How Likely is Social Disorder?

Posted: February 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5720211.ece

The article linked above describes retired British Army major Willard Foxton who, this week, walked into a park, sat on a bench, and shot himself in the head. Having lost his family’s entire life savings through the complex web of financial institutions impacted by the Madoff Ponzi-scheme, Mr. Foxton, tragically took his own life. To my knowledge, this is the second suicide attributable to Madoff (the first was Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet – a French hedge fund manager)

Out of respect for the families of Mr. Foxton, and de la Villehuchet, I can only begin to imagine the distress that such a situation would put on these individuals and their families. But, these suicides are intriguing to me from a psychological perspective. Specifically, I wonder – is it unreasonable to assume that what might cause a retired military man or high-flying financier to turn inward and ultimately commit suicide, could just as easily lead another person to engage in outwardly violent or disruptive acts?

Personally, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that instead of turning inwards, some of these people focus their anger and hatred on external target – legitimate or otherwise. It’s easy to forget that riots and domestic insurrections happen. They’re not imaginary events. Perhaps the social stability that so many of us in first world countries have enjoyed and taken for granted, is nothing but an artifact of economic stability. If my arguments about economic instability are correct, I seriously wonder whether or not violence and all the darker sides of society will remain isolated events, or if those people marginalized by what many are calling the Greater Depression, eventually organize themselves and demand a response.

Chile Strike

Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute has said “when people lose everything, and they’ve got nothing to lose, they lose it.” I hope he’s wrong. I hope I’m wrong. But I’m going to be keeping an eye out for any signs which indicate that this anger is manifesting itself externally.

– a.j.m.

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