Barbarians on the Thames-A postmortem of the British riots, Dalrymple

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Trajan, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    very well said, I picked one of the more euradite sections imho.

    :eusa_clap:

    Theodore Dalrymple
    Barbarians on the Thames
    A postmortem of the British riots

    snip-

    This doctrine originated not with the rioters but with politicians, social philosophers, and journalists. You need only read Henry Mayhew’s nineteenth-century account of the laboring poor in London to realize that the notion of having rights to tangible benefits was once unknown to the population, even during severe hardship. But the politicians, social philosophers, and journalists transformed things evidently desirable in themselves—decent housing, for example—into rights that nothing, including the behavior of the rights holders, could abrogate. It clearly never occurred to the well-meaning discoverers of these “rights” that their propagation might influence the human personality, at least of that part of the population destined to become increasingly dependent on exercising them; and it required only an admixture of egalitarianism to complete the dialectic of ingratitude and resentment.

    What about unemployment as a cause of the riots? If there are no jobs, there is no opportunity for self-advancement. And as Time points out, unemployment for Britons between 16 and 24 years old has increased from 14 percent to 20 percent over the last three years and is much higher in the areas where most of the rioting took place.

    Here, too, the explanation is superficial. The current British unemployment rate, to start with, is not especially high by European standards, though perhaps it is too early to say that similar riots could not happen elsewhere in Europe. More to the point, in the boom days before the financial crash, Britain already had high levels of unemployment among the unskilled young, even as the country imported large numbers of unskilled immigrants to work. For every 20 unskilled jobs created in the run-up to the crash, 19 immigrants found work in Britain, while millions of natives remained in state-subsidized idleness.

    Three reasons explain this seeming paradox. In the first place, foreigners, initially without British welfare entitlements, found the wages for the jobs on offer sufficiently enticing to accept them. For natives on welfare, however, the financial difference between working and not working—especially when they could supplement their welfare benefits with a little trafficking or casual work in the black market—was insufficient to get them into the workforce. A locution that welfare recipients frequently use is revealing: “I get paid on Friday,” they say, referring to getting their welfare funds. Their work, apparently, is existence.

    Second, many of the young foreigners possessed qualities superior to those of their British counterparts, making them more attractive to employers. Few are the jobs, especially in the service economy, in which such characteristics as punctuality, reliability, politeness, and helpfulness are not important; but these qualities were not much in evidence among the young British population. While in France, one can run a good hotel with young French employees, it would be impossible in Britain with young British employees; in Britain, hotels and many other services are good in proportion to their employment of foreigners. And while educational standards may have fallen elsewhere, it is rare that young migrants to Britain are as uneducated as young Britons. The foreigners, unlike the Britons, can do simple calculations, and they often speak an English that, if not more fluent, is more refined than that of the young Britons.

    Finally, the existence of subsidized public housing, or “social housing,” as we term it in the U.K.—it would be more accurate to call it “antisocial housing”—discourages recipients from moving to find work. Because the benefit is not transferable from one location to another, moving would mean that the tenant would have to pay rent at an unsubsidized rate. At the age when young people should be most geographically flexible, many become attached to their lodgings by iron hoops of subsidy. That is why public housing in Britain so often resembles a prison without walls and without warders, and why the riots had some of the qualities of a prison riot.

    more at
    Barbarians on the Thames by Theodore Dalrymple - City Journal
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  2. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Diamond Member

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    He could be writing about Americans just as well.
     
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  3. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    exactly...Occupy well , anywhere.
     

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