Rise of the Politics of Rage

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1320 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in financial realm. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our fifth goal, more original reporting.

Yves here. Many experts and commentators are trying to get a grip on the backlash against what seemed to be an irrevocable march towards an increasingly globalized world. Perhaps they’ve simply reached the limits of a policy trilemma that Dani Rodrik first articulated in 2007:

….democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible: we can combine any two of the three, but never have all three simultaneously and in full.

Readers have taken to quoting Yeats’ The Second Coming (“….the center cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”) but stop short of the last lines:

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Or more tersely and less elegantly by Antonio Gramsci:

The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms.

This article attempts to define the new political impulse in terms of rage. While readers no doubt will take issue with the frame (rage implies irrationality, and one can argue that the anger that drives some key actors and movements is well warranted; repeatedly being on the short end of economic deals and then being pandered to on top of that will produce a response).

The “rage” meme nevertheless reminds me of one of my favorite videos:

And even if you don’t agree with all of the items on the various lists below, they are nevertheless what we in consulting call a forcing device: far enough along to serve as good grist for reflection and refinement.

By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat magazine, now the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics website. Originally posted at MacroBusiness

From Barclays:


Rage is all the rage these days. Global media have taken notice of “voter rage” directed at the centre-right/centre-left establishment. What appears less well understood is that this voter rebellion, “the Politics of Rage”, spans nearly all advanced economies, has been taking place for more than a decade, is unparalleled in modern history, and is deeply entrenched. This is not just about Brexit or the US election; it is about a global political movement.

More troubling, from a market perspective, is that its roots may be misunderstood. Misperceptions in politics tend to lead to volatile surprises, such as Brexit, or to misdiagnoses and to policy mis-prescriptions that imply even worse outcomes for asset prices.

Policymakers have focused on income inequality as the primary driver of the Politics of Rage. Although we cannot reject the thesis, we find little support for it in the data. Others have focused on anti-globalisation movements as the main driver. Our analysis agrees, but in results that may surprise some; we find that it is neither the most important source of rage nor as economically irrational as some have suggested.

We find that a deeper cause is a perception among “ordinary citizens” that political and institutional “elites” do not accurately represent their preferences amid a growing cultural and economic divide. These frustrations appear to be validated, with many caveats, by the data: median earners in advanced economies seem to have been the relative losers of globalisation, both within their own countries and relative to their emerging market peers.

Voter anger may be analogous to the Greek hero Achilles’ terrible rage, not for having received less than King Agamemnon, but for the perceived injustice in the manner in which Agamemnon distributed the spoils of battle. Achilles’ wrath cost the Greeks – and ultimately Achilles – dearly, as the Politics of Rage may cost global output. But it was not because Achilles’ sense of justice was in error.

Our findings have mostly strategic implications for asset markets, but they are not happy. Our research seems to support the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington’s forecast of continued political upheaval and highlights the trilemma of incompatibility among democracy, sovereignty and globalisation postulated by the economist Dani Rodrik. The Politics of Rage has been around longer than many realise and likely will remain for the foreseeable future. Despite this long arc, our findings also are highly relevant to near-term event risks.

The report is robust and detailed, but the issues and conclusions are framed in brief in the Executive Summary and on “Rage in a page”, below.


Prospects for the Politics of Rage

• Its roots run deeply through and across countries; Brexit was no exception

• Technology likely will nourish the roots of Rage by inflaming some of the key proximate causes

• Governments are ill equipped to fight Rage with already overextended fiscal positions and low levels of popular trust

The Policies of Rage

• Sovereignty: Reclaiming sovereignty delegated to supranational and intergovernmental organizations

• Representative reform: More direct democracy and a greater voice for “ordinary citizens” • Immigration: Greater sovereign control over immigration

• Trade: Restrictions on the free movement of goods and services

• Redistribution of income: More progressive taxation and income support

• Anti-corporatism: More sovereign assertion of tax and regulatory authority for multinationals

Effects of the Policies of Rage

• Direct de-globalisation: Restrictions on the free movement of goods and services, labour and capital

• Indirect de-globalization: Greater difficulty achieving harmonisation of international rules, standards and taxation  Supranational entities like the EU and intergovernmental agreements like the Basel Accords and WTO likely will be at greater risk of dissolution

• Redistribution of income: Even without explicit policies to redistribute, de-globalisation likely will lead to a greater labour share of aggregate income

