Russia And China: Rioting For Fun And Profit

RussiaViolent labor unrest in the US may have seen its best days end with the Columbine Mine Massacre of 1927. There were some incidents after that, but they were not as notorious. American workers have taken to the negotiating tables, and, based on contracts set up in the newspaper and auto industries, the tactic has worked quite well.

The Russians and Chinese may have a greater tendency to hit the streets to settle economic scores which is hardly good for government stability. Recent incidents in the two countries show that a recession can turn especially unpleasant in a relatively short period of time.

According to The Wall Street Journal, taxi drivers in China have begun to spread labor unrest and the Communist government tried to calm the situation. “Unsatisfied with the government’s response, the taxi drivers struck again 10 days later. More workers turned out this time, and some of the protests turned violent, as strikers damaged cars and clashed with police.” In Russia, police are showing up at most labor demonstrations and protesters are being hauled away. Given the drop in oil prices and fall in the value of the ruble, the winter promises to be especially dangerous for both the government and people willing to take their grievances into public.

Whether China and Russia can spread enough money around the economy to keep unemployment at a relatively low level remains to be seen, but the early signs are not encouraging.

Douglas A. McIntyre