Scott on crime stats

Written By: - Date published: 5:23 pm, April 6th, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: class war, crime - Tags:

I think they know full well what causes violent crime. They just don’t care.

14 comments on “Scott on crime stats”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    They just don’t care

    It’s National and ACT – they really don’t care about anyone but themselves. That’s why they like neo-liberal economics and the morality that goes along with it. It’s a theory that supports their selfishness and greed.

  2. Rob M 2

    A Taxonomy of Decline:

    Keep an eye out for Red Herrings, Peacocks, Canaries (in the conservation coal mines) and Snakes (in the grass), that is negative diversions, positive diversions, symptoms of decadence and decay and shit that’s going to come back and bite us in the ass when we least expect it.

    Of course what you won’t see a lot of is the White Elephant on the marae that is the awful truth. You can piece together a vague shape of the thing however, if you care to look in the shadows.

  3. Bill 3

    Okay. I’m going to disagree here and suggest that the rise in violent crime isn’t so much due to growing inequality as it is to sky rocketing stress levels which are being brought about by redundancies and overtime cut backs, both resulting in increasingly unsustainable financial situations in a growing number of households.

    18% of the rise was apparently domestic violence…cut the figures as you will.

    True, there is growing inequality. But levels of inequality have been rising since the 80s, it’s nothing new. I’d suggest it’s not the inequality. It’s the realisation of poverty…the inability to mask pre existing poverty that’s the problem….a whole different ball game if you sit back and think about it for a second.

    How much has inequality increased over the past year or eighteen months? It can’t be that much.

    But how much less prevalent is the possibility to take or service loans to mask poverty?

    The cynic in me suggests that the parliamentary left would rather bang on about ‘growing inequality’ because it diverts attention from the poverty that was always present but covered by an ‘invisibility cloak’ of debt servicing during their watch. They peddled, or at best did nothing to counter, the illusion of individual prosperity being possible through accumulating debt. All that has happened now is that the illusion is becoming increasingly unsustainable for increasing numbers of people.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.1

      Bill, I agree with all that you say but wish you wouldn’t say it. That’s because when the left (it’s usually the left, anyway) says “poverty = crime” the right can respond that poverty doesn’t drive everyone to beat their families, so it can’t be poverty that’s the cause.

      And many reasonable people (myself included, to an extent, assuming you’d call me reasonable) agree, because we’ve been under severe stress in our lives without it causing us to harm our families, and we don’t feel that some thug who beats his partner and / or children ought to be able to use unemployment as a mitigating factor in court for that reason.

      Poverty is, in my mind, definitely linked to crimes that one could say would alleviate poverty if committed successfully – everything from armed robbery to mugging to shoplifting. It doesn’t excuse any of those things but it explains it.

      I accept that it also goes some way to explaining some family violence and some violence generally… but in saying that we can be seen to be excusing it. And it simply doesn’t. We can’t choose our stressors. We can choose our reactions to them.

      • IrishBill 3.1.1

        It happens at the margins Rex. Only one out of a hundred people might respond to the stresses of poverty (or particularly new poverty) and the sense of loss of self-worth it brings with violence but if your policies put another 100,000 on the dole that’s another thousand people responding with violence.

        Suicide rates follow a similar pattern. Especially amongst youth.

        And poverty is a stronger feeder of violent crime than property related crime (i.e. theft). Simply because we have a capitalist/consumerist society that places value according to wealth/capacity to consume.

        If your society tells people they are of no value for long enough many of them will start to act nihilisticly. Because they have nothing to lose and because rage and violence can allow them to feel powerful.

      • Bill 3.1.2

        Rex, the dynamics of poverty have an effect. Racist dynamics have an effect. Sexism has an effect.

        Mix it all up and serve it. Is the mix the same in every instance? Is the reaction the same in every instance? Do twins brought up in the same household react identically to identical situations?

        How about we throw in some secondary factors that can flow from the primary ones listed above. Shit educational outcomes, lack of social capital and so on.

        So how about we allow for a recipe of primary and secondary factors and throw in some low self esteem and what not that might result from a particular mix of primary and secondary factors?

        Now, how about we ramp up the immediacy of one of the primary ones…ie shrink or constrict the parameters within which personal possibilities can be realised or maintained or realistic choices made?

        Can you see the capacity for choice diminishing or, on the flip side, the odds of a particular type of reaction increasing? Overt violent acts against others simply occupy a place on a long and varied continuum of violence and aggression that might include such things as multiple levels of withdrawal or depression, various forms of recklessness and ‘going postal’ etc.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Again I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, Bill. People react differently. There are a lot of stressors, and those stressors cause a greater or lesser effect on different people who are subjected to them.

          But I still maintain that the decision to draw back your fist (or your boot) and plant it in the face of your terrified partner or child is a choice. When it comes to the psychological drivers of that choice I agree with PK below… it’s more about nature (your character) and nurture (parental modelling) than about anything wider society might have done to you, however horrendous that may be.

          I just think that in opening the door to using poverty as an excuse for violence we’re muddying the “It’s not OK” message. Unless you’re suffering certain forms of actual mental illness, of course, removing yourself from a situation where you feel angry enough to harm others is always an option, and a simple one, and it makes me uneasy to see any deviation from that message.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Nice to see ol’ Scotty having a foray beyond thugby and the US. Succinct. Accurate premise.

