Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recession = crime

Don't bank on a caring, sharing recession

Some people hope that the recession will make us a less materialistic, more sharing nation. It won't. If anything, it will make us nastier and meaner. For most people, the main effect of recession is not to cause poverty, but insecurity [about jobs & homes]. And when people are insecure and anxious, they care less for others. As Adam Smith said: “Before we can feel much for others, we must in some measure be at ease ourselves.” Recessions mean that we are not at ease - and, as Smith recognised, more selfish as a result. Recessions also make us meaner in another way - some of us turn to crime. In September a leaked Home Office report said that a recession could lead to a rise in burglaries. It might have added that the Pope is Catholic. There is worse. Recessions can also increase racism.

Posted by drewster @ 03:19 AM (997 views)
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3 thoughts on “Recession = crime

  • stillthinking says:

    “But if you are out of work, this calculus changes. If you can’t make money honestly, making it dishonestly becomes more attr ctive. ”

    Drewster, we are talking about the British unemployed, not some other country. For a family with a sole earner who loses an average wage, their life might be better unemployed depending on how they play it and where they are. Social housing in London is worth 600 a month. In addition, the long-term unemployed on disability receive a “wage” equivalent to the average working wage. This will all collapse in the end of course.
    This might come across as a bit nasty, but there are -millions- of fake unemployed in this country, and I am not just talking about the public sector.

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  • st,

    Any person who would be better off unemployed usually already is unemployed.

    The new criminals won’t be Bob the Builder sitting at home out of work, they’ll be Bob’s 17 year old son and his pals who can’t get a job.

    The devil makes work for idle hands.

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  • Under the present circumstances the article might well be right. I’d suggest thats more of a result of our western mindset than ‘human nuture’. I’m not speaking from personal experience but I think its fair to say that some of the poorest people in the world are also the most generous.

    Somebody I know regularly travels to the east to photograph the people and culture. He steers clear of tourist areas preferring the real world. He’ll often accept hospitality and regularly poses the question: Why are you all so happy? And the answer: Because we have nothing to lose.

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