Implications of the Politics of Rage


• A slower pace of trend economic growth is likely with EM growth disproportionately affected

• We expect steeper advanced economy Phillips curves; but EM may see even more disinflation

• Fiscal policy likely is ambiguous for advanced economies, but more expansionary for EM

• Global savings should fall, and precipitating a rise in real interest rates to equate investment, but the pattern should shift, ironically, to decrease advanced economy current account balances relative to EM

Financial market 

• Global nominal interest rates should rise, but more so in core economies; dispersion should increase

• G10 FX should outperform EM FX, but dispersion within each group should increase; JPY is a clear outperformer, EM and Europe are clear underperformers

• Slower global demand should dominate the outlook for commodity prices

• Equities and credit likely face a poor outlook in aggregate due to slower revenue growth and margin compression, but wide sectoral and country dispersion is likely

• “Fat tails” are likely as markets learn about the Politics of Rage, but a long-run increase in volatility is unlikely

I can gainsay none of that and will only note that it is the commodity-intensive Western nations that have survived the rise of rage best. But as that windfall passes so too will its political blessings.

Australia therefore has an opportunity to get ahead of this trend before it forces itself into our politics permanently, but we, sadly, are stuck with Do-nothing Malcolm and his merry band of real estate rentiers, ensuring that rage will grow.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Disturbed Voter

    It took a long period of mismanagement, until the ale-wives marched on Versailles. The elite can always assume that the consequences will fall on the next generation, as did King Louis XV … “after me, the deluge”. Madame Pompadour made the mistake of living too long.

  2. fresno dan

    “Policymakers have focused on income inequality as the primary driver of the Politics of Rage. Although we cannot reject the thesis, we find little support for it in the data.”
    To use the Wilt Chamberlain analogy, it doesn’t matter if he has 19,999 more women than me, as long as I have a chance at one. Today’s 1% not only wants ever more women, they are unconcerned if anyone else even has one.
    But we are constantly told that there is no “inflation” while the prices of things one truly needs like health care, college education, and housing eat up staggering and EVER increasing amounts of income, and that no surplus of flat screen TV’s can alleviate.
    In the last 40 years, there has been precious few times that there has been NO GDP growth, but somehow NONE of it ever makes it to the poorer classes…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ask not what GDP growth can do for you.

      Ask what you can do for GDP growth.

      “And vote correctly, lest you upset the GDP growth god and you little people suffer…even more.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sorry, that should be Little People, not little people.

        To me, the Little People are always big.

    2. Waldenpond

      This is confusing:
      [Policymakers have focused on income inequality as the primary driver of the Politics of Rage. Although we cannot reject the thesis, we find little support for it in the data.]

      Then goes on to say:
      [We find that a deeper cause is a perception among “ordinary citizens” that political and institutional “elites” do not accurately represent their preferences amid a growing cultural and economic divide. These frustrations appear to be validated, with many caveats, by the data: median earners in advanced economies seem to have been the relative losers of globalisation, both within their own countries and relative to their emerging market peers.]

      I’m a little sick of the language obfuscation. ‘Perception’… it’s not reality, it’s just the ‘feels’. ‘Economic divide’ and ‘losers of globalisation’ are income inequality. And again sneaking in the cultural divide to distract from the class war seems just another attempt to put it on the ‘feels’.

      I like that video. Two workers are doing the exact same task and the person in a position of power is arbitrarily giving one worker more calories.

    3. reslez

      The rich have always been with us. I’d say that income inequality isn’t as big a factor as the dirt they make us eat — skyrocketing prices for education, health care, housing. The most basic necessities of life are increasingly out of reach for working people. That is what bothers voters. If the necessities were covered inequality wouldn’t bother people nearly as much. Instead they make us fight for bare scraps. And we get an endless parade of vacuous snobs telling us how the economy should run. No more.

  3. dk

    Policymakers have focused on income inequality as the primary driver of the Politics of Rage. Although we cannot reject the thesis, we find little support for it in the data.

    Odd, because it seems to show up a little further along:

    … median earners in advanced economies seem to have been the relative losers of globalisation …

    The term “inequality” is not used here, but if median earners are the big losers, then implicitly, the top earners are not (and bottom earners can’t really lose much, since they already have little to begin with; negative territory is death). If the end-state of that transition isn’t the equivalent of inequality, how is it distinct from inequality?

