the UK I was surprised how quickly this escalated. I mean, you expect this sort of thing in countries where there is great political unrest... But here, in the UK?

This level of organised destruction was surprising to say the least... I mean in countries such as Syria, where you can imagine there being secret organised opponents of the Bathist regime, the need to mass together to demonstrate against the government would at least be quick to assemble - as they must know one another through secret networks.

But, here in the UK, it was very surprising to see such a mass uprising, especially as these people must have been complete strangers. It just goes to show and underline how a seemingly sane and democratic society can descend into chaos.

A riot is just a really cool "happening".

Not so cool for the father who had to bury his son, because some idiot decided to drive a car into the crowds and kill three people...

Edited by iamthwee: n/a

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This isn't the end of the world even as we know it. Shit happens, outbreaks like that occur frequently all over the world and the world hasn't ended yet, neither has society.

Bet the Romans said that.

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This is just society adjusting to a different kind of flash mob - it will wind itself down when the dolts get their asses in a sling when they brag on facebook. Even now the 'powers that be' are tracking the e-bay sales, perusing the youtube bragging, and of course facebook.

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All the little things add up as well. Sooner or later there will be a straw to break the camels back. Look out when it happens.

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English rioting for no apparent political reason, more a case of get what you can while the going is good.

Does it get much worse than this?

Is society really broken?

That question kind of assumes society was working perfectly before. Society isn't like a toaster it doesn't work or not-work. Society changes and adapts to the changing world of technology, environment, and knowledge. In every society there are winners and losers. The winners and losers might change and the difference between being a loser and winner can get larger or smaller and the total amount of stuff to split between them can go up or down. When winners turn into losers they are rightfully upset about it, and when losers find themselves falling farther and farther behind the winners they get more desperate and frustrated about it.

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I'm a realist not a pessimist. I've never been clinically depressed and I hope that will never be the case. Realistically speaking, there are some reasons why it is difficult to look at the future of Western democracies with a lot of optimism. Many of these economies are on a downward slope. Quite a few aren't too far from needing a bailout. Many have large unfunded obligations like pension plans. This situation has been building for quite some time but it is far from normal. Economic problems of this magnitude will certainly result in all kinds of problems in these societies. What we don't see is much real leadership. There isn't too much reality or reason for optimism in what we see coming from political leaders. That's probably why we got into this mess in the first place. Politicians of all types have been addicted to spending whether we could really afford it or not. Now the bills are coming due and the cupboard is bare. It isn't going to be pretty!

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Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

--Robert Heinlein

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Politicians of all types have been addicted to spending whether we could really afford it or not. Now the bills are coming due and the cupboard is bare. It isn't going to be pretty!

I would add to this the popular mentality that "we can have our cake and eat it too" which kept electing politicians who spent more than they had and cut taxes while running a deficit. And caused people to borrow money to buy luxuries they couldn't afford (eg. monster houses).

Edited by Agilemind: n/a

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Is society really broken?

Hmmm. As a kid in the early 60's I knew the name of every family in the four square block area, named the Star Allotment, that I grew up in. How many people know the names of anyone more than two or three houses from where you live? A quick run through my memory and I came up with about 40 families and this is from 47 years ago. The neighborhood is dead, we are isolated in front of our 46 inch flat screen and our connection to the world is our Facebook page. We are doomed! For those of you who believe reality TV is reality there is no hope. One only needs look to Washington D.C. to see how sorry our society has become.

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The neighborhood is not dead; the neighborhood has changed.

This is one of my neighborhoods; I do not have a facebook page; I do not think reality tv is reality.

I can remember at least as many people from 47 years ago; I remember 4 people from 52 years ago (who are not family) and they were/are more important than most of the people I remember from 47 years ago.

If you choose to be doomed, feel free but don't put your doomsday crap on me.

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I think we are heading toward what the Weimar republic (sp?) experienced in Germany in 1933.
Wheelbarrows of money to pay for one bread.

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Why do you think we are heading towards a 'Weimar Republic'?
I assume there are clues you can share with me so I can follow your thinking; I would be especially interested in the correlations you draw between specific events from that time period with some more current events.

