Joshua Holland asks a very interesting question.
Explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion.
It's not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.
Notably absent from the list of countries where the economic crunch is rending the social fabric is the good ole US of A, a state with the greatest level of economic inequality in the wealthy world.
Outside of a few scattered and quickly contained protests, the citizens of the U.S. -- a country born of revolution, but with an elite that's been terrified of that legacy since immediately after its founding -- have been calm, despite opinion polls showing that Americans are more dissatisfied with the direction in which the country has been headed since they began measuring such things.
It's a baffling disconnect, considering that real wages for all but the top 10 percent of the economic pile haven't increased in 35 years.
It's more bizarre still when you consider that while European governments have handled their own bailouts relatively transparently, the U.S. government has doled out close to $10 trillion in bailouts, loan guarantees and fiscal stimulus -- if there were a million-dollar bill, that would be a stack of 10 million of them -- with a stunning lack of oversight or accountability.
Even the congressional commission charged with overseeing key parts of the banking bailout can't get answers to basic questions like "who's getting what?"
Americans are rightfully angry about that state of affairs, but with a few small exceptions, quietly so. Why?
What is wrong with America? Why are we so beaten down that we won't stand up for ourselves even when we are being robbed blind?
I know this isn't a strictly economic article, but its ramifications are.