Banks Begin to Fret About the Threat of Civil Unrest

Bank CEOs have good reason to be worried about rising civil unrest, as economic conditions deteriorate fast around the world. If 2019 was the year of protest, 2022 could be the year of unbottled rage.

“Businesses should prepare for a rise in civil unrest incidents as the cost-of-living crisis follows hard on the heels of the COVID pandemic.” That is the message of an article published on the corporate website of Allianz, the world’s largest insurance company with over €1.1 trillion in assets. It reflects the growing concerns among executives in the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector about the risk of societal breakdown. According to Srdjan Todorovic, the Head of Crisis Management at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty’s London unit, civil unrest is now a bigger threat to global businesses than terrorism:

Civil unrest increasingly represents a more critical exposure for companies than terrorism. The nature of the threat is evolving, as some democracies become unstable, and certain autocracies crack down heavily on dissenters. Unrest can occur simultaneously in multiple locations as social media now facilitates the rapid mobilization of protestors. This means large retail chains, for example, could suffer multiple losses in one event.

Where we currently stand, I don’t expect incidences of social unrest to abate any time soon, given the after-shocks of Covid-19, the looming cost-of-living crisis, and the ideological rifts that continue to divide societies around the world. We’re seeing rising interest from risk managers in specialist cover for political violence, as some traditional property and casualty insurers have stepped back from the exposures associated with SRCC insurance. The standalone market is also having a rethink on war-like perils, as well as the coverage extensions that were offered freely only a few months ago.’

Recent protest movements have already exacted a heavy toll on both economies and companies, the article notes. In 2018, French retailers lost $1.1 billion in revenue in just a few weeks of the Yellow Vest movement’s Saturday protests against rising fuel prices and economic inequality. A year later in Chile, an increase in subway fares in the country’s capital sparked large-scale demonstrations, leading to insured losses of $3 billion. South African riots of July 2021 caused $1.7 billion of damage. One recent protest the article doesn’t mention is the Canadian Freedom Convoy’s blockade of the US-Canada border in February this year, which is estimated to have caused over $1 billion in losses daily.

“A Crisis On Top of A Crisis”

Todorovic is not the only person worried about the looming threat of widespread civil unrest. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recently said: “We are facing a crisis on top of a crisis,” referring to the combined impacts of the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Georgieva described rising inflation as a “clear and present danger” to many countries and cautioned that if action is not taken to shore up food security, “the alternative is dire: more hunger, more poverty, and more social unrest – especially for countries that have struggled to escape fragility and conflict for many years.”

In May this year, Nafeez Ahmed, the special investigations reporter of the British newspaper Byline Times, published an article warning that global banks are privately preparing for “dangerous levels” of imminent civil unrest in Western homelands. Citing the head of a “financial institutions group” that provides expertise and advisory services to other banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions, Ahmed reported that contingency planners at top financial institutions believe that “dangerous levels” of social breakdown in the West are now all but inevitable, and imminent:

An outbreak of civil unrest is expected to occur anytime this year, but most likely in the coming months as the impact of the cost of living crisis begins to saturate the lives of “everyone”.

The executive [who spoke to Byline News on condition of anonymity as the information he disclosed is considered highly sensitive] works at a leading Wall Street firm which is considered a systemically important financial institution by the US Financial Stability Board. These are institutions whose functioning is considered critical to the US economy, and whose failure could trigger a financial crisis.

According to the executive, major banks all over the world including in the US, UK and Western Europe are instructing their top managers to begin actively planning how they will respond to the impact of financial disruption triggered by a prolonged episode of civil unrest. However, the banking official did not elaborate on what these planning measures involved beyond reference to stress testing to determine the impact on investment portfolios.

While increased civil unrest in developing countries has been openly discussed by major institutions such as the UN, World Bank, IMF and other institutions, this is the first time in recent years that expectations of a coming epidemic of social breakdown in Western societies has been attributed to top banking and investment firms.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended an already fragile global economy, inequality and social divisions were already rising fast around the world. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and the unwillingness of governments or central banks to tackle the underlying causes of the crisis — including huge levels of private debt (much of which was shifted onto public ledgers), unfettered speculation in the financial markets and the creation of ever more destructive financial instruments — have fuelled political instability and polarization. According to the Global Peace Index, demonstrations, strikes, and riots surged by 244% between 2011 and 2019.

“The Year of Protest”

2019 was “the year of protest.” As the New Yorker reported in its final issue of the year, spontaneous “movements unleash[ed] public fury on a global scale — from Paris and La Paz to Prague and Port-au-Prince, Beirut to Bogota and Berlin, Catalonia to Cairo, and Hong Kong, Harare, Santiago, Sydney, Seoul, Quito, Jakarta, Tehran, Algiers, Baghdad, Budapest, London, New Delhi, Manila, and even Moscow.”

The social and economic grievances that fuelled those movements have not gone away; rather, they have been turbocharged by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis as well as the war in Ukraine and the West’s backfiring sanctions against Russia. According to the
Verisk Civil Unrest Index Projections, 75 countries will likely see an increase in protests by late 2022. The following countries are already suffering protests and civil unrest*:

  • Sri Lanka, whose government recently defaulted on its debt for the first time since gaining independence from the British Empire in 1948. Protesters took the presidential and prime ministerial residences by storm last weekend and have pledged to stay there until both leaders have gone. The President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already fled, first to Maldives and then onto Singapore.
  • The Netherlands, where farmers have been blocking roads, ports, airports and supermarket distribution centers for weeks in protest at the government’s net zero commitments, which could force as many as 30% of the farms out of business — all in the midst of a global food crisis! Like the Canadian trucker convoy, the protests have caused all manner of mayhem in the Netherlands as well as inspiring similar farmer-led protests in Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
  • Italy, where striking taxi drivers have brought cities to a standstill following the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism’s latest revelations of the aggressive tactics used by Uber to enter international markets. The Mario Draghi government is also in a bit of a pickle after a coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement, boycotted a vote ostensibly intended to mitigate the country’s cost of living crisis. Following the vote Italy’s never-elected Prime Minister Mario Draghi apparently tendered his resignation but was rebuffed by President Sergio Mattarella, who appointed Draghi to head Italy’s technocratic government in the first place.
  • North Macedonia, whose parliament is about to vote on a French compromise deal for settling the country’s disputes with Bulgaria, which would allow its European Union membership talks to finally start. Not everybody is happy at the prospect. As Reuters reports, the nationalist opposition VMRO-DPMNE, has led daily protests since the beginning of July over the deal which they say endangers the Macedonian language and identity.
  • Albania, where thousands have marched calling on the government to resign over steep price increases. As NC reader Rita, who is based in Albania, pointed out, the protests were also fueled by the US declaring the former Prime Minister and current leader of the opposition, Sali Berisha, persona non grata.
  • Ecuador, where 18 days of fuel and anti-austerity protests by indigenous groups across large swathes of the country recently came close to bringing down the Lasso government. The protesters have agreed to a 90-day truce in exchange for four scalps (including Economy Minister) from his cabinet.
  • Panama, where protests and strikes against the rising cost of living have brought construction activity to a standstill while blockades have made it difficult for ships to unload their food cargo. Demonstrators are demanding higher wages, lower commodity prices and the removal of supply chain bottlenecks. In a bid to tame the protests, the government just announced price controls on gasoline and diesel for the next three months.
  • Ghana, where in recent weeks thousands of young protesters have marched against rising food and fuel prices as well as the recent decision by the government to open bailout talks with the IMF.
  • Peru, whose Pedro Castillo government has been rocked by a wave of protests since April over a whole host of issues, including rising energy prices and a giant oil spill caused by Spanish energy giant Respol.
  • Argentina, where annual inflation reached 60% in May, its highest level since 1992. The country just witnessed a 24-hour nationwide strike by farmers over taxes, fuel shortages and the rising cost of fertilizers — a direct result of the West’s sanctions on Russia. Demonstrators in Buenos Aries have called on the Fernández government to resign while rejecting IMF loans that come with the usual strings attached, which is perfectly understandable. The country’s Economy Minister, Martin Guzman, who recently sealed a $44 billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), already resigned two weeks ago.
  • Pakistan
  • Zimbabwe, which has seen a surge in protests against US sanctions and their crippling effects on the economy.   
  • Venezuela
  • Lebanon, which has been struggling with hyperinflation since mid-2020 and which, like Afghanistan, Djibouti, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, is facing high levels of undernutrition and food insecurity.
  • Kenya, where cost of living protests are multiplying.
  • Libya
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • United Kingdom, where thousands of people have protested in the past month over the rising cost of fuel and food. Household energy bills increased by 54% in April 2022, a record surge, and are likely to rise sharply again in October. As money saving expert Martin Lewis said on the BBC, unless the government takes actions to cushion the blow, it’s “going to be a very bleak winter”:

