Critics have suggested that this is the behavior of a generation that's been ignored by the establishment. The anarchy on the streets of London has been attributed to high unemployment and disaffected youth, combined with a trigger event -- the death of Mark Duggan, shot by police last Saturday.
A couple weeks ago, Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth put out their working paper "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009." It uses cross-country data in the 90-year period to examine whether riots and civil unrest increase as governments cut spending. They found a positive correlation between social instability and budget cuts.