    • Governments are ill equipped to fight Rage with already overextended fiscal positions and low levels of popular trust

    Really? Don’t they have authority any more? Possibly not, if authority to institute change has been ceded to non-governmental entities/actors, who can no longer be governed. Also, “overextended fiscal positions” could be remedied fairly straightforwardly through taxation, given the authority. It may be bad form, but governments don’t have to spend their own money if they have authority over others that have it.

    This may be an important distinction that the report is overlooking. The direct and indirect de-globalization effect projections may affect sovereignties, but the can be (and are) circumvented/ignored by trans-national/global corporate entities. And that suggests that TN/G entities may continue their globalization. Who’s to stop them, and when has an absence of constraints ever given such actors pause?

    And, how inadvertent is this oversight? Is the report setting a frame for governments, in the favor of the TN/G entities? Or maybe the report’s producers are just trying to avoid telling the TN/G things they wouldn’t want to hear (bad for the reporters’ business).

    1. reslez

      “Governments are ill equipped to fight Rage with already overextended fiscal positions and low levels of popular trust”

      They’re “ill equipped” because they’re run by self-serving snakes. That’s why people don’t trust government, because they see so-called elites sell them out over and over.

      As for the “fiscal position” of government, I agree that higher taxation is a really obvious necessity now that the SC thinks it’s just fine for corporations and wealthy blowhards to buy elections. Time to tax all that money away. Not to mention quantitative easing and all the other monetary candy the Fed hauls out whenever the banks throw their toys from the pram. They create money for themselves then pretend there’s none left to maintain civilization. Such an obvious scam.

  4. dk

    skip this if you’re not familiar with the I Ching.

    I would say that the general socio-economic scenario (not “Rage” specifically, but the context in which it is occurring) corresponds, at least in part, to the I Ching hexagram Hsiao Kuo / Preponderance of the Small: http://www.pantherwebworks.com/I_Ching/bk1h53-64.html#62

    This is not a terrible condition in general, but to see it occur on the global scale is really bad.

    The hexagram’s judgement suggests that local (community) consolidation and action offers the best course for survival. The lines suggest some of the characteristics of eventual transitions to other (better or even worse) conditions. Note references to weather/crop conditions, communication (and/or negotiation) events and problems (birds), and interplays between principle/ruling actors (grave actions/decisions by elites). There are no favorable transitions available from this scenario (six in the second is really not good at all, other than being very stable in the aftermath); there will be more losers to come.

    Not that one needs the I Ching to figure any of this out.

    1. MartyH

      @dk, not that one needs … but it doesn’t hurt either. The ancients’ wisdom still speaks to us for all of our “superiority”.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Suppose the current globalization trends and the direction the Cartels have chosen actually produced and shared more for everyone. Even if that were the case the economic structures of globalization are unstable and will magnify the detrimental impacts of the instabilities of Global Warming and resource exhaustion — and perhaps large scale war. The provisioning of too many of the things we need to survive depend on complex geographically distant sources.

      Does the Hsiao Kuo / Preponderance of the Small hexagram show up often in your castings? Warnings from the spiritual as well as from the material?

      1. dk

        Yes, even benevolence on the part of elites can’t fix this mess. What’s the expression, don’t sh*t where you sleep? Well, don’t sh*t where your neighbor sleeps, either.

        I think I’ve seen the hexagram go by twice, both a long time ago, and one of those I was just reading someone else’s cast (that one had changing lines and Hsiao Kuo was the destination). It’s not the kind of thing a loner like myself would normally come across.

        But I don’t use the oracles a lot any more; good for getting a feel for the hexagrams, but they eventually lead to stagnation (not one to heed advice, I found out the hard way).

      2. Fiver

        The singular truth is that globalization of production/supply lines premised on integrated, global systems all coordinated and interdependent upon one another have rendered humankind more exposed to catastrophic risk than anytime during its brief dominion. For all intents and purposes, we have already entered a permanent state of crisis/response/greater crisis/response until the system can no longer contend with its own fatally flawed design complexity and contradictory goals.

  5. Moneta

    Society is very confused when comes time to define rationality, which is action or opinion given with reason or logic.

    What I have noticed is that an emotional person can be very logical. A person can be in full rage and way more rational than another who is considered more rational. Often the person full of rage is seeing a new set of variables that are obstacles in achieving their goals while the one considered rational has more limited vision, juggles with less variables, blind to the outcome the one full of rage can see.

