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Why Were Murder and Crime Cut in Half in the Nineties?

Last December an episode of the Chris Hayes show was dealing with the usual issues of guns and crime.  Suddenly, Chris stated no one knows why crime suddenly dropped in the nineties.  The criminologists present silently concurred with that statement.

The main reason murder and crime were cut in half in the nineties is that military spending was also cut in half in the nineties. What is the correlation between military spending and murder and crime rates among the leading developed countries?  It’s .996. That’s a perfect one if you round to two decimal places.  The murder rates in America are about six times as high as the murder rates in Japan, about twice as high as the murder rates in Europe.  The low military spending society, Japan, has the lowest crime.   Europe has medium levels of military spending and crime.  The high military spending society, America, has high levels of crime.  If you were to compare the 28 Northern states with the 22 Southern states, the South has twice the murder crime and military spending levels of the North.

I have three lines of logic.  One, the higher the military spending the lower the economic growth, which creates high levels of frustration that manifest in high levels of murder and crime.  Two, treating whole societies as enemies reduces the capacity to empathize with others.  This attitude of state sanctioned depersonalization comes home to roost domestically.  Prisoner therapy often consists of talk to victims to learn what crime has done to others in an attempt to create the missing empathy. Third, the military trains people to kill quickly and mercilessly.  When millions of these trainees are let loose in society, maybe 98% can adjust, but the 2% that are deviant from social norms can wreak havoc on a society.  A bar fight can easily escalate to a murder.

I use long term averages to compute the military spending levels of a nation because it takes two decades to raise a child to adulthood.  Thus the changing rates occur over a period of time as children are less exposed to the violence of militarism.  Over the centuries, there is evidence that whole societies lower their violence levels.  For example, the four hundred year old societies of New England, Virginia, Britain, and France show a 93% correlation with crime but at a level of 40% compared to the 150 year old societies like Italy, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and the United States that form the 99% correlation. Thus the crime rate is not only proportional to the military spending rate of an emerging generation it is inversely proportional to the approximate longevity of that whole society. more info for radio audio on Wednesday (see bottom of listing)

Dr. Peace, Dr. Bob Reuschlein, 608-230-6640


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