London riots

myampol

... After all, until recent years, the venues for upward social mobility have been present: free schooling, and almost free university education. It's not been like the USA, where social mobility isn't that great because access to education isn't present. ...

Sorry, BBW, but am I misreading you, or have you perhaps made some typos in the above?

Barny

I think you're getting correlation and causality badly mixed up here, bbw. If I didn't know better I'd think it was David Starkey himself behind some of your comments

DominiConnor

How do you force someone to learn though?
Incentives, both positive and negative.
Strong ones.

Poverty in and of itself is not an indicator of crime.
Agreed, though there is a correlation and illiteracy is a very good predictor of getting a criminal record.

It is poverty mixed with broken homes or poor parenting.
One thing that has declined as a result of political correctness is education in childcare.

We can fix that.
Most inadequate patents are on low incomes often receiving state benefits, so we incentives them to be better by a bonus system.
Thus if your kids learns his alphabet before school and to recognize (say) 30 words, you get money, doesn't have to be much, say $1,000, ditto counting. From my own kids I've learned that this works out at a about minimum wage. It is amazingly time consuming and repetitive, exactly the sort of work that uneducated parents are fit for, If your kid stays out of trouble, that's more money, each notch he moves up the academic achievement scale more money. Note we are paying for change, not drift. The joy of these people being poor is that they value$100 more than most people.

That needs to be backed up by courses for parents, which you have to attend and pass before you get child benefit.
Truancy from school bring automatic removal of state benefits, as does child misbehaviour.

We need to stop thinking of unemployed parents as unemployed and change to a mode where they are treated as employees who aren't doing the job the way the state wants them to.
We need to both educate them to the task, and provide incentives to do the job better.

Andy D.

With the choice you've given me, the USA hands down. England has become unrecognisable from the country I knew as a child
I'm in agreement with BBW here, with the caveat I think it depends which part of the US you are in. I love New England though, it really is a great place to live.

The mid 90's onwards in (old) England certainly felt like an optimistic time, however I would say around 2000 is when I really started to notice that things were changing in a thoroughly negative manner. The Labour governments ridiculous assault on all sorts of areas of life from banning smoking in pubs (and I am a non-smoker) through to the destruction of decent rubbish collection (yes as crazy as it sounds) was enough for me.
I could list endless issues, but I think Paul Kingsnorth's book "Real England - the battle against the bland" hit upon a lot of the thoughts I'd been having.

After the drift and stagnation of the John Major years I guess people got taken in by the siren song of "New Labour." And Blair did have nice white gleaming teeth which he displayed in his confident smile. But nothing really changed except the presentation and rhetoric. I think Simon Jenkins(?) wrote a book titled Thatcher and Sons -- where the ideological sons of Thatcher have been Major, Blair, and Brown, who more or less continued Thatcher's program of privatisation, deregulation, and neoliberalism generally (if memory serves, Blair privatised the trains and reinstituted university tuition fees). The fundamental structural problems of the British economy and society have been in place for decades. And just seem to have gotten worse.

In my neck of the woods I run into Englishmen who contend they can't afford to move back to Britain -- it's too expensive.

Andy D.

In my neck of the woods I run into Englishmen who contend they can't afford to move back to Britain -- it's too expensive.

I can certainly believe that. At the end of the day Britain's loss, is America's gain. I know a fair number of people who have moved over here now and the quality of life they have on a regular salary is superior to what they would have living in the UK.

I've never bought into the pious sentiments that "education, education, education" (paraphrasing Slick Willy) is the panacea to social problems. And here is a book -- which I don't yet have -- which argues that it isn't a panacea. I'll order it today from Amazon.

With regard to providing some backdrop to the riots, I found this piece quite persuasive:

The protests that have shaken Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Israel and Britain this year (even before this week's rioting) suggest that the pattern continues. The orgy of looting and vandalism that Britain suffered this week may have been simply the ugly Halloween face of a far broader wave of social unrest that expresses not simply economic discontent, but the declining legitimacy of the political system in the minds of millions of people who see it as serving the interests of a narrow elite at the expense of the majority.

joel_b

Yet another perspective, I dont agree with everything in here, but I do think that there is a certain type of indiviudal that society needs avenues for that have been marginalized in 1st World capitalist nations (mostly). If all the factories and straight hard labour kind of jobs have been outsourced and there isn't enough driving them into the military - what else is there?

Umarried, Unskilled, Unwanted...

As for the unemployment crisis among the underclass, you can pick your root causes. Conservatives blame bad attitudes and a rotten work ethic (and correctly point out that in Britain, industrious Poles will work harder for less than the natives will). Liberals blame a lack of jobs in the post-industrial economy. Both sides are right. What neither side will say is that uncomfortably large numbers of young men have neither the attitude nor the aptitude for the jobs that are on offer, and no amount of education will make it so.

Back in the ’70s, a friend of mine taught working-class kids in Britain for a while. “What do we need to learn this for, Miss?” they would ask. They didn’t see the point. As soon as they turned 16 they planned to quit and get a job in the factory. Today the factories are gone, and the coal mines are too. The modern economy cannot absorb the kind of people who are most suited to these jobs. They are, quite simply, surplus to requirements.

