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So, the BBC asks why violent crime is so rare in Iceland. They ask on the occasion of the first-ever police-involved shooting. It's not that Iceland is a gun-free zone - it ranks 15th in per-capita gun ownership. But Iceland has a murder rate of 1.8 per hundred thousand, while the US has a murder rate of at least 5 per hundred thousand people.

Then, M. Night Shyamalan looked at American education. He discovered that, if you took the inner-city schools out of the equation, American elementary and secondary education is the best in the world.

I have a theory that accounts for both facts. It also accounts for the fact that countries like Mexico and Brazil have much higher rates of violent crime than the US despite stricter gun laws. It's income inequality.

I suspect that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more problems the society will have. In the extreme cases of Mexico and Brazil, where you have whole towns of people living in cardboard boxes overlooking luxurious housing developments, this inequality problem is obvious. Here in America, it's less obvious, and arguably just less of a gap. So we have less violence, but "less" is not "none."

Of course, The Usual Suspects think income inequality came down from the mountain with Moses, so I am obviously a communist. /snark, for those so impaired/


Dec. 18th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
For a European living here, even in the fairly Scandanavian Seattle, the poverty on display compared to even the UK makes my jaw drop. Sure, there aren't shanty towns, but there are huge areas of marginally livable housing full of people barely able to survive, and the kicker for me, is that a LOT of these people are working.

If you're working full time you shouldn't need 2 jobs to survive.
Dec. 18th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
Iceland as a special case though, if you've had hundreds of years learning to live in close proximity on a barren rock in the northern North Atlantic and nearly wiped each other out in a series of bloody family arguments 500+ years ago, you've probably selected for people who tend to get along.

One of the frustrating things with doing business in Scandanavia in general is the nightmare of dealing with people who will stop everything until they get a consensus in place. Nightmare.

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This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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