The headline above once pertained to bear markets and the pounding investors would take.* Nowadays, real blood is being spilled in Western democratic cities like Vancouver, Canada, and Athens, Greece. With America’s economy stuck in recession and with the dismal and arrogant leadership provided by President Barack Obama and Congress, it is not hard to imagine similar violence in American cities.
Such an idea would have seemed preposterous four years ago. But that was before the financial crisis of 2008. For three years, anger has been building — and not just in places like the Middle East where violence is as much a part of their culture as the Quran.
On June 15, riots broke out in Athens, the birthplace of democracy. On Tuesday, violence erupted again. The outbursts were ignited by further austerity measures ordered by the Greek government.
The free lunch Greek citizens have been getting for decades is being ripped off the table. The country has already gobbled up the first $139 billion European Union-led bailout. Any talks on a second bailout for Greece hinge on a further belt-tightening. The people of Greece, raised on socialist handouts, are in no mood to stay on a diet.
On June 15 and again Tuesday, protestors poured onto the streets throwing rocks at Parliament. Riot police finally quelled the unrest, but more violence is expected.
Last week, Greece was hit by rolling blackouts as workers at the main power utility began 48-hour rolling strikes to protest the company’s privatization, part of austerity plans needed to avoid a national debt default.
Selling off assets in the utility is a step the socialist government in Athens must take in its $71 billion privatization plan, which must be completed by 2015. The Greek people don’t want spending cuts and higher taxes. But the Greek Parliament is staring down the barrel of a gun. If it doesn’t implement changes by the end of the month, the country will not get the last $17 billion of bailout money.
To ease the crisis in Greece, EU finance ministers agreed to raise the amount of money they will provide for countries drowning in debt. The move is a last-ditch attempt to keep Greece’s financial crisis from spreading to Ireland and Portugal.
All of this has international bankers worried. Last week, Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, warned there is still “a real danger” of contagion from the ongoing debt crises in Europe, including the possibility of some damage to the country’s banking system.
“Canada is not an island — no country, any more, is an island — our economies are clearly interrelated,” Flaherty said at a breakfast appearance in Toronto following emergency discussions with other G7 countries.
It’s All Greek To Me
Flaherty should also worry about Canada’s homegrown rioters. The same day Athens was burning, so was Vancouver.
On the evening of June 15, the team favored to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Vancouver Canucks, lost. The Cup went to the Boston Bruins, who did not cheat their way to the NHL Championship or get help from the referees. They simply were the better team.
Like most sports fans, I am often brokenhearted. At the conclusion of most seasons, I say, “Wait until next year!” But thousands of Vancouver Canuck fans didn’t say that. Instead, they said things like: “Let’s blow up cop cars; let’s beat up bystanders; and let’s throw bricks though windows!” And that is exactly what they did.
More than 100 rioters were arrested by Vancouver police; as many as 1,000 people could face criminal charges. The dragnet will be aided by the audacity of the looters who photographed and videotaped their rampage and then displayed it on social media websites like Facebook.
The physical cost for the few hours of rioting is more than $1 million, but experts say the long-term damage to Vancouver’s tourist industry could be billions of dollars.
As in Athens, the rioters in Vancouver were mostly gangs of youths bent on creating chaos. This begs two questions:
- What would happen in a city like Vancouver if the fledgling economic recovery collapses and the citizens face hardship?
- What are the chances this kind of violence will erupt in the United States?
On FoxNews.com, Bill O’Reilly wrote: “The question is: Could this kind of thing happen in America? And the answer is yes. About half the population here now believes income redistribution is the right thing to do. We’re setting the table for violence in this country. Once people start depending on the government for their livelihood, for essentials, and then those essentials are taken away, you’re going to have violence. Also, the more loons there are, the more potential for violence there is. Those anarchists want to burn down everything.
“So we can watch this stuff in Vancouver and Greece, but we shouldn’t think it can’t happen here. The pinheads in America are mounting.”
Before you dismiss O’Reilly as a fearmongering right-wing extremist, it is worth noting that someone on the far left is also frightened of chaos coming to America. Democratic strategist James Carville spoke out about civil unrest that might spring from a still-sick U.S. economy on Don Imus’ syndicated radio show, Imus in the Morning.
“(The recession) is a terrible thing that has happened to people’s lives… If 54,000 (new) jobs is the new norm – this is going to be very, very tough. Some people say it just might be one more thing. We don’t know.”
Carville added that the consequences of America’s continuing financial crisis will not be limited to politics, and he warned of civil unrest because of the bleak economic situation.
“People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s eminently possible.”
Carville and O’Reilly have agreed on something. If you don’t believe in the possibility, you would have to be naïve. Economic collapse almost always leads to civil strife. What the Vancouver riots demonstrated is that citizens today are spoiled and think they are entitled to whatever they expect.
I have a feeling the world’s staggering economic recovery is about to fall over dead. And not just for Greece. When that occurs, punks like those who rioted in Vancouver will have a lot more to be upset about than the fact their hockey team didn’t win.
Action to take: Take precautions for you and your family should there be violence in and around your neighborhood. Store extra food and water and have your home well secured. Also take whatever defensive measures you feel are prudent. Secure cash on hand and safely inside your home as well as physical gold and silver.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report
*The book, Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad was written in 1987 by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg. It remains an excellent read. You can purchase it at Amazon.com.