Assorted links


3. First thing I thought of was "Newfie steak".

"4. America is a violent country."

Misleading title? My understanding is that the US assault rate is average for the OCED, but that the death rate is higher.

We Americans are a can-do sort of people, who are excellent at accomplishing goals.

Yes, many more murders but often fewer other violent or property crimes.

"DC Safe Except For Murders"

Where would you rather live?

Country A: 20% chance of being mugged every year and .005% chance of being murdered
Country B: 10% chance of being mugged every year and .01% chance of being murdered

Add in the fact that the average murder in the US is probably more easily avoided (by, say, not being a gang member) than the average mugging.

Fantasy numbers.

The British have over 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 population. America, 470. Let's say four times as much.

The British gun homicide rate - excluding suicides but including things like self defense - is 0.04 per hundred thousand. The US rate is 3.7. Let's say 80 times as much.

I still think I would prefer the US figures to the UK figures. Especially as the US figures are largely due to two racial communities. Gang bangers killing other gang bangers is not something that interferes with most people's lives (and which most people don't seem to care much about as the most lightly punished homicides in America are those of urban New Jersey African-American youth, killed by other urban New Jersey African-American youth, in particular if they are represented by the public defender (ie they all plead down to some other offense besides murder)).

Information is lost when you aggregate. The variance in crime rates across cities is different between the two. Choosing between the US and the UK is one thing. Choosing between a major US city and a major UK city is another. Maybe you'd pick the US over the UK in aggregate, but if you had to choose between London, Nottingham, New Castle, and Manchester on one hand or Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, or Memphis on the other, the story may change. (Those are, I believe, the cities with the highest crime rates from each country).

Not all assaults are created equal. A bar brawl in Ireland and a shootout between two armed militias (e.g. MS-13 and the Crips) both contribute to the assault rate. The latter is significantly more likely to produce deaths. I would argue that by most common usages the latter also qualifies as more "violent."

Yes, but as long as no innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire nobody's going to care if the latter situation results in death.

My guess is that having a bunch of Trinitarios on a block hurts property values more than having a rowdy pub where patrons are known to swing.

Where the patrons are known to swing? Surely that would attract a lot of a certain type of people and so push up prices? What is the house next to the Playboy Mansion worth?

The U.S. has a lower violent crime rate than Europe and less than half the violent crime rate of Canada.

Well, the UK considers an 'affray' without physical violence to be a violent crime, as noted in the article itself (in other words, an affray can be two people shouting at each other). And in the U.S., such an incident would not be recorded as a crime, but is generally considered to fall well within the realm of consitutionally protected speech, or at most, something along the lines of disturbing the peace, which is not a violent crime.

So, the comparison is not quite on the fantasy level, but I bet NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia together could beat the entire mother country's number of 'affrays' on a daily basis, thus having a much higher violent crime rate.


There is a 4 way stop that I pass every day. Some days/nights there is a woman bumming rides. The first time I saw her I thought she was in real trouble. She tried to force her way into my car. She carried a Bible to show she's a good person. I sped off, she dropped her Bible in my car. That's 6 years ago and she's still there.

The comparable is not the OECD, it's certain carefully chosen members of the OECD; excluded are Poland, Slovakia, Turnkey, Mexico, Hungary, Estonia. No explanation for why the U.S. was unable to exclude Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

It's not gun laws, it's our unique culture. Hence the effectiveness of gun laws in the totally alien culture of the UK.

But Britain used to have very light gun laws and people still didn't murder people with guns very much: Hungerford was an exception. Then a mad gunman slaughtered children at Dunblane and the government banned pistols (though of course criminals still use them), when an obvious policy to try instead was to censor all reporting of gun slaughters from the US. Other policy options might have been (i) to shrug, or (ii) to look again at the laws about locking up loonies, or - and here I propose something radical - (iii) applying the existing gun laws competently.

Blacks commit half the US murders. Only accounting for that cuts our murder rate in half to about double that of UK. We've accounted for one thing so far.


"The real aim is not freedom of choice for workers but the freedom of employers to operate in whatever way they please without interference from their employees."

Why not both?

"All the state law does is make it possible for workers to opt out of paying their fair share of the cost of negotiating and implementing contracts."

Factually incorrect. Most states actually require non-members to pay the costs associated with exactly those activities. What they opt out of are lobbying, political spending, and other such union activities.

I, for one, am happy that we are seeing wage equalization for unskilled labor worldwide. If there are no jobs left for those evil foreigners to "steal", maybe the lower classes will acquiesce to open immigration.

Well, the Michigan law removed the requirement for non-members to pay dues for negotiating activities, although the law requires the union to negotiate on behalf of members and non-members alike.

I suppose one could argue that, for example, the UAW in negotiating very much lower wages for newer workers but no or little concessions for those with seniority, that the newer workers may have rational reasons to not pay dues. Their interests are not being represented, now they have the option of not paying for the negotiations ostensibly done on their behalf.

This legislation puts the union in the uncomfortable position of justifying it's existence. They haven't done very well even with more friendly legislation.

I personally think that unions are a necessary counterweight giving some power to employees. But the way the unions in North America act seems to be profoundly counterproductive. I belonged to a union at one time and found their thinking and tactics just plain stupid, and ultimately the jobs that we did disappeared as a result. My dues were wasted.

given that it's already law that unions can negotiate contracts for "members only" and now workers are not forced into joining/paying union dues. Can a group of workers start/join their own competing union? What would that mean to an employer who would not have to negotiate with two competing unions? how about workers being able to choose which union benefits them the most?

