Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Violence and Wealth

Got involved in a comment thread at Ta-Nehesi Coates' blog yesterday, particularly with a commenter who argued wealth was the key factor in whether a neighborhood was violent or not.  Since the thread has dwindled to an end, I thought I'd post a thought experiment here:

Consider all the professional athletes in the US, many are in the top 1 percent of income, most of the rest would be in the top 5 percent.  The athletes come from varied backgrounds, but few come from parents who themselves were in the top 5 percent.  I'd love to see a sociologist determine the violent crime rate among such athletes with the crime rate in enclaves of the 5 percent, and the average background of the athletes (say 30th percentile?).  I suspect, but don't know, that the rate of the athletes would be closer to the 5 percent rate than to  the rate of the 30th percentile, which would be the influence of wealth, but there would still be a significant difference, which would be the influence of culture/society and other factors.

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