Does the average person not think it odd that when the country goes into a recession, unemployment spirals upward like a two-bit skyrocket, and the value of the U.S. dollar plummets to lifetime lows - that the cost of everything, including things produced in the USA, goes UP? That's how it strikes me, anyway... but I'm not an economist.
I am an observer of human behavior, though, and here's what I think we can expect to see as our current government-sponsored economic disaster continues:
1. As experienced older workers who - for the most part - draw higher wages, lose their jobs due to personnel cutbacks and impending retirements (retirements which corrupt employers love to avoid paying), they will find themselves taking entry-level positions just to earn a living so they can support themselves and their families. That's the way the older generation is wired - most of them still have what is called a "work ethic". (They have worked all their lives, and will continue to do so, if/when work of any kind is available. These people have character flaw called "personal pride". This pride will dissuade many of them from applying for unemployment compensation, even though they have paid into it all their working life, and that same pride will not allow them to stand on a street corner holding a sign asking people who are working to give away that which they have earned... at least, not until they are totally discouraged, and their family is going without.) This creates another problem...
2. Older, experienced workers are now competing with youngsters just entering the workforce. An employer (in any business other than one which is "youth-oriented") can now pick up proven workers for the same cost as a totally inexperienced worker. Because the cost in wages is the same, the experienced worker will probably get the lion's share of whatever work is available. The experienced worker is also less apt to have lost time (illness, work-related injury, pregnancy leave, etc.), so the employer will snatch him up and call it a bargain at that price.
3. There will still be high unemployment among the older segment of our population, but the youthful worker will see an excessively high unemployment rate - probably double that of the experienced worker. The younger generation will be quickly frustrated because they are used to getting what they want and getting it now. They will foment civil unrest - protests, vandalism, rioting, burning, looting, etc. - to the country. Metropolitan areas will feel the effects first, followed some time later by the suburbs. Rural America may feel it somewhat, but with nowhere near the passion - or the impact - of the disturbances in the cities. Existing street gangs will mobilize to take full advantage of the chaos, and new street gangs will be formed. "Turf" will gain even more importance than it has among gang members today, because it will literally become a matter of survival for them. Many gangs are fairly well organized, and in some instances they outnumber the police... and they are better armed.
4. Citizens who have otherwise been law abiding their entire life, will commit acts of theft, burglary, strong-arm robbery, and armed robbery when those things necessary for the survival of their family become generally unavailable.
(At this point we may reach the worst case scenario, which goes like this)5. Martial law is declared, and curfews established - by the same people responsible for the financial crisis. U.S. military forces are called out to quell the disturbances, and are told to use all necessary force -an intentionally vague, and politically satisfying term, which gives those issuing and those executing the "orders" a reasonable level of deniability. For the issuers it would be "That's not what we meant.", and for those carrying out the orders the retort becomes "But that's what you said!", when both parties are pointing at the other while trying to explain away the high body count.
6. The government is now seen by the populace as out of control and running amok, and the citizens take up arms to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. Half the military defects and joins the revolution.
7. Enemies of the United States now see their opportunity to pick a side, support them, and then eliminate them once the conflagration is ended... or, perhaps they will not pick a side. Rather, taking full advantage of the chaos, they will wait until our numbers have been decimated, and then just invade and kill or enslave the remaining population.
As I see it, the bottom line is this -
1. People are naturally inclined do whatever they feel they must to protect themselves and their loved ones.
2. People will engage in uncharacteristic, immoral and/or illegal behaviors, when threatened with extermination. What do they have to lose at that point?
3. Loyalties will be restricted to family, close friends, and a fairly small group of like-minded individuals. All others will be looked upon with suspicion and considered a potential threat - until they prove themselves to be otherwise.
4. A government that does not represent the expressed, free will of the people is a government well worth replacing! Such a government would be a "domestic enemy" of the people, and under the United States Constitution should be replaced.
And those are my thoughts about the social probabilities of an extended financial crisis. Just thoughts... not a plan, not a call to arms... more of a "HEY! Look at these unsatisfactory possibilities that could come to pass." Could our country become nothing more than a series of armed camps with private checkpoints every 10 blocks or so? I believe it could... but I pray that it won't.