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Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Thomas Feiling
anti-communist, barriers to entry, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, illegal immigration, informal economy, inventory management, Kickstarter, land reform, Lao Tzu, mandatory minimum, moral panic, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Stanford prison experiment, trade route, upwardly mobile, yellow journalism
Its storylines are grounded in the writers’ shared experience of the crack epidemic that swept through the East Coast cities of the United States in the 1980s. Kurt Schmoke, who has a cameo role in the series, was mayor of Baltimore from 1987 to 1999. When I met him in November 2007, he told me that he shared the writers’ frustration at the state of local and national policy-making on the issue of drugs. ‘One of the things I had noticed as mayor is that for a city of 750,000 people we had a significant homicide problem that was related to drug sales and distribution. I had been a prosecutor for five years, throwing people in jail, and fighting the war on drugs as a traditional drug warrior, but the more we prosecuted and incarcerated, the less impact we seemed to be having on the problem. Unfortunately for me, the crack epidemic had hit Baltimore just about the time that I came into office.
They made little mention of America’s overflowing prisons, or the millions of unemployed, near-unemployable young Americans who feed and are fed by the drug economy. The country’s emaciated public schools and its crumbling infrastructure, key parts of the vicious circle driving the drug economy, warranted even less discussion. These issues need to be addressed, which is why a politician’s take on drug policy is perhaps a better gauge of his or her political convictions than any other. I started to map out the idea for a book about cocaine in 2006. The crack epidemic had inspired a lot of books about the American drugs trade in the 1990s. There was also a smaller, specialist literature that looked at the anti-drugs policies that the U.S. was pushing on Caribbean and Latin American countries. But no book that I could think of looked at all facets of the story: at the illegal production, distribution and consumption of cocaine around the world, their origins, drivers and consequences.
Cocaine’s place in the world has changed since the 1990s. Production is controlled by the actors in Colombia’s civil war to a greater degree than ever before. Distribution in the United States is controlled by Mexican cartels. The European market for cocaine has expanded over the past 10 years and West Africa has become a major staging post en route to Europe. Unlike the United States, European countries haven’t had to deal with a crack epidemic and this has affected Europeans’ attitudes to the drug, which are positively lackadaisical when compared to those of most Americans. The world-wide ban on hard drugs like cocaine has been orchestrated by Americans to fight very American drug problems. This has antagonised countries with quite different experiences of hard drugs. The peculiarities of the U.S. drug economy is the subject of the first third of the book.
This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim
airport security, Alexander Shulgin, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Burning Man, crack epidemic, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, failed state, global supply chain, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, mandatory minimum, new economy, New Urbanism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, women in the workforce
He cites the Drew story—“a man who had benefited medicine for all races died because of anti-black attitude”—and concludes that “[e]ven if a major investigation into the allegations is done, it is unlikely to quell the certainty among many African Americans that the government played a role in bringing the crack epidemic to black communities.” Nonetheless, the Post quelled the best it could, going after the portions of Webb’s story that most explicitly suggested a racist conspiracy against American citizens. In the process, it authored a myth of its own: that everything in “Dark Alliance” was wrong. The October 4 package’s lead piece, “CIA and Crack: Evidence Is Lacking of Contra-Tied Plot,” was written by Pincus and national-desk staffer Roberto Suro, who rejected “the idea that Blandón and Ross alone could have launched the crack epidemic.” Webb hadn’t reported exactly that, but he did note that cocaine “was virtually unobtainable in black neighborhoods before members of the CIA’s army started bring it into South Central in the 1980s at bargain basement prices.”
The market had become so flooded that the price of a gram of coke plummeted from $600 in 1982 to $400 in 1984. The coke industry pulled itself out of this apparent death spiral through an innovation that helped it reach thousands of new consumers: crack. Cheap and packing a quick punch, crack was the perfect $5, five-minute escape. It began to spread throughout the nation, especially in poor African American communities. Since the eighties, skeptics have cast doubt on the severity of the crack epidemic. In 1984, when coke use peaked in the United States, around 18 percent of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five had used cocaine, but the numbers for crack were much more modest. Monitoring the Future first began to break out crack as a category in 1986, when it found that 4.1 percent of high-school seniors had used it in the previous year. In 1987, the number was down to 3.9 percent.
Black radio hosts and audiences had met “Dark Alliance” with an I-knew-it-all-along reception that didn’t dull their outrage. The Congressional Black Caucus, led by Los Angeles Democrat Maxine Waters, demanded an investigation. (Waters even traveled to Nicaragua to conduct her own.) The head of the CIA traveled to South Central Los Angeles to meet with hundreds of residents packed into a huge community meeting, where he denied angry accusations that his agency had purposely caused the crack epidemic. Kurtz “initially got into this because black radio hosts and others were seizing on the Gary Webb series and making claims that went far beyond what he had actually reported,” he told me. “And the person who agreed with me on that was Gary Webb. . . . He considered me always to be fair to him.” The Post reporter explained that his effort was meant to be in defense of the media: “In the pre-blogging age, it was this surreal environment in which the mainstream media were being accused by critics of covering up or ignoring allegations involving the CIA that weren’t actually made by the San Jose Mercury News.”
