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  • newMK newMK Jan 7, 1999 8:11 PM Flag

    Big dividends

    Gary S. Becker, 1992 U of Chicago Nobel laureate,
    wrote an article in the current issue of Business Week
    entitled "How the U.S. Handcuffed the Crime Rate".

    "The most important improvement in the conditions of
    daily living in the U.S. during the past two decades is
    due not to low unemployment or continued prosperity
    but to the sizable fall in crime. Many factors
    contributed to the lower rates, but the single most important
    one has been the greater apprehension and punishment
    of criminals....

    Some intellectuals have
    perpetrated an enormous myth - and delayed effective policies
    - by claiming that crime is not deterrable, that it
    is related in an unbending way to poverty, and that
    it can be reduced only by drastic social reforms. In
    fact, the U.S. has shown that the poor and others can
    be deterred by stacking the odds against

    The article is much longer, of course, and Becker
    supports his conclusions with reference to various studies
    and trends. Interesting reading.

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