An In-Depth Look at Why People Are So Angry: Exploring the Intersection of Economics and Emotions
Angrynomics casts a light on the emotional side of economics.
It provides an in-depth look at the feelings of stress, anger, and uncertainty that have been created by economic policies which are often mismanaged by elite institutions.
It also dives deep into the various types of anger that these failures can cause.
Through examining this emotional side of economics, Angrynomics helps to answer why people throughout the world have been protesting in the streets while key indicators such as GDP continue to rise.
By delving into the issue, it connects how economic policy affects our emotional well-being and how those emotions drive public opinion and activists to take action.
Additionally, Angrynomics explores potential policies that could help curb current crises.
It also explains how new neighbours shouldn’t be perceived as something to fear and how low interest rates could promote greater equality in society.
Justified Anger Can Help Us Succeed But Tribal Anger Can Divide and Discriminate
When it comes to understanding anger, it’s important to note that not all anger is the same.
Under some circumstances, anger can lead to great things for society–but only when it is justified.
Just look at Northern Ireland in 1980.
Although thousands were killed and wounded over the course of a decade because of the conflict between those seeking reunification with Ireland and those loyal to Britain, they experienced a major violation of social norms which fueled collective moral outrage.
Similarly, when citizens discovered that top government officials were secretly operating offshore tax havens in Iceland in 2017, their collective indignation drove them to take action until a more fair government was established.
Of course, just as there are examples of justified anger benefiting society, there is also the type of collective anger known as tribalism which encourages discrimination and division.
This kind of anger often takes the form of nationalism and has been successfully used by politicians like Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, and Donald Trump in the US to build political support even if they don’t actually address policy problems.
Public Anger Is Driven by Economic Inequality and Shortsighted Politicians
Public anger has become a dominant force in politics around the world, and it’s rooted in economic insecurity and unresponsive politicians.
The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Eurozone crisis were just two examples of how economic insecurity can lead to public anger.
These two shocks revealed the underlying issue of mounting economic inequality, which has only been made worse by decades of neoliberal economic policy that shifted wealth upwards and left most people behind.
Compounding this problem are ineffective political institutions that fail to respond to these issues with real policy solutions.
Instead of offering meaningful proposals, many leaders resort to blaming vague forces or turning to nationalism as a response when they face criticism from an angry public.
This leads to feelings of hopelessness that politicians simply don’t understand their constituents and leave them feeling unheard and powerless.
It’s Time to Reboot Capitalism: How We Should Re-Design and Build a More Stable Society
In the book Angryonomics, author Stephen Mihm makes it clear that in order to avoid widespread anger and outrage, contemporary capitalism needs to be redesigned.
He uses an analogy of a computer running on different hardware-software combinations as an example.
Mihm goes on to explain that since the mid 1800s, there have been three major versions of the capitalism machine.
Each version ran its own software based on ideologies like free market liberalism or social democracy before running into problems requiring a reset.
The first iteration was too focused on markets and lacked state interference when regulating them, resulting in poverty and unemployment which he calls “the Great Depression”.
The second version of capitalism followed Keynesian economic models and gave more power to institutions like labor unions and the state.
This model led to greater economic growth but with resulting inflation & low returns for investors.
The third one featured weaker labor unions, free trade, governments deferring to the market – which was good for creating greater wealth inequality but eventually resulted in another crash during 2008 financial crisis.
These warning signs point towards why contemporary capitalism needs to be redesigned if we want to avoid further anger & outrage that can result from these system failures – otherwise people will continue to suffer while corporations stay safe & benefit financially from their mistakes.
The Increasing Uncertainty of Life Drives Economic Anxiety
Our lives are becoming increasingly stressful as a result of economic changes.
We’re seeing drastic shifts in how the market works and technology is transforming the way we work and interact.
Companies must constantly innovate to stay competitive, meaning workers have to be flexible and nimble – leading to longer hours, extra work, and pressure to adapt quickly.
Automation of jobs is also an ever-present potential threat that can make us anxious about our long-term job prospects.
Older generations benefited greatly from social programs like cheap college educations that allowed them to accumulate more wealth than those coming behind them.
As a result, younger cohorts must fight an uphill battle for stability in their futures.
And while evidence proves that immigration actually adds strength to economies, too often it’s seen as competition due to politicians who spread false information – creating yet another source of stress for people living in economically distressed areas.
Altogether these trends create a tense atmosphere where no one feels secure about their economic future – driving anger by making lives more stressful.
It’s Time to Reboot Our System and Create an Economy of Equality and Stability
It is becoming increasingly clear that our current version of capitalism has led to wide-spread inequality and increasing instability.
We know that this can’t continue if we want a better world.
That’s why it is important to have policies that acknowledge the need for more equality and less anger.
In Angeromics, it is argued that our economies can be rearranged to meet these goals instead of lashing out in protest or letting things get worse.
Solutions worth exploring include National Wealth Funds and greater decentralization of policy making power.
These solutions would look to provide the bottom 80 percent with more wealth and assets through low interest rates, ensuring citizens have access to the resources needed for life’s necessities (housing, education, healthcare).
Furthermore, decentralizing power could give people more opportunities for civic engagement in decision making processes as well as encouraging experimentation with novel solutions.
Other ideas worth considering include charging big tech firms licenses for public data usage or giving preferential interest rates to invest in decarbonization efforts.
Ultimately, the goal is create economic policies that lead to less anger and unrest among citizens by allocating resources more equitably and responsibly, so everyone can experience the same prosperity regardless of their background or status.
Angrynomics provides a clear and powerful message: our current version of capitalism is not working for everyone.
Too many people are facing financial security and an uncertain future, while those at the top appear indifferent to their plight.
The authors propose several innovative ideas, such as national wealth funds and regional autonomy, to create more equitable economies and make sure everyone has a chance to succeed.
The book also offers practical advice on how to address recessions.
Instead of propping up large corporations with bailouts, money should be directly transferred to citizens as direct support for consumption – it would both stimulate the economy and be perceived as fair.
Ultimately, Angrynomics argues that economic justice is a prerequisite for societal peace.
Inequality fuels tribalism which leads to anger and further divisions in society.
By building equitable economic systems with appropriate tools, we can achieve equality for all and bring about much-needed social change.