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Why do you think we are heading towards a 'Weimar Republic'?
I assume there are clues you can share with me so I can follow your thinking; I would be especially interested in the correlations you draw between specific events from that time period with some more current events.

First, the US are in thrall to the Federal Reserve, which is a Ponzi scheme; second, they are printing ever increasing amount of paper money for the same amount of value behind it, further diluting its value.

Just these two things appened to the German Republic before its economic crash, which did allow a guy like Hitler to come to power.

In addition, thirdly, they started a lot of small wars of agression that are bleeding them dry even while their schools, infrastructures and whole cities are crumbling under their feet and fourth, they have gotten rid (exported to third world countries) all of their manufacturing capabilities and, more importantly, their expertises. This, BTW, is enforced government policy (Google "Gybson guitars raid" to understand.

Also, fifth, they are making it harder and harder for productive people to start new businesses, strangling them with administration and regulations.
Added to that is their work ethics has been bled out of the youths in High School and Universities, where they are content to just party and booze up.

I live North from them and do not look ahead to living with a fixed income like now (I am retired.)

Whew, when I get on my soapbox, I really do let fly.
Hope I did not bore you.

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Doomsday.

Don't recall saying anything about doomsday but it may be coming. Back to neighborhoods.

A neighbourhood or neighborhood (see spelling differences) is a geographically localised community within a larger city, town or suburb. Neighbourhoods are often social communities with face-to-face interaction among members. "Researchers have not agreed on an exact definition. Neighbourhood is generally defined spatially as a specific geographic area and functionally as a set of social networks. Neighbourhoods, then, are the spatial units in which face-to-face social interactions occur - the personal settings and situations where residents seek to realise common values, socialise youth, and maintain effective social control.

My observation is based upon 5 to 6 calls a day, five and sometimes six days a week. I have asked many people about their neighborhood and most of them admit to only knowing the people next door or just across the street. There is no feeling of neighborhood in most of the areas I work in. In other words, there is no face to face interaction among members of the physical neighborhood. The physical neighborhood is there but people have isolated themselves in their jobs, families and homes. Many of my customers are physically afraid to venture out into their neighborhoods our of fear for their well being.

Last, I don't recall putting any crap on you GrimJack. I responded to a post with my personal thoughts. You, of course, are free to do the same. If this is your neighborhood, why are you so insecure, looking out your window at a casual passerby like me? Your response felt somewhat like an attack, making me think this may be a dangerous neighborhood.

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I was responding to:
We are doomed! For those of you who believe reality TV is reality there is no hope. One only needs look to Washington D.C. to see how sorry our society has become.
If I misinterpreted what you meant to say, it is either my perception or your wording; did you imply or did I infer? Or both?

Edited by GrimJack: grammar cleanup

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First, the US are in thrall to the Federal Reserve, which is a Ponzi scheme;

Sorry, I don't buy this statement, neither the thralldom nor that the Fed is a Ponzi scheme - maybe if you used different language we could discuss

second, they are printing ever increasing amount of paper money for the same amount of value behind it, further diluting its value.

I am not sure what it is that you are 'valuing' so I can't tell if it is being diluted.

Just these two things appened to the German Republic before its economic crash, which did allow a guy like Hitler to come to power.

Nope - way too simplistic; these had more to do with the hyperinflation:

  1. The kaiser and parliament decided to fund WWI with debt rather than raising taxes - this is actually a point for your side of the argument since Bush decided to fund his wars with debt AND reduced taxes.
  2. order-of-magnitude increases in prices and interest rates,
  3. consumer flight from cash to hard assets,
  4. reparations accounted for 1/3 of German deficit,

In addition, thirdly, they started a lot of small wars of agression that are bleeding them dry even while their schools, infrastructures and whole cities are crumbling under their feet

Is this a reference to Hitler coming to power? By the time Hitler started his rise, hyperinflation had been stopped

and fourth, they have gotten rid (exported to third world countries) all of their manufacturing capabilities and, more importantly, their expertises.

Nope - this did not happen in Germany; in fact, Germany still does most its own manufacturing

This, BTW, is enforced government policy (Google "Gybson guitars raid" to understand.

Not sure where this is coming from - 'enforced government policy'? are you talking about enforcing the law?

Also, fifth, they are making it harder and harder for productive people to start new businesses, strangling them with administration and regulations.

