The riots in the UK have prompted many to look closer at what is happening over there.
Yang penting ialah untuk memahami latar belakang socio-ekonomi di negara tersebut. Terdapat jurang pendapatan yang luas di antara golongan kaya dengan kaum miskin.
This income inequality is compounded by a sense of deprivation, racism and distrust of the police. Consumerism has heightened the sense of relative deprivation and prompted some to take short-cuts to achieve the usual, superficial trappings of youthful yearning – hence the looting of high-street shops selling merchandise much coveted by the youth.
Nina Power cuba memberi konteks untuk apa yang sedang berlaku di Britain dalam akhbar The Guardian:
One journalist wrote that he was surprised how many people in Tottenham knew of and were critical of the IPCC, but there should be nothing surprising about this. When you look at the figures for deaths in police custody (at least 333 since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them), then the IPCC and the courts are seen by many, quite reasonably, to be protecting the police rather than the people.
Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear. (Haringey, the borough that includes Tottenham, has the fourth highest level of child poverty in London and an unemployment rate of 8.8%, double the national average, with one vacancy for every 54 seeking work in the borough.)
Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.
As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as “social problems” (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.