Felix Salmon has some very smart analysis of the real crisis underlying the near-universal chaos breaking out across this troubled world.
Most fundamentally, what I’m seeing as I look around the world is a massive decrease of trust in the institutions of government. Where those institutions are oppressive and totalitarian, the ability of popular uprisings to bring them down is a joyous and welcome sight. But on the other side of the coin, when I look at rioters in England, I see a huge middle finger being waved at basic norms of lawfulness and civilized society, and an enthusiastic embrace of “going on the rob” as some kind of hugely enjoyable participation sport. The glue holding society together is dissolving, whether it’s made of fear or whether it’s made of enlightened self-interest.
The world is changing fast, the old institutions aren’t working anymore, and — frustrated by the inaction of those institutions — people are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. The accelerating pace of change, the impatience with government and other institutions, and the background of economic anxiety: this is the new background for our lives.Get used to it.