We are getting close, I have said this before, to a position of civil disobedience in this country, civil unrest… I just give a warning now: you cannot spend too much time on this. We have a genuine catastrophic crisis hitting with ten million people potentially moving into severe levels of poverty.

  • China, where protests over frozen accounts at four rural banks in Henan province last Sunday (July 10) culminated in a violent crackdown by private security goons. In his comments on the threat of civil unrest in the UK, Martin Lewis hinted that people could begin to stop paying their bills or debts en masse. Interestingly, this is something that already appears to be happening in China. Two days ago, Bloomberg reported that desperate homeowners across over 20 cities have responded to stalled property developments and/or falling property prices by refusing to pay mortgages on their unfinished homes. That is what banks ultimately fear — that people, companies or even governments stop paying their debts.

Recent developments in China also serve as a reminder that many of the protest movements taking place around the world are a result of problems that have been brewing for some time. The Chinese government’s decision a number of years ago to reduce the economy’s reliance on real estate, while certainly salient, was always fraught with risks. Since Evergrande, the world’s most debt-saddled property developer, entered default last December, a number of smaller Chinese property developers have followed it over the edge. In a worst-case scenario, we could be witnessing the beginnings of a disorderly collapse of the world’s largest property market, to which some Western investment funds and banks are heavily exposed.

As I warn in my book, Scanned, if 2019 was the year of protest, 2022 could be the year of unbottled rage. Now, banks and insurance companies are beginning to issue a similar warning. As we have just seen in Sri Lanka, when large segments of a population lose access to food and energy, protests can very quickly spiral out of control. It doesn’t take much to tip a deeply unpopular government over the edge. Now, concerns are growing that Sri Lanka could be a canary in a coal mine, as surging inflation, rising interest rates, plunging currencies and gathering capital flight threaten to unleash a perfect storm across emerging markets, whose governments now face record high financing needs.

As protests grow in size and intensity, it is perhaps no surprise that governments, central banks and corporations around the world, from West to East, are trying to rush into existence and law digital technologies such as vaccine passports, digital IDs and central bank digital currencies that offer the promise of much greater control of their increasingly restive populations. Gathering civil unrest could even serve as a public justification for their introduction.

Recent years have already seen a worrying shift toward authoritarianism across the globe. According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a Sweden-based global non-profit, the number of countries that are becoming “more authoritarian” by the group´s calculus is three times the number of countries that are moving toward democracy. The year 2021 was the fifth year in a row that the trend has moved in that direction, the longest uninterrupted run of pro-authoritarian developments since the IIDEA started tracking these developments.


* This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is merely a selection of some of the protest movements I have recently come across or been able to identify. Would much appreciate readers’ input if you know of any other protests taking place or can provide further details on the countries mentioned.

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  1. Samuel Conner

    Hmm, “popular immiseration” is ramping up.

    What a shame that US overproduction of elites was not at least able to produce a larger number of competent elites.

    Peter Turchin has been kind of quiet lately at his ‘blog; busy, I guess, with long-form writing.

      1. TimH

        Should govs reverse their CV strategies and make it clear that CV and long CV are likely and bad and distancing is the main preventative, then any civil unrest is easier to avoid. Make it clear that arrestees will be held together in close quarters and likely all get infected.

        1. playon

          That’s a quandary for governments – it would help quell demonstrations but would require an admission that things aren’t back to “normal”.

    1. PHpat

      Should such protests reach the USA the oligrachs will make sure citizenry attack each other, not them.

      1. Mark A Oglesby

        That’s changing rather quickly, just examine the polls concerning (1) trust of the mainstream media, (2) government in general, (3) big business, banks, and generally speaking, corporations, (4) Silicon Valley social media platforms such as Facebook, (5) the rise of independent online journalism what with the mistrust of the mainstream, corporate media, and the list can go on. People are changing and revolution WILL take here in the US, and if you doubt, think on this: The Great Depression and the rise of coalition building crossing race, religion, national origin, and so many of those decisive issues which fade into the oncoming darkness created by the wealth-class.

    2. James Crowe

      It’s all part of the Plan, when things get that bad, the unelected elites of the New World Order will swoop in and save us! (Not)

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Nick.

    It’s not just banks.

    Lloyd’s of London, not to be confused with Lloyd’s Bank for readers not in finance, provides credit and political risk insurance, amongst other risks, and is similarly alarmed.

    Exposure to the US and UK has grown in recent years, but exposure to continental Europe is growing again, so there may be little capacity to provide cover for emerging markets.

    As per, the Bank of England has asked lenders to build up capital buffers, withhold dividends and bonuses and tap into the buffers should conditions worsen.

    Vicky Saporta was hired by the Bank in 2008 and is no doubt getting them to stress test portfolios.

    Recent protests in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain have often addressed the cost of living (and business) crisis and the war in Ukraine as one and blamed their own governments. It’s interesting how the MSM ignores the protests, but this is not the first time.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      Thanks Colonel. Do you have any links to articles covering the recent protests in Germany (either in English or German)? I know exactly what you mean about the MSM’s long record of not covering inconvenient protest movements.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Nick.

        I came across some Twitter feeds in German and will try to find and forward.

        There was some brief coverage in the Guardian,, and by Reuters,

        The initial wave coincided with the G7 meeting in Bavaria, including one in Munich. Protesters were not allowed nearer Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

        There have been more protests near the border with the Netherlands. The Dutch and German protesters have linked on some occasions.

        There were protests in Munich in February,

        One protest in Brussels gathered 90k people out of 11m people.

        Perhaps, JohnA and Jesper from Scandinavia and the German contingent who pipe up from time to time may add.

        I remember the nightly protests in Barcelona decade ago. They are nowhere to be found on Auntie Beeb.

        1. Nick Corbishley Post author

          Thanks Colonel. I’d actually seen articles on the G7 protests in Germany but figured they were too routinary to count. Just about every time and everywhere the G-7 or G-20 is held, at least a few thousand people will gather to protest its presence. The same happened in Madrid a few weeks ago when NATO was in town. One thing I find interesting about these events is the ever-growing layers of security needed to keep their attendees at a safe enough distance from the local population. At the G-20 meeting last year a 10 square kilometer “maximum security area” was erected around Rome’s La Nuvola. At the recent NATO Summit in Madrid 10,000 police officers were mobilized to protect the event’s 5,000 attendees. It was the largest security deployment in recent history, according to Spain’s Ministry of Interior.

          Oh and thanks for reminding me of the nightly protests in Barcelona 10 years ago. Those were indeed interesting (in a largely positive sense) times.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Nick.

            You’re right about the Munich Security Conference and G7 summit protests.

            You’re right about the security. This year’s G7 was in the Alps. Last year’s was in Cornwall. Both are relatively far from large urban areas and easier to control.

