Wednesday, August 17, 2011

English riots and Income Equality

This is from the Equality Trust, giving evidence for inequality as one causal component of the recent riots:

* Levels of crime and violence are strongly linked to inequality – see our recent Research Digest # 1.

* The UK has very low levels of trust – barely 1 in 3 of us thinks that “most other people can be trusted”.

* Low levels of trust undermine community cohesion and produce low levels of social capital (social interaction) which is a breeding ground for mistrust, misunderstanding and antagonism.

* High levels of health and social problems, more common in poorer communities anyway, are further exacerbated by inequality leading to desperation in some people.

* According to UNICEF, the UK is one of the worst places in the developed world to be a child or teenager.

* Inequality encourages status competition and a “me first” approach to life which can be witnessed across society – from bankers to MPs to looters.

* Greater equality would improve the overall quality of social relations in the UK and reduce the chances of a repeat of the riots.


Anonymous No. 6 said...

Hi Doc

90% of rioters were male. Not something that has really been touched on by anyone in any detail. Does poverty and inequality on make males do this on the whole, but not females? Or is it something about the male psyche irrespective of inequality and poverty, or is it more likely in males in conditions of inequality and poverty? But then you have no riots in the most deprived part of UK - the industrial north-east. All very confusing.

DocRichard said...

That would be a testosterone matter.

The point about the North East (and Wales and Scotland) is interesting. I would guess that social cohesion is better in those areas. Traditions of mining solidarity &c.

We mustn't forget that these were minor explosions, occurring surprisingly early on in the economic downturn. There is undoubtedly more in the pipeline unless the Government starts doing some serious reforms.

Another factor is the influence of Arab Spring. Not suggesting for a moment that the English riots had any serious positive political intent, but seeing people on the streets on TV will have an effect.

Anonymous No.6 said...

So testosterone is the major factor at play, aided and abetted by poverty, neglect, unemployment, cutbacks in youth services, family breakdown, removal of EMA, low self-esteem, gangsta culture, schools being too lenient, police being too lenient, lack of community cohesion, police being too heavy-handed, whites being endemically racist (Darcus Howe when he wasn't cocoa-shunting), poor educational standards, poor parenting skills, insensitive policing, poor examples from bankers and politicians, group dynamics leading to normally law-abiding people getting involved, commodity fetishism, the arms trade (saw this on a blog) our patriarchal society (this one too), endemic criminality in some areas and finally the fact that some people are just wankers?

I think we may have a job on here Doc! A few oestrogen injections might improve matters all round for starters? And bra sales would increase - everyone's a WINNER

Good to see you in a more positive mood last two days...

Anonymous said...

Short but sweet, and thank you for the links.

DocRichard said...

Zackly. We live in a socio-economic system where each element interacts with, and is affected by, all the other elements in the system. The system is subject to rules derived by chaos theory, which is how pressures build up over time, and "catastrophic" (=sudden, unpredictable in time) change is precipitated by single trigger events.

That's why attempts to put the riots down to single elements (criminality, withdrawal of local services) are inadequate.

Yes, I'm feeling better after posting on "Is Homo Sapiens irredeemably stupid?"

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