Social unrest ought to be no surprise

Eric Garland Economic trends, Social trends 1 Comment

If you want to know why America is entering a period of social unrest, check the following chart. This is participation in the US Government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as Food Stamps. In the past five years, the number of working people forced into poverty has soared while the “economists” on TeeVee debate Keynsianism and marvel at the record S&P 500.

This is the reality on the street, a universe away from the iPhone 6 launch, record stock markets, even ISIS. And even the most cynical can’t try to stuff this into the “people are lazy” trope – numbers don’t move this much on accident.

People were in the streets of St Louis this past weekend because of Michael Brown and Ferguson and Darren Wilson – no doubt. But the broader context is a people under crushing economic pressure which is not felt by those in the halls of power. And while our government has been rewired to care for the needs of special interests, you may see more people take to the streets to form new alliances that will go around institutions that do nothing to serve them. Economic trends of this magnitude have far-reaching consequences.