This is just fap - meaningless ranting

Added to that is their work ethics has been bled out of the youths in High School and Universities, where they are content to just party and booze up.

WTF?? Parties in high school and college is new?


I live North from them and do not look ahead to living with a fixed income like now (I am retired.)

Whew, when I get on my soapbox, I really do let fly.
Hope I did not bore you.

Not bored at all - stay on your soapbox but I will need some clarification so we can continue. I am approaching retirement myself and do not see how I am going to afford it.

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I expect most retirees to continue working part-time in the near future because there just isn't going to be the money to pay their pensions. The current scheme of the young workers of today paying the pension of the retirees won't work when there are almost the same number of retirees as young workers, and our solution to this problem has been to ignore it until we start reaching crisis. People are living longer and are staying healthy for longer. Since more and more work doesn't require physical labour people will still be fit to work many years past retirement age.

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Our pensions have taken a hit and we're told that we have to work longer for less as more people are living beyond old averages. Surely, this has been on the horizon for decades, but nobody deemed it fit to do anything about it until it was too late. We are now close to a crisis. National deficits are at extraordinary levels due to the actions of the financial institutions who still expect their employees to earn extortionate bonuses. This has fuelled a clash between public and private sector workers regarding equality of provision - a total sideshow that detracts from the core reasons for the dire situation.

Politicians have made an absolute mess of fiscal control and bankers are yet to be made accountable for the state of our savings. It's a complete farce. I wonder if we'll see more intervention in third world conflicts in an attempt to control the debt in order to refill coffers. Maybe I'm being over-cynical. I wonder if our government or the electorate would have the courage of the Icelanders to stick up two fingers to the financial institutions of the West.

University students have to fund their courses to a greater degree (perhaps 3x previous levels) for the same level of education, thereby shifting debt onto the individual, even though there are less opportunities for graduate work.

The riots have prompted tough words from the Prime Minister, ordering crackdowns on 'subculture' families and attitude to public standards. I think most of us would applaud the sentiment. The welfare system in the UK makes it possible for generations of families to live in luxury, making working for a living a very unattractive prospect when a drop in lifestyle would be inevitable for many. What a total mess.

Politicians can rant and rave as much as they like, but they're the ones (both main parties) that allowed this situation to exist over the last 30 years. It didn't happen overnight. They must all share the responsibility of creating the society in which we live. As must we, the all-powerful electorate.

Rome fell, but not overnight. Those who forget the lessons from history as destined to repeat the mistakes of the past (paraphrased, can't remember by whom originally). Vigilance, courage and active citizenship. My 2p.

Edited by diafol: n/a

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Rome fell, but not overnight.

But it did fall. The question is where is the point of no return?

Edited by frogboy77: n/a

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> But it did fall. The question is where is the point of no return?

Fair one. My point at the end, was that we shouldn't ever give up.
You may cite examples of positive feedback, but history is also full of examples where societies have remade themselves in short order. Societies should have the courage and moral conviction to rid themselves of failing political parties (and systems if need be). Apathy will surely damn us.

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I expect most retirees to continue working part-time in the near future because there just isn't going to be the money to pay their pensions. The current scheme of the young workers of today paying the pension of the retirees won't work when there are almost the same number of retirees as young workers, and our solution to this problem has been to ignore it until we start reaching crisis. People are living longer and are staying healthy for longer. Since more and more work doesn't require physical labour people will still be fit to work many years past retirement age.

I've earned two retirement pensions -- one US military and the other social security. I don't see how I could possibly maintain my customary standard of living without both pensions. SS is not now, nor was it ever, intended to be the sole support for old people. Its purpose is only to give them enough money to provide the most basic living needs, such as food and a roof over their heads. If they want new cars, vacations, etc they should have earned it during their younger years.

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Then we are damned!

Possibly. Will people just lie down and take it, no matter how bad it gets?
We've seen people make a difference right across the Middle East in recent months. There comes a point, surely, when people will say 'enough is enough'. I'm in no way advocating extreme action - we have other vehicles with which to voice our discontent. The public viewing the drip-drip erosion of their society and personal equity with almost disembodied calm, fills me with more dread than the recent riots.

Edited by diafol: n/a

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