Rioting and Poverty…

With a cell phone and time your hands your hands what are you to do? Oh, yes RIOT!

To steal a cliché it’s a match made in heaven or may hell better put for that matter, however what has me waxing on this topic today you ask?  Well in the past week or so the rioting (social unrest for the politically correct) in Great Briton does, as all the journals are linking this affect to poverty like there is news to be written here.

So one has to ask, do the non-impoverished have to run through the streets at night lighting things ablaze or looting like there isn’t a tomorrow?  Of course not as they have assets and “assets” mean the potential for repercussions to be levied which of course those on the have not side of the ledger do not “have”.  As just like the decade long battle in Afghanistan, with the United States and may I remind you of the time the Soviet Union spent there too?  Here we both bombed a culture back to the stone ages that were not far off that point when we found them.  As how do you bomb someone back to “the caveman days” when they live in caves today?

So there is a clear causal relationship between “ownership” and actions be it in the back hills of Afghanistan or the boroughs in the back side of London.  People are simply people the world over and will react as such if given the chance, so there should be no surprise here for our media friends.

However one thing worth noting in the UK riots along with the uprising in the Arab states including Afghanistan is a singular meek and mild device namely the cell phone.  As the looters used smart phone abilities in their rioting activities as well as those over throwing dictatorial governments in the Middle East, even to the detonation of improvised explosives in yes Afghanistan.

As the meek and mild cell phone was once upon a time only enjoyed by the wealthy yet today it’s a “right” of masses and now utilized as such.  As how are those in poverty able to afford not only the purchase of the handset (many times Black Berries or iPhones), however also the monthly service fee required to turn the electronic brick into a useful gadget?  It seems the values of, along with the abilities of the poverty class have changed.  No longer are they isolated from each other, in fact technology has brought together people with something in common, yes a lot of time on their hands and we all know what idle hands do.

As the rote ability to “achieve” is based upon one’s ability to communicate intention and to achieve this one needs to be connected.  So here we see people without the money for the basics in life including food yet own a cell phone which leads me to ask the question.  Is being connected that much more important than basic care on Maslow’s ladder?

If these are any indications, this is then a good example as you can bet your last dollar that the drive to communicate is a primal instinct akin to eating…

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About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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2 Responses to Rioting and Poverty…

  1. Jason Fisher says:

    If the government provides you with food stamps, I guess you can use whatever disposable income you have left over to spend on a mobile phone and data package – you know so you can do really important things like check Facebook and play Angry Birds.

    In my mind poverty of yesterday does not equate to poverty of today. People living below the poverty line have many of the same luxuries (cable, big screen tv, Internet access and as you mentioned a mobile phone, etc.) that the working class enjoys as well.

    One might wonder about the relevance of needs vs. wants in today’s society…

    • Joseph Campbell says:

      Never thought of it this way, as I guess emptying the soda [purchased with the food stamps] into the parking lot to return the “empty” bottles is in fact a new form of “disposable income”. However what irks me more is the lack of brilliance to at least empty the soda into another container so its not wasted, instead of being poured on the parking lot.

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