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July 14, 2008


Larry Teabag

Wrong answer. The truth is that life in the 1930s was more wholesome than today solely because evil liberals hadn't yet started their campaign of subversion, immigration, and moral relativism. The idea that rampant consumerism might lead to discontent among those at the bottom of the heap and so trigger a rise in crime is absolutely out of the question. Your so-called "evidence" should be ignored.


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Just because the Tories won't like the answers, it doesn't follow that they won't embrace them and act on them; IDS being an example.

Criminals are created by society, Society has to do two things: deal the ones created and reduce the rate at which new ones are being created.

chris strange

Do you know where I could get hold of the inequality statistics for the last hundred years? It should be fairly easy to find whether inequality is a primary cause of the post WW2 rise in crime from that.

James Schneider

Marksany, IDS has had no Damascene conversion. His policy proposals are just old Tory re-hashes with a better image, spin, and narrative. Fundamentally unchanged.

James Schneider

So Chris are you suggesting that at somepoint in industrialized economies there is a trade off between economic efficiency and crime? How would the victorian era fit into this schema?

passer by

..And standing around watching other people have sex makes (usually) you want to have sex too, whats new? does it make it right to join in.

My late gran summed this point up better than you Chris, "when I was young we could leave the door open all day and no one would steal anything from us, but then again we had nothing to steal" she often told me.

Once again the crime that matters is violent crime, a good kicking in 1934 is the same as a kicking in 2008, this is the true measure of crime. Property crime bounces about in economic conditions. Violence should be a public taboo, its not I am afraid.

But I think there is something that is missing, my gran was a Methodist, went to church and Sunday school like all the neighbors did. The church was at the centre of their lives, it was the "leader of the community" what do the sink estates and the underclass have for leaders now the church as all but disappeared? a surrogate family of the state?

In our socialized Darwinist stratification of society, the folks at the bottom are not too bright I am afraid, destroying the nuclear family might be great for educated middle class people, to further advance their freedom but its a disaster for those at the bottom, the diminishing of fatherhood might be good for a university educated women but its no good for second generation immigrant.

( Just to make sure we understand each other, I am an atheist and a big fan like Marx was of Charles Darwin.)

A moral code, derived from natural law is what is missing, and just as Governor King shown today, leadership that enforces this moral code is set at the top of society, by example.


"This has an obvious implication - that inequality (pdf) causes crime (pdf). Other peoples’ wealth raises crime via the abundance effect, whilst one’s own poverty reduces the costs of crime."

Were the 1930s so egalitarian, before the Welfare State? Or do you mean that we could cut the crime rate by segregating the rich and the poor?

I might suggest looking into social mobility: if working your way up is harder than stealing your way up, the second option will presumably become more popular.

chris strange

1. If it is the abundance effect shouldn't the great depression still have a noticeable effect of causing a fall in the crime rates?
2. Given that wealth was also growing during most of the the later half of the Nineteenth Century and first half of the Twentieth Century (and growing to levels never seen before) shouldn't we see a rise in crime during those periods as well?

PS. I would still love to see the data on historical levels of inequality, does anybody know where it can be found?


The only source on inequality in the 30s I have to hand is the 1979 Royal Commission.
It shows that in 1938 the top 10% got 38.8% of all pretax incomes; today it's 29.9%. The Gini coefficient in 1938 was 46. Today it's 52.
For disposable incomes, the top 10% got 34.4% of all incomes; today they get 25.8%. The Gini coefficient then was 43. Today it's 34.

chris strange

thank you very much! I'll have to see if I can get that report myself, I've wanted to see those numbers for a while. Crime numbers are easy to get hold of, inequality seems to be much harder to get hold of.


Perhaps the lack of crime in the Great Depression was demographic - loss of a lot of young men in the Great War. Loss of criminal potential.

passer by

Another day another dollar, or night as it was. 2 knife incidents our A&E last night.

1 a domestic, 1 a youth/gang "incident", neither serious but both wont be reported as crimes, as with the bulk of serious incidents we see at A&E.

The gang stabbing was a 21 year old asian man/boy was his 3rd such stabbing, but i suspect he has had more and patched himself up. the last time he was with us he was lucky to keep his bottom arm, even 10 years ago he would have had it amputated.

the police searched him and spoke to him while he was with us, but he was less than helpful and the police returned the 5 grand or so he had stuck down his trousers.

I remember when i was training in the 80s, A senior trauma professor told us that if you really wanted to know the state of society then pop in to your local A&E.

Here is an interesting stat, in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, only 18 died of their wounds, a rate of only 1.6 percent. This is less than half the 3.68 death rate for wounded soldiers in Vietnam.

I think this gives a good insight into just how much medical technology is saving lives, taking this you can say with reasonable certainty that major trauma victims (under 40) are twice as likely to survive than the late sixties, early seventies period.

And from that Its not unreasonable to assume that violent crime is considerably higher than it was then. It certainly feels like it! But whats experience hey?


But of course there was abundant wealth in the Thirties. The middle class had never had it so good and their numbers ballooned. Someone had to live in all those nice Betjemanesque suburbs they were building.

It wasn't all Jarrow Marches and Wigan Piers, despite what you're average journo with a sociology degree would have you believe.


Hasidic Jews and some other religous communities live in poverty and do not contribute to knife-crime or other violence, so the theory that comparitive poverty alone causes violent crime is trivially disproved.

Instead we must look into the mind. Tim Lott said (I paraphrase) that 'people have mental problems when they can no longer tell a consistent story of themselves'. It is not comparitive poverty that causes violent crime, it is what that poverty does to the individuals self-perception that does the damage.

One feature of recent deaths is that many of the victims appear to have been successful members of the community. It is as though the criminals cannot live with others around them being successful and themselves failing, so the successes must be punished.


The abundance effect can be practiced small business. Want to know how? www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2

john b

"One feature of recent deaths is that many of the victims appear to have been successful members of the community."

No, this is a false effect produced by media selection.

If you look at the actual CVs, the vast majority of recent stabbing victims have been drug-dealing thugs with long criminal records.

The exceptions I can think of are Ben Kinsella and Jimmy Mizen (the latter being hit with a bowl rather than stabbed, but he's joined the media narriative anyway). Unsurprisingly, they got a great deal more attention than the other cases, for Maddy-ish reasons.

In Kinsella's case at least, there was no sign that whoever stabbed him had any idea who he was - rather, he joined in a fight.


Perhaps the lack of crime in the Great Depression was demographic - loss of a lot of young men in the Great War. Loss of criminal potential.

Unlikely, I would have thought. The Great War generation would have been over 30 by the time the Depression started - even someone who just got in at the tail end, ie 18 years old in 1918, would have hit 30 by 1930, and most of the war dead would have been older than that. That's too old to be causing much crime - it's a young man's game.

Where you should be looking is 1940, by which time the sons of the war dead would otherwise have been reaching adulthood, but I think that WW2 would be a confounding factor here.

Ibod Catooga

Crime is correlated with darkies!

No darkies, no crime!


How are you. If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.
I am from United and bad know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Artificial topical focal rods for risk-taking music readily not known in the increase add dermatitis, influence, and son; these fleas have the term of shorter leviticus attempts than agonist, provillus free report."

Thank you so much for your future answers ;). Paris.

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