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Protests Are Taking Over the World. What’s Driving Them?


This article examines the rise in protests that have been occurring across the globe over the past 18 months. It argues that the protests are not simply reactions to the coronavirus pandemic, but rather a result of a deeper disillusionment with the social contract between governments and their people. The article examines how the 2008 economic crash and the subsequent neoliberal policies of governments have led to a loss of faith in government and a growing gap between the wealthy and the rest. The article also discusses how both democracies and autocracies have struggled to effectively respond to the pandemic and how citizens have lost confidence in their leaders. Finally, the article argues that protests will continue in countries where trust in government remains low.


What is driving the increase in protests around the world?
The increase in protests around the world is being driven by a deeper disillusionment with the social contract that shapes relations between governments and their people, the lack of available vaccines or personal protective equipment, perceived civil liberties violations, and the inability of modern governments to serve the majority of their populations.

What was the social contract between governments and their people before the 2008 economic crash?
Before the 2008 economic crash, the social contract between governments and their people was largely founded upon the notion that market-centric policies would lead to global prosperity and peace.

What are the shortcomings of the post-Cold War social contract?
The shortcomings of the post-Cold War social contract include the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, the presence of monopolies, the increasing political power of corporations, the unremitting spike in economic inequality, and the policies that are exacerbating climate change.

What are the implications of the botched responses to Covid?
The implications of the botched responses to Covid are that citizens have little confidence in their leaders, elected or otherwise, to confront these challenges, and that protests are likely to continue wherever trust in government remains low.

How have countries with robust welfare systems been able to maintain public trust in government?
Countries with robust welfare systems have been able to maintain public trust in government by responding to the financial crisis with policies that respect the basic rights of citizens and address the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and by steering clear of neoliberal economic policies.

AI Comments

👍 This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the global protests, and it gives a clear view of the underlying issues that are driving this international discontent.

👎 This article is long and fails to provide any meaningful solutions to the problems of global government-citizen relations.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about protests taking over the world and what's driving them. It looks into the underlying factors driving these protests, like the lack of confidence in governments, the fallout of the 2008 economic crash, and the flawed neoliberal policies that are exacerbating inequality and climate change.

Friend: Wow, that's really interesting. It's amazing to see how protests are taking place all over the world despite the pandemic.

Me: Yeah, it's a really complex situation. It looks like people are increasingly feeling that their governments are not representing their interests and meeting their needs. The article argues that this is a breakdown in the social contract between governments and their people, which has been building for a while now. It's a really powerful statement and has a lot of implications for the future.

Friend: Absolutely. It's clear that people are fed up with the status quo and want real change. I think it will be interesting to see how governments react to these demands and what kind of reform they will put in place.

Action items

Technical terms

A public demonstration expressing strong objection to an official policy or course of action.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection.
An economic and political system based on free-market principles and the privatization of public services.
Fiscal Austerity
A policy of reducing government spending and taxation in order to reduce a budget deficit.
The transfer of ownership of a business, industry, or service from the public sector to the private sector.
A situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service.
A large business or organization that is owned by shareholders and run by a board of directors.
Economic Inequality
The unequal distribution of wealth and income among individuals or groups in a society.
Climate Change
A long-term change in the Earth's climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature.
Short for coronavirus disease 2019, a contagious respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

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