  3. timbers

    USA didn’t even make the Civil Unrest Projection list. We are exceptional after all. But Germany? She’s not exceptional. Am I missing something because isn’t Germany along with the UK literally going to freeze to death this winter if they lose all Russian gas? As in frozen broken pipes in homes and all that? Even if they avoid freezing how many jobs will be lost by then due to plunging exports? At least the Euro is falling against the dollar maybe that will help on the export front. The lack of domestic political protest in Germany and UK is a very bad sign IMO. Maybe they masses are truly heavily brainwashed than I thought..

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      Timbers, as I noted in the footnote, the list is hardly exhaustive. I would love to hear from US readers about any large-scale movements taking place on that side of the pond. As for Germany, it was seeing daily protests against the government’s vaccine mandates and other restrictions just a few months ago. But as far as I can tell, things have gone pretty quiet apart from a protest against the G-7 summit in Munich three weeks ago. That, as you say, is somewhat surprising given the strong passions high inflation tends to stir among the locals.

      1. chris

        Nick, from my travels around the US lately, things are going weird. It seems like people are just throwing up their hands and saying “F$%& it all!”

        For example, I was in deep south Virginia on the coast yesterday. Not the nice places where you have beach house and restaurants. The nasty places where the roads aren’t good and you have the remnants of shipyards. Anyway, stopping for gas at local regional chain, there was a group of drivers from various companies complaining to the management at the store because they couldn’t buy salads for their lunch. The reason they couldn’t buy salads was because the order for lids for the bowls used by the store for salads had not been received in two days. So they were out. Rather than just make the salads in lidless bowls, the store manager had decided to not let the deli staff make the salads. So you had a UPS driver, a random trucker for a logistics company, an Amazon driver, a FedEx driver, a local delivery person, and the fuel truck driver complaining that they wanted their salads and they didn’t care that they wouldn’t have lids. They needed the salads to eat healthy on the road. No fights erupted. But the drivers and the management were both clearly frustrated.

        I think this kind of thing is happening everywhere in the US lately.

        What I find odd about it is that I remember when a big reason capitalism was so obviously superior to communism was that we didn’t have bread lines. Our super markets had all this stuff. But now that our version of capitalism has created all these bizarre shortages, you don’t hear about how things aren’t supposed to be this way in a capitalist society.

        I have no idea when enough people will get sick of the status quo and begin to rebel. The more I see different places in the US experience these issues the more I can feel the pressure building. Who can tell what will be the event that forces a release?

        1. playon

          I think the some of the pressures are being expressed with mass shootings. Most young men in the US have little to look forward to if they don’t have a high-paying job. Buying a house or even just getting married is a fantasy for many. I have a friend in his mid-30s, a very talented and smart guy, he teaches music lessons to kids but that doesn’t bring in enough $ to support himself so now he’s doing seasonal farm labor as well. It pays pretty good but it’s long days and brutal work — it’s probably just a matter of time before he injures himself.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Mark Ames wrote a book about individual violent lash-out of that kind a few decades ago, titled: Going Postal: Rage , Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.

            Here is a NOmazon link to a review.


            and a wikiquote from the book together with a little material about Mark Ames himself.

          2. Mike

            Also we have a crisis of meaning. When you spend a lot of time learning about the pending climate crisis in school, but with no realistic solutions, the doom gloom weighs on them in addition to what you are saying.

        2. darren price

          “But now that our version of capitalism has created all these bizarre shortages, you don’t hear about how things aren’t supposed to be this way in a capitalist society.”

          Of course not. The MSM and most politicians will never take an honest look at the crisis. In Canada deputy PM, and Ukrainian nationalist, Chrystia Freeland recently said

          “[W]e all need to recognize the reality, and be honest with Canadians about the reality, that inflation, including the higher price of fuel, is a global phenomenon,” she continued.

          “It is being driven by Vladimir Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine. It is being driven by China’s zero Covid policy,” Freeland claimed.

          Scapegoating and deflecting attention away from systemic economic and social problems by blaming foreigners and designated “others” works. Our esteemed leaders and the media that shills for them know that it’s easy, especially when times are bad, to get the public worked up over “foreign enemies” and their domestic simps out to destroy “our way of life.”

          As the western system deteriorates further expect the establishment voices blaming Russia and China for everything to get louder. This also ties in nicely with NATO’s existential war to save “democracy” from the clutches of Putin and Xi’s “autocracy” and they need the public on board for that.

          Given the shocking hubris infused incompetence of the western elites, things are soon going to get a lot weirder and a lot more unhinged. Western capitalism will, of course, remain the bestest most awsomest civilization ever and anyone who questions this premise will be booted off social media and invited to move to North Korea.

          1. jrkrideau

            We just had the assassination of a Sikh religious leader in British Columbia. I expect Chrysta Freeland to attribute it to Putin.

          2. danpaco

            My MP, Chrystia Freeland, really should recuse herself from any decisions regarding Ukraine.

        3. Nick Corbishley Post author

          Thanks for sharing that, Chris. There are so many possible final straws out there when the systems we depend upon for just about everything begin to gradually fall apart before our very eyes.

          1. chris

            You’re welcome Nick.

            What I find really odd about all of this, is how many things we’re supposed to take at face value now when we’re told. Like, the nearly mystical “supply chain issues” which no doubt are the cause of the missing lids in the incident I observed.

            These manufacturers have people whose job it is to guarantee supply. Some equipment manufacturers have entire departments devoted to sourcing materials for production. People give industry status talks regarding upcoming supply issues months in advance at conferences. Investors are told about risks to production during earnings calls and such. Lying on those is terrible and can result in potential legal liability if you’re misrepresenting material information about a company. Sure, you can have kinks in supply from things like emergency shutdowns, fires, floods, etc. But those are supposed to be temporary and ease when the system redistributes load. We’ve had this happening since before the pandemic. Lately it has gotten worse. Which leads me to three possible conclusions as to what’s really going on:

            1) it’s the corporations. The whole world decided they didn’t need redundant capacity to produce anything. We reached the asymptotic limit from too many MBAs deciding they would rather buy than build so everything, everywhere, is only made in China or India or Vietnam. I find this unlikely but maybe for some goods it really has happened. Chip manufacturing in Taiwan and Russia may be so important that the rest of us had no clue how negligent those industries had become. How geographically concentrated the critical supply was.

            2) it’s the people. We have the stuff to make things with. We have the factories all over the world. We have shipping capacity. We don’t have the people to do anything with those tools and supplies. All the low paid wage labor all over the world is missing. Where automation can help, it already is. Where managers can change shifts, they do until those people quit. And even if every country near shores production of critical items we won’t see an end to this problem if the people don’t return.

            3) it’s politics. Our leaders are all fighting each other to gain advantages and our suffering is collateral damage they don’t even consider in their analysis. If they do any analysis. I can’t believe anyone in the Biden administration seriously thought their proposed sanctions in Russia would have any useful effect.

            Maybe what we see in any given industry is a combination of those three. Or maybe it’s just one. Either way it seems like we’re fundamentally screwed. There’s nothing the Feds, or the Fed Reserve, can do to help the US. Their only tools involve broadly distributing misery. Fixing this requires New Deal level thinking and public buy in. But our leaders can’t even fill Hoover’s shoes.

            I feel like I’ve said this before, but short of a massive shift in multiple issues throughout the US this is going to be a bad winter. If the chaos doesn’t finally break through then I’m not sure what will cause citizens to rebel.

        4. Carole

          I suddenly started seeing a flare up of road rage a month ago in Northern Virginia where drivers are by and large polite.
          Now I’m seeing road rage once a week- experiencing rage against me for truly innocent things- where I don’t experience this in a typical year.

      2. ThePeople


        It’s less about the large scale movements here and more about how it seems that a lot of rural citizens are hoarding food, ammunition, water, etc. to prepare for an impending collapse of the our current system.

        As a citizen of a larger town in a very small area of the rural midwest, you can really feel the tension among folks. People can barely afford gas and basic groceries to survive, or to feed their kids. Folks are getting restless.