More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws by John R. Lott
affirmative action, Columbine, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, G4S, gun show loophole, income per capita, More Guns, Less Crime, Sam Peltzman, selection bias, statistical model, the medium is the message, transaction costs
The results reported earlier in table 4.9 provide the information on how the right-to-carry laws aﬀected the crime rates across states. 10 Are the results valid only when Maine and Florida are included? I will try to summarize the argument here. Ian Ayres and John Donohue are concerned about the inclusion of Maine and Florida for several reasons: (1) the results discussed by Black and Nagin, (2) the issue of whether the crack epidemic might have just happened to cause the relative crime rates to rise in non-right-to-carry states in the late 1980s, and (3) objections to whether Cramer and Kopel were correct in classifying Maine as a right-to-carry state. To satisfy their concerns, Ayres and Donohue use several diﬀerent approaches, such as dropping both Maine and Florida out of the sample. They also divide the shall-issue dummy variable into two separate variables: a variable to measure the average before-and-after crime rates for those states that adopted their right-to carry laws before December 1987 (Maine and Florida) and a similar variable to measure the average before-and-after crime rates for those states that adopted their crime rates after December 1987.
For example, two-thirds of the states whose right-to-carry laws went into eﬀect during either the 1980s or 1990s saw drops in robbery rates. One of the two states whose laws went into eﬀect after 2000 also showed a drop, while the other, Missouri, showed no change. This pattern casts doubt on the claim that the crack cocaine epidemic during the late 1980s and early 1990s is driving the results, because these results show drops in crime rates whether the right-to-carry laws went into eﬀect before, during, or after the crack epidemic. Figure 10.2 shows the pattern for murder rates by the decade that the right-to-carry law went into eﬀect. It graphs out what was shown in table 10.5a. Clearly, the murder rates start falling after the law, though 276 | CHAPTER TEN Table 10.6 The impact of right-to-carry laws on victimization costs (millions of 2007 dollars) Murder Alaska Arizona Arkansas Colorado Florida Georgia Idaho Kentucky Louisiana Maine Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nevada New Mexico North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia West Virginia Wyoming Total Average per state Per capita Excluding Florida: Total Average per state Per capita Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Property crime –$36.91 –$67.35 –$795.17 –$110.29 –$19.85 –$182.53 –$28.61 $127.33 –$137.97 –$1.26 –$258.63 $38.05 –$42.19 $104.84 –$264.70 –$6,652.83 –$1,490.79 $3.50 –$18.56 –$547.55 –$31.41 –$289.53 –$127.05 –$122.11 –$1,795.62 –$118.89 –$2.61 –$3.15 –$107.19 $11.93 –$3,368.81 –$208.35 $3.78 $28.72 –$128.08 –$6.57 –$149.53 $40.88 –$53.45 $4.06 –$6.90 $153.92 –$42.26 $123.29 $0.00 $212.79 –$2,834.34 –$0.63 $6.84 $10.73 –$70.19 –$1.13 –$153.37 $0.00 –$12.96 –$4.33 –$158.07 $70.39 –$126.29 $270.82 –$707.18 –$168.72 –$492.25 $195.55 –$282.37 –$3,263.15 –$37.02 –$421.56 –$122.35 $2.39 –$15,419.92 –$571.11 –$111.38 $0.24 –$48.00 –$11.31 –$90.48 –$37.24 –$202.90 –$30.24 –$2.71 –$71.77 –$209.50 –$882.25 $27.97 $33.52 –$21.28 –$5.69 –$4,030.40 –$155.02 –$29.11 –$131.82 –$67.03 $89.37 $43.31 –$50.29 –$1,566.65 $14.15 $43.51 –$5.37 –$0.07 –$5,392.38 –$215.70 –$38.95 $16.46 –$235.82 –$8.33 –$200.92 $8.73 –$100.52 –$189.06 $147.51 –$332.01 $332.65 –$135.67 $29.44 $19.91 $0.00 $3.23 –$433.91 –$14.96 –$3.13 $14.10 –$48.57 $8.13 –$106.80 –$2.81 –$316.14 $38.63 $61.49 –$42.53 –$132.71 –$1,619.63 –$3.00 $40.54 –$8.16 $0.17 –$5,374.38 –$185.32 –$38.82 –$8,767.10 –$337.20 –$63.33 –$2,234.78 –$89.39 –$16.14 –$2,023.58 –$84.32 –$14.62 –$474.78 –$16.96 –$3.43 –$2,540.04 –$90.72 –$18.35 –$82.40 –$68.16 $33.72 –$0.01 –$0.08 –$67.20 $140.17 Note: Except for the per capita estimates, all dollar amounts are in millions of dollars.
Research conducted by Steve Bronars and John Lott examined the crime rates for neighboring counties . . . on either side of a state border. When the counties adopting the law experienced a drop in violent crime, neighboring counties directly on the other side of the border without right-to-carry laws experienced an increase. . . . Ayres and Donohue argue that diﬀerent parts of the country may have experienced diﬀerential impacts from the crack epidemic. Yet, if there are two urban counties next to each other, how can the crack cocaine hypothesis explain why one urban county faces a crime increase from drugs, when the neighboring urban county is experiencing a drop? Such isolation would be particularly surprising as criminals can easily move between these counties. . . . Even though Lott gave Ayres and Donohue the cocaine price data from 1977 to 1992, they have never reported using it.
Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
So he may have felt he couldn’t afford to have his authority challenged in their presence, even by a senior citizen whose legs probably couldn’t buy him one lap around a high-school track. Still, J.T.’s explanation seemed so alien to me that I felt I was watching a scene from The Godfather. By now it was nearly a year since I’d started hanging out with J.T.’s gang. It was 1990, which was roughly the peak of the crack epidemic in Chicago and other big U.S. cities. Black and Latino gangs including the Kings, the Cobras, the Disciples, the Vice Lords, the MCs (Mickey Cobras), and even the Stones, which had been temporarily dismantled a few years earlier, were capitalizing on a huge demand for crack and making a lot of money. In the old days, a teenager with an appetite for trouble might have gotten involved in vandalism or shoplifting; now he was more likely to be involved in the drug trade.
And the neighbor who might have yelled at that misbehaving teenager in the old days was less likely to do so, since that kid might well be carrying a gun. Politicians, academics, and law-enforcement officials all offered policy solutions, to little avail. The liberal-minded deployed their traditional strategies—getting young people back into school and finding them entry-level jobs—but few gang members were willing to trade in their status and the prospect of big money for menial work. Conservatives attacked the crack epidemic by supporting mass arrests and hefty prison sentences. This certainly took some dealers off the streets, but there was always a surplus of willing and eager replacements. The national mood had grown increasingly desperate—and punitive. Prosecutors won the right to treat gangs as organized criminal groups, which produced longer prison sentences. Judges gave the police permission to conduct warrantless searches and to round up suspected gang members who were hanging out in public spaces.
Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case, Angus Deaton
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, business cycle, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, crack epidemic, creative destruction, crony capitalism, declining real wages, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, obamacare, pensions crisis, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, universal basic income, working-age population, zero-sum game
Wilson attributes the problems faced by the inner-city black community to “the large scale and harmful changes in the labor market, and its resulting spatial concentration as well as the isolation of such areas from the more affluent parts of the black community.”6 Writing about the parallel today, the economist Raghuram Rajan notes that talented and well-educated young people have headed to the growing, successful, high-tech towns and cities.7 African American inner-city communities faced a crisis of crack cocaine in the 1980s. The crack epidemic shows both contrasts and parallels with the current opioid epidemic. Crack was cheap and offered an immediate high that was highly addictive. Crime rates increased, as those addicted looked for money for their next fix. As crack dealers fought for a place on a street corner, homicide rates among young black men spiked. While crack is still available and remains a scourge, the epidemic largely burned itself out by the mid-1990s.
With globalization, changing technology, rising healthcare costs of employees, and the shift from manufacturing to services, firms shed less educated labor, first blacks and then less educated whites. In both epidemics, drugs that could ease psychological or physical pain were available at an (arguably) affordable price to populations that were hungry for the escape that they seemed to offer. During the crack epidemic, the inner city offered few legitimate avenues of progress. In the opioid crisis, it is less educated whites, many of whom do not see a promising economic future, or a promising future in any aspect of their lives, who are falling prey to drugs, alcohol, and suicide. We should also not exaggerate the similarities, especially when we are comparing blacks and whites today. Deaths of despair include suicides, and these differ markedly by race.
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Broken windows theory, Charles Lindbergh, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, fear of failure, Ferguson, Missouri, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, jitney, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, moral panic, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, War on Poverty, white flight
In seeming to abandon scholarship for rhetoric, Moynihan had plenty of company among social scientists and political pundits. James Q. Wilson, the noted social scientist and a co-creator of the “broken windows” theory of policing, retreated to abstract moralizing and tautology. “Drug use is wrong because it is immoral,” he claimed, “and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul.” Others went further. “The inner-city crack epidemic is now giving birth to the newest horror,” the Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer declaimed: “A bio-underclass, a generation of physically damaged cocaine babies whose biological inferiority is stamped at birth.” In this way, “the crime-stained blackness of the Negro” lived on to haunt white America. In 1995, Adam Walinsky, a politically liberal lawyer who had been an aide to Senator Robert F.
But the argument that America’s original sin was not deep-seated white supremacy but rather the exploitation of white labor by white capitalists—“white slavery”—proved durable. Indeed, the panic of white slavery lives on in our politics today. Black workers suffer—if it can be called that—because it was and is our lot. But when white workers suffer, something in nature has gone awry. And so an opioid epidemic is greeted with a call for treatment and sympathy, as all epidemics should be, while a crack epidemic is greeted with a call for mandatory minimums and scorn. Op-ed columns and articles are devoted to the sympathetic plight of working class whites when their life expectancy approaches levels that, for blacks, society simply accepts as normal. White slavery is sin. Nigger slavery is natural. This dynamic serves a very real purpose—the consistent awarding of grievance and moral high ground to that class of workers who, by the bonds of whiteness, stands closest to America’s master class.
The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell
1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, computer age, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, desegregation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, George Gilder, global value chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, immigration reform, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, new economy, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, pre–internet, profit motive, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game
Starting in the early 1960s, an astonishing spike in crime, in which blacks made up a disproportionate share of both perpetrators and victims, took on aspects of a national emergency. The emergency would pass through various stages: the looting episodes in Memphis that preceded the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, and a new wave of deadly riots that followed it, the Attica Prison Revolt of 1971, the New York blackout of 1977, the crack epidemic of 1986, the Los Angeles “Rodney King” riots of 1992, O. J. Simpson’s acquittal in his 1995 murder trial. After that, crime rates fell in general, but the overrepresentation of blacks in the criminal statistics never went away. By 2011, toward the end of Barack Obama’s first term in office, blacks, who make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, still accounted for 39 percent of the arrests for violent crime.
