Zombies Born of Government Spending


Zombie, zombie in the night
Making cities burn so bright
What immortal hand could frame
Thy fearful symmetry?

Yes, dear reader, the mobs are getting angry. Here’s the story from Germany:

Far-left extremists are specifically targeting German luxury cars, symbols of the country’s wealth and power, bringing the total number of vehicles torched in the German capital this year to at least 138, more than double the figure for all of 2010.

The rise in Berlin car burnings coincides with widespread lawlessness that erupted last week across England. More than 1,500 people were arrested as rioters looted shops, attacked bystanders and burnt autos. In Berlin, far-left extremists are specifically targeting German luxury cars, symbols of the country’s wealth and export prowess, police said.

“The arsonists want to hit what they say are ‘Fat Cats,’” Berlin police spokesman Michael Gassen said. A special unit is investigating the fires as political crimes after the police received letters claiming responsibility that derided globalization, gentrification and rising rents, he said.

In England they steal clothes. On the continent, they burn cars. Thousands of Renaults and Citroens have been torched in France in recent years. Now, they’re burning BMWs and Mercedes.

But what do zombies do in America? Do they steal clothes? Burn cars? Or join the Tea Party?

First, we need to define our terms. This is a serious matter. And people are beginning to use the word ‘zombie’ too loosely, causing it to lose its meaning. Poor Thomas L. Friedman, for example, managed to mix everything up…confusing the zombies on the streets of Croydon with Michelle Bachmann and the Tea Party crowd. He sees only that they are all “angry.”

So, what’s the difference between an angry zombie and a person who is angry because he’s tired of supporting zombies?

In economic terms, a zombie is a parasite. He contributes less to the economy than he takes from it. He lives at the expense of others.

Almost any profession or career can be a nest for a zombie; an auto mechanic who rips off his customers, for example, is a zombie…at least in a sense. But most often, zombies are created, enabled, and supported by government. Government transfer payments create whole armies of zombies. Government bailouts turn whole industries into zombies. Government programs and government employment turn millions of otherwise reasonably honest and reasonably productive people into leeches. A guy who might have been a decent gardener, for example, becomes an SEC lawyer or a Homeland Security guard.

Politicians like zombies. Zombies are cheap. If you buy a vote from a man who is independently wealthy, it’s gonna cost you. And the bourgeoisie – which earns its money from honest toil and enterprise – is hard to buy. But zombie votes? They’re a dime a dozen. Just increase Social Security or Medicare; the zombies will line up to vote for you.

It’s relatively easy to turn people into zombies. And it’s fairly easy to support them when an economy is healthy and expanding. But when an economy goes into a contraction, you can no longer afford to give the zombies their meat. Then what?

Then, watch out. The zombies rise up.

Germany was the success story of Europe. Until this week. The latest numbers show the German economy has stopped growing. In fact, it is now trailing the rest of Europe…which is said to be growing at a very slow rate.

Friends in Berlin tell us that young people have gotten used to living off the government. Youth unemployment is high. Everybody wants to earn money and status in the easiest way possible. Even well-educated young people find they can live better by taking government support payments than by working a regular job.

What will they do when the checks no longer come? Look out.


Bill Bonner
For Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
Bill Bonner

Latest posts by Bill Bonner (see all)



  1. What will they do when the cheques stop comming,They will rant an rave rob murder an destroy everybody’s eles property.but isnt this what governments are planing to do, take us to war.Oh i forget that is legalised murder and destruction thats OK..but then again goldman sachs the rothchild’s and their cronies all need a bit of a leg up.it’s just what the doctor orderd, a good long war that should help their bottom line.!!!STUFF THE PEOPLE!!!

  2. The zombie culture is well entrenched in the UK, and the recent riots in london have spread to other cities.Department buildings have have destroyed, even apartments have gone up in smoke, police vehicles as well as private have been torched.Although i live in the country, with no riots here,there is a new phenomenon.Last night three farmers hay bales were set alight,one such was worth $50,000.and the others about the same and this practically on my doorstep.What is the world coming to, i came from a poor family but we didn’t act this way .Now we have the usual bleeding hearts shouting deprivation, poverty, and any other emotive they can think of. I’m sorry to say Bill that it is far more serious here than outsiders realize, housing has collapsed, jobs are disappearing, dealers are just about giving new cars away. Could someone write and let me and other expats know whats the situation in Australia.I left two years ago,and will return shortly.

    August 19, 2011
  3. Hi Shortchanged. I believe the rioters are just an example of what welfare produces in some people in the longer term. An unwarranted sense of deserving. Some of the rioters are sighting the poor behaviour of the elites as a reason.
    Why target working class people and their businesses then?

  4. it’s just getting started. we are right on track!!!!!

