Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Maia Szalavitz writes that the atmosphere of competition and status signalling which prevails in unequal societies is directly connected to increased homicide rates:
While on the surface, the disputes that triggered these deaths seem trivial – each involved apparently small disagreements and a sense of being seen as inferior and unworthy of respect – research suggests that inequality raises the stakes of fights for status among men.

The connection is so strong that, according to the World Bank, a simple measure of inequality predicts about half of the variance in murder rates between American states and between countries around the world. When inequality is high and strips large numbers of men of the usual markers of status – like a good job and the ability to support a family – matters of respect and disrespect loom disproportionately.

Inequality predicts homicide rates “better than any other variable”, says Martin Daly, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McMaster University in Ontario and author of Killing the Competition: Economic Inequality and Homicide.
Obviously, potential murderers don’t check the local Gini Index – the most commonly used measure of inequality that looks at how wealth is distributed – before deciding whether to get a gun. But they are keenly attuned to their own level of status in society and whether it allows them to get what they need to live a decent life. If they can’t, while others visibly bask in luxury that seems both impossible to attain and unfairly won, those far from the top often become desperate.
- Meanwhile, Dominic Rushe discusses how Donald Trump's giveaway to the rich looks to exacerbate inequality while producing the same economic devastation wrought by Sam Brownback in his failed Kansas experiment.

- Karl Nerenberg reports on the federal government's failure to budget anywhere enough money to even theoretically end boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves (let alone fund the operation of infrastructure after it's installed).

- Finally, Leilani Farha writes that we should push governments to fix the homelessness problems they've created by recognizing the right to housing. And the Star's editorial board discusses the importance of ensuring permanent homes for people facing homelessness, rather than limiting any policy response to temporary shelters.

No comments:

Post a Comment