        No one trusts each other anymore, everyone seems to have a ‘gotta get mine’ mentality and some people in very rural areas are even turning to farming their own food due to concerns of food shortages in the coming year.

        It probably doesn’t sound real scary, but people in the US aren’t used to going to the grocery store, multiple times through the week, and not being able to obtain something you need. Or for it to be double the cost it was last month. The US may seem as close to the verge of a collapse as places like Sri Lanka or Germany but citizens here have a short fuse and it’s not going to take much more to spark it.

        1. orlbucfan

          Plus access to assault rifles and all sorts of weaponry here in the States, and no gun control. I just got back from western Tennessee. That is a very conservative, religious area. Two hot button phrases were “climate chaos” and “price gouging.” People are worried and getting very angry.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The Liberal Fascist Pig PMC gun control movement would like to disarm all those people before they explode. Because the Liberal Fascist Pig PMCs are afraid that those West Tennessee rural people will find some way to reach out and touch the PMCs.

            That is the whole, sole and only reason for “gun control”. Any non-dishonest person will admit that.

            ( I speak as a gunless person who is too squeamish to kill people. I can only hope I look too gray and “invisible in plain sight” to be noticed when various kinds of violence break out).

            1. rob

              yeah, the PMC doesn’t really want what the person arrested for stalking justice Kavenaugh; was about to do, to become viral.
              Just think if all the people who were at their wits end, and were opting for suicide(which everyone who goes gun nuts and shoots people has decided), decided they could ” make their life(and death) have meaning. And actually go after the people who are responsible. the court judges, the representatives, the executives, the country club elite… who are repossessing your house/car/credit/life. etc..and really taking part in the destruction of society.. because they have a “good” job.

              of course it would lead to more repression… like bader meinhof antics showed before.

              “the strong shall devour each other, and the meek will inherit the earth”…. too bad it may be an irradiated , clean waterless… neoliberal hellscape… but at least it is something to look forward to.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The Bader Meinhof gang numbered a few dozen people in the midst of millions of Happy Germans who supported their society of Prosperity and Order.

                America is on the way to becoming a society of 300 million unhappy campers beneath a crust of 50 million satisfied customers. If thousands or millions of unhappy campers go “bader-meinhof”, they will achieve a different outcome than what the bader-meinhofs achieved in Germany. They may well drive the DC FedRegime into using Bashar al-Assad methods against 300 million unhappy campers in order to keep and restore order in America. But even that would be a different outcome than what happened in Germany.

                And in that scenario, large parts of America would become breakaway Christian Satanist Gilead Republics of their own. If you live in a part of America which is majority or significant-plurality Christian Satanist, you might want to move to a different part of America, if you can.

          2. the last D

            I don’t understand. I get “price gouging,” but I’m not too sure about “climate chaos.” Could you please explain? Thanks.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            When you say “climate chaos” is a hot button phrase in West Tennessee, how do you mean that? Do you mean that the people there accept the reality of impending “climate chaos” and get hot-buttoned about what to do about it?

            Or do you mean that the people there believe “man made global warming” is a liberal hoax and that mentioning ” climate chaos” means you are a liberal hoaxer and you are against God, Coal and Trump and so forth?

      3. tindrum

        Germany is on holiday. Schools are closed and everyone is either stuck in Frankfurt Flughafen or in Malaga or Croatia. On top of that the MSM is running a full-court-press propaganda blitz in order to keep the population as dumb as possible, there are however signs of concern but mainly from the far left (Die Linke) and the far right (AfD) and not the centre. If the Russians do not switch on the gas on the 21.07 then all hell will break loose.
        Even a large drop in pressure in the gas network would cause chaos as gas burners have a mechanical cut out which is triggered at low pressure that has to be physically re-set by a qualified technician – having to re-set 20 million gas heating systems in winter would be no fun.

        1. chris

          That is true. Also worth mentioning how labor intensive checking all those systems is when they have to be verified following a gas supply disruption. An electric outage is a lot easier to handle than a gas outage.

    2. nielsvaar

      reporting from de:

      in general, germans (unlike euro counterparts like france, spain, etc. and not at all to mention any social ideology in the periphery) still, somehow, tend to believe that everything is in Ordnung. i am referring to young students up through early forty year olds.

      at the supermarkets, they’ve got these little graphs plotting inflation prices per select individual products (e.g., coffee, flour) and limit how much one can buy accordingly. included in this occasionally is a projection for the decrease of those inflated prices. from what i’ve gathered from people, most simply believe that the system will take care of itself and that everything is going to be completely fine. part of the reason for this is due to the typically deutsch inability to believe that someone would be manipulating them… why would the ministry of finance lie? it doesn’t make any sense! iiuc most people here think that, because the numbers are reported, the situation is stable… in my view, this is exacerbated by local tabloids reporting any and all social movement as ‘far-right’, especially in the region where i live.

      what i can say concretely is that there has been a substantial increase of riot police in my city over the last 18 months… just touring around in large groups of four or five vans, at all times of the day, without any protests or unrest occurring. when we were still in lockdown, these pigs would ride around on the tram and demand papers, harass people on the street for not wearing masks, and were even working at/in front of chain clothing stores and shopping malls to check for the vaccine pass. since we’ve moved into a narrative that is ‘beyond covid’, the cops haven’t fucked off. they just have less to do.

      for me, this demonstrates that the ruling class is clearly aware that they are on the verge of potential social collapse. so reifying the image of stability and naturalizing heavy and militaristic police presence is eroding the already null capacity for most germans to do anything but merely follow the rules and ridicule/isolate/report on anyone who doesn’t.

      even today, the local papers reported that the city is cutting trams by at least 50% in autumn and ditching most of the buses. in a city that clocks over 100 million passengers annually in combination with the complete shortage of automobiles and fuel, this is going to become a horrible winter for many, many people. sitting inside without any heat and with rationed electricity/restrictions on internet use/so-called home office orders/tenfold inflated food costs and a substantial reduction in public transit during the next approaching ‘corona wave’ and it’s subsequent lockdown (already pre-planned for late autumn: cops ready to go) is not going to be feasible for germany: a large, dysfunctional family where everyone despises everyone else and is filled with a schizophrenic obsession for comfort, perfection, cleanliness, and order.

      1. Nick Corbishley Post author

        Thanks for the lowdown, Nielsvaar. It chimes with many of the impressions my father is getting from some of his contacts in places like Mainz, Freiburg and Munich. Many people, particularly the younger generations, seem to be in denial about what is happening around them, none of which bodes well for the future of Europe.

  4. Dr. Phips

    In Germany, yes, they are truly brainwashed from what I can see. As a fluent German speaker, it’s amazing to hear and watch the “Groupthinking” that is taking place there on radio, TV, Internet and print media. Apart from 2(!) exceptions, all the media there follow the original line given out at the beginning of the Ukraine crisis: We will and must suffer so that Ukraine is free again and the evil Russia empire must be punished.
    Just look at the Greens there, a true neo-liberal war-mongering party. I never imagined I would see Germany, a country that I used to admire, being like this.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Indeed. It seems like nearly everyone in public life in Germany with the exception of the AfD is claiming to be “anti-fascist” while wholeheartedly doing everything they can to implement the Gleichschaltung of opinion in the media.

  5. Patrick Donnelly

    Corruption destroys the democracy veneer.

    Kleptocracy runs wild and everyone who can defrauds the rest.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      How can members of the non-defrauder majority make some aspects of their lives a little more fraud-resistant or even fraud-proof here and there? Or at least try?

      I like sardines. When they were/are/will be on special sale I buy bunches of them and then slowly eat my way through them till the next special sale.

      I remember the Great Madoff Ripoff. The one where Bernie “Madoff” with the money. And with all the billions of dollars he stole from milionaires who never noticed it because they all believed that ” and you think I’m that guy? NO! I am the One Who Knocks!” They just couldn’t believe that Madoff was the one who knocks on their door. ” Only the little people get defrauded” to paraphrase Leona Helmesley.