    A leader with limited brain power, using a limited set of variables can create very positive economic outcomes and will appear very rational, yet does not even realize that he/she is breaking so many rules of physics since success in society often entails negating the rules of nature for decades. This leader will appear way more rational than the one freaking out about environmental destruction and the future of our children.

    1. dk

      In a healthy body, emotion operates completely logically. It’s a reaction to information, even fictional information. We can manipulate our own emotions by imagining different contexts and scenarios.

      The assertion that “emotions are irrational/illogical”, a mainstay of European culture and philosophy, is an absurd fiction, but a handy disclaimer for elites to explain unfortunate choices, or to cast aspersions on ideas and conclusions that conflict “authoritative” assertions.

      1. Moneta

        Agreed. All thoughts are feelings.

        IMO, it’s not about how emotional someone is, it’s about whether they are right or wrong.

      2. readerOfTeaLeaves

        I’d strongly encourage you to take a look at this article, and all three video clips, and consider how emotions can vary among people — and how some people tend to have a cluster of more optimistic emotions, whereas others are literally ‘darker’ in terms of their emotional states, which would logically lead one to worry about the kinds of decisions that would be easily driven by negative emotions (contempt, fear):

        I do hand it to the Economist for allowing people to access this without having to go behind a paywall.
        Also, as they point out, this kind of analysis is in its infancy.
        Nevertheless, it’s worth pondering.

        If one did these sorts of scans on those two capuchin monkeys in the video on this post, methinks the patterns would be quite disparate. And each pattern would drive a completely different analysis and set of decisions. And the disparity between the two would probably lead to more rage…

        1. Moneta

          Rage comes when things are not going your way or you consider them unfair.

          Analyzing what will happen to us over time requires analyzing more variables than each of our brains can process.

          Some will get the right answer, some the wrong one but both sets can feel rage.

          Someone can have something bad coming to them and not feel rage… either they don’t see the bad thing coming or either they have accepted their fate or don’t feel unfairness.

          Those who believe the strongest in free will and believe the most in control will probably be the one with most rage.

        2. Moneta

          Rage comes when things are not going your way or you consider them unfair.

          Analyzing what will happen to us over time requires analyzing more variables than each of our brains can process.

          Some will get the right answer, some the wrong one but both sets can feel rage.

          Someone can have something bad coming to them and not feel rage… either they don’t see the bad thing coming or either they have accepted their fate or don’t feel unfairness.

          Those who believe the strongest in free will and believe the most in control will probably be the ones with most rage.

        3. dk

          Interesting! The software seems to be analysing muscle groups as well as cadences of their movement. I wonder if they’re collecting body movement and posture as well as facial data; they should.

          Already noticed that Hillary uses that “oh, goodness gosh!” modality for everything; that’s her mask, by comparison Trump is an open book.

          Those two capuchin monkeys do have quite different personalities, even before the fateful second cucumber piece; the one on the right strikes me as quieter and less boisterous than the one on the left. The researchers probably picked this clip because the contrast between these two is so unmistakable.

          I happened to be watching Green Wing for the first time; great use of body language and facial expression! Movement really is the universal (and inter-species) language.

      3. Fiver

        There is an enormous amount of work in any number of areas of science, literature, art, history, medicine etc., and the products of all these that would dispute your assertion as phrased, even accepting that the word ‘healthy’ has narrowed the field considerably.

        There is a fundamental difference between what you’ve stated and the notion that people evaluate entire situations, engaging all their modes of perception, processing incoming information at different levels simultaneously, with consciousness consisting largely of the operation by which the person’s own narrative is presented to itself in meaningful form, for integration and further processing and storage, again engaging multiple systems simultaneously to react, interact, etc. It is nonsensical to attribute ‘rationality’ to the emotional component of the response.

        1. dk

          Well then, clearly, I am disputing that construction of consciousness. And yes, I’m disputing ideas that has been present in cultures for a very long time. Those ideas are part of the concept that there is a spirit world simultaneously present with the physical, whose events violate the laws of physics. Magical thinking has been around for thousands of years; its heritage doesn’t produce actual validity for its assertions. As we delve deeper into the details of the physical events around us, we continue to discover concrete causes for phenomena previously ascribed to mystical spirits and supernatural forces.

