… is from pages 61-62 of Diane Coyle’s 2014 book, GDP :
Nineteen sixty-eight was an iconic year…. Liberation movements burst into flower around the world. It is not poverty and despair that cause revolutionary activity in modern times, but rather comfortable prosperity. Skipping school to hurl stones at the riot police and evade tear gas is a luxury indulged in only by young people who are not really worried about finding a job when they need one. Likewise, one can afford to experiment with drugs, free love, personal liberation, and self-discovery only in a prosperous economy. By 1968, there had been a quarter century of absolutely extraordinary growth.
DBx: The above insight is important. It does not imply that there are no just causes for protest – protest; not rioting, looting, and crowd-mad mayhem and disrespect of private property.
But worthy or not, the ability to protest – and more generally, the ability to express political opinions – is enhanced by material prosperity. And so, too (as Coyle notes) does material prosperity make possible other forms of self-expression – some of which are admirable and others of which are not.