      And I noticed that with all the billions of dollars that Madoff sucked out of those peoples’ moneypiles, Madoff never sucked so much as one single sardine out through the side of even one of my cans of sardines.

      Is there a lesson in that?

  6. Rita

    I write from Albania, it is on the list. Our protests were also fueled by US declaring non-grata the leader of the opposition, Sali Berisha. He is very powerful.

  7. Wukchumni

    Starbucks closed a small amount of stores in the past week on the left coast, partially to get rid of a couple that threatened to unionize, but the main reason seemingly was proximity to homeless using their bathrooms, not theft as is becoming a common theme in brick and mortar retailers who must be wondering why they go through the effort only to be shoplifted to dearth.

    The sense of entitlement being what it is in these not so united states may play out in odd ways in that civil unrest will come over food & energy (there has been a rise in gas tanks of cars being punctured for their precious bodily fluids) and not some other societal cause as has usually been the reason.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Same thing’s happening here in Tucson. If you want to go potty while you’re out in public, you’re going to find that quite a few stores will tell you to hold it because the public restrooms are no longer public.

      Unless you work in these establishments, there’s no bathroom for you.

      As for the shoplifting, it’s out of control. One of my friends works in a local grocery store, and she said that this store has already surpassed the annual metric for shrinkage. She’s wondering about her job security.

      1. TimH

        If one or two people surreptitiously steal items from a shop, it’s shoplifting, and managed by apprehension and cops.

        What’s been building up has been groups of people… looting… and the systems aren’t set up to challenge that at all.

      2. flora

        Who’s the District Attorney (DA) in your county? Have they decided not to prosecute thefts under $1000 in value? That’s happening in a lot of places. Cops won’t arrest if they know the DA won’t prosecute. Who is backing all these no-prosecute DA’s in their run for office? My county had a good, down the middle, play it straight DA for years. Shoplifters were arrested. Then… said DA lost his race to a woke DA candidate who seems to think shoplifting is some kind of “liberation movement.” Cops don’t arrest anymore for anything under $1000 – $1200. Store owners hate this. I don’t think the new woke DA will win re-election.

        1. Carl

          When a society produces huge swaths of people who are unable to buy the necessities they will naturally steal. Blame the society, not the thieves I say. If I ever find myself homeless and with others depending on me for food that I can not buy, I will certainly steal. With a clean conscience.

          1. flora

            I understand. However, it’s not Amazon who is hurt by this, it’s the local brick-and-mortar stores.

            1. Carl

              So true. In light of this fact, I would hypothetically target corporate entities exclusively.

              1. hk

                You are not the thief. To the people doing the thieving, local mom and pops, if there are any still left, are far easier targets, and these stores can’t survive having hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods stolen.

                1. Expat2Uruguay

                  Actually, I used to shoplift as a social protest and I targeted the big stores. Being a white woman over 50 no one ever challenged me. But then I left the US and healed my psyche and I don’t do that anymore

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I wonder how many of those shoplifters are actually secret agents hired by Amazon and sent by Amazon to destroy brick and mortar stores in order to deepen and broaden the Amazon monopoly on commerce.

        2. jrkrideau

          Cops don’t arrest anymore for anything under $1000 – $1200.

          Strictly as a cost benefit analysis, it probably costs 450,000 or more the prosecute and punish such an infraction. It might be better to spend the money on social welfare.

          I agree with the shopkeepers but it may be that the gov’ts they vote for are promoting this. It looks more lixeke systemic problem to me.

          1. chris

            I guess that puts us in Judge Dredd territory then. We’ll end up with armed judges who can be enforcement and issue judicial decrees on the run. A bizarre kind of martial law would be considered preferable to pure lawlessness. Fascism will be greeted as a savior if the only option is anarchy.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I think Spiro Agnew once said something in that spirit.

              ” People will prefer the policeman’s truncheon over the anarchist’s bomb.”

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Who is backing those pro-crime DAs? Probably the same kind of intellectuals who say that rioting and arson and looting is not a crime but is a sanctified expression of yearning for social justice and revolutionary discontent.

          Probably the same kind of intellectuals who say that destruction of property, the property that small business people depend on to stay personally alive with, is not “violence”. Pray that every single one of those intellectuals has their own personal house burned all the way down into the basement by people who decide to show those intellectuals what ” non-violence against property” looks like.

          Maybe someone will burn down all the several houses which that Black Lives Matter millionaire activist was able to hustle her way into “earning”.

      3. anon in so cal

        Here in Los Angeles, apparently the Starbucks closures were also due to safety concerns.

        “citing safety issues for both employees and customers…Starbucks plans to close six stores in the Los Angeles area and 10 locations in other major cities because of what it says are safety issues, including drug use and threatening behavior. “He had pulled the fire alarm off of the wall, completely ripped the fire alarm off the wall, and then he left,” said Robert Medina-Fischer.

        1. HotFlash

          How convenient! That’s what my (then) co’s board said when the Mtl office was organizing a union. They sold off Mtl cheap, cheap, CHEAP, and it has long since died. Toronto office was sold off for more $$ but the TO buyers had no vision, either, just milked the cash cow until it, too, died.

          And you are?

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        What if you buy some small little something to establish your good-intentions and then ask for restroom relief, is the restroom open to you then?

        And when the homeless were using restrooms, were they keeping them nice and neat? Or trashing them out?

        A proximate answer might be lots of public restrooms or at least public porta-potties all over urban areas.

    2. kareninca

      I would count SUV tire deflations (

      “The eco-warriors who deflated the tires of dozens of SUVs in the Big Apple have struck in at least three other US cities — and threatened to “expand massively” across the country.

      The Tyre Extinguishers — which started in the UK, hence the spelling — claimed late Wednesday to have so far hit more than 5,000 SUVs in at least eight countries with “more planned.”

      This is presented as an ecological protest, and no doubt is one, but it is likely also a response to wealthy people flaunting their wealth with large and costly vehicles.

      It’s hard to think that cops are going to make this one a big priority, and it is an easy copy cat crime. I could picture it becoming a hobby for frustrated people.

      No-one is going to bother with my unwashed Honda Civic.

    3. Kouros

      The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution where both put on overdrive by the marching and protests of women staying in line for the bread that would not come…

    4. chris

      I also heard that the homeless people using those bathrooms were keeping them as kind of offices for shooting up too. That some Starbucks employees suffered needle sticks cleaning them up or dealing with the people abusing the facilities. Those employees certainly aren’t paid enough to deal with that kind of disaster.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Especially if some of those needles are HIV needles and/or hepatitis needles.

        Maybe there should be public shoot-up rooms to go with the public porta-potties.

  8. SocalJimObjects

    From Statista,

    So at the end of 2021, with hundreds of thousands of people dead, the US again came first as the country most prepared for a pandemic.

    If there’s a ranking for countries most prepared to deal with civil unrests though, the US coming first might actually not be far off the mark. After all, aren’t American cops armed to the teeth with surplus weapons from Afghanistan and other wars?

    1. playon

      Not only well-armed but on the receiving end of much largess from the federal government. TPTB know what is coming, it’s just a matter of time. Everyone I talk to (no matter what their politics are) has the feeling that the social order is becoming more fragile.

    2. Kouros

      Yeah, but the cops are facing the most armed civilian population out there, maybe except Israel and Switzerland…

      1. Mark Ó Dochartaigh

        About one fifth of the US police force is ex-military. I doubt that Joe Sixpack and his tRumpenproletariat bros will fare any better than the Fallujah fighters.