    Readers out there whose brain would not be lonely if gifted with another, might still benefit from dipping into marxist writings, boom ‘n bust, materialism (evidence based, in todays parlance), class society etc. Even the staunchest social democract must acknowledge the retrograde ability of the “democratic’ electoral cycle to retain positive advances when in tandem with tory driven high unemployment. Sell out your 4 weeks leave, yes sir, am I bending low enough?.

    So what is the answer to retaining social gains made over the years? If it is anything other than a fighting trade union and beneficiaries movement, and a hard left movement that can tell the difference between reforms and reformism, and a Labour Party not diving for the ‘centre’ then I am all ears.

  5. tc 5

    As Homer J would say ” just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand..”

  6. PK 6

    ***Rex, the dynamics of poverty have an effect. Racist dynamics have an effect. Sexism has an effect.***

    Racism causes whites to commit more crime than Asians? Sexism causes men to commit more crime than women? The direction of causation is not simply from poverty to crime. An important causal variable is not poverty as such but parental characteristics, which affect the children by both nature and nurture.

    • Bill 6.1


      Parental characteristics include ( but are not limited by) attitudes of or towards class and gender and race don’t they?

      The rest of your comment is nonsense based on a basic ( deliberate?) lack of understanding of what it was I was actually arguing.

      @ Rex

      Fine. Add family ( whether intentional or biological) dynamics alongside gender, race and class. Each informs and is informed by the other.

      The effects of a shift in one has a cascade effect rather than a simple linear cause and effect dynamic such as ‘poverty causes crime’.

      I haven’t said that. Anywhere. But it does have a more marked effect than some other factors. And if the negative consequences have been reinforced through the generations, then the effects are that much more pernicious.

      And if poverty gives rise to a level of stress that the individual cannot handle, then something is going to happen. And the something might be criminal or violent. Or not.

      And sorry. But the ‘It’s not OK’ campaign is a pile of middle class wank designed by and aimed at, well…middle class wankers. It ignores all contributory factors to so called dysfunction and insists on blaming the individual for making bad decisions as though they occupied a rational and neutral space. Basically it’s an extension of neo liberal economic theory…the rationally optimising individual b.s.

      To make myself clear. The so called dysfunction is not in any way desirable. But how dysfunctional is it given the environment it occurs in? You need to answer that it is dysfunction and it’s all down to the individual unless you are willing to ask hard and searching questions about the economic and political environments we impose on all and sundry.

      The middle classes tend to not want to do that, because the imposed economic and political environments have served them quite well. Further, as far as many who occupy the middle classes are concerned there is no ‘constructed’ environment. It’s all conveniently natural and so tut-tutting and a slow shaking of the head is the totality of the action about and ample acknowledgement of, those ‘less fortunate.’

      • PK 6.1.1


        Parental characteristics include ( but are not limited by) attitudes of or towards class and gender and race don’t they?

        The rest of your comment is nonsense based on a basic ( deliberate?) lack of understanding of what it was I was actually arguing.***

        Parental characteristics may of course be shaped by many factors including those you mention. The rest of my comment was to query how exactly sexism or racism have an effect. As noted, whites have higher crime rates than asians and men have higher crime rates than women.

        As I was saying on the other crime thread, there are also biological factors that mediate a persons response to environmental stressors such as MAO-A variants, testosterone, serotonin etc.

        Also, executive function which seems to be declining.

        “Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline…

        Today’s 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today’s 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago,” Bodrova explains. “So the results were very sad.”

        Sad because self-regulation is incredibly important. Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ. Children who are able to manage their feelings and pay attention are better able to learn. As executive function researcher Laura Berk explains, “Self-regulation predicts effective development in virtually every domain.”

        • Bill

          If people are shoved into cages to live, would you expect their behaviours to be ‘normal’? ie for pre-cage behaviours to persist regardless of the changed environment?

          What about if they are caged and subjected to various stimuli or/ and deprived of stimuli?

          If behaviours do not persist, are the new behaviours determined more by biological factors or by the impacts of the external environment?

          Lets say there is a 50/50 mix…an even split. Where should we apply our focus? Do we walk away stating that the dribbling shitting mess in the cage is the result of unavoidable biological factors? Or do we condemn and seek to change the environment that the biological factors…ie, the person, was subjected to?

          Again. When the argument comes up that seeks to explain away human reactions to the world as ‘just biology’, it allows for inaction and by extension complicity in maintaining systems that inflict terrible and utterly unnecessary consequences on countless numbers of people…it’s discredited right wing economic theory spreading to other fields of thought.

  7. PK 7

    ***When the argument comes up that seeks to explain away human reactions to the world as ‘just biology’, it allows for inaction and by extension complicity in maintaining systems that inflict terrible and utterly unnecessary consequences on countless numbers of people it’s discredited right wing economic theory spreading to other fields of thought.***

    Well if you want to address something you need to know the causes. If you don’t you can unfairly blame people, like ‘cold mothers’ being blamed for autism. Also, you can develop medications as they have for mental illnesses.

    It’s not an either/or thing, obviously removing abusive environments is crucial.

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