          Consider that the human body, like all living organisms, operates as a sequence of chemical states and events, whose exact behavior in any given case is the direct result of the immediate external and internal physical context (which includes the conditions left by of the immediately previous states).

          Emotions, too, are our experience of chemical conditions and processes within our bodies. We find corresponding biological events in the body for the emotional conditions in our consciousness. Inevitably, this means that either A) the emotion creates the chemical condition, or B) the condition creates our experience of the emotion. If B (my position) is not the case, then emotions must have some extra-physical property/ies in order to cause the physical events that we label “emotional”.

          If such supernatural events did produce physical results that would not occur in their absence, then our understanding of physics would be completely insufficient to explain the phenomena around us. Physics wouldn’t work as a predictive model; keeping in mind that our magical emotions have been affecting events for some time. The extra-physical events would add energy/mass to the universe, and the second law of thermodynamics would not hold, and our calculations predicting physical events would not only become inaccurate, they would have to diverge from observed events and an ever increasing rate. Reproducibility in science would have become impossible by now. That is clearly not the case.

          Yes, it’s a very popular idea. It has allowed people to present and endorse arguments for all kinds of foolishness. But when we look, experiment and test, we continue to find that there is no “there” there. Instead of magical spiritual events, emotions are chemical reactions. As such, the reflect conditions in and around us. This means they have informational value (which we can of course chose to ignore or misconstrue).

          We can use our imaginations to produce emotional reactions from our bodies. If emotions did not operate in response to information, that would not be possible. Our brains evolved in order to process sensory information and to try to calculate immediate future states, and to trigger muscle operations. Because neurological reactions are slow, we have to pre-program muscular firing sequences in order to do things like running (controlled falling, it happens before we sense it).

    2. Schnormal

      Thank you for articulating this. It drives me crazy how easily people are conned by a calm, authoritative voice.

      I remember when Bush&Co were ginning up the Iraq war, it seemed like all Cheney had to do was put on his patient grandpa voice, and half my family — mature adults who should have known better, is what really kills me — would go all slack-jawed and swallow the most bloodthirsty, hair-raising, rabbit-ass crazy explanations. Meanwhile, the millions who marched for peace were diagnosed with “Bush derangement syndrome.”

      When all news is propaganda, performance always trumps ideas.

  6. Moneta

    The 99% in North America are finally understanding that the income distribution is unfair and want a better share but more problematic is that they still do not get that their day-to-day life has been set up in a way that is too energy intensive.

    So even if we distribute more fairly, their energy and resource consumption still need to come down… So rage can be good if it leads you in the right direction, it can be disastrous if it leads you down the wrong road.

    1. Moneta

      And when I say “their energy use and resource consumption”, it includes the share of energy and resources that were used to create and maintain the infra they use in their daily lives. So even if they are low income, they still get to use infra that gobbled up/gobbles up too many resources and energy.

      1. ckimball

        The elevation of rage or encouragement of rage worries me. Rage as being the escalation of anger has perspective distorting characteristics such as the masking of fear which then releases a sense of power. However it is false and does not come from wholeness but instead from the submersion of all other modes of awareness. The eyes of rage glitter with the excitement coming from the freedom experienced by the
        abandonment of all other distinctions. So we have the descriptor ‘blind rage’. Rage rages on till the energy is spent and then the host returns to its or their senses. Rage can be directed and used by forces outside of it.

        1. Moneta

          Rage does not come out of nothing. There has to be the feeling that you can’t get what you want or unfairness.

          So you just want people to keep on believing in dead dreams or accepting their mediocre lot in life with apathy?

    2. different clue

      In order to avoid rage among the 99%, let the 1% drop their energy consumption down first, till it matches the energy consumption of the 99%. If that is still too much energy consumption, then the whole 100% Stronger! Together! can lower their energy consumption down still further.

      If it becomes clear that the 1% will force the 99% to cut our energy consumption first, or only . . . we should channel our rage by thinking about whether there are ways to cut our energy consumption which would inflict pain against the 1%.