There have been competing unions in the past. I don't know the details. It is not already law that unions can negotiate contracts for "members only" however- except in the case of multiple unions.

@#4: Australia is an OECD country more violent than the USA but is not shown. See for yourself: - now ask yourself, why are the Kiwis so much more peaceful?

Melanesians across the world have significantly higher violence rates than Polynesians. Australia's indigenous population is the former, New Zealand's indigenous population is the latter. But this trend holds in many other countries. Port Moresby, PNG is probably the most crime-ridden city on Earth. Honolulu has the lowest murder rate of any major city in the US. Fiji and the Solomon Islands are super-dangerous. French Polynesia and Tonga are generally pretty safe.

From what I've heard about Hawaii, the real troublemakers are the Micronesians.

With the exception of a tiny population on Islands north of the Australian mainland, Indigenous Australians aren't Melanesian.

Besides that, the Indigenous proportion of the population of Australia is far lower than NZ, limiting the contribution of Indigenous Australian's to the overall crime rate.

"America is a violent country"

That's one framing. Another is: "Violence in America is declining rapidly". Rates have been cut in half since their peak and, if current trends continue, rates will match those of other OECD countries with 10-15 years. The takeaway of that chart appears to be that in order to reduce violence the U.S. should....keep doing whatever it's currently doing (which has obviously been working very well).

Mostly, we've just been getting older. There are natural limits to this strategy.

I wondered about age also. Wondered if the out-of-pattern upward bump in Korea was correlated with a "baby boom" about 20 yrs before.

Doesn't the number of singapore millionaires partly just reflect the wealth from mandated retirement saving in private accounts? for instance, if we included the net present value of all Social Security and other government transfers, how many more people would be millionaires in the US?

You mean count everything in the "lockbox"?

From the original report (linked from Sumner's), the answer would seem to be "no". They are counting by "private financial wealth", defined as follows: "Private financial wealth includes cash and deposits, money market funds, listed securities held directly or indirectly through managed investments, and other onshore and offshore assets." (p. 9).

This massive pool of saving would need useful outlets. There’s only so many more car factories or office buildings or shopping centers that could plausible be built. At some point the money would flood over (perhaps through public–private partnerships) into infrastructure, medical research, new energy alternatives, education, environmental cleanup and lots of other forms of “investment” that liberals favor.

i.e. a series of catastrophic asset bubbles.

It can work in Singapore as they are a very tiny country. It can’t work in US as global capital markets wouldn't be able to absorb capital on such a vast scale.

Conservatives should be very afraid of moving toward a Singapore type system as the resulting catastrophic assets bubbles will result, like they did with FDR and Obama, in a hard left turn by the electorate.

Why would an increase in savings automatically lead to a series of catastrophic bubbles? You seem to be saying that markets would suddenly stop working given enough capitol.

Why would an increase in savings automatically lead to a series of catastrophic bubbles?

It sure seems like a global quest for yield was a significant contributor to the recent financial crisis.

It has become clear from several recent items that Tyler has started listening to the CBC, the question is why now?

Particularly when hockey is not available, removing the vast majority of the motivation...

Oh come on there are lots of reasons to listen to the CBC other than hockey. They have exciting coverage of the lockout and are many fascinating stories about potash, and without the CBC I would have completely forgotten about The Tragically Hip, Triumph, and Max Webster.

Union agreements with private firms are one thing, those made with government entities are quite another. Every unelected, unappointed position in the public sector should be up for bid annually, with the job going to the low bidder, just as it is for any other commodity: paper clips, pencils, printer cartridges, patrol cars, buildings, highway construction, etc.

4. America is a violent country.

The number one cause of injury death is suicide, in both civilian and military realms. The high level problem is social evolution in the wrong direction.

As Steven Pinker recently said on a bloggingheads episode in answering whether the U.S. was a violent country, you have to consider that there are two giant gaps in the U.S.: a north/south gap and a black/white gap.

Isn't the former mostly a consequence of the latter, though? Detroit's proximity to the Candian border doesn't seem to be having much effect on the murder rate there.

I'm guessing that's part of it, but I would also assume that southerners are more violent, even when controlling for race.

Re 4 I think a lot is just demographic. The large majority of violent crime is by young males (let's say age 15-30) and the US as a young country has more of these per capita.

Perhaps some public-spirited reader can convert the figures to violent crimes per 15-30 year old male?

#4. Sadly, this is a good way to summarize the situation: “It’s America, you know. That sort of thing happens there.”

Odd story. After citing several incedents in Europe, he calls it an American thing.
I guess we did make the top 5 :

Experience has taught me that violence and poverty is highest where the welfare state and the democrat machine are strongest in certain ethnic neighborhoods. Like the south side of Chicago. The welfare state leads in the production of poor, ignorant people. Their lives are planned out by the government. Born into a single parent family, a meal ticket to parent, largely left to their own devices as children, poorly educated, ready to step into gangs, prison and/or death on the streets.
The politicians say more taxes will solve everything.

If unions are so great, why do they have to force people to join them? Why do they force people to contribute to them? Why do they funnel money to certain political parties? Unions have the power to tax. I think they have plenty of power.

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