On the Wall Street and in the Main Street it is one world


Carpetright building, Tottenham High Road

The world is on fire, well not exactly; London is on fire and in the rest of the world stock markets are falling off cliffs, no flames are visible, yet.  Today’s reality lived up to yesterday’s fears – the Dow fell 5.5% on the first day of trading after the downgrading of America’s credit by S & P.  The New York stock market was not alone, all of markets around the world fell over the anxiety and insecurity the downgrading caused.  As Wendell Willkie famously said, it One World; or at least a one world economy.  The economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have been a drag on stock markets for all of 2011 – “the market today dropped of the potential default of…..” has been an almost daily rationalization of stock price declines.  The American economic crisis created by Congress and S & P has taken that impact to an entirely new level – stock did not just decline, they plunged.  Any crisis in one country has the ability to affect the rest of the world – but, it would seem that a larger country in crisis creates a proportionately larger impact.

In society, the impact of a social crisis in one country is not as linear as a financial crisis; but it is clear from the events in Israel and London that there is influence – not direct and not linear, but still an influence.  It was the third day of riots in London, the government is very much taking it seriously and it is clear something bigger than a protest over the action of a few policemen is involved.  What is the question?  For the most part, commentaries are still just the details of the destruction; occasionally, when an observer is safe enough to speculate – social issues – poverty, the gap between rich and poor, the cost of living, unemployment and a lack of hope – are among the reasons cited as root causes.  In the midst of the burning and rioting finding root causes bridges on being impossible, it takes all the energy of the government just to put out the fires.  When the fires are out and the rioters have gone home, England will start to try and make sense of the events and to look for causes.

It would behoove other countries to do an assessment as well; the spirit of Arab Spring might erupt again – any place.  These are unstable times; 2011 is proving to be nothing like any other year in recent history.  No country, state (remember Wisconsin?), country or city seems secure.  In the 8th month of 2011, nothing seems certain except that more that any time since the last world war we are all very closely connected and the events in one place have the potential to affect all of the rest of us.

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