Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Young Adults Face Troubled Future, Desperation May Force Some Into Crime

The Rome-based International Labor Organization (ILO) warned today (October 19) that a generation of mostly unemployed young adults in developed economies may soon turn to crime and violence due to desperation and lack of employment opportunities. In European nations, the US and other richer countries, the ILO forecasts that job opportunities for young adults has never been worse since 1991, when such records began to be maintained.

"Heightened uncertainty in economic growth coupled with the greater sensitivity of youth rates to the business cycle means the recovery for young people is highly uncertain," said the report, "Global Employment Trends for Youth: 2011." Since 2009, the overall global jobless rate for the 15-24 age group as based on official figures has hovered around 75 million, or around 12.6% of the total world population in that category, the ILO reported.

COMMENT: The current trend and increasing popularity of "Occupy Wall Street" protests is yet another indicator that many young adults have either given up on the system or are now using anger and frustration to gain attention. As many of us know only too well, a university degree is by no means a guarantee of a professional level place in the workplace.

During the course of my 30-year federal law enforcement career, I have had the opportunity to conduct comparative analytical studies of crime trends worldwide and have concluded that most nationalities pursue employment opportunities for length periods of time, but eventually, usually after a year or more, disappointment turns into hopelessness and then eventually anger. With anger comes rationalization and eventually a small percentage of frustrated people turn to crime, even violent crime, simply out of exasperation.

The ILO report pointed to mass protests by young men and women this year in Spain, Greece, Italy and Britain over unemployment and wide-ranging government austerity measures aimed at tackling budget deficits by slashing social spending. "Increased crime rates in some countries, increased drug use, moving back home with parents, depression -- all of these are common consequences for a generation of youth that, at best, has become disheartened for the future, and, at worst, has become angry and violent." the ILO report emphasized.

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