      So for example . . . Koch sells coal and oil. Target our energy consumption reduction against coal and oil as specifically as feasible to attrit and degrade revenue streams flowing up the ladder to Koch. Taking it further . . . . what if Koch can outlaw selling rooftop solar electricity back to the Utility? Can Koch outlaw GIVING rooftop solar electricity aWAY to the utility? If you are producing your own rooftop solar electricity and you have a surplus and you can’t sell it to the Utility because Koch made it illegal; but Koch forgot to make it illegal to give that surplus to the Utility for FREE . . . and you go right ahead and GIVE your surplus solar electricity back to the Utility for FREE . . . does that mean the Utility has to burn just-that-much-less coal, gas and oil because it has been relieved of making just that much electricity? If it does, then giving your surplus electricity can cost Koch money, even if it doesn’t gain you money. Is revenge worth more than money?

  7. human

    It never ceases to amaze me how myopic writers like this are, inadvertently or purposely (think Upton Sinclair.)

    A little justice (now likely much more) would go a long way. Bad actors need to be made an example of. This is how “civilization” has progressed. The concept of themis as experienced by Achilles is well established and one would think that a person of higher education would recognize this. The system is rotten to the core now as is observed by any number of readers and commenters here. No amount of data reduction or analysis is necessary. A 2 by 4 upside the head is.

    1. hunkerdown

      I contend it’s a bad system, not bad actors. Otherwise, the bad actors would be disposed of. I mean, just look at it. Any system that elevates a performing minority’s rights above the majority’s — and here I’m talking about aristocrats and their respective henchmen, not the bourgeois Democrat food group of the month — is potentially and inevitably a vector of injustice. A just system treats insurrection as a veiled hint to get out of our house, not as a challenge.

      If they can still act against you, they will. The trick is to disable them from doing so as they have been us.

        1. Fiver

          This one will, if it doesn’t already – just give the AI enthusiasts in the MIC or as likely, one of the patent/brain-hoovering, mega-corporations a little more time.

  8. funemployed

    “Politics of rage?” Cute. A catchy new term for a very old thing is very often confused for a new thing among those who traffic in words. The term is “legitimacy crisis.” The rhetorical shift is exceedingly important though. If lack of legitimacy is the affliction, it is the elites who are afflicted. Calling it “rage” shifts the focus of analysis to those afflicted by “rage.” Also simultaneously shifts the register from a social to a psychological problem, and thus subtly shifts the remedies that readers are likely to imagine.

    If these are the “politics of rage,” how might the authors describe the happenings of Thermidor? Perhaps they should just let them eat cake. Cake in the belly makes them less rageful, doesn’t it?

    n.b. legitimacy crises are always ideological. The king’s divine right. Whether the leadership represents the beliefs held by the voters about democracy and the “nation.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Don’t rage.

      Don’t be angry at injustice.

      Blah, blah, blah.

      Humans evolved to feel rage and anger. They are there for a reason. I suspect without them, humans would have gone extinct long ago.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We’re so etiquette-conditioned that we don’t, for example, scream.

        If a mother wants to scream at her child’s murderer, who are we to say it’s better to scream at a rock in the park, to take it out on an inanimate object?

      2. Moneta

        Yes. Rage is there because you still think you can get your way and stops you from being a doormat.

    2. Skip Intro

      And the true problem of ‘ungovernability’ is that corporate persons cannot be governed but rather, purchase and control the government.

  9. Rhondda

    Black rage. ‘Roid rage. Road rage. Rage room. Rage virus.
    Only psychologically damaged deplorables feel the angry red wash of rage. And typically over inconsequential slights. Or so we are told ad infinitum.
    Right-thinkers are, of course, ‘reasonable’. Like economists, they use logic without feelings to make ‘informed decisions’.

    Rage is a term debased by current elite usage. Dismissive, as here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump’s Deplorables: Rage, rage against the dying of Trump voters. Do not go gently into your graves. (Vote, no violence).

    2. jrs

      Well actual anger doesn’t last that long, so rage isn’t even the right term. However conditions being continually undesirable combined with believing that this is unjust and/or unnecessary will trigger reoccurring experiences of anger. Just out of: “things do not have to be this screwed up!”

  10. Rhondda

    Also, looking at the far right side of the chart: “Loss of hope.”
    That can go either to “rage” or to “learned helplessness.”
    I’m pretty sure which one is currently being prescribed for the symptoms.

  11. sid_finster

    Someone pointed out that revolutions don’t take place when the 99% revolt against the 1%, because the 1% will do whatever it takes to keep their power.

    Instead, revolutions happen when the 1% are divided amongst themselves, either because they can’t agree on a division of power and loot, or on a policy direction.

