What is behind the spread of so many mass protests?

One frequent theme is people objecting to a price increase. In Ecuador,  a focal point of the protests has been a demand for restoration of fuel subsidies. Petroleum price subsidies also have been central to the Haitian protests. In Lebanon, citizens have been upset at a new tax levied on the use of WhatsApp, with a social media tax also having been an issue in Uganda. In Sudan cuts to food and fuel subsidies have been a major complaint. In Chile they are protesting subway fare hikes.

The trend is that price increases may continue to become less popular. And, crucially, the internet will help people organize against such changes.

Consider that an old-style labor-oriented protest can be organized through the workplace or plant itself, through on-the-ground techniques that long predate the internet. There is a common locale and set of social networks in place, including perhaps a union. Those who suffer from a price increase, in contrast, typically do not know each other or have common social ties. Just about everyone buys gasoline, either directly or indirectly. The internet, however, makes it possible to mobilize these people into protests with prices as the common theme.

In other words: Protests of workers seem to be becoming less important, and protests of consumers are becoming more important.

You may recall that one of the original demands of the “gilets jaunes” protests in France was for free parking in Disneyland Paris. If you think that sounds a little crazy, you haven’t yet internalized the nature of the new millennium.

In the future, efficiency-enhancing or austerity-induced changes in prices may be much harder to accomplish politically. The new trend is neither central planning nor market liberal reforms, but rather frozen prices, especially when those prices are set in the political realm.

Here is the rest of my latest Bloomberg column on that topic.  Two further points: my global warming point I pulled from Noah Smith, though I could no longer find his tweet to cite. Furthermore, many of the recent protests, such as in Spain, fit a more political and ethnic model, I am not saying price increases are always the major factor.

Comments

It's one of the reasons that I am against UBI in the USA: there'll be constant protests to raise it. Maybe violent ones, if the USA starts resembling France or Chile more. Which is yet another reason why more people out to learn economic principles as taught in most Econ 101 classes.

Econ 101 is just dogma. You might as well call those "principles" postulates and then test their predictive power, which we know to be weak, very weak.

If you are going to take a useless class, it might be better to take a class in literature. At least then you get to read some great books. Oh wait, postmodernism ... forget the whole thing.

This is the kind of ineffectual armchair jabbing that immediately precedes endorsement of objectively bad policies like rent controls.

"This is the kind of ineffectual armchair jabbing that immediately precedes", he jabbered.

You don't need Econ 101 to know rent control is bad. It's been tried and we have data from the experiment.

Oh, and lest I forget, $#*" &@!.

"You don't need Econ 101 to know rent control is bad. It's been tried..."

No, you need it know why the bad results of rent-control were entirely predictable and why it never should have been tried.

It's interesting that the protests cited were all in favor of continuing or increasing subsidies.

Yep. And a whole lot of voters in CA and NY who've experienced the effects of rent-control don't know that it's bad. They see that rental housing is scarce, and ridiculously expensive (and/or badly maintained). They see units taken off the rental market and converted to condos (or AirBnB). But they don't understand why it's all happening and think that the solution is to pass laws against unfortunate consequences of previous laws.

Wrong.

In my lefty, PC, expensive, coastal California university town rent-control is a big issue without majority support.

The downsides of rent control are widely discussed and well known to all except a small number of rabid idealogues and those living under a rock.

Sorry to disappoint you.

"a whole lot of voters in CA and NY who've experienced the effects of rent-control don't know that it's bad"

This is a true statement

"The downsides of rent control are widely discussed and well known to all except a small number of rabid idealogues and those living under a rock"

This is false unless you assume that a large percentage of people are "living under a rock" or rabid ideologues

UBI would certainly increase protests and activism and extremism, particularly on the right.

The need to remain employable acts as a restraint on expressing unpopular opinions or acquiring a criminal record. The need to spend long hours engaged in paid employment activities also severely restricts the amount of free time you have for militant activism. With UBI, those constraints go away. Protesting can be everyone's full-time hobby.

Instead of being confined mostly to traditional leftist constituencies like the young and those with nothing to lose, you will see civil disobedience and disruptive protest activities spreading to older and more conservative people, people with families to support, who will no longer need to care about reputation or getting arrested or the consequences of inflammatory social media posts. Protesting will be the new voting, and voting turnout is traditionally higher among older people.

Sounds like a recipe for collapse. But on the other hand, UBI won't happen until AI and robots do most of the work of keeping civilization going, and they will do it better than humans. In that case, human society might devolve into some kind of cross between "mass games" and soccer hooliganism. Burn everything down once a week and let the robots rebuild. Until one day they won't.

