[ExI] The Total State

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 1 15:13:48 UTC 2008

Stathis writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> So, if you subtract half the inmate population who're
>> there on drug charges, and then subtract the minorities,
>> the U.S. stats resemble the stats for the enlightened
>> northern European countries exceedingly well. Which
>> is true simply because that's where they came from.
> But note the considerably lower incarceration rates in
> most of Latin America and Africa compared to the US.

A strikingly acute observation (bringing those facts into
conflation with my statement above).

But then, perhaps you have missed an even more striking
consequence of your observation. Namely, let us once
again forget the half of the inmates who're there on drug
charges, and imagine that the new position the U.S. would
occupy on the amazing graphic that Amara supplied:

This brings the U.S. down to "merely" the level of Barbados,
Ukraine, and Singapore, in other words, still vastly above the
other industrialized nations.  Then consider the new probability
that this implies for the incarceration of, say, someone who'd
been born in Mexico, Nicaragua, or Columbia. Since these
Hispanics already constitute a fraction of the inmate all out
of proportion to their population in the U.S., this implies
unequivocally that the probability of that person being placed
in prison is vastly greater than had he remained in his native country.

> Does this mean the US turns people into criminals or selectively
> attracts people with criminal tendencies?

I would say *both* are necessarily true, and thanks for pointing
out these consequences too.

But I should explain what I think that the causal mechanisms are
at another time, because I just see that Gary Miller has written
authoritatively on the subject, and for the sake of list quality must
refer my fans to his great post  :-)
(I promise them two outrageous and provocative---though still
very logical---hypotheses later.)


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