        1. hk

          A lot (probably large majority) of US servicemen are either urban minorities or rural poor whites (including those no longer in active service). If cops get too violent against these folks, they will have far better armed and trained people to fight against, like the people who fought the Fallujah militants. A common key development in many civil wars and revolutions, including the French and the Russian, is when members of the armed forces turn against the security apparatus.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Those banks aren’t worried by the threat of civil unrest. They are worried that as a consequence that those countries may defer bank payments or even repudiate those debts. In normal times countries like that would be financially isolated and be punished when the IMF is eventually called in. But when so many countries are hitting the wall at about the same time, what then? And for banks, we are talking about the big boys here who will go running to the feds for a bailout no doubt. The normal inclination is to do that for those banks with virtually no strings attached (e.g. 2008) but here we are talking about a systematic failure of the world banking system because as a wealth extraction scheme, it is unsustainable. And so here we are.

  10. Mikel

    Things like Ghana and Argentina rejecting/protesting IMF loans make perfect sense. That should not be alarming. The IMF has paupered enough countries and intead of worrying about civil unrest: Do something that actually produces change for the better for the lives of the masses.
    That’s not BS wars.

    The problem and unrest is going to occur with the attempts by corporations, governments, and military dictatorships to force more authoritarian measures of control.

    Billions could be saved if alot of the institutions mentioned realized the violence of their policies to people’s actual lives instead of worrying about vandalism to property.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The elites are vicious sadists. They consider the potential loss of their own property as an acceptable trade-off for getting to ruin and destroy their targets’ lives. Will the elite push the non-elite to the point where at least some non-elite individuals try to reach out and touch personal elite lives?

  11. David

    It’s worth pointing out that civil unrest doesn’t have to be very large-scale or very violent to provoke economic damage in a society as tightly coupled as ours.
    Real-life example. During the height of the Gilets jaunes protests in 2018-19, groups of demonstrators took to invading shopping centres and smashing windows. Since it was impossible to protect every shopping centre in the country, local Prefects just started closing them every Saturday, which was, of course, the day when shops did most of their business. Fortunately, this situation only laster a matter of weeks, but it did weaken quite a number of businesses and shopping centres such that the pandemic closures hit them harder than would otherwise have been the case. More generally, anyone with investments in commercial property should probably be feeling nervous at the moment.

    The other massive risk, of course, is to town centres and tourist areas, most of which are only just recovering. As soon as a place gets a reputation for unrest and violence, people stop going there (this has happened in the centres of several French cities on Saturday nights) and businesses start to close, loans don’t get paid back etc.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I was in high school, the coolest place to go was Westwood Village near UCLA and it was always hopping-a real happening place.

      And then a woman was killed by a stray bullet from gang bangers in 1988, and nobody went there anymore.

  12. Jesper

    It might be interesting to read their policy recommendations:
    Quite a lot of focus on research and education. Who can argue against investing in research and education? And who can argue against a recommendation to communicate better?
    I suppose the counter-arguments might be that actions need to be taken and talk is cheap while providing material benefits and making actual changes might inconvinience some.
    I do not think the problem is that the electorate is incapable, I’d say that the problem is more related to the lack of competence within the political leadership. If the political leaership want the electorate to be happier with political leadership then maybe the political leadership should focus on actually doing things for their electorate rather than feathering their own nests and blindly following recommendations by CEOs.
    If elected politicians were better then we wouldn’t be where we are, if elected politicians were better then there would not be risk of unrest.
    I am nor really sure what our political leaders expect? That we’re happy with what they’ve done and what they continue to do?

  13. Glossolalia

    According to the executive, major banks all over the world including in the US, UK and Western Europe are instructing their top managers to begin actively planning how they will respond to the impact of financial disruption triggered by a prolonged episode of civil unrest.

    I’m going to guess they will respond by firing thousands, granting millions in bonuses to executives, and waiting for the government bailout.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      That’s pretty funny, Glossolalia. And probably pretty accurate too.

    2. SocalJimObjects


      We can’t afford to lose those “talents” to the likes of China and Russia.

    3. flora

      Plus, the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as a more “safe and secure” alternative to cash.

      Really though, with ex-Goldman Sachs guy and ex-Deutschek Bank guy in the lead for the UK Tory party leadership race, I think the big banks have figured out their playbook. Public fretting seems like PR. / ;)

      1. flora

        Ghana is the same story as Sri Lanka: small country with good balance of payments, energy and food sufficiency a few years ago, prosperous. Then followed the “enlightened” advice of the W-F about global trade and organic farming (with not enough time to transition successfully). Now it’s poor, hungry, and racked by public disorder.

        Read this 2019 W-F article before they take it down. / ;)

        (W-F: an old colonialism in new clothes.)

        1. Wukchumni

          Ghana went through a few bouts of hyperinflation, and its quite common for countries that have endured an economic Chapter 7 bankruptcy to do it again.

      2. flora

        Adding: I think they want global unrest because that will be their excuse to push CBDC’s and digital identity passes. / I used to think an idea like this was too foily for consideration. Now? “Keeping their eyes on the prize”, as the saying goes.

      3. HotFlash

        ex-Goldman Sachs guy and ex-Deutschek Bank guy

        Excuse me, there is nothing ‘ex’ bankish about them; like the Mafia, you can never leave your bank. They are simply on secondment to politics.

  14. TroyIA

    One story that is flying under the radar is a potential strike by railroad workers in the U.S.

    Railway workers in US are planning a grand setback for Biden on July 18

    U.S business community which is already navigating a difficult environment has come across a new obstacle. The ongoing rail dispute will aggravate their grievances even more.

    The U.S is already grappling with a historic supply chain crisis but since this wasn’t enough there’s more on the platter now. An absolutely crippling national railroad strike could potentially take over the country from the 18th of July.

  15. Amfortas the hippie

    as a New New Dealer(see, local rednecks, i’m even willing to forgo full on anarcho-socialism!)
    a part of me pities the aristocracy.
    their mirrored bubble prevents them from even noticing whatever analog of class traitor might have come along, lo these many years of decline, to perform the FDR Function…”allow some reforms, distribute some wealth, or become food”

    instead, they’ll apparently roill that mirrored bubble past the pitchforks and quils mangeant brioche moments, and right off the cliff.
    i hope the insatiable greed and will to power were worth it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I hope that some non-elite forward planners are preparing a nice big bed of barbed wire at the bottom of the cliff for those elites to land on.

  16. Dave in Austin

    Each of the most recent previous US rising-inflation periods (1962-6 and 1976-80) led to an increase in “labor unrest”, meaning strikes to catch-up wages for the inflation. Nothing new here.

  17. spud

    what can’t go on, won’t go on. what can’t be paid back, won’t get paid back. this is the inevitable blowback from what bill clinton created for the world starting in 1993.

    the system he created was already cracking apart by 2001, and fully collapsed in 2008, and has not come back, we are see sawing downwards.

    if these free traders are so worried about unrest and the environment, they would dump free trade in a nano second, and encourage local production of just about everything, and go back to a buy what you have to, sell what you can trading system.

    the free trading elite think that digitized money will save them because all they have to do is deny your account if you are not a good boy, but that again is the same type of thinking that has come out of the brain trust running the democrats since 1993.

    what the unrest is about is that the victims of free trade economics have no money, and of course the system of free trade is denying them food.

    so there comes a time when the victims will no longer fear bullets, they will be to hungry and desperate, perfect fodder for extremism.

    so the real threat to the world is the free traders in power, they gotta go before they go out on the tip of spikes.

  18. The Macedonian

    Not comparable to the scope of global chaos, however what is happening in Macedonia should raise more eyebrows than it is the case. Reuters is obfuscating, as per usual. The EU is actively supporting its member state, Bulgaria, who is dictating that Macedonia should amend its constitution and include Bulgarians in Macedonia (couple of thousand as pr the latest census) as constitutional nation, which is bonkers, especially considering the official stance of the Bulgarian parliament that Macedonians as a nation ‘do not exist’ and that the Macedonian language is a Bulgarian dialect (again, nonsense). If these are EU values, Macedonia should steer clear of such a union…

    The name of the country was already changed, unconstitutionally, just so that Macedonia could be forced into NATO membership (a popular NO in a referendum was abrogated in the process). Using the ‘North’ adjective is against the will of the people (besides hiding a long and bloody history of Greek misdeads), so I would urge those who respect self-determination to abstain and use just Macedonia.