I don't care about your opinion. I want to hear Lebron's.

“You ain’t thought this thru.”

Why wouldn't that argument apply to any and all increases in living standards?

If you raise wages, people will want even higher wages. If you have a social safety net, people will want an even better social safety net. If you give people bigger houses, they'll want even bigger houses. Etc.

You are basically implicitly arguing for lowering living standards so people won't expect and protest for higher living standards.

I think he is right. The critical difference is that in case of UBI you have one single authority which by one single act can raise income of everyone. That gives the whole population incentive to act at once towards this goal, while today their interests are more fragmented.

Basically Unions, only for the whole nation at once.

In late Communist Czechoslovakia, we had a similar problem. The government determined prices of everything, so an unpopular decision (like making beer more expensive, even by just 10-20 per cent) would create enormous resentment in the population at once.

Of course, a totalitarian state with a massive secret police was able to cow the subjects into silence most of the time.

We already have nation-wide minimum wage laws (which at least here in Australia are not made redundant by state and local minimum wages), and nation-wide income tax rates. Lowering the rate of the lowest tax bracket, or increasing the tax free threshold is a single number controlled by one authority that gives (almost) everyone more money. So I don't think a UBI could be any worse than that.

I also think people protest less as their situations improve. I've heard Chile's protests described as not being about the price increase (in train fares), but that merely being the straw that broke the camel's back for the 99% in the country with the worst Gini coefficient in the OECD.

There's a factoid in Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century that no country has sustained higher than some threshold of inequality (I forget - it might have been the top 1% having 50% of the wealth) without violent revolution. He them warned that several countries were close to this threshold, and the US wasn't far off either. That seems to be what we're seeing, and frankly, rather than thinking a UBI would increase protests, billionaires should be lobbying for higher taxes and more redistribution if they don't want riots to destroy their wealth and the pitchforks to come for them.

Putting a Piketty spin on Chile misses the forest for the trees I think. The young in Chile have historically been on the side of Marxism. Real Marxism, not Occupy Wall Street bs.

That combined with the outrage of pensioners who only worked 10-15 years in the formal sector and thus barely receive any pensions. The 401k style pension only works if ... people work in the formal sector.

So, business sales should stagnate or fall as workers are replaced with robots, AI, and the average worker income declines?

Ie, falling GDP is your desired outcome?

Or government spending should increase faster than worker incomes fall?

Why is this necessarily true? Can't the economy retool to produce something other than TVs and bigmacs, like more robots? The poors can die in a hole or subsist off soylent and cheap infotainment for a few percent of GDP those with capital toss their way.

Frankly, these responses support my contention that a UBI is probably not going to work, and some kind of universal wage supplement is a better fix. Furthermore, it should be supported by a broad based consumption tax or broad based employment tax.

We already have that - the EAC. It's good, because it's good to work for one's money and to pay for stuff, and can be modified.

No need for UBI. Everybody can do something to contribute to the whole. No bums needed.

I think you mean the EIC, and it is good but it's primarily targeted to low income/single parents with children. It's not at all Universal. Furthermore, it's funded via the income tax versus some kind of broad based consumption tax or broad based employment tax.

I prefer the everybody benefits everybody pays type plan. It's why Social Security has been so popular and successful.

EIC is regressive since it suppresses wages. It’s a stealth plan to subsidize the Wal-Mart low wage model.

A universal Jobs Guarantee for all who want to work is what is required here.

Why would it suppress wages? Wal-Mart still has to compete with every other business for those workers in a 3.5% unemployment rate environment.

Those might be proximate but not distal causes. Happy people don't flip their lid over a four cent fair increase or a parking problem at Disney. Long simmering resentment needs only a small spark to light a conflagration, but the elite like to point out the trivial nature of the proximate causes to discredit the disenchanted and to absolve themselves of any culpability.

If you keep your head in the sand long enough things tend to creep up on you.

+1 Consider, someday, perhaps writing a book, even a short one, on anything.

You are right, a classical case study is the beginning of the Arab Spring in Tunisia. The final drop that causes the barrel to overflow is not really different from all the other drops already within. The critical element is that the barrel is full.

The elite may be incompetent and corrupt, but the hoi polloi may also support members of the elite who provide "free" lunches and they get angry when the bill comes due. I won't be crying for Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, France, etc.

Good point. Luckily, that could never happen in the United States.

