The ongoing riots throughout portions of London don’t exactly lead one to make London a top tourist destination at the moment. While the violence has largely been undertaken by youth under the guise of protesting an police shooting of an unarmed black man.
In my view, this event is merely the pretext for a wider problem within Britain and Western Europe as well as the U.S. as their economies teeter, budgets tighten, and hard cuts are made. Societies of Western Europe are known for their generous and far reaching social programs including health, education, and unemployment benefits and in the face of an economic downturn, these benefits have faced an increasingly sharp budget ax.
For decades, large social benefits have been an expectation throughout Europe, but with the recent downturn these benefits have become a weighty albatross to fragile economies. So now, we have a large youth population that cannot find the jobs worthy of their education credentials and needs and some of these disaffected people are reacting with aggression towards the instrument of state power: the police. Some among the mob are just raging looters looking to get their hands on free stuff amid the chaos, but there is beneath the surface a legitimate problem affecting Western Europe and The United States as well, lack of jobs for the population that exists.
In many countries throughout the world, college is presented as this holy grail of opportunity and knowledge that will give a person the chance for a job that doesn’t involve hard labor embodied through construction and waiting tables. To clarify, there is nothing wrong with these jobs, a lot of people work hard in them and are very proud of their work. I will never disparage any man or woman who is trying their hardest to support their family.
But when you’ve spent four years, or in my case, five or six in college, and then go out to search for a job that your qualified for, and instead end up working the drive thru at McDonald’s or the Wal-Mart down the block just to survive, what the hell was the point of college again, since we may have gotten the same or similar jobs with high school diplomas.
Europe needs to fix its’ economic woes or I am very much afraid the London riots will be repeated in capitals throughout Europe and we really can’t afford to lose our greatest asset: human capital.