    Right now, the 1% are pretty solidly unified.

    1. reslez

      I dunno, I think the ancien régime was pretty unified. What differed was control over mechanisms of force. The elites couldn’t trust their soldiers and the citizenry got hold of weapons in population centers.

      Our elites have been able to hold things together pretty well, but we’re now in an era where CRISPR/Cas9 kits can be purchased for under $200. That means genetic engineering happening in people’s kitchens and garages. If those people are full of rage and elites continue to refuse to listen? The horrors that await us aren’t few.

  12. Anon

    Okay, I’ll add one of my observations to the chart in the article.

    Look under the heading CoFactors: Demograghics, GFC, terrorism, . . .

    All of them, except demographics, can be attributed to the choices made by U.S. political elites. (The US is the greatest global chaos creator in history.)

    1. hunkerdown

      And demographics, too. See also Democrat officials with a pro-life policy position, which I suspect many of the higher ones have, privately.

  13. Oregoncharles

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    I quoted this yesterday. It’s been extremely vivid in my mind for more than 50 years. I just hope the premonition isn’t true; it was published near the beginning of WWII.

  14. juliania

    Pondering the example of the rage of Achilles, (which rage is finally redirected against the Trojans after the death of Patroklos), I am not seeing a justifiable comparison to the rage of citizenries across the world, though I do sort of agree with this:

    “We find that a deeper cause is a perception among ‘ordinary citizens’ that political and institutional ‘elites’ do not accurately represent their preferences amid a growing cultural and economic divide. ”

    To equate that to the reaction of Achilles to a perceived slight that leads him to sulk in his tent for ten years, doesn’t in my mind do justice to what “ordinary citizens” have been enduring, though maybe the ‘”ten years” is near the mark, or fifteen a bit closer. Oh heck, say sixteen and be done with it.

    “Preferences” though? Doesn’t that sound a mite elitist? (Maybe it is not ordinary citizens who resemble Achilles, but, just maybe, some economists do?)

    1. Vatch

      Slightly off topic, but the Trojan War had been in progress for about nine and a half years at the start of the Iliad. I believe Achilles sulked for a few weeks, not ten years. In any event, both Achilles and Agamemnon were supremely arrogant jerks.

    2. KGC

      The slight to Achilles was real, not only perceived: he perceived reality. As was customary at the time, a woman whose city was conquered was given to Achilles (a leading conqueror) as a prize of way. The king of the victorious Greek army, Agamemnon, took another woman, Chryseis, as his prize and – in defiance of contemporary morals – refused to allow her father to ransom her. Unfortunately for Agamemnon, her father was a priest of the god Apollo, who inflicted a devastating plague on the army as punishment; the plague would only stop if Chryseis were returned to her father. After much persuasion, a rather sulky Agamemnon agrees to do this, but only if he gets Briseis (whom Achilles has come to care for). Achilles objects but is eventually forced to give Briseis to Agamemnon. So Achilles withdraws from the army in, as they say, rage. He returns, not in ten years but in a few days, when his best friend, Patroclus, is killed by the Trojans. And after Agamemnon returns Briseis (the Greeks having fared very badly during Achilles’s absence) with a fulsome apology and gifts.

  15. Fiver

    First, similar to Anon’s comment above, there’s a huge difference between rage and outrage, the latter clearly presumptive of the existence of some form of injustice involved within the subject matter. We’ve seen more outrage globally than anytime since the invasion of Iraq (the Arab Spring was in good measure contrived). We have seen pockets of rage in particular circumstances, but it’s just not accurate. The people who have been shown to have the best understanding over time of what’s going on are rightly terrified for our future (eg. classic Chomsky) – undoubtedly aided in that regard because they’ve considered what the real conditions of a total system breakdown would now entail – rather than enraged, though they certainly are outraged.

    Coming from a TBTF UK bank I take this as one of many ‘signals’ that the global elite ‘get it’ and intend to grow some pie for the folks at home in the Anglosphere with one more ‘we’re all in this together’ charge for a higher GDP number instead of any problem-solving, with both fiscal and central bank interventions, even as more and more sovereign States march into neoliberal oblivion. Goldman says China has enough credit for all of us for one more round. They don’t even need a ‘scare’ in markets to provide cover for the fiscal side. A war’s even better for American pie, according to s/he with the knife.

Comments are closed.