"Historians will tell you," writes the historian Simon Schama in the Financial Times, "there is often a time-lag between the onset of economic disaster and the accumulation of social fury."
These are troubling words, because outbreaks of rage -- whether from Tea Partiers in the United States or Greeks on the streets in Athens -- are already plentiful. But Schama, author of "Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution," suggests that we are still in a transition period during which a disoriented public is willing to give political leaders breathing room to fix things. Once the depth of the calamity seeks in -- permanently lowered living standards, backbreaking unemployement, vast disparities between rich and poor -- the unrest we've witnessed so far might end up looking like just a, well, tea party.
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