Of course there’s a lot of hand-wringing and soul searching going on in the wake of the riots in England. A lot of people around the world must be pretty shocked to see this happening in this country. Of course the perpetrators are irresponsible. Of course their parents have not brought them up well. Of course the police could have handled the situation better. Of course the decline of religion plays it’s part. But…
I read a headline today that pretty much summed it up. If you want to understand why the riots took place and you’re wondering whether this could happen again, think on this. This one woman is quoted in the paper today as saying “We are caged like animals while the rich get richer.” That completely sums up the major underlying factors. Although I’m not convinced that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is any wider than it was in, say, medieval times, the fact of the matter is that nowadays there is so much more to own than ever there was back then and boy, isn’t it just rammed down our throats!
The rampant age of consummerism means that we’re bombarded every minute of every day with stuff we can own; Rolex, Mercedes, Pierre Cardin, Loboutin and other stuff we just DO NOT NEED. In spite of that, we want them, because if the adverts are there, then someone sure is buying these things. So the rich may not be richer, but there’s a lot more bling that they can show off and we know that there is because we see it magazines and on the TV all the time.
All of this means that the people at the bottom of the pile increasingly think that they are so dispossessed that they genuinely have nothing to lose. If you have nothing to lose then there’s nothing to fear from society, the police and the law.