The Relationship Between Young Men and Turmoil
Bank of America / Meryl Lynch recently published a study that shows that there is a strong relationship between young men and political instability. Now I can't say for sure why Bank of America was conducting this type of research, but I am definitely surprised by the results. The study found that approximately 50% of political instability is
by the relative number of young men in a society.
See for yourself. The chart above shows the relationship between stability and men. Perhaps what's more interesting though is why this is true.
Stagnation and Impatience
When a society experiences a youth boom, several things tend to happen. First is that the economy tends to stumble, at least initially. This is because as young people begin to enter the workforce, it takes time before the economy can expand enough to create jobs for these people, which tends to lead to high unemployment.
Unemployment rises, but so do prices
because there are now more people who need goods and services. Often this leads to dramatic rises in home prices and increasing inequality. As the age pyramid rebalances, many of these issues tend to resolve themselves; however, when there are more young men than young women, problems often ensue.
Men V. Women
This balance is interesting: more men leads to two things. The first is, rather obviously, lower marriage rates for men. If there are more men than women, it makes sense that many men go without partners. In many societies, marriages and the children that often result represent a sort of stabilizing factor.
This leads to the second factor: young men who are not tied to house and home have a greater ability to respond. This can be positive or negative. A young man may have the freedom to move across the world to pursue a passion, or if he is living in a stagnating society that is the result of an imbalance of youth, he may be more likely to participate in a protest or an anti-establishment movement of some sort.
A Historical Truism
When at first I read this study, I thought that it was interesting but I wondered if there were any real examples of this. As it turns out, there are many! Three particularly prominent examples of this specific trend can be found in the Spanish Conquistadors, the French Revolution and the rise of the Nazi's in Germany. In each of these scenarios there were other factors at play, but the imbalance of young men was present each time.