Why Are People so Angry?

There are a lot of angry people in the world, and that can't be a good thing. There are, it appears, a lot of reasons to be angry, and you only have to watch the evening news to find out why.

The biggest issue tends to be a feeling of injustice; the world — most usually a specific person or a group of people — are to blame, and they have done something unfair. Up until recently, since the end of the Second World War, for many people in the West, things were getting better, people were earning more money, and getting wealthier. Sure, there were recessions here and there, but most people could see their lives improving.
But, let's be honest, there were communities that weren't so lucky — these people were on the wrong side of industrial change, efforts to reduce labour costs, the movement of production to cheaper locations, and, sometimes deliberate marginalisation by the government, who saw them as a threat, or a lost cause.
Most people feel a little bad for these groups, but when it came down to it — that was their problem. And, they could always 'get on their bike' or show some entrepreneurial spirit and start up their own business. Maybe there was something wrong with them, or they were unlucky? The reality was that there were political reasons why these communities took a hit. The deliberate winding-down of the British coal mining industry, for example, was a political move designed to reduce the power of the unions. By reducing our reliance on coal the government reduced any impact a coal strike could make.

When the financial markets were deregulated, and the US banking industry collapsed, and many British Banks had to be saved by the Government, the politicians didn't say... well, these aren't competitive businesses, we should let market forces decide their fate. Governments stepped in to save the day, with tax payers money. Meanwhile the economy tanked and the Western governments had to make deep cuts to reduce their growing deficits. There were a raft of 'austerity' measures, reductions to social security, cuts to the health service in the UK — all this while the banks were being bailed out. Ordinary people started thinking that things were not going as well for them as they had previously thought.

Governments urged their citizens to work harder; telling them that they would have to retire later; that their pensions would be smaller; that more people would have to wait for critical surgery; and that they would increasingly have to wait for hours to see a doctor if they had a medical emergency...

Now people were told that things would not get better and better — they would get worse and worse. Food and energy prices would rise, first time buyers wouldn't be able to afford a deposit for a starter home, job security would be a thing of the past, and there would be more homeless people sleeping rough. The nation's military would be so resource starved it would be questionable if they could even defend the country.

People started getting even more angrier than before, or gave up caring, because they no longer believed in the government, in the experts, and politicians at Westminster. People started asking why the politicians seemed to be doing all right, getting pay rises, and special expenses, while everyone else was having to 'tighten their belts' and accept the harsh new economic reality? It seemed strange that things were not going to improve, but we were still supposed to listen to the same politicians, who didn't have any answers, but still told us why we had to vote for them. They insisted that they were right — we should believe their evasive interview replies.

The people were angry because jobs and wealth had disappeared abroad. No one stole it from us: our business leaders had given it away. They told us to accept the inevitable — market forces — that's how business works. The politicians told us this was the new reality of the global marketplace. A lot of people, who were doing okay, now realised that things weren’t exactly terrific... And now they are feeling a sense of injustice too.