Hong Kong, Lebanon, Chile, Spain, Iraq, Ecuador, France, Haiti, the list grows and grows. The necessities of life slowly price itself out of the common person's reach so any small increase anywhere becomes the straw that break's the camel's back. A battle between the crony capitalist "haves" who have all the structural levers to their advantage versus the commoner "have-nots" who realize they are slowly being ground down.

The world is protesting against their plutocrat masters who keep all the gains of globalization to themselves while leaving a speck of bread crumbs to everybody outside their clubhouse.

"Frozen prices" might be nice with regards to fossil fuels since large price falls are pretty much baked in.

To paraphrase Jack Ma:

The world is a rich place. It's just not distributed properly.

It's distributed better than at any time in human history -- and it isn't even close -- but please don't ever stop whining about it.

History started when the bulk of the population was not living in agrarian societies, so technically that's not correct.

This is very far from true within countries, though its possible that it's true of the world as a whole. But it's the former that motivate people to protest since a country is ostensibly supposed to look after its citizens.

Blog post is missing the article link: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-21/protesters-worldwide-are-united-by-something-other-than-politics/

The Irish masses did not protest the housing collapse in 2007, nor the bank bailout in 2008 even when the expected cost rose from 1 Bln to 64 Bln.
But the plan to introduce water charges in 2014 brought mass protests. This is in a country where we have water shortages in winter, despite heavy rain, as people run taps through the nice to prevent freezing. Nothing excites people like a sudden increase in the price of a staple or a free good.

"Nothing excites people like a sudden increase in the price of a staple or a free good."

True. We have had near riots in Madison, WI when the price of beer increases a couple of cents at about the rate of inflation.

Even in America, the last time most Americans agreed on what the most important issue facing the country is, was in 1981 and the issue was inflation/cost of living: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/27/us/politics/most-important-problem-gallup-polling-question.html. People everywhere hate inflation, even more than recessions. The feeling may be irrational but it seems to be true; thus there may be some price stickiness in both directions.

I don't know if the gilets jaunes, which are a post-modern absurdist troupe, can be put together with the 12 dead students yesterday in Chile.

Does this mean the Chilean government will give out free helicopter rides again?

Probably not, the free helicopter rides were correlated with growth!

Just set a deflation target and let money illusion do it's magic. No more price rises, no more protests!

You know who really loves deflation? Creditors.

Deflation has inspired a few people to complain:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army

If sticky nominal prices can cause so many economy-wide recessions, then I guess it shouldn't be surprising that they can cause other economic mischief as well. People (irrationally) seem to treat unexpected or large, or especially unexpectedly large, changes in nominal prices as violations of some sort of implicit norm. Even if there is no explicit contractual term to keep prices stable, people act as though a long period of stable prices in the past establishes a tradition, custom, or practice to keep those prices stable into the future. When that expectation is violated, especially if the change appears to be enacted by a single actor rather than some impersonal marketplace, then people treat that actor as though he has violated some accepted norm.

When stock prices fluctuate, no one accuses market makers of "price gouging" or cutting payments out of "greed", at least as long as prices fluctuate within "normal" ranges. That's because we're accustomed to seeing stock prices fluctuate tick-by-tick and recognize that market makers don't actually choose stock prices, which are determined by all market participants in the aggregate. Similarly, no one bats an eyelash when their wage, rent, drug prices, gas prices, etc. fluctuate relative to the price(s) of some other good(s). When these nominal prices fluctuate, however, that's a deviation from expectation, which leads to a search for a villain to blame.

As a quick take attempting to find a common thread, this article doesn't work well.

For the gilets jaunes, the principle demands included fuel taxes, gender equality for salaries, an increase in subsidies for job starters, inclusivity for the handicapped, environmental measures and a host of others. The Disneyland thing is a misleading attempt to make the protests look more shallow than they really were.

In Lebanon, the protests are about corruption and the budget. The WhatsApp tax is a very small factor.

The article seems to have identified a theme then picked the evidence to support it. Somebody once called that mood affiliation, I believe.

Agreed. The article further garbles it's own hypothesis by describing tax hikes or subsidy reductions as "price increases." His examples are not examples of inflation but rather of fiscal policy choices.

Also, to say "protests of workers seem to be becoming less important” overlooks the Dutch farmer protests (which were also tax-related).

+1

By this logic, the Chinese government should be terrified of reducing access to the NBA which is very popular among those who can protest.

