Jordan Peterson - Does Poverty Cause Crime? The answer may surprise you.
[Professor Jordan Peterson] "So there's this interesting phenomena that's very characteristic of societies, I believe pretty much everywhere it's been studied. Now, you can calculate an index called the Gini coefficient. And the Gini coefficient is a number that represents how much inequality there is in income distribution in a given geographical area. So you could calculate the Gini coefficient for a street, or an area in a city, or a city, or a state, or a country, you can do it at all those levels. And what you find is, you know, you always hear this idea that poverty causes crime, that's a classic left-wing idea. But it's wrong. Seriously wrong, and it's importantly wrong, and it's definitively wrong, not only that. So there's no argument about this, it's already been established. What causes crime, especially aggressive crime, is relative poverty. And relative poverty is not the same thing as poverty at all, it's seriously not the same thing. Poverty is when you don't have enough to eat, relative poverty is when they guy next door has a much better car than you. So, there's lots of relative poverty in the United States, and there's some absolute poverty, but even the absolute poverty in the US is nothing like the absolute poverty in places like India or Sub-Saharan Africa where absolute poverty means you have nothing. Now what's really interesting about the Gini coefficient is that if you go to places where everyone, roughly speaking, is poor, say by national standards, I think South Dakota was often used as an example, or maybe one of the Maritime provinces like Newfoundland, where there's low average income, but it's pretty flat distribution, there's almost no crime. And if you go to places where everyone's rich, then there's almost no crime. But if you go to places where there are poor people, and moderately well-off people and rich people, and the distribution is really steep, then the rate of aggressive behavior among young men, and it's usually within their own ethnic group, starts to skyrocket out of control. And the reason for that seems to be that if the dominance hierarchy is too steep, then the young men have no likelihood of climbing to a dominant position while playing the standard social game, and so what they do is turn to aggression to make their mark on the world. And it works too, that's the other thing, make no mistake about it, if you're looking for status in a place where status is hard to achieve, and you're the meanest, toughest guy around, then, and around a bunch of people who, like you, don't have much money, then you're going to benefit from that status. It works, yeah."