Recently, this interview with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg came across the transom:
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned Friday that unless the economy improves substantially, young people without jobs could begin rioting in the streets.
“You have a lot of kids graduating from college, can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want these kinds of riots here,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling.
Some people think this is Bloomberg’s attempt to justify the large police presence at the Wall Street protest, but I’m not so sure given Bloomberg’s other comments during the interview:
“The damage to a generation that can’t find jobs will go on for many, many years,” he said. “We are really making ourselves have less of a future than we could have.”
Bloomberg said that the only solution is to compromise and to spread the pain.
“The only thing you can do now to solve the problem is everyone pays a little more [in taxes], everyone take a little less,” he said. “The only way to make it palatable is to make everybody share.”
Leaving aside the faulty economics, I don’t think Bloomberg would make this prediction lightly. It’s one thing to attempt to scare people bandying about the word riots (ZOMG!), but the socioeconomic commentary makes me wonder if something else is going on. Perhaps he’s getting word from community leaders or the police that things are a lot closer to exploding than we realize.
If so, someone might want to do something about that.
Why, that would be akin to negotiating with terrorists!!!!! Or something.
Wait. Is this a bit of reality entering politics? Honestly, I think that the reason that we aren’t having riots already is that the US is pretty unused to actual hardship and facing realities that aren’t all that rosy. Many still think we can just turn some corner and things will go back to normal. But as more and more recognize that the games been rigged, than more will think its time to sweep the pieces off the board and try again.
That is what happened in England. A whole marginalized class, bored, no purpose, no obvious stake in society, little hope
Big cities are volatile places and small numbers of people can have big impact. Mr. Bloomberg is not stupid.
Historically, it takes riots and the threat of riots to get workers a larger share of their productivity. It also takes enlightened self interest on the part of the upper classes. Look at the Chartist movement. There were lots of riots and threats of riots, but it was the king threatening to pack Parliament that led to changes.