The RSA, my latest favorite podcast, just released this really great discussion about the London Riots. Before listening I was only vaguely aware of what was really going on in London, most of what I know about urban England I learned from Netflix (This is England | Fish Tank | Shameless). But I heard a lot of similarities, implications, and general trends that apply in terms of the ramifications of government austerity, gentrification, and a growing income disparity. The situation parallels the US in interesting ways: 20% youth unemployment, a resurgent right-wing criticizing the poor and unemployed as a “feckless underclass”, and a left (Labor) either scared of or incapable of creating a counter-narrative. The core causes seemed virtually identical to the structural employment and economic disparity that exists in the US; and the recession and government cuts to social services seemed poised to only exacerbate the economic situation. But the solution also seemed to be the same, education. In the new global economy first world nations don’t really have any place for an uneducated workforce. To stave off social unrest and in the spirit of equality, educational reform has to be undertaken.
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