The Global Temper Tantrum

By Ferguson, Niall | Newsweek, July 18, 2011 | Go to article overview

The Global Temper Tantrum


Ferguson, Niall, Newsweek


Byline: Niall Ferguson

Fury is spreading. But the mobs ignore the real culprit behind broken economies.

This is the age of indignation. Politics in the Western world are becoming more emotional--because our problems are so intractable.

Recently a Chilean friend of mine was at a bullfight in Barcelona, where a spectator threw a bottle at one of the picadors. The police duly arrested the bottle thrower. But as he was led away, the crowd began to boo the policemen and to chant "Libertad! Libertad!"

This captures the illogical mood of the moment. Leave aside your feelings about bullfighting, because this could equally well have happened at a tennis match. Throwing a bottle at a participant in a sporting event is a dangerous criminal act. Someone who behaves that way deserves to be arrested. Yet the crowd's feelings of hostility to the police trumped that rational view. The arrested man became a symbol of oppressed liberty, despite the fact that everyone had witnessed his crime.

"The Indignant"--los Indignados--are now a distinct group in Spain. They are the young people who take to the streets to protest against high unemployment, government spending cuts, and anything else that ticks them off. But this is no longer a purely Spanish phenomenon. The Indignant are everywhere. They were in the streets of Athens, throwing-Molotov cocktails at police while the Greek Parliament debated its latest austerity budget.

On July 1 the Indignant were marching and yelling outside my London office, too. What was this lot indignant about? Yes, cuts once again--to be precise, the British government's plan to reduce public-sector employees' pensions and increase their retirement age.

Indignation takes different forms in different places. In Europe it's directed against cuts in public spending. In the United States it's directed against tax hikes, which are anathema to the Tea Party.

What all the Indignant have in common is the refusal to address squarely the problem that nearly all Western countries face. That problem is that the welfare systems that evolved in the mid-20th century are unaffordable under the demographic and economic circumstances of the 21st century. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Global Temper Tantrum
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.