Rioting in Sweden is the sort of phrase that sounds as if it should be oxymoronic, like ‘Evil in Candyland’ or ‘Violence among Episcopalians’. And indeed, the rioting seems rather tame by American or British standards–cars set ablaze, stones hurled at first responders. In the New York of my childhood, not so far from where I grew up, there were neighborhoods that used to call this sort of thing ‘Saturday night’.
It looks to me as if the great task of the next few decades will be to find ways to employ all the people on the margins productively, and with dignity. But this is not, mostly, the question that most public policy debates are engaged in addressing. That question is hard, and no one has a good answer, so instead we debate technical questions about stimulus multipliers and minimum wages, and have the occasional knock down, drag out fight about who has a moral right to how much cash. There’s nothing wrong with those debates, and I myself have been a spirited participant. But the harder questions have much more important answers.
Today’s insight from Megan McArdle. You’ll be rewarded for reading the whole essay.