This is nothing new in the history of the world – only in the history of our world. A surplus of unemployable, disruptive young males has often been the norm. Karl Marx described such people as “vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars.” (He was referring to 19th-century France.) Society had different ways of dealing with the problem. Many of these men would go to war as cannon fodder. Some would go to sea, or be transported to Australia. The more ambitious ones would strike out for the new world. Today we need another way. But no one has a clue what it might be.

Yet another perspective, I dont agree with everything in here, but I do think that there is a certain type of indiviudal that society needs avenues for that have been marginalized in 1st World capitalist nations (mostly).

Not just First World -- it's throughout the world. Russia, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan. No jobs for young men. What few there are demand a high skill level for which both a high level of intelligence and years of expensive education are required. Not that training such people could ever be a solution (were it possible) -- the high-skill jobs are in the thousands and the unemployed in the millions.

joel_b

Right, I forgot to add prison as an avenue. That's where they end up as well. Looking at the big picture they are all forms of social welfare (prison, mandatory military service, military education, subsidized low-skill labor), so take your pick.

Put them in prison where it actually costs an average of 23K per year (up to 45k) to pay for them (not to mention the court costs to get them there), even more in the military.

Need to accept the fact that you need to provide low-skill jobs in abundance (make something, anything, subsidize it) if you want placate them enough so that they cooperate with society. Of course this points to socialism, class systems, (and the risks of fascism and eugenics); however, we have to admit that not everyone is cut out to survive in the current world in the way it operates.

When will the cull begin? I'm being overly dramatic, of course, but we face serious questions in the next few decades that remind me of the plots of many a dystopian novel, or forward thinkers on the topic of capitalistic behavior.

Our intelligence, advancement, and high-tech industries have rendered a large section of our society as surplus to economic and social requirements.

Anthony DeAngelis

Malthusian action in the house.

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
I suppose I should be ashamed at the degradation of society, but wow that is hilarious...

Andy D.

this is the quality of life you are talking about

If you read my post earlier, it did say with the caveat of where in the US you live.

Well-written piece by Naomi Klein:

The Tories are right when they say the rioting is not about the cuts. But it has a great deal to do with what those cuts represent: being cut off. Locked away in a ballooning underclass with the few escape routes previously offered—a union job, a good affordable education—being rapidly sealed off. The cuts are a message. They are saying to whole sectors of society: you are stuck where you are, much like the migrants and refugees we turn away at our increasingly fortressed borders.

David Cameron’s response to the riots is to make this locking-out literal: evictions from public housing, threats to cut off communication tools and outrageous jail terms (five months to a woman for receiving a stolen pair of shorts). The message is once again being sent: disappear, and do it quietly.

... At the time, many of us pointed out that the pricey new arsenal that the police had acquired—water cannons, sound cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets—wasn’t just meant for the protesters in the streets. Its long-term use would be to discipline the poor, who in the new era of austerity would have dangerously little to lose.

Anthony DeAngelis

I don't know BBW, do you really think this is about opportunity or people who have no interest in the effort needed to take advantage of that opportunity. School isn't as fun as playing video games, waking up early to go to work isn't as fun as sleeping late, etc. The people who succeed put off immediate pleasure for long term well being. All the opportunity in the world doesn't mean people will actually take it.

I don't know BBW, do you really think this is about opportunity or people who have no interest in the effort needed to take advantage of that opportunity. School isn't as fun as playing video games, waking up early to go to work isn't as fun as sleeping late, etc. The people who succeed put off immediate pleasure for long term well being. All the opportunity in the world doesn't mean people will actually take it.

It's a bit of both is the answer. In your particular case, since you're some kind of self-made person, you think everyone can do the same as you. But maybe they cannot: the persistence, drive, ability -- and dare I say it? -- the breaks may not be there. More importantly, if everyone did, there might not be enough openings for everyone. This is why honours graduates in the UK are serving Big Macs. It's important to distinguish between an individual solution and a collective one. At the collective level, just going for education or credentials can't be the answer: what you'll get is a large group of qualified trash collectors and fast food workers. Indeed, in their book, The Mismanagement of Talent, the British academics Hesketh and Brown argue that most of the new jobs that will be created in the UK will be low-skill and low-wage ones in food services and health care (e.g., old age nursing homes).

In the old days, working-class youngsters would quit school at 16 and go to work in a factory or mine. Those jobs are gone. The youngsters may not educable in the sense that you may not be able to make computer programmers or microbiologists out of them. And even if you could, there wouldn't be enough job openings. That's what we've been saying in the last several posts.

Anthony DeAngelis

So what is the answer. You either reduce population since large numbers are no longer needed, pay people to do nothing and be complacent or create factories that assemble nothing, simply to give people jobs?

Andy D.

So what is the answer. You either reduce population since large numbers are no longer needed, pay people to do nothing and be complacent or create factories that assemble nothing, simply to give people jobs?

A global effort by the world's democracies to colonize Mars could do the trick. I'm only half joking here as well .

This is an interesting book that was originally published back in the 90's by one of NASA's guys.

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Mars-Pla...811X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313671439&sr=8-1

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