It give birth to an entire new world-spanning genre: “gangsta” rap, which would echo through the banlieues of Paris and the dusty villages of West Africa; turn Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls into symbols of the inner city’s violence but also its romance, wisdom, and swagger; and vie with rock ’n’ roll for a while before rap (more generally understood) supplanted rock as the music of American youth of all races. The crack epidemic was at least as serious a problem as the 1970s heroin spike, with a death-by-overdose rate reaching almost 2 per 100,000. By the time of the 2016 election, which it did much to decide, the opioid epidemic that had begun with OxyContin was killing not 1.5 or 2 but 20 Americans per 100,000. In New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania it was killing almost 40 per 100,000, and in West Virginia it was killing 50.
The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher
Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, commoditize, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional, Zipcar
In Boston, a West Coast development firm is building a twenty-story residential tower in Fort Point, the former industrial district that was the setting for much of the Martin Scorsese movie The Departed. This is, of course, a stark contrast to the destruction and decay that once plagued our cities, which in the ’60s saw street riots, in the ’70s suffered from white flight, and in the ’80s and ’90s experienced an influx of crime, prostitution, and a crack epidemic that ravaged urban areas across our nation. It’s hard to imagine now, but in New York, it wasn’t all that long ago that Times Square was dangerous, prostitutes trolled the Meatpacking District, and Central Park’s Belvedere Castle was boarded up and covered with graffiti. In 1975, the New York Daily News ran the now-famous headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” referring to Gerald Ford’s reluctance to bail the city out from bankruptcy and encapsulating a sentiment that our cities weren’t worth saving.
With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald
Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Clive Stafford Smith, collateralized debt obligation, Corrections Corporation of America, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Brooks, deskilling, financial deregulation, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, nuremberg principles, Ponzi scheme, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks
“The drug problem has become so widespread that the FBI must assume a larger role in attacking the problem,” declared FBI director William Webster in 1981. The DEA grew very rapidly in the 1980s, relocating from a modest downtown Washington building into a sprawling northern Virginia complex. Strident warnings about the drug trade, particularly the melodramatic 1980s media jeremiads about the “crack epidemic,” further fueled the law-and-order movement. Multiple new laws, including the Anti-Drug Abuse acts of 1986 and 1988, imposed draconian minimum sentence requirements on those convicted of trafficking in illicit substances or even merely possessing relatively small amounts of them. But it was the 1988 presidential election that cemented law and order as American orthodoxy. A prime cause for the defeat of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis was the George Bush campaign’s vilification of the Massachusetts governor as “soft on crime,” which it accomplished through the infamous television ad featuring Willie Horton.
Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding
According to Willamette Week, the Oregonian’s reliance on “bad statistics and a rhetoric of crisis . . . has skewed the truth [and] rearranged governmental spending priorities, perhaps without justification.” Newspaper columnists from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Miami Herald agreed. John Tierney of the Times lamented that, thanks to meth, politicans had “lost sight of their duties.” Glenn Garvin of the Herald called the Oregonian’s coverage “nonsensical.” Craig Reinarman, whose criticism of the Reagan administration’s response to the crack epidemic was put forth in the book Crack in America, worried that the exorbitant meth coverage by papers like the Oregonian had further directed money to law enforcement and prison, and “away from the underlying sources of people’s troubles,” as he told Willamette Week. No one was more critical of the nation’s meth coverage than Jack Shafer of Slate.com, whose weekly columns tried to disprove every study on which the concept of a meth epidemic had stood.
The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt
anti-communist, big-box store, British Empire, crack epidemic, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Frank Gehry, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, McMansion, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Peter Calthorpe, postindustrial economy, Richard Florida, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, white flight, working poor, young professional
In the aftermath of the blackout rampage, the half-empty streets of Bushwick became more crime- and drug-ridden than before. Knickerbocker Avenue, so recently a thriving commercial thoroughfare, degenerated into an open-air drug-dealing mall known as “the Well” and tightly controlled by the ruthless and widely despised crime boss Carmine Galante, who was finally gunned down while having lunch on the patio of Joe and Mary’s Restaurant at 205 Knickerbocker in 1979. Nothing much improved in the 1980s. The crack epidemic led to a still higher surge of violent crime, with seventy-seven murders in the neighborhood in 1990 alone. Bushwick differed from the South Bronx only in its failure to achieve national notoriety, and in its relative obscurity even to the residents of the other boroughs of New York City. Hardly anyone set foot in Bushwick who didn’t have to. The following decade brought a few signs of hope.
The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy by Peter Temin
"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, clean water, corporate raider, Corrections Corporation of America, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, full employment, income inequality, intangible asset, invisible hand, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, mortgage debt, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nixon shock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Powell Memorandum, price stability, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, the scientific method, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, white flight, working poor
The Civil Rights Movement that Johnson supported led to legislation that granted blacks legal rights to equal citizenship, but these laws were followed by the War on Drugs that generated a new system of mass incarceration that continued the Jim Crow tradition. By 2000, one out of three black men was spending time in jail. The rise of mass imprisonment put great pressure on many black families, and led to social as well as economic problems.11 Nixon proclaimed the War on Drugs just as the Great Migration ended. Reagan and state governments expanded the war in the 1980s as the crack epidemic grew. Blacks were (and are) far more likely to be arrested for drug offenses than whites. At the same time, industry began to decline in the American Midwest, in what is now called the Rust Bowl, and the jobs that blacks came north to find began to disappear. They found conditions in the North better than in the South, but not as good as they had hoped. The enduring reach of racecraft can be seen in the treatment of immigrants, even though biologists have not been able to provide a satisfactory definition of race that includes all members of a given race and excludes all others.