    The Macedonians as ethnicity and as a nation are protesting, the Reuters cabal have no clue naming protesters ‘nationalist’; since when it is nationalist to resist your oppressors? Civil unrest indeed… and it’s past due.

  19. lentil

    So 2019 was the “year of protest”.
    And what was 2020?
    2020 was the year of: “Everyone go home and stay home! Cover your mouth and stop talking to each other! Wash your hands, you dirty proles, and be very afraid!”
    2021 was the year of: “Everyone gets the shot or we cancel your life!”
    2022 is the year of: “Hey, wait a minute, this shot isn’t working like you said it would, so why–”
    “Ukraine! Russia! Russia! Ukraine!”
    “– but what about all the excess deaths in our own country, is this shot actually –”
    “Bortion! Muh Bortion! Bortion! Bortion!”
    “– but my money is running out, I can’t pay, I got nothing. I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore!!!”
    Cue: unbottled rage.
    2023: (see 2020?)

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Looks like 2023 is going to be the year the lid flies off the boiling pot.
      Can’t just keep ratcheting up the pressure, something is gonna blow.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      People can talk to eachother through a mask. They just have to talk louder. I often have to shout ” I can’t hear you!” at people to train them to talk louder through the mask.

  20. Cristobal

    As Spud has said, and many before him, debts that can´t be paid, won´t be paid. As the crisis of 2008 demonstrated, the financial system operates on a rather thin margin. Especially when it is leveraged and interconnected to the current extent, defaults multiply. Hopefully, said advice to bankers and insurers to prepare for civil unrest is primarily focused on sanitizing to the extent possible their balance sheets. I am not very educated in financial matters, but recall from 2008 hearing talk of ¨Bail In¨ procedures in which bank depositors (like us-uns) could have our deposits taken by an insolvent bank. Something like that would inded provoke serious civi strife by an enraged (and heavily armed) citizenry. It is a pity that the violence would be primarily suffered by people like them. The fat cats will be far away.

    Regarding the comments on the non-prosecusion of shoplifting, petty theft of less than $1,000, and mob sacking of stores, etc., it is deplorable. I am as bourgeois as anyone else here and do not condone this kind of activity. I understand it but I don´t condone it. Back in the day I personally knew a guy (a black man, raised by his mother, hard low wage worker, who dealt a little coke on the side) who went to jail for a year for lifting a package of diapers for his little baby. It is a fact, and everyone knows it, that the big crooks get away with it. The US does not have to take a back set to any country as far as private and government corruption goes. It is widely acknowledged that the justice system in the US is rigged, the cops in large part are pigs, and not surprisingly there is a lot of resentment that will boil over sooner or later. It is probably too late to reform the legal system into one concerned with dispensing justice, instead of dispensing with justice. We may muddle through for a few more years, but the potential for a serious debt default crisis has me worried.

  21. Cristobal

    Another thing,
    Maybe the big western banks won´t fall. Maybe they´ll be pushed. As I recall, after the events of 2014 in Ucraine, one of the big western lending institutions – the World Bank or the IMF or something – made a big loan to that country. This was done in violation of the lender´s own rules that forbade making loans to countries that had unpayable debts, or defaults, to another lender. In this case to Russia. I could be wrong, but I believe the western lender made the loan and Ucraine left Russia on the hook for its debt. In the Global South I imagine there are many likely candidates for a turn about on the part of the BRICs. A poor Latin American or African country that was burdened by unpayable debt to the WB or IMF could wipe it out unilateraly if it was confident that it would be refinanced in some way by a BRICs agrement. It is complicated, I would appreciate any comments as to why this is a crazy idea and would never work.

    1. Skip Intro

      IIRC, The IMF has a policy against giving loans to countries in a civil war, but still had cash for Ukraine. I don’t see how Russia would be ‘on the hook’ for anything, especially now. In fact it sounds like Russia is switching the LPR and DPR over to Rubles, and basically repudiating private debt to Ukrainian/western banks for residents.

  22. gnatt

    Piece by Kenneth Rogoff, one of the old guard Harvard economists, reviewing books in the july 1st Times Literary Supplement, suggests that it’s time for banks to have negative interest rates to force savers to free up cash. Great idea! Let’s take away a percent or five from the money you’ve put into savings. Banks are worried about civil unrest? If they steal your money, what can they expect?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Aside from unrest, it would also spur a flight on the part of those non-rich people who could afford it, from “banked money” into cash ( bills and coins) and into storable and stockpilable consumer goods. If the government is going to authorise banks to steal your money through the reverse-interest gambit, you will want to turn as much of that money as you can afford . . . into lasts-for-years canned food of kinds you know you will like to eat, storable grains and beans which you will eat back down over time, tens or hundreds of rolls of toilet paper carefully piled in stacks under your bed which should be up on a loft to create storage space under it, etc. Perhaps stockpilers might even stockpile so much stuff that they can give it to needy grasshopper neighbors to keep them happy and peaceful.

      And also consumer durables for barter. And maybe also Travelers Checks, Postal Money orders and other cash equivalents if government-banks did not think of creating ways to steal from those as well through reverse interest lamprey technology.

      Once all that is in place, those who can do so might well pay rent as many months in advance as they can afford and get legal proof of having done so. Then the rent-receiver will have the worry of how to protect the money from government-bank theft by reverse interest.

      Once all of that is in place, then start storing cash in unlikely places. And also in likely places so that break-and-enter robbers will find it and go away happy. Decoy cashpiles, if you will.

      Once all that is in place, people will have to protect their copper pipes in their still obviously lived-in houses, etc. If there are ways to wire up the pipes so that any intruder touching them in order to strip them is electrocuted, that might protect the pipes. Because at that point, the only law will be jungle law anyway, and the rest of us are better off if the sort of people who would invade a lived-in home to strip out all the pipes and wires were all physically deleted.

      And people will have to do all other kinds of things to protect what they have in the War of All Against All.
      Perhaps neighborhoods of people can create their own heavily armed and as-well-as-possibly trained we-shoot-looters neighborhood watch militias, to turn the war of All Against All into a war of Some Against Others. Which may be more survivable than a war of All Against All.

      1. HotFlash

        Sigh. Toilet paper is hardly gold. Grandparents used corn husks and the Montgomery Ward catalogue. I know that a digital Amazon catalogue isn’t useful for that purpose, but in our house we use cotton flannel squares, washable, instead of TP or kleenex. I stockpile bleach and soap (laundry, dish, bar, shampoo) since we are not really up to making those things, although we know how to if push comes to shove. Also not bad at putting off showering, but that is a matter for another post.

        So, what is gold? Fixity stuff: sewing needles, thread, and if you have a treadle sewing machine you are *RICH*!!! Or dead — whichever. Hardware — screws, nails, nuts and bolts; saws, files, and hacksaw blades. Know-how, esp anything that is not stealable, will make you valuable to the warlords to come. So, bicycle repair, soap-making, beer, wine, etc making, brickmaking, solar panel maintenance, any skills that will make you worth more alive than dead.

        Why yes, I have been giving this some thought. Haven’t you?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          You are correct. Kurt Saxon gave that quite a bit of thought starting years ago. Decent living tools, fixity stuff, etc.

          I was thinking for the purposes of this thread about more short term responses to a short-term government-banker conspiracy to impose negative interest rates on savings in banks.

    2. flora

      Of course he does. He’s been at it for several years now. What a highly paid poltroon he Kennith Rogoff is, imo.

      There was once a saying among map makers: “The map you want exists or can be made.” The same is true in economics, imo. “The spreadsheet data you want exists or can be made.” / ;)

    3. hk

      Will they have negative interest rates on consumer debt and car loans? That would actually free up a lot more cash.

