söndag 12 februari 2012

Carol Hunt: We'll only be pushed so far, Enda, there's nothing left to take from us

The middle classes, the very backbone of Ireland, are being driven into revolt, writes Carol Hunt

Various historians of different political hues have pinpointed the main steps that lead to revolutions.
I think it may be useful to summarise them (and note if there are similarities with recent Irish history), if not for Enda then at least for the rest of us.

Initially, there exists a period of social and economic progress, followed by a period of sharp reversal.
Then people are forced to accept less than they hoped for; the future does not look promising. As most potential revolutionaries tend to come from the middle classes; educated, law-abiding people -- with modest ambitions -- start to view the government as pressing on them in a way that threatens their future.

The governing classes generally react to world changes by clinging to the familiar status quo. Social unrest follows in the wake of national economic reversals that are seen to be the fault of inept, possibly corrupt, governance.
Hope for the future is all but extinguished.

The middle classes begin to fight back through peaceful protest and non-compliance and are met with a formal
government-backed resistance and refused the right to assembly.

It's at this point that the Bastille is stormed.

Shocking injustice of austerity taxes revealed
'Coping class' paid three times more tax than in previous year as take for richest actually drops

Tens of banks and other buildings are burning across Athens after today’s demonstrations. There are huge riots in Thessaloniki and Patra as well. The situation seems to be spiralling out of control. We will try to summarise key developments through the night, below:

Changes to Spanish employment law prompt unrest
Spain’s new conservative government approved sweeping labour market reforms as
part of a drive to revive a sick economy and solve Europe’s worst unemployment
nightmare – a jobless rate of nearly 23%.
Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/changes-to-spanish-employment-law-prompt-unrest-

Indignados march hits Lisbon again
Around two thousand demonstrators came to the streets of Lisbon to say: Basta! That's Portuguese for.."Enough!" Enough to austerity measures, enough to precarious jobs, and enough to the lowest incomes in Western Europe.

Greece, Italy May See `Severe’ Unrest, Newton Says

In his 2011 book Endgame , New York Times best-selling author John Mauldin calls Japan a "bug in search of a windshield," and it's a great metaphor. Like a bug buzzing along a highway, Japan's economy has bumbled along for the past two decades, not really growing but not imploding either. In the not-too-distant future, Japan may be in
for a good "splat."

Two things have kept Japan's economy afloat all these years: its healthy trade surpluses and its government's ability to borrow large sums of money at ridiculously low interest rates to fund enormous budget deficits. The high price
of the yen and prolonged weakness in the United States and Europe are doing a fine job of denting exports. And soon, the low interest rates may be under attack.

Anyone reading this article is well aware of Europe's debt woes. But Japan's debts make Europe's look like pocket change.

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