To Conservative Brit prime minister, David Cameron, the masses of youth who took to Britain's streets this week for four consecutive nights of rioting are nothing more than common criminals. Then again, the Right is conditioned to see these things in the simplest fashion that suits their narrative.
But the writing is on the wall. Studies are finding that youth frustration is spreading as the gap between rich and poor widens.
Cameron's government has described the rioters as criminals looking to plunge the country into chaos, but that's only part of the truth. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals another piece of the puzzle: Of all the European Union countries, only Portugal is home to greater wealth disparity than Great Britain.
These riots are a specifically English problem -- at least for now. But the divide between rich and poor is growing all across Europe, helped along by austerity measures, especially those implemented by the countries worst stricken in the debt crisis, including Greece, Spain and Italy. Not only are social services being slashed, but school budgets and health care services as well. And nearly every European city has its disadvantaged neighborhoods, places where opportunities for young people in particular are limited.
...The "Losers' Uprising," as German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung termed it, could spread beyond Britain in the future. Many EU countries already fear the development of what the German media are describing as "English-style conditions." The Continent could be in for an explosive autumn, a situation some have already called a crisis of European democracy.
This truly does beg the question of whether America is immune to a similar youth contagion. The US is renowned for its wealth inequality gap, a condition that its "bought and paid for" Congress seems determined to expand at all costs. Likewise, the collapse of the middle class has sealed the portals of social mobility that Americans once so prided themselves upon, their nation's very promise. With the middle class being choked out it's becoming much, much harder to climb out of poverty much less enter the now politically and socially gated community of the wealthy.
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