Could Rising Frustration With Unemployment Lead to Riots?

Mayor Bloomberg needs a reality check

Mayor Bloomberg

Here I am on a random night reading up on the state of the economy and I come across this article titled “Bloomberg Warns High US Unemployment Could Lead to Riots” by Mary Bruce. Clearly I’m intrigued.  That is, until I read the article.

Mayor Bloomberg is suggesting with the growing number of individuals graduating college without job prospects, the US will face riots due frustration which will lead to a similar situation as Egypt and Madrid.

That’s where I stopped and just burst out laughing.  Is the mayor of New York city truly suggesting that people in this country will overthrow the government due to 7-10% unemployment? And is he honestly comparing us to countries with a 40% poverty level, serious lack of any humanitarian standards, extreme corruption, and most importantly arguable one of the more violent dictatorships?

In countries like Egypt, decades of corruption, extreme poverty, lack of governmental responsibility and care taking of the needs of the people has lead to explosive situations. Especially while government leaders were living excessively luxurious lifestyle in the face of the people’s extremely desperate situations.  According to the Economist, Egypt’s youth holds a 25% unemployment rate with no hope for improvement in the near future.  Basic needs such as food, shelter and water are not met in many areas of Egypt.  Add to that lawlessness and hopelessness with a high activity rate of religious militant groups fueling the fire, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Protests and national revolts do not start over night. They erupt after decades of frustration, which is then triggered by one situation.  Since the start of the most recent recession (2008ish), we have experienced high numbers of lay offs (which affected yours truly as well), gas prices increasing as high as $5 a gallon, rising milk and rice prices, record braking foreclosure and homeless rates, unemployment hitting as high as 12% in some states and with almost no improvement in the economy since.  Still, there is no civil unrest but rather a focus on moving forward and trying to find a way to survive.

We are not a nation of lawlessness.  Lawlessness can lead to unrest, but as long as a civil order is kept in place by the authorities with a minimal level of satisfaction (basic needs are met), the chances of riots are minimal.

Mr. Bloomberg should be well aware of that.

Although minor violent breakouts could erupt, with growing hopelessness and the governments lack of urgency on job creation, I think we are a far cry away from a national revolution. Additionally, Mayor Bloomberg, please find a more suitable comparison.

This is truly funny or worrisome because comparisons like that are irresponsible. I think Mayor Bloomberg needs a vacation.


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