I don't think the reason for the prostests is only price increase.
In my opinion, It is an accumilation of many reasons such as lack of freedom, inequality, lack of human rights, corruption by politicians, no democracy, etc...
People are frustrated of all the above, and when governments increase prices people explode.
The straw that break the camel back!
If you notice in many cases protesters increased their demands to change the government itself or the system as we see in Labonon now.
So the reason is not only price hikes for many of the latest protests we see now in different parts if the World.

Ben Thompson's recent post is rather relevant. Social media is an amplifier for protests and social movements.

https://stratechery.com/2019/the-internet-and-the-third-estate/

That argument begs the question of why hasnt protests erupted in India yet because conditions are ripe for it -

- Govt has progressively increased sales tax on all goods and services to 18%
- Fuel is taxed at almost 30%
- There is rampant unemployment
- Agricultural commodity prices have hit rock bottom and farmers are suffering
- Manufacturing sector is having a terrible year. Layoffs abound.
- Tax terrorism on businessmen is at an all time high.

Yet there are no mass protests on the streets. Although there is resentment among common people when you talk to them.

India's growth has apparently slowed to 6% from 7.4% last year, but 6% still allows for significant improvement. However, I don't know how evenly across the provinces this 6% growth is spread.

Tyler has an important point, that this trend (if it really is a persisting trend) has a bias towards status que - whatever that is. It is easier to organize a movement against a proposed tax rise than to organize a movement for a never-mentioned tax cut.

status que - whatever that is

Yes, that's what I was wondering too

"Whatever that is" is the actual definition of "status que."

Very interesting observation!

I have a slight disagreement with the notion that these are “consumer” protests. In almost all the cases you give, the price hike concerned a tax, a public monopoly or the sharing of an oil rent between government and population. Disneyland parking fees are the exception but this was not the main trigger for the yellow vests: instead, it was an increase in gasoline taxes (which are already higher than average in France).

Best regards,
Stéphane

Wasn’t it also lowering the speed limit?

Asset prices rise, and owners of assets cheer. Consumer prices rise, and consumers jeer. Owners of assets have no fear, owners of their labors can only sneer. With talk of inflation all around, wage deflation is certain to abound. The divide between capital and labor continues to grow, the ultimate outcome we already know. High priests of markets teach come what may, while Austrians patiently wait for their day.

Small aside: when asset prices rise, asset owners cheer but asset buyers cry. Try to buy a house in the Bay area, in London or in Paris!

Link to full article missing?

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-21/protesters-worldwide-are-united-by-something-other-than-politics?srnd=premium
+1 good article

Tax on whatsapp calls is kinda crazy. Is it because somebody with influence owns the regular phone network? I wonder how many price increases are because powerful people (or govt) have lost profit (or tax) from things that have been replaced or reduced by internet services. Hotels/airbnb, telcoms/social media, even transport/skype.

This is not the case in Chile. The protests started in the capital due to a fare increase there, but quickly spread all over the country where such an increase was not planned. People are protesting because they are angry over decades of inequality and classism, with rich Chileans often treating the poor as sub human. This is exacerbated by the fact that pensions, healthcare, transportation and basic education are of very low quality for the majority of the population (since they are private you get what you pay for, and the majority can't afford to pay much).

Your best article for the year

In all but one case the issue is debt, the oppressive force of interest payments make government ineffective.

Democracy and government debt don't go well together. Government should be able to finance itself out of current tax revenues, or it should shrink.

Of course, at that point many places would find they actually don't have the human and financial capital to support their living standards.

More important? You mean more effective, I think. Or larger, or more persistent, ...or all 3. Perhaps some reflection on the difference between the subjective and objective would be beneficial to muddy thinking.

I think the article fails to take seriously the difference between the spark and the fuel. The spark may often be a consumer price shock. But the fuel is often real, deeper grievances about institutional arrangements.

It’s almost like people are more concerned with their relative standard of living then they are with their absolute standard of living.

Or....

It’s the status stupid.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the economy added 15 million jobs between 2012 and 2018 according to BLS while at the same time REAL median net compensation rose more than 9%, according to Social Security.

https://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm
https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/central.html

Americans didn't appreciate how good the 1990s were at the time, maybe because they were busy.

The Matrix's talk about how the 1990s were the heydays still rings true. Still.

It's honestly weird by now.

So, in homage to Ray Lopez I searched this page for "Women's" because, you know, it was a pretty big march.

It turns out it was the biggest in US history (Wikipedia list) and in fact the top few are not about consumer issues at all.

