Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How tenuous is the rule of law and the sanity of crowds


Gangs of youths roamed one south London neighborhood while carrying molotov cocktails, the BBC reported. And widespread looting was reported in the west London borough of Ealing after a shopping mall caught fire.
The increasing unrest — spreading in part via BlackBerry text messages as well as postings on Twitter and other social networking sites — was taking root mostly in the powder keg of poorer neighborhoods...

Recall the Paris Riots? Is Washington DC next?

How can we predict when sparks escalate into prairie fires?

Elsewhere the markets react:

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell more than 4 percent within the opening hour and dropped 1.68 percent for the day, closing at 8,944.48 — its first finish below the 9,000 mark since mid-March. South Korea’s Kospi index sustained massive losses in the opening hours, at one point plunging more than 9 percent and bringing a brief halt to trading. But the index clawed back and finished with losses of 3.64 percent for the day.

In highly volatile trade, European markets were plunging early Tuesday. After initially rallying, key index in Frankfurt was falling more than 5 percent, with London’s FTSE 100 down 3.8 percent and Paris’s CAC 40 down 3.5 percent. ...

The latest market volatility comes in the wake of Wall Street’s worst trading day since the 2008 financial crisis — a reaction to the Friday credit rating downgrade from the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

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