  5. As a postscript to my above comment, i rather badly neglected to write., six people have been killed in these riots, two shopkeepers protecting their store, three mown down by a car driven by escaping looters, and another public spirited gentleman trying to stop looters.Due to cctv cameras all have been captured and charged with murder, although i expect they will be given a short sentence, out in about five years or less due to “limited prison space” “overcrowding” or some other reason.As for your comment Ron, i believe you are right.

    August 21, 2011
  6. The system has created around itself a world that will collapse if that system is rejected.
    A social class which will loot and murder the moment dole cheques are reduced or cut.
    A skewed global system of trade which ensures most people will starve/become removed from necessities of life. How much control do you have over your food, water and energy? If we had to make our own products here in this country instead of using low cost labour in Asia how much cost push inflation? How many would starve before we restructure?
    Welfare systems have caused social fragmentation. Families and social groups depend on government more and on each other less.

    I guess we will have QE3 soon.

  7. Given Australia is in a comparably good situation to do something about my second point provided a neighbouring country does not help itself to the islands goodies in the meantime.

  8. shortchanged ;

    I went to Sydney this weekend after being away for 5 months and in the city what did I see, more and more ‘for lease’ signs.
    So we are slipping too……the government is also quietly taking over the economy and is quite noticeable in the construction industry.
    The consumer over here is tapped out and their houses look like they wont to go down too, retailers are also going broke…..our government has low debt but this is likely to change over the years.
    I guess we will have what they like to call ‘a soft landing’ but at the cost of our balance sheet………and as we are learning this tends to spell trouble when it is overdone.
    China is also a big ‘if’ and I do not believe the figures coming out of it anymore not with its two biggest customers going broke and all.

  9. G’Day shortchanged, I’d say we’re a fair way off zombie riots down under. The standard zombie pacification measures are thus far holding up, but as SG notes the edges are starting to fray a little. On the plus side, our zombies are relatively apathetic…. it would take a *lot* for them to stir into riotous action. Large mortgage holders… oops, sorry: “indentured servants of the banking system” are really feeling the strain. If something does go “snap!” a lot more people will transition quickly from non-zombie to zombie status and they will already be in angry mode. On the whole, I think you will be glad to have returned!

    August 21, 2011
  10. The above commentators no doubt happily accept state funding to send their sprogs to private schools, take their private health care rebates, and access every warped loop hole the tax system offers including child care rebates and family benefit payments, yet still rant about welfare fragmenting society. Business and the private sector are a pack of whingers. “I am private business, hear me whinge!” I suggest you stop attacking poor people and have a look at yourselves for once, and you might see the following behavours from the non-welfare classes is actually quite annoying: Corrupt politicians rorting parliamentary expenses, elite governments spending billions of dollars of public money spent to save the banking shareholdings of zombie investors (who should have been allowed to crash), unlawful behaviour on the part of the tory murdoch press, and support for an elite war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people but was very profitable for the business community. Before attacking the welfare state have a whinge about those things, you hypocrits, and remember that the riots were caused by a police murder.

  11. Nic this website and its commentators spend most of their time acknowledging those very problems. People create and are responsible for their own problems eventually regardless of the system they live under however the welfare state is not a perfect solution. The corporatists also exploit it to their own ends. Business will exploit whatever environment it encounters.
    The left right paradigm may not be completely obsolete either however viewing the world completely through that lens leaves one lost on the broader realities.

  12. Thanks fellas., SG and dangermouse your comments are well noted.It seems that events are catching up in Australia as that’s how it started here.Slowly at first, gaining momentum with every couple of weeks till now i see a change every time i go to our local market town which is an affluent area.It may seem a callous attitude but it may be for the best, its a pity that those responsible are not made to suffer the most.The Banksters who lent money to anyone still breathing, the real estate industry for conning a naive public to buy at ridiculous prices with the “It will be double next week” scare,mortgage brokers who devised packages so devious that most people even in the industry cannot understand. But the worst are the politicians who allowed it to happen, they that control the regulators and set the policy.
    I will be glad to get back,but it seems i am to see a repeat of the past two years, which is not something i am looking forward too

    August 22, 2011
  13. Looks like there are a few zombies finding their way onto the comments threads here. Not enough people are interested in their views to attract people to a website of their own, so they have nested on the comments here. A bit similar to the Greens leeching to the ALP.

  14. I agree with Nic, and disagree with the rest of you. You all seem to have missed the news that many of the looters charged in the UK were not unemployed and some even came from from well-to-do backgrounds.

    And why this hostility to the young unemployed? Youth employment is and always has been higher than other groups because employers want experienced workers and there is so much competition from other age groups. Plus we have the continuing problem of increased casualisation of the labour force (especially in the lower paid jobs making getting loans very hard) and complaints from many people who work part-time who want to work full-time but can’t get the hours. Of course the young will be employed less in that type of market.

    “Even well-educated young people find they can live better by taking government support payments than by working a regular job.” Bullshit. I like this website when it remains logical and based on fact – international currency trade, gold stories and stockmarket info. But when these guys get on one of their right-wing ideology rants the loss of logic makes the article not worth considering.


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