They are (1) 2017 Women's March, (2) 2018 Women's March, (3) March for Our Lives (gun control), (4) Puerto Rico general strike, and (5) March for Science.

Tyler buddy, do you even google?

Fair point, but I think there is a major qualitative difference.

I wouldn’t even call those protests.

Hit submit too quick on that one.

With the notable and important exception of the PR.

For those who clicked, the page of course is called "List of protests in the United States by size."

Maybe I didn’t word that sufficiently well. Apologies.

There’s a massive qualitative difference between a stroll through the park with signs and chanting slogans versus cities shut down, supermarkets burned, and the military or carabineros called in to restore order.

You might call these both mass protests, but we are not talking about the same things. I’m sure you can agree.

I agree that it might be possible to separate categories like protest, rioting, rebellion, etc.

But I also think the words peaceful protest go nicely together.

...Mr. Pedant, let Cowen's article refer to non-peaceful protests and your list can be looked at separately (except the PR one)

BTW, it makes me feel good about America that Science is in our top 5.

These are almost all a collapse of the feedback mechanisms that policy makers depend on.

I'd call these Ceaușescu moments. Watch the video showing the sudden realization that they had lost control. They were really good at control and suppression of discontent until they weren't anymore.

Social media plays a part, allowing the protests to organize and be more significant that they would be otherwise. But what we are seeing are people in power blindsided by events.

Where are policy makers of all stripes getting their information from? I suspect if you looked at Singapore that there are deep and effective informal mechanisms that the benevolent authoritarian listens to.

Social media also breaks down these effective communication channels and replaces it with something very noisy (noise as in signal to noise) and profoundly useless if you don't have an effective filter. They amplify division, they enforce silos of thought. And most importantly the individuals or groups that set the tone and conversation on social media is profoundly unrepresentative of the population at large, and can give a profoundly false sense of what people are thinking, at the same time everything of importance is being discussed somewhere on the various platforms, but where and how important?

Steve Paikin of TVO has interviews a woman who has an AI system that has been pretty good at accurately conveying the current concerns and thoughts over the Canadian election. It uses social media and somehow filters out the noise. But this is complicated. No one in power right now even knows or understands how to make something like this work for them, and in the mean time they are blind and bumbling about making things worse.

Another thread that seems to be common in all these events are that decisions are made far away that have serious consequences for people. They have no power or influence over the decisions, are simply caught in currents that throw them about.

Central control doesn't work, for the simple reason that feedback mechanisms are never up to the task, and that the people making the decisions are never subject to the consequences. A globalized economy may on net produce prosperity and better living standards, but it will create the conditions for it's own demise.

Another interesting question. How much are these situations connected by economic ties to China? I talked to a fellow 15 years ago describing the pulp and paper mills that were being set up in Chile by asian concerns. They were huge, essentially putting Canadian operations out of business, with massive fiber plantations and the automated equipment to harvest and process. Are the people in Chile more interested in the communication channels to China and Japan than to the citizens of their own country?

And are all these price increases and turmoil a result of the Chinese economy slowing down, and the local government facing a revenue crunch as a result?

If Chinese money stopped flowing into Canada the canadian banks would likely be bankrupted by the sudden decrease in real estate prices.

Is this the core issue here? The global economy is not growing as rapidly and consistently as it has over the last 25 years, and we are seeing who is naked when the tide goes out?

" A globalized economy may on net produce prosperity and better living standards, but it will create the conditions for it's own demise."

Replace 'a globalized economy' with 'capitalism' and you're basically Karl Marx.

Once so much is said and done:

are social media-directed and SM-fueled protests to be valorized as adjuncts to democracy? or are they to be seen as threats posed to governance? (in the latter case[s]: where and when, under what circumstances?)

Tech sector enabling and participation in EACH and BOTH of these two scenarios look troubling. What DO tech tyrants know about democracy? What do TECH tyrants know about totalitarianism?

I read on Instapundit environmental activists are coming after my gas stove and my gas furnace.

They’ve already turned off the lights in California.

They want the masses in darkness and freezing to death while they jet around the world.

I think I’ll find the time to protest to save myself from people who want to help or care.

Freezing to death is not an unintended consequence.

They should be forced to live in Montana, Idaho or North Dakota during the winter.

Californians who are victims of PG&E rolling blackouts thus have sufficient incentive to examine those regions of the State NEVER subject to rolling blackouts and to begin staging significant ground traffic disruptions for the airports serving those regions.