The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, women in the workforce, Y2K
Then there is the opioid epidemic, which swept across the unhappiest parts of white America without anyone noticing because the drug itself quiets rather than inflames, supplying a gentle euphoria that lets its users simply slip away, day by day and bit by bit, without causing anyone any trouble. It’s not that there aren’t bursts of violence associated with the opioid trade, or addicts willing to commit murder for a fix. But, generally, Americans have ended up dying in record numbers from opioids without the kind of crime wave or murder spike, without the turbulence and chaos, that accompanied the crack epidemic. As the essayist Andrew Sullivan wrote for New York magazine in 2018, “The drugs now conquering America are downers: they are not the means to engage in life more vividly but to seek a respite from its ordeals.” And unlike pot, opioids are antisocial drugs, offering bliss that’s best experienced in solitude. Instead of the munchies, they make you indifferent to food; instead of supercharging the libido, they make you indifferent to sex.
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
back-to-the-land, crack epidemic, David Attenborough, dumpster diving, Golden Gate Park, haute cuisine, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mason jar, McMansion, New Urbanism, Port of Oakland, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, urban decay, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog
To cap off the destruction, they built an expressway and highways 24 and 980 through predominantly African American neighborhoods. Melvin and Ali said this so-called development bisected communities, ruined businesses, and destroyed the close-knit community that had thrived for years. There was no question that these neighborhoods had been slated for destruction because they were the least politically powerful. Later came the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Melvin and Ali got out a photo history of the Black Panthers and paged through it with me. Here was Lil’ Bobby Hutton, killed by the police though he was unarmed. Here was a Black Panther rally, everyone sporting a gun. Violence begetting more violence. Riding back to my farm in GhostTown, I took Shattuck instead of Martin Luther King, which led to a newly developed corner of North Oakland called Temescal.
Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler by Ethan Brown
Instead, he seems to be upset that the feds believe a street hustler from the eighties, not Lorenzo himself, is responsible for The Inc.’s string of multiplatinum successes in the nineties and beyond. “Back in the eighties, ’Preme was the legend,” Irv proclaims, thumping his desk with his fist loudly for effect, “but guess what? I’m the fucking legend now.” Irv’s bravado is often reminiscent of both Scarface and Sunset Boulevard but there is a great deal of truth to it. During the eighties the crack epidemic brought mountains of cash to drug dealers big and small, thus making hustlers iconic. Though a few eighties-era MCs possessed a street pedigree—rapper Rakim famously rhymed, “I used to be a stick-up kid/So I think of all the devious things I did”— hip-hop and hustling inhabited separate social spheres. Street guys went about their business and ignored the hip-hoppers; they considered rappers soft and not street savvy, while the rap business, which struggled to make money at start-up independent labels such as 4th and Broadway, Tommy Boy, and Def Jam, seemed to them a grind with no real payday in sight.
Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty First Century City by Anna Minton
Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, call centre, crack epidemic, credit crunch, deindustrialization, East Village, energy security, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, ghettoisation, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kickstarter, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, race to the bottom, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Spirit Level, trickle-down economics, University of East Anglia, urban decay, urban renewal, white flight, white picket fence, World Values Survey, young professional
The clean-up of New York was attributed to Bratton and Giuliani’s use of the ‘broken windows’ approach, though this has been challenged since, not least by Steven Levitt in Freakonomics. 36 Recent studies show that Broken Windows was not responsible for the clean-up of New York and no evidence has been put forward to show that this approach to policing cuts crime. Instead researchers point out that crime began falling in most major US cities from the early 1990s and fell more sharply in places like San Diego, which didn’t crackdown on small offences. The conclusion from a number of studies is that the fall in crime in New York, and in other cities, was down to the reduction of the crack epidemic.37 During the same period researchers found that complaints against police misconduct, for surveillance policies such as stop-and-search and dispersal, rose by 37 per cent, lowering trust between the police and community.38 In the UK, according to figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a record number of allegations against police were made for 2007/8, more than since records began in 1985, with a rise of nearly 25 per cent relating to the use of stop-and-search.39 Although few questions have been asked here, in the US even the pioneers of Broken Windows no longer agree with each other.
Everything's Trash, but It's Okay by Phoebe Robinson
23andMe, Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, double helix, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft
Golf takes place at basically all-white country clubs (except for the staff, who are “conveniently” 95 percent people of color) and consists of a lot of middle-aged white dudes walking in pleated khakis for long stretches of time while a person of color carries all their shit and an umbrella to shade them from the summer heat. Y’all, I ain’t got time in 2018 to see a bunch of rich white dudes try to low-key bring back the cute parts of colonialism the way fashion is like, “Hahahaha! Everyone forget about the crack epidemic of the eighties and just focus on us putting shoulder pads back in women’s blazers so you all look like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.” No. Fucking. Thanks. Golf.* So to recap, I like most sports except golf and, while we’re at it, NASCAR (but I think it’s obvious by now why I wouldn’t be into that one either). But that’s not the point I’m getting at. What I find highly irritating is that when you’re a woman and a sports fan, dudes want you to prove that you’re really into the game before they’ll believe you.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
airport security, Broken windows theory, crack epidemic, desegregation, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, longitudinal study, mental accounting, moral hazard, More Guns, Less Crime, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pets.com, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, school choice, sensible shoes, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, War on Poverty
(Perhaps just as valuable, he was also able to identify the good teachers.) The Chicago school system, rather than disputing Levitt’s findings, invited him into the schools for retesting. As a result, the cheaters were fired. Then there is his forthcoming “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990’s: Four Factors That Explain the Decline and Seven That Do Not.” The entire drop in crime, Levitt says, was due to more police officers, more prisoners, the waning crack epidemic and Roe v. Wade. One factor that probably didn’t make a difference, he argues, was the innovative policing strategy trumpeted in New York by Rudolph Giuliani and William Bratton. “I think,” Levitt says, “I’m pretty much alone in saying that.” He comes from a Minneapolis family of high, if unusual, achievers. His father, a medical researcher, is considered a leading authority on intestinal gas.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell
Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, borderless world, crack epidemic, Ferguson, Missouri, financial thriller, light touch regulation, Mahatma Gandhi, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Ponzi scheme, Renaissance Technologies, Snapchat
The study came out as violent crime was beginning its long, hard, two-decade surge across the United States, and it fed into the growing feeling among people in law enforcement that the task before them was overwhelming. They had thought they could prevent crime with police patrols, but now the Kansas City PD had tested that assumption empirically, and patrols turned out to be a charade. And if patrols didn’t work, what did? Lee Brown, chief of the New York City Police Department, gave a famous interview in the middle of the crack epidemic in which he all but threw up his hands. “This country’s social problems are well beyond the ability of the police to deal with on their own,” Brown said. He had read George Kelling’s Kansas City report. It was hopeless. No matter how many police officers a city had, Brown said, “You could never have enough to use traditional policing techniques to deter crime.…If you don’t have a police officer to cover every part of the city all the time, the chance of an officer on patrol coming across a crime in progress is very small.”
Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif
1960s counterculture, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, income inequality, informal economy, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, Ronald Reagan, technoutopianism, telemarketer, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, white flight
Gangsterization corresponded to the Wall Street fantasy of new private wealth through market economies and an entrepreneurship of pure will, not industry and productivity. In its other dimension, of course, gangster crime was a consequence and representation of the economic abandonment of the bulk of black America, everybody who had not yet reached the institutional uplift of higher education or the stability of middle- and upper-class wealth. Its drug was crack. Scholars have shown in the decades since the so-called crack epidemic that the instant addiction, violent madness, and “crack babies” attributed to the drug at the time were overblown or fake. Crack wasn’t very different chemically from the cocaine from which it was made. Crack’s significance was its business model. This was a capitalist innovation, though one at the level of cottage industry. The crack decade, from about 1986 to 1996, was like the result of a discovery that one could take available but expensive sirloin and turn it into an enormous quantity of cheap, adulterated meatballs, for a tiny population of hardcore buyers desperate for access to meat.
Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death From the ER by Pamela Grim
This meant that, in addition to the usual domestic type of violence you have in any ER, we saw terrible things: machete slashings, butcher-knife dismemberings, Uzi slayings, cop-versus-bad-guy shootouts, four- or five-year-old kids riddled with bullets and clearly too dead to even think about trying to resuscitate. Bosnia had nothing on this swath of ghetto except maybe a few more land mines and a few less Uzis. That summer we saw the first wave of the crack epidemic coming through, watched the early stages of destruction of a generation from our unique vantage point. Sometimes we saw crack addicts with acute symptoms: a myocardial infarction in an otherwise healthy thirty-four-year-old man; exacerbation of psychotic symptoms in a schizophrenic. Mostly, though, we saw the crack-heads when they were at the end of the line—badly addicted, broke, strung out.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton
bitcoin, blockchain, crack epidemic, Edward Snowden, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Ross Ulbricht, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the market place, trade route, Travis Kalanick, white picket fence, WikiLeaks
Within a matter of hours after Gary entered the world, chaos ensued, with looting, riots, and arson sweeping across New York’s boroughs. (Gary used to joke with people that “I shut the city down when I was born!”) On top of the riots and power outages, New York was also being haunted that summer by a serial killer nicknamed the Son of Sam. Gary didn’t last long in the housing projects. In the 1980s his family moved farther east, to Canarsie, after colorful crack vials from New York’s rising crack epidemic had started to line the gutters around Stillwell Avenue, where they lived. Now, thirty years later, Gary sat amid the faded green and white cubicles at 290 Broadway, checking his e-mail (reading each one three times) and finishing up reports from previous investigations that involved people who had tried to hide money from the U.S. government in far-off countries. But while Gary’s morning had begun like any other, it was about to change drastically.
The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets by Thomas Philippon
airline deregulation, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, commoditize, crack epidemic, cross-subsidies, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, gig economy, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, intangible asset, inventory management, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, law of one price, liquidity trap, low cost airline, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, price discrimination, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game
The Opioid Epidemic Regulatory capture can have more sinister consequences. Some of the worst have manifested during the opioid epidemic, which has been spreading rapidly through the US since the early 2000s. The opioid epidemic is the worst overdose epidemic in US history. Overdose deaths from prescription opioid pain relievers nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, exceeding the death rate during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Mortality due to crack was two per hundred thousand. Mortality due to opioids is ten per hundred thousand and has reached forty per hundred thousand in West Virginia. The opioid epidemic has a demand side and a supply side. The demand side has been attributed to social and economic conditions in the US and thus cannot be blamed on deficiencies in the health-care system. But the supply side has been strengthened by failures within the health-care system.
Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin
1960s counterculture, big-box store, blue-collar work, corporate social responsibility, crack epidemic, creative destruction, David Brooks, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, mass immigration, new economy, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, rent control, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional
The dark ghetto’s inescapable overlay of race and poverty was ground in by the illegal drug trade—this was when Frank Lucas says he earned a million dollars a day selling dope on 116th Street—and by the government’s increasing unwillingness to rebuild. “It’s a bitter harvest after ten years,” said the archdeacon of New York’s Episcopal diocese. “But looking back on them, we have no reason to expect anything else. The will for change, real change, never was there.”18 Life grew ever more violent in the 1980s because of the crack epidemic, when more buildings were abandoned and boarded up. During these years the New York City government became Harlem’s biggest property owner by seizing buildings in rem when landlords didn’t pay their taxes. Small landlords decided it was more rational to walk away than to make needed improvements, for no one wanted to buy these buildings and tenants couldn’t pay higher rents. Drug addicts squatted in vacant houses, and safe passage through the streets became a risky matter for visitors and residents alike.19 For all these reasons experts believed that Harlem would prove immune to gentrification.
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
coherent worldview, crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, hedonic treadmill, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, stem cell, telemarketer, the scientific method, twin studies, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game
Here in the United States, crime and unemployment had plummeted, the stock market was climbing ever higher, and the ensuing prosperity was promising to erase the national debt. Even cockroaches were disappearing from our cities b e c a u s e of widespread u s e of the roach poison C o m b a t . So what on earth was she talking about? When the moral history of the 1990s is written, it might be titled Desperately Seeking Satan. With peace and harmony ascendant , Americans s e e m e d to be searching for substitute villains. We tried drug dealers (but then the crack epidemic waned) and child abductors (who are usually one of the parents). T h e cultural right vilified homosexuals; the left vilified racists and ho-mophobes. As I thought about these various villains, including the older villains of communism and Satan himself, I realized that most of them share three properties: They are invisible (you can't identify the evil one from appearance alone); their evil spreads by contagion, making it vital to protect impressionable young people from infection (for example from communist ideas, homosexual teachers, or stereotypes on television); and the villains can be defeated only if we all pull together as a team.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, centre right, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, invisible hand, labor-force participation, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, single-payer health, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor
Not so with dealer Kareem Shaw, who was happy to pull back the curtain on the FUBI ring when the task force arrested him four months after Jesse’s death. Best of all, he led Metcalf to a key piece of information: a face. “You saw the video, right?” he asked Metcalf. What video? An eighty-minute production, Hell Up in East Harlem was a gritty, street-level documentary about a Harlem block plagued by gang violence during the crack epidemic of the late 1980s and ’90s. It was all available on YouTube and so, around minute thirty, was the source of the tsunami of misery that descended on Woodstock a decade after the film was made. Seated on a bench for the camera, Mack wore a red hoodie. He bemoaned the fact that death and prison seemed too often to be the only avenues out of the loop of poverty and drugs. Appearing on camera had been a rookie mistake for the young, then-low-level dealer, who described walking the block and seeing “guts and brains.
City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age by P. D. Smith
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, congestion charging, cosmological principle, crack epidemic, double entry bookkeeping, edge city, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, en.wikipedia.org, Enrique Peñalosa, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, garden city movement, global village, haute cuisine, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of gunpowder, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, Kickstarter, Kowloon Walled City, Masdar, megacity, megastructure, multicultural london english, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, peak oil, RFID, smart cities, starchitect, telepresence, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, Thomas Malthus, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional
But although during his eight years in office there were dramatic falls in crime (in fact, crime was already falling under the previous mayor), there is no evidence that this was due to ‘zero tolerance’ policing. Indeed, crime fell in cities throughout the United States in the early 1990s. In San Diego, where there was no broken windows policy, it actually fell more rapidly. Many studies have since concluded that the fall in crime was due largely to a reduction in the crack epidemic that was sweeping America. James Q. Wilson has himself admitted, ‘I still to this day do not know if improving order will or will not reduce crime.’53 The ‘zero tolerance’ approach has proved influential around the world, not least in the United Kingdom where, in order to combat the fear of crime in urban areas, British cities have pioneered a revolution in surveillance technologies. The urbanist Jane Jacobs famously advocated ‘eyes on the street’ as the best way of providing ‘natural surveillance’ and thus safe cities.54 But modern Britain prefers camera lenses to human eyes.
Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier
airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game
Economist Steven Levitt looked at the reduction of crime across the U.S. in the 1990s and concluded: “Most of the supposed explanations…actually played little direct role in the crime decline, including the strong economy of the 1990s, changing demographics, better policing strategies, gun control laws, concealed weapons laws and increased use of the death penalty. Four factors, however, can account for virtually all of the observed decline in crime: increases in the number of police, the rising prison population, the waning crack epidemic and the legalization of abortion.” (15) A recent study of 75,000 households served by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Puget Sound Energy found that customers who received peer comparison charts reduced their energy usage by an average of 1.2% to 2.1%, a change that was sustained over time. Of course, this isn't absolute. There are people who don't care, or don't care enough to make changes in their behavior—and there is evidence that this system backfires with some conservatives.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
affirmative action, Cass Sunstein, crack epidemic, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, desegregation, dumpster diving, ending welfare as we know it, fixed income, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jobless men, Kickstarter, late fees, mass incarceration, New Urbanism, payday loans, price discrimination, profit motive, rent control, statistical model, superstar cities, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, thinkpad, upwardly mobile, working poor, young professional
Before she met Arleen, Crystal stayed a month with a woman she had met on a bus.4 In the 1960s and 1970s, destitute families often relied on extended kin networks to get by. Poor black families were “immersed in a domestic web of a large number of kin and friends whom they [could] count on,” wrote the anthropologist Carol Stack in All Our Kin. Those entwined in such a web swapped goods and services on a daily basis. This did little to lift families out of poverty, but it was enough to keep them afloat.5 But large-scale social transformations—the crack epidemic, the rise of the black middle class, and the prison boom among them—had frayed the family safety net in poor communities. So had state policies like Aid to Families with Dependent Children that sought to limit “kin dependence” by giving mothers who lived alone or with unrelated roommates a larger stipend than those who lived with relatives.6 The family was no longer a reliable source of support for poor people.
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, British Empire, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, feminist movement, illegal immigration, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, obamacare, zero-sum game
A decade after OxyContin’s release, meanwhile, 6.1 million people had abused it—that is to say, 2.4 percent of all Americans. In macro terms, these were small numbers. But through history, illicit drug scourges have always involved a tiny minority of Americans. Baltimore, with a robust heroin market dating back decades, is considered the country’s heroin capital—with the DEA and the city’s health department estimating that roughly 10 percent of the city’s residents are addicted. The crack epidemic, at its height, involved fewer than half a million users a year nationwide, according to SAMHSA estimates. But, as with crack cocaine, the numbers of new opiate addicts by the 2000s were enough to throw hospitals, emergency rooms, jails, courts, rehab centers, and families into turmoil, especially in areas where abuse was new. Subsequent studies showed that almost all those who ended up addicted to OxyContin had already used a small-dose opiate pain reliever—Vicodin, Percocet, Lortab—which contained nonopiates such as acetaminophen or Tylenol.
Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend
1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar
In practice, it allows the NYPD to shift resources to wipe out crime hot spots before they can undermine a community’s sense of order. For many years, the program was widely credited for the stunning decline in New York’s crime rate in the 1990s, though many other theories have been put forth to explain it (for instance, the reduction in the number of at-risk teens following the legalization of abortion decades earlier, and the end of the crack epidemic). Regardless of its efficacy, in recent years criticisms of CompStat’s impacts on policing have mounted.34 It turned out that, in their quest to maintain steady reductions in the reported rate of crime, police officers allegedly routinely reclassified crimes as less serious offenses and even discouraged citizens from reporting them in the first place.35 CompStat shows that when data drives decisions, decisions about how to record the data will be distorted.
How Money Became Dangerous by Christopher Varelas
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airport security, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, California gold rush, cashless society, corporate raider, crack epidemic, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, interest rate derivative, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, mandatory minimum, mobile money, mortgage debt, pensions crisis, pets.com, pre–internet, profit motive, risk tolerance, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, universal basic income, zero day
Citron himself admitted that he lacked a basic understanding of what he had done and that he had simply been following the advice of his bankers. They’d held his hand and led him to the slaughter. * * * Stockton also fell victim to Wall Street’s skill for selling a vision, even if that vision was certain to prove unsustainable and disastrous in time. Starting during the recession of the 1970s, Stockton fell into disrepair. The downtown all but emptied out, and the city was overcome by the crack epidemic of the ’80s, along with its attendant crime. Gang activity surged, and Stockton was recast as a city of drugs and violence. By 1997, when Gary Podesto became mayor—he would serve two terms—the economy was looking up, even while most of the community still lived in some degree of squalor. Podesto wanted a legacy project, and he thought that rebuilding the decrepit downtown area could be just the thing.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks, Rob Tannenbaum
Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, haute couture, Live Aid, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, upwardly mobile
I liked dark, aggressive, in-your-face shit like that. HANK SHOCKLEE: If Public Enemy was going to do a video, we wanted something outside the norm. My thing is, I hate literal translations. The video should always tell you what the lyric doesn’t. LIONEL MARTIN, director: I didn’t even know who Public Enemy was. HANK SHOCKLEE: The song was about drug addiction, especially crack. The crack epidemic was destroying the black community. Everybody I know, including myself, had close family members who were on crack or trying to recover from it. The fact that the song was disjointed gave us the impetus to create skits within the video. I didn’t want to make light of crack, but a video needs to have entertainment value. LIONEL MARTIN: They had some crazy ideas. Hank Shocklee said, “Could we stop the music and insert a commercial?”
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
The links include the assumptions that legal abortion causes fewer unwanted children, that unwanted children are more likely to become criminals, and that the first abortion-culled generation was the one spearheading the 1990s crime decline. But there are other explanations for the overall correlation (for example, that the large liberal states that first legalized abortion were also the first states to see the rise and fall of the crack epidemic), and the intermediate links have turned out to be fragile or nonexistent.149 To begin with, the freakonomics theory assumes that women were just as likely to have conceived unwanted children before and after 1973, and that the only difference was whether the children were born. But once abortion was legalized, couples may have treated it as a backup method of birth control and may have engaged in more unprotected sex.