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August 16, 2007

Comments

Matt Munro

It's generally called fundamental attribution "bias", rather than "error", error implies there is a "correct" way of explaining behaviour. Hugely overblown explanation in my view. Criminals rarely admit they committ crime because they are bad people who can't be bothered to work, so they blame drugs, poverty, family, peer pressure i.e the situation rather than themselves although strangely the opposite is true of sucesfull people. I've never heard Bill Gates directly attribute his success to those around him.
The most that I think can be said about social context is it normalises aberrant behaviour, but as the same environemnt doesn't have the same effect on all people, there must be other variables (i.e individual drives) at play. It's perfectly possible to predict individual behaviour, independent of situation, based on past behaviour, we all do it constantly.

Roger Thornhill

"poverty causes crime"?

This could be a post hoc fallacy.

Has anyone considered the fact that a criminal predisposition - often as an inability to comprehend consequence - is one likely to result in poverty?

How about: "The criminally inclined are likely to become poor". I prefer that to "the poor are inclined to become criminal".

rootless2

Roger Thornhill: The problem with "the criminally inclined are likely to become poor" is that it conflicts with empirical data. One notes that many of the richest people in the world are criminally inclined, to say the least.

Luis Enrique

Do we need a basic unit of analysis? What I mean is, might not the appropriate unit of analysis vary with the question being asked?

Although, I suppose that the point of methodological individualism - it says that even if you are talking about culture etc. you always have to ground your analysis in individual behavior.

dearieme

"Nothing is done by the working class, jews, Arabs, homosexuals, or whatever. Only by people." Aye, much what Mrs Thatcher famously observed.

dearieme

Which, come to think of it, you pointed out yourself a day or two ago. Sorry.

Bob B

"One notes that many of the richest people in the world are criminally inclined, to say the least."

Fascinating stuff. Will Warren Buffett, who criticised Bush's tax cuts, shortly feature on the FBI's most wanted list?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett

And as for Lord Sainsbury, a leading donor to the Labour Party . .
http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/9CUI.html

Freddie Sirmans

Just browsing the internet, your blog is very, very interesting.

Matt Munro

I think the crime leads to poverty argument holds, except that the outcome is also a function of intelligence (in the sense of sucesfull adapatation to environment).
I've never understood people who shoplift, or deal drugs at a retail level, or nick car radios. You will never get rich doing that.
You need to be in the wholesale drugs business, or commit a decent size fraud, or a bullion roberry to get to the level where crime pays, and intelligent criminals know this. Big risk, big reward. Intelligence also gives a better chance of evading detection/capture.
So:
Intelligence plus criminal tent = Rich
Low intelligence plus criminal intent = Poor

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