No news report I've seen has mentioned rolling blackouts afflicting any Silicon Valley enterprise or any of the bedroom communities serving the same. (Ditto Hollywood fantasy factories. [MUST shows go on?])

Privileged elites deserve rolling blackouts more than others, arguably, since it is THEIR class that helped engineer the stupid policies resulting in widespread rolling blackouts.

In a libertarian world wouldn't wildfire preparation purely be the responsibility of rate-payers?

Has anyone polled PG&E customers on how much they'd pay for no blackouts?

Or more in line with Tyler's thesis, do they demand more preparation for the same old price?

Not directly, but insurance would never have underwritten construction in fire zones.

Not that this is remotely relevant anyways.

It's almost comical. NY state bans fracking, and systematically impedes construction of natural gas pipelines to import gas from out of state. National Grid and Con Ed stop accepting new gas hookups - for inability to reliably supply gas. Then NY fines National Grid millions for not connecting new customers.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2019/05/06/new-yorks-natural-gas-pipeline-ban-unconstitutional-bad-for-the-environment-economy-consumers/#6365cd70604f

Hmm... Glenn Beck pretty much read this word for word to open his show this morning.

Does that raise or lower Tyler’s status?

"One lesson is that fighting climate change will be harder. Fossil-fuel subsidies are broadly popular, citizens do not seem exceedingly willing to take on economic sacrifices these days, and in most poorer countries climate change is not a major concern."

This is hardly a surprise. Americans (per survey) are willing to pay about $177 year to "fight climate change". The famous Paris climate agreement required China - the number one source of CO2 - to do nothing; it's of course quite understandable that China would not sacrifice economic performance. Not will any of the the other poorer countries, their governments would not likely survive.

It's almost as if "fighting climate change" is a rich man's hobby, best done with someone else money. Or perhaps just a facade for some other objective.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/10/13/16468318/americans-willing-to-pay-climate-change

Wait, i keep hearing from economists that we desperately need more inflation?

The common thread? The protestors all feel left out from what matters. What they want is meaning. Or put another way, if meaning was available to them, they wouldn't be protesting.

Or, to put that another way: https://promarket.org/how-economic-concentration-and-crony-capitalism-led-to-the-chaos-in-chile/

To some extent, it's just that people react negatively to transparent pricing, in some cases because they built their household budgets with reference to opaque pricing and in some cases because they're being puerile. I'm wagering that in other cases rent-a-crowd is at work. In the Chilean case, it wouldn't surprise me to discover this was anything but spontaneous.

A tax on whatsapp messages? How is the Lebanese government is supposed to know you are using whatsapp? Aren't your messages "private"?

The Dutch are too smart for me to figure that what's back of their climate change-related protests is anything other than annoyance at feeling they're the only ones being asked to do anything about it.

It might have to do with United Nations 21/30.

They are pissed off and I don't blame them. Why not have the elites join Greta T. on the sailboat instead of jetting about? But no, the elites want to punish the farmers.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-farmers-protests/angry-farmers-cause-dutch-police-to-close-off-parliament-square-idUSKBN1WV0SZ

Does this bode well for YIMBY?
Protectionist neighborhood groups check all the same boxes as old style protests: common locale, social connections, organizations in place, typical small concentrated group focusing their energy to maintain one advantage at the expense of larger society.
With the internet it's now possible to organize scattered individuals upset about housing prices. The main obstacle is anti-developer mood affiliation siphoning off potential protesters. The majority of anger at high prices is aimed at for profit developers and businesses moving to cities, instead of restrictive zoning/entitlements and rent control.

Sure, open the borders, let everyone in, then let the developers build high rises next to single family homes. Heck, maybe it will look like a scene from the first Blade Runner. Because libertarianism.

Not!

Haiti has no jobs, no prospects, no nothing. Best to migrate. As welfare states grow, poverty, ignorance, violence and crime are not far behind. Look at California.

Funny how the calls for another dumb American intervention suddenly fizzled away just because of some protest going on outside US borders in country that the US barely understands - when the whole time it's not about "democracy" but just another sugar high protest by spoiled kids that can't get the latest iphone in my overly liberal interpretation of TC's rising price thesis.

Re: Uganda's tax and protests, see this paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.04107. It finds that the tax decreased Twitter use but increased the amount of collective action discussion and increased the amount of protests.

I agree with the statement 'protests of consumers are becoming more important' but consumers are also divided into privileged and non-privileged ones, those who are don't care much about hikes in subway fares or gas fares.

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