by Tyler Cowen
on February 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm
1. Transistor made of a single atom?
2. Why don’t Americans riot any more?
3. Markets in everything.
4. Magnus Carlsen on 60 Minutes.
5. Via Kottke, couples wearing each other’s clothes.
The occutard crowd is desperately trying to change #2
The answer on why American’s don’t riot is pretty scarce – is it really hard to believe that we don’t riot anymore because, in general, life is pretty good?
The clueless authorette of that riot item things so: “Some of his other explanations are decidedly more troubling. Populations that once rioted have now joined the “consumer republic,” in which more people are able to buy material symbols of the good life, if not the good life itself.”
Poor troubled little tyke.
The term “authorette” is patently sexist and beneath the dignity of this blog’s commentariat.
As an exercise, remove the terms of derision from your comment and see what’s left.
Delete “authorette” insert “spoiled brat author”?
Use your words. Rather, use other more informative and convincing words.
After seeing the PIPA/SOPA overturn earlier this year and the block of the ATT/Tmo merger, I have increased optimism regarding the ability of non-partisan public opinion to shape politics.
And some of these were pretty major events, too. Rodney King, the 2009 G20 summit, etc.
Ugh… LA riots… I don’t remember coverage of it as it occurred (too young), but from ex post analysis I’ve seen of it, the Korean Americans defending their property were framed as the bad guys and the looting black Americans as the good guys.
Yeah, I was in the ’99 WTO riots in Seattle. I was scratching my head a bit over that. And of course, I remember watching the LA riots unfold as well. Still, Americans have historically been quite prone to mass violence, hell, the ’60s were if anything, calmer and more contained than the riots that took place for worker’s rights at the turn of the century. Before that, American history is a continuous string of uprisings, rebellions, and riots all the way back to the founding of the country.
The trend is quite a bit broader that just “riots”.
Strikes have declined steadily for decades in the United States (much faster than declining labor union participation) – those “conformist” 1950s were total hotbeds of labor unrest.
Crime, of almost all kinds, is down from murder to DUI.
Rallies and marches aren’t as popular.
Active physical participation in political and civic groups is down.
2, “Alienation, youth unemployment, distrust of police,” says University of Pennsylvania historian Michael Katz, “these things are surely as prevalent in the U.S. as they were in France.”
I’d say reality is telling us it is not. All other factors she mentions are pretty fuzzy.
Someone who studies these things once noted that the question is not why Americans don’t riot. It’s why they riot when good things happen, while the rest of the world riots when they’re angry. (For example, riots in Detroit after the Pistons win the NBA championship.)
That never happened. That was a stupid Jimmy Kimel joke. There was a mini-riot when the Tigers won in ’84 and there was a small riot in Ann Arbor in ’89 when U of M went to the NCAA basketball finals.
#5’s gem: http://sincerelyhana.com/files/gimgs/15_leila-azim.jpg
#5. Roissy bait.
In my experience, American police seemed quite a bit more motivated, visible and willing to enforce than, say, the French or German cops. Could this have something to do with the lack of riots? They just get crushed quicker. Also the repercussions to a rioter seem worse here; sentencing against arson etc. is pretty harsh.
American laws have become harsher and with better technology it is easier to track down a rioter; punishment is severe and sure.
American police are far more gentler than they were in the early 20th century by the accounts I’ve read. The labor riots were quite violent all around. I think the idea that modern American police are suppressing riots by severe force as highly improbable.
I didn’t imply brutality; just that they are efficient and hard-line ( almost to a fault ) and won’t let an infraction slide, even silly ones. Not severe force but swift are sure punishment with the punishment being brutally long.
What Ronnie B says.
And, #5 answers #2: can you really see such hipsters riot? Amazing!
Tyler Cowen goes on Reddit? Links 3 and 4 look familiar and I spent much of my unemployed time on Reddit. Awesome if he does.
“Some of his other explanations are decidedly more troubling. Populations that once rioted have now joined the “consumer republic,” in which more people are able to buy material symbols of the good life, if not the good life itself.”
Is that really a “troubling” explanation–that people are able to get “the good life itself”? That’s one negative that I hope is spread more liberally around the world.
I also wonder if there’s a general sense in the U.S. that you would get shot if you threw a Molotov Cocktail at the police. Certainly, that doesn’t seem to be part of any rioter’s calculation in Greece. They also mention prisons but, at least in the summary, neglect the direct effect of the possibility that those most likely to riot are already locked up, for better or worse. Supposedly, about 3% of the adult population in the US is either in jail or on probation or parole.
haha love #5! just awesome. i’ll have to share that on facebook
Most Americans (still) have too much to lose. Even if they are poor they are pretty comfortable. They have cars and phones and computers and food. This is the “bread and circuses” that keep them at bay. There are also no immediate and actionable threats to their freedom. The only people who hit the streets in a critical mass are the Occupy types who – at least outside of Oakland – are college kids without violent dispositions.
5. Proof that:
A. Women can make almost any clothing look good.
B. Workplace dress codes discriminate against men.
C. Women do NOT wear skirts and dresses because they are “comfortable.”
Shh, you’re deviating from the narrative that sexually dimorphic choices in clothing is a result of the heteronormative patriarchal conspiracy trying to subjugate women.
