Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Livin in the USA

oakland-social-unreastDon’t quote me on this, but I seem to remember some sage advise Barton Biggs offered his high net worth clientele about the coming social disintegration due to the economic meltdown. I remember him saying “to stock up your wine cellars, get liquid with your assets and find communities to live in where enhanced security services is a chief accoutrement.” He may be on to something.

Urban tensions have exploded in Oakland California this past week over the slaying of a BART commuter at the hands of a transit policemen. The unfortunate killing of the African American youth Oscar Grant occurred on New Years eve when the BART transit police were trying to control rowdy New Years revelers. The shooting has triggered a series of violent protests that are becoming more commonplace in cities of the world.

These high profile cases of police brutality are incendiary incidents that give voice to a seething urban anguish fed by economic duress, racial tensions and cultural dislocation. The police murders of a person of color give focused voice to community discontent fueled by rising unemployment, homelessness, home foreclosures, ethnic tensions and rising impoverishment unleashing a horrific display of civil disturbances that are in turn met with brutal state suppression.

Urban social unrest is becoming more commonplace in democratic nation states. The riots in Paris and Amsterdam in 2007 and the recent unrest in Athens speak of a deep dissatisfaction of the economic and cultural disenfranchisement of urban minorities and working poor. These Euro Zone riots assume a Muslim ethnic dimension. It exemplifies the cultural dislocation of Islamic youths and the failure to integrate the large Muslim immigrant community into Old World Europe. As the recession deepens ethnic unrest and class conflict will grow. Perhaps we should take Mr. Biggs’ advise and stock up the wine cellars before it becomes to dangerous for a run to the local liquor store.

You Tube News Footage: Oakland riots


You Tube Music Video: Steve Miller Band, Livin in the USA

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January 8, 2009 Posted by | cities, ethnic, Muslim, race, rock, social unrest | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Price of Rice in Haiti

Rice Riots in Haiti

Another entry in our ongoing series about the rise in rice prices.

Today we were confronted with images of food riots in Port Au Prince arguably the most impoverished city in the western hemisphere. UN Peacekeeping forces were straining to maintain the rule of law and prevent a total collapse of civil order.

Its startling to consider that people in the underdeveloped world pay up to 80% of their incomes for a subsistence ration of food. Here in the United States we spend approximately 10% of our income on food. An interesting metric in how to measure the spread of the difference between the developed and underdeveloped world.

I can’t help but think of the butterfly effect.

It goes something like if a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing in May it will produce a Hurricane off the Outerbanks in August.

Haiti may be this years butterfly. It may yet remind us of how connected our world is to the seemingly disconnected events and risk factors in the global community.

Risk: inflation, commodities, political, moral

You Tube Video: Port-Au-Prince

April 12, 2008 Posted by | inflation, social unrest | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment