crack epidemic

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pages: 376 words: 121,254

Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Thomas Feiling

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anti-communist, barriers to entry, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, illegal immigration, informal economy, inventory management, land reform, Lao Tzu, mandatory minimum, moral panic, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, 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.


pages: 456 words: 185,658

More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws by John R. Lott

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affirmative action, Columbine, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, gun show loophole, income per capita, More Guns, Less Crime, 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.


pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

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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, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, 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.


pages: 283 words: 77,272

With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald

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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.


pages: 250 words: 83,367

Methland by Nick Reding

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Alfred Russel Wallace, call centre, crack epidemic, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, trade route, union organizing

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.


pages: 306 words: 94,204

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

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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.


pages: 279 words: 91,148

Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler by Ethan Brown

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barriers to entry, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, forensic accounting, Live Aid, mandatory minimum

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.


pages: 281 words: 86,657

The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt

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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, 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.


pages: 319 words: 103,707

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif

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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, 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.


pages: 339 words: 95,988

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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airport security, Broken windows theory, crack epidemic, desegregation, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, 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, 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.


pages: 273 words: 87,159

The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy by Peter Temin

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, 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, 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.


pages: 349 words: 109,304

American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

bitcoin, blockchain, crack epidemic, Edward Snowden, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the market place, trade route, 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.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

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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, 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.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

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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, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, 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, 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 Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, 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, 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.


pages: 405 words: 130,840

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

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crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, the scientific method, 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.


pages: 444 words: 138,781

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

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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, 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.


pages: 433 words: 129,636

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.


pages: 821 words: 227,742

I Want My MTV by Craig Marks

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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?”


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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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, 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, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, 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, 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, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, 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.