French, Economics, and Riots?

Could all the violence in France really be caused by economics? Surprisingly yes, and according to an article in the yahoo news, the European economic model could call for a few changes and a little re-working. The French, and may I say most of Europe have given growth and creating new jobs a back seat to other "higher" priorities. When I lived in Eastern Europe I saw this a lot. Many young people wasting countless hours because there was no work to be found, or so it seemed. I was amazed at the grafitti in the metro, in parks, on the sides of shops and homes. It wasn't the artwork of 12-year old wanna be gangsters, it was older, bored, 20-something young adults who had nothing better to do with their time. Some want to say that it is the immigrants in France that are causing all of the trouble, I'm sure that's a factor, but I also wonder if our society in the good ol' US of A wouldn't have similar problems if more than 20% of young people weren't in school and couldn't find a job?

1 comment:

Dr. Tufte said...

This is a variation on a "root causes" explanation of crime. This says that people commit crimes because of incentives from underlying economic factors - generally believed to be poverty and racism.

That theory tends to get better emotional rather than factual support. I think this is because idleness can cause both poverty and crime, but poverty and racism do not necessarily cause idleness. If idleness leads to crimes of opportunity, then there will be correlation issues which make the root causes explanation look good.