THE ERA OF AMERICAN DISCONTENT

The United States Of America was the First among the world nations to adopt the Free Market Capitalism envisioned by the Scottish Economist Adam Smith in its entirety , glorifying each and every word uttered in his book “The Wealth of Nations”  . But , as the Baltimore riots shows , the discontent arising from such an unfettered capitalism could not remain  beneath the surface for more  . It will be illogical to categorize the Ferguson and the Baltimore riots just as race riots , confined to the African American community as in reality the situation is more complex . As seen from the television footages available there are a sizable amount of whites in their twenties , involved in these protests . The millennials as they are called are the first generation to face the downward spiral of the US economy . According to studies , the millennials are the most indebted among the people ever to make up the demographics of the country and are the least expected to succeed in life . The college enrollment rates are the lowest among them , as they could not afford the high fees that most of the Universities charge and are usually sentenced to a cycle of temporary blue collar jobs . The Baltimore riots do have a racial angle and that is because of the fact that among the millennials the African American youth are the worst affected . Most of them are born into broken families , owing to the high incarceration rate among their parents , depriving them of the parental support many of their Caucasian peers turn to . This frustration is being vented out since 2008 as  riots and “occupy protests ”  which is directed against a generation which they think have made their life miserable

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The millennials could not be blamed for what they perceive as a grave injustice being meted upon them. The generations before them –  The Generation X born in the 60s and 70s and the post world war baby boomers were the worst spenders in the world , sinking the united states more and more into debt . At present the debt The United States owes is nearly twice its GDP and is still increasing . From an Indian perspective it is sacrilegious to imagine parents pushing their children into deep debt , but this is the case in the United States for the past two decades. The savings rate among Americans have been at the zero level for years , unlike the countries in the east where everyone from the poor to the super rich make it a habit , the day they start earning. The first sign of the bubble bursting was the sub prime mortgage crisis of 2008 , which virtually wiped off the job market available for the newer entrants . Though the country did recover statistically , in reality the conditions became worse as shown by the rise the occupy movement . As is general with any economic crisis the blame as usual were directed by the movement towards the Big Businesses and the wall street . It will be erroneous to let the wall street off all its guilt , but it the American Economic set up that is mostly to be blamed . It was normal for the country to breach the spending limits in the years of boom  ,  but ,instead of correcting it , the government raised the limit even further to sums that were illogically astronomical. The Democratic and the Republican politicians who generally are upper middle class baby boomers never really got hold of the situation , which went out of control post 2008 crisis .All they did was to blame each other and to evade taking responsibility to correct their sins ,  pushing the needy(millennials)  to take the mantle as they are seen doing in cities like New york ,Denver or Philadelphia.

The cases of police brutalities that emanate from the states also have to do with the greed that is prevalent among the Baby boomers . Instead of addressing the growing inequality among the public and sharing their riches with the needy , They blamed the poor for trying to snatch their wealth , closing the avenues for common forms of protest .This meant  by stricter laws and Mandatory sentencing , for minor offenses, sentencing generations of poor into an oppressive penal system making them fit  only to be used as penal laborers . This action of sweeping the dust under the rug , did provide stability in the short run but as is evident today , it  exploded with a much higher intensity. Owing to the excessive power given to the various law enforcement agencies ,the American law and order system is a mammoth in itself , turning against its own people reminiscent of the Frankenstein monster.

We  Indians could  learn a lesson or two  from the faults of our American peers . Inclusive development must be our key motive and it is the only path towards a stable society which we envisage ,  we must not forget the havenots among us and most importantly the generations to come after us otherwise we would be where the United States is now in 50 years.

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