Thursday, March 29, 2007

Inequality and Crime

Class differences are bread and butter for sociologists: what would they have to study without it? I found the above chart on the New York Times' website today, which focuses on the recent increase in income inequality, but also shows a gap that has been increasing since 1980. According to sociologists, the growing chasm should lead to Armageddon. Well, it's been more than 25 years, but I'm not sure that American society is less stable now than in the 70s. One indicator of instability--street crime--rose in the 70s and peaked around 1980. It should be peaking now if sociological theory were correct. On the other hand, the number of people incarcerated is MUCH higher now, so perhaps our get-tough policies are keeping a lid on the social chaos.


  1. "The U.S. Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey (considered our best measure of crime because its anonymous surveys capture offenses not reported to police) reports that rape has been falling dramatically for decades. The first survey, in 1973, estimated that 105,000 females, ages 12 to 24, were raped that year. . . the latest survey (in a young female population 1 million larger than in 1973) reported that 30,000 females, ages 12 to 24, were raped

    . . . In the last dozen years, they found that sexual victimization rates among girls ages 12 to 19 fell by 78% and among women ages 20 to 24 by 70%

    . . . California's teen rape-arrest rate fell by 70% over the last three decades. Fewer teens were arrested for rape in 2005 (236) than in 1957 (331), the first year statistics were reported, in a teenage population just one-third today's."

    The Decline of Rape

  2. The story they never tell about rape is the dramatic rise of rape during the civil rights movement.

    Basically, this is indistinguishable from a prison situation in which the inmates go from being raped to being "bitches" after they've been subdued.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oh, and I probably shouldn't let our esteemed host get away with his goal of "social stability".

    If people are being incarcerated at an increasing rate, they are now part of a slave labor system explicitly loopholed in by the 13th amendment. Moreover, the removal of civil liberties under the guise of "homeland security", the rise of corporate fraud, the dramatic decline in the affordability of family formation, and the dramatic mismatch between public sentiment and government action regarding the foundational issue of immigration, are all indicators that we are increasingly in the hands of slave drivers.

  5. Anonymous7:25 PM

    Charles Murray has written and said much in the past year or two about how our lowered crime is due to more willingness to lock people up and for longer periods of time. He told a British audience that they needed to do what America does: "It's not a happy solution, but it's the only solution."

    People are getting worse, for Heaven's sake we now have a problem with sexual slavery in the first world!! I don't share the pessimism that people are being thrown in jail spuriously; the truth, is that things are getting worse and we are finding ourselves cracking down on worse and novel crime (Slavery in the first world!). In fact, I believe our laws aren't changing fast enough to the new realities.

    Also, how about those reports, in one month, of school kids having sex in class? And where am I doing in this handbasket...


Meta-analysis of clinical trials: Eat walnuts

I am always looking for easy eating choices that are good for you. This new meta-analysis of 26 clinical trials looked to see if walnuts ma...