      The thing is that a lot of people (maybe not too many people born in post WW2 US) have had experience like this. They’ll just hide their savings in proverbial (or literal) mattresses. As for people who actually don’t have such experiences, many of them won’t have savings that can be freed up.

  23. Susan the other

    I remember reading various accounts for why the Vietnam war happened. One of them was that the US economy was on the rocks. It had stagnated. We all needed new horizons, hence JFK’s “New Frontier” and the space race. Everybody was dropping acid and going on a road trip to San Francisco. Which all makes sense. The economic policy had not even made plans to employ the baby boom. It also makes sense of the war in Ukraine. We need something to stimulate excess growth quickly. The fact that the EU is falling apart politically is of no consequence – Poland just asked Germany for “reparations” for WW2. So why doesn’t anybody ask the question: Why do we need to super-charge the economy in order to maintain it. And why do we prefer a wasteful and destructive war to steady state peaceful economies? Why did we intentionally create an economy of war and weapons instead of a peaceful one? And add to our current situation the whole question of climate change and how self-defeating war industries are to a manageable climate – how fatal, in fact. And then contemplate turning our back on all of it.

    1. Yves Smith

      As someone who remembers the 1960s, “the US economy had stagnated” thesis is nuts. There were plenty of jobs, the Space Race was throwing off new technology, and those evil plastics were just getting going.

  24. spud

    as long as the elites never have to pay a price for their follies, Rogoff, summers, and neo-liberal democrats and their neo-con allies types, will just keep coming back like a bad meal.

    bill clintons people are still calling the shots around the world. and we let them get away with it.

    bill clinton and his people must be at least publicaly shamed and driven out of civil society.

    1. rob

      you must know lance,

      you both project too much competence into the likes of bill clinton and the rest of the koch funded DLC… democrats. Clinton didn’t do anything that wasn’t already in the works by bush 41(like NAFTA), and continued by bush 43….
      to harp on as if b clinton is a force unto himself is a mistake. The world wasn’t born yesterday.

      but, all the clintonistas really should be tarred and feathered…regularly. when their skin grows back.

      1. Yves Smith

        Clinton did not have to adopt Bush policies. The point of being a Dem, then more so than now, is NOT being on board with R economic policies.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Clinton was too a force unto himself. He deliberately lied about “opposing NAFTA as-it-was” to get elected and then doublecrossed everyone who voted for him by deliberately exerting himself his very hardest to get NAFTA as-it was passed through congress. Part of that was by lying about ” negotiating after-the-fact” correctives which he knew he was lying about even as he was lying about them.

        Here is a NOmazon link to a book about that.

        Here is another NOmazon link.

  25. Scylla

    Well, I am in rural, northern Appalachia. No protests to speak of here- people are too poor and tired, generally, but I can say that a not insignificant percentage are discretely getting ready, including my own extended family. Even here, we are seeing more police presence, and more meanness. A couple of months ago several state police pulled over a car with a couple of young girls, not long out of high school, they took the seats out of the car in their search, taking hours, which yielded approximately 1 GRAM (yes, you read that right) of loose green leafy debris found on the floor and in the seats. Yes, they were arrested and are being prosecuted (it might or might not have been pot, but these kids’ families likely do not have the money for independent lab testing). My town (pop. 1200) experienced it’s first homeless person recently. They ended up in a tent on a small lot owned by my brother. We were not happy about it, but understood his circumstance, gave him food, and we were working on sanitation (were going to rent a portapotty) then one of the members of the boro council went onto the property (it is fairly isolated and wooded) and literally threatened the homeless person with an AK-47 (the police saw no issue with this, of course). We were horrified, and had I been there, I fear what might have happened. Not long after, the town police found a reason to arrest this homeless person. We were left with their meager belongings- no idea where they are now.
    We are already seeing refugees- these are, right now, people who grew up here or have family/friend connections. These are people who have left cities because they simply cannot live there anymore due to inflation/job loss/high rents/etc. Locals have brought them into their homes, and in a couple of instances have modified garages to create living spaces. Some of them are able to find work, some not. Right now these people are benign- good people, but as the pressure ratchets up, who knows? Hope I am wrong, but I have a feeling that it is only a matter of time before things get very bad.

    1. hk

      The clueless wokesters would yap about white privilege and such things, but I’ve found that cops are as rough on “rednecks” as they are towards urban minorities. These are bad signs.

      1. Procopius

        One of the things that happened during The Great Depression was that crowds of neighbors showed up to sheriff’s auctions. They would bid small amounts for everything and dare any bankers’ agents to bid. I’m not sure how common it was, but the rural areas had been in depression since 1921 — the “recovery” never reached them, nor did the Roaring Twenties.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    People who choose to take part in mass civil unrest events should understand that the forces of public and private government will be prepared to machine-gun mass quantities of them and bury them in mass pits and trenches. The forces of government will also use more subtle measures like spraying them all with time-delayed cancer juice, weaponised milspec covid virus powder, etc., the Raytheon mounted portable microwave oven ray, etc.

    You can’t prepare for machine gunning. If that is how the authorities plan to meet the particular demonstration you are in, all you can do is hope that your martyrdom will spur so much mass rage that further demonstrations force the government to run out of machine gun ammunition before the demonstration has run out of bullet-catchers.

    If the government is meeting your particular demonstration with weaponised milspec covid powder, perhaps ultra-good masks can protect you somewhat. If the government plans to hose you all down with the Raytheon Mobile Oven Ray of Torture, perhaps you can all bring distilled-water fire extinguishers with you to fill the air all around you with aqua-mist to absorb the microwave oven-rays before they reach your physical body. Try to imagine other non-machine-gun responses and imagine protective measures against them.

    Since I personally don’t want to face any of that, I will be thinking of ways to create ” uncivil rest”. How to non-illegally obey the law to the very minimum without complying with any of the pro-upper-class purposes of it. Uncivil obedience, mass passive obstruction, lying flat in certain key ways, etc. If a hundred million Americans all did that, could they make America privately ungovernable while leaving some of the beneficial aspects of public governance still alive and functioning? Could they make America unprofitable and keep it that way long enough to exterminate-by-attrition certain big private entities?

    1. Cristobal

      You are correct in that civil unrest usually harms the people the demonstrators (?) are trying to help. That doesn´t mean that it won´t happen. Enraged people are not often very logical. As you say, the police have a thousand and one ways to crush street violence. If one has to fight a war it is better to fight it in someone else´s neighborhood. To be effective, popular insurrections have to get the attention of the right people – those people who could actually do something about it. They are usually far away, and believe themselves legaly and physically immune from the mob. Due to the capture of the US legal system, I believe that they are legally immune. That leaves physical actions against their persons or their property. The science fiction novel mentioned by another commentator, ¨Ministry for the Future¨ provides some examples, but that takes organization. We people who are against the endless wars, the corruptionn, the raping of the environment, etc., are flummoxed. Individually, we can go arouond putting up posters (I actually did that recently), blog, or do other writings, but that is about it. As in that link Lambert put into his piece on the James Webb Space Telescope. We´re just Meat.

  27. IMOR

    Almost every item of action Curbishley cites taken by groups of natural persons amount to participatory democratic action by citizens, and the fact that it disturbs the rest, self indulgence, and sloth of some other, wealthier sectors in no way makes it was has historically been known as ‘civil unrest.’ It’s like calling 1/6/21 an ‘insurrection.’

  28. RobertC

    The big default? The dozen countries in the danger zone

    LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) – Traditional debt crisis signs of crashing currencies, 1,000 basis point bond spreads and burned FX reserves point to a record number of developing nations now in trouble.

    ++ UKRAINE
    ++ TUNISIA
    ++ GHANA
    ++ EGYPT
    ++ KENYA
    ++ BELARUS
    ++ ECUADOR
    ++ NIGERIA

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