There’s no way that women wear cocktail dresses and heels as an arms race competition to garner sexual attention from men. And never-mind that men are more restricted as to sartorial choices in the workplace while women can wear almost anything–it’s somehow all part of the patriarchy. That’s just how nefarious and omnipresent the patriarchy is.
Old thread on Hanson’s blog on suits, status, and male vs. female wardrobes: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/12/suits-show-signal-scope.html
You said it brother, and very well said.
You should see how bad it is in both law and finance.
low style variance to minimize the chance of accidentally giving offense.
Mostly true. My suits are very conservative, but Hanson hasn’t seen my tie collection. The trick is knowing when “nice tie” means “nice tie” and when it means “hideous tie.”
The better trick is demonstrating self-confidence regardless of the tie reaction. I’ve managed to keep my job and my clients despite my ties, although I had to put my extensive pocket square collection in storage until the next style cycle comes round.
I keep a few solid ties at work for emergencies.
I find comfort in narrow clothing selection. My wife is amazed at how fast I can get dressed. Anything off the closet bar is good almost any day. Even my tie choices are quick and instinctive. She can’t figure out my shoes, but it’s very obvious – classic with classic, modern with modern.
Shouldn’t number three also be titled there is no great stagnation?
“American laws have become harsher and with better technology it is easier to track down a rioter; punishment is severe and sure.” Rahul, I wonder how effectively these disincentives will work if America’s demographic profile shifts in favour of the more troublesome ethnic groups.
Interesting that none of the couples pictured include anyone obese…
Major riots in America are about an order of magnitude more deadly than similar sized ones in Europe: e.g., the Rodney King Riot killed something like 53 people while the English looting last summer killed about 5. Americans, including immigrant shopkeepers (like the Koreans in 1992), are heavily armed, while gun control in Europe means that there is more violence but less homicide.
All those heavily armed people only deter violence during riots?
No, guns in the hands of Americans deter a number of types of crimes such as home invasions, which are much more common in Britain, especially outside big cities.
American whites appear to get in drunken brawls less than British whites, too. Of course, American fights are more likely to wind up with somebody shot.
Reminds me of A Clockwork Orange.
I don’t know (and I really, sincerely don’t know) if absolutes are the best way to go about measuring the lethality of protests. As a ratio of death to population size, those are actually fairly comperable levels of violence.
OTOH, our well-armed shopkeepers are a deterrent, whereas an English shopkeeper will probably be arrested if they defend themselves in any way.
They got off with defending themselves in last summer’s riots, but “they” seemed to be particularly Turks and Kurds. Whether native Brits would get off with it is quite a different question.
The L.A. “Riots” seemed to be more a case of opportunistic crime. I’m wondering about the nature of all of the murders during the L.A. Riots. How many of those were just opportunities to mask gang tensions behind widespread community mayhem?
Of possible interest, a breakdown of the races and causes of death during the L.A. Riots. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~oliver/soc220/Lectures220/AfricanAmericans/LA%20Riot%201992%20Deaths.htm
2. Partly social networks, partly better entertainment, partly cheap abundant food. Well-fed people who have better things to do don’t wreck the stuff of people they know.
But Dave, riots still happen in the US. The media just doesn’t cover them, because they rarely fit the narrative they want to build. There were riots just a couple months ago,
They’ve gotten a lot smaller, to the point it’s not clear they should be called “riots.”
Really? Can you list them? Actual violent protests with large amounts of property damage? Busted in shop windows, trashed cars, etc?
Why not demographics as an explanation? Isn’t there often a youth bulge behind riots? What about the flash mobs? They’re lots of mini-riots.
Flash mobs weren’t riots. Those were group attacks. I tend to think that riots are means gone awry while attacks have ends in mind. A riot ensues if one group hits the streets in protest of something and is met with pushback from either citizens or police. Flash mobs were not instances of pushback from either; they were just out-and-out assaults.
Can it be a riot if there weren’t any injuries nor property damage? Flash mobs have neither.
Many injuries out there.
You’re thinking of flash mobs as they were originally intended to be performed. Planned public synchronized dancing or pillow fights, etc. The other type of flash mob is one where random “youths” swarm innocent bystanders, retail stores, convenience stores and cause mayhem for nothing more than shits and giggles.
Right. I wasn’t aware of this violent mutation.
“Why don’t Americans riot any more?”
We do. Just because the news media didn’t really cover the riots and fires in oakland doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.
You are kidding right? The media covered the occupy clowns for months and they didn’t even tell us why! NPR continues to air shows like ‘tell us your occupying experience’ and things like that.
Please, give us more details on these crazy riots happening throughout the US that are not being covered.
The occupy movement wasn’t riots with the exception of what happened in Oakland with the unions. That didn’t really get covered because there was so much coverage of the other Occupy groups.
Occupy a book. Figure out The Fed. Explain it to me. Then we’ll be getting somewhere.
I’m not concerned about The 1 percent. I’m concerned about The 1 Person. The Fed Chair.
So what are the riots we are missing then?
My French co-worker was commenting on the propensity of Paris youths of undetermined ethnic extraction to burn cars on New Year’s Eve. It was decided that
to publish results on the number of cars burnt was a method of keeping score. Further, if score is kept, then perhaps said youths will try harder next year
to surpass last year’s score and so set a record.
Not just New Years. On any given night, Paris has a rather high level of cars being torched.
5. Can we get Tyler & Natasha?
2. Obesity! (lol, jk, really population density)
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