10 Feb 2009
The Real News Network (TRNN) reports that protests are on the increase as a result of economic hardship emanating from the global financial meltdown. TRNN reports that there is a growing consensus that global elites are not qualified to handle the world's problems, leading to massive demonstrations against elites.
On 1 February 2009, government representatives and corporate executives returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Associated Press reported "The world's foremost gathering of the best and brightest in government and business failed to come up with any new plan to stem much less reverse, the global financial meltdown."
One tragic consequence of the financial meltdown is growing double digit unemployment. These are some figures from around the world:
- In Spain, 200,000 workers lost their jobs in January 2009 alone. The most for a single month, pushing unemployment up to 14%.
- Over 9% of workers in the Republic of Ireland are now jobless.
- Over 2 million workers in Columbia find themselves without jobs, representing over 10% of the work force.
- In China, 20 million rural migrant workers have lost their jobs.
- In Russia, the Ruble is down to an eleven year low, bringing its own set of challenges even to those that are employed.
"The global economic crisis, which is hitting developed countries hard, might generate a tsunami-like wave of migrants returning home," says Joseph Chamie of Pakistan's Daily Times. A drop in remittances from employees to their families back home, will cause the living conditions of many in the developing world to worsen.
Massive layoffs and economic hardships are leading to protests throughout the world. Most demonstration are taking place as part of an "anti-government response" to the financial crisis.
- In Iceland, the entire government administration resigned under the pressure of massive anti-government protests.
- In France last week, approximately 2,5 million people took to the streets to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's 33 billion dollar stimulus plan. Many demanding that the government nationalise the banking system.
- Similar protests took place in Italy in October last year, when hundreds of thousands protested Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi decision to slash the education budget.
- In December, Greece was also overcome with anti-government uprising.
- Just last week, thousands blockaded the streets in Mexico in protest against President Philipe Calderon neo-liberal economic policies.
- Back at the WEF, the annual demonstrations that usually accompany the event were cracked down on by Swiss authorities. This year, 130 protestors were arrested by authorities.