crime, poverty, and my now-silent commuteFollowing up on a discussion elsewhere, Eugene Volokh points to an interesting argument: crime causes, or at least perpetuates, poverty.
I live in a neighborhood near MacArthur Park that could serve as a model for that argument, and have had the "crime perpetuates poverty" thought on at least one occasion. I walked outside one night to find that a thief had stolen the CDs I had in my car, and had also tried to remove my stereo by jimmying it out of the dashboard with a big screwdriver. That effort failed, but still ruined the stereo; it cost me the stereo, in other words, but gained him (or, less likely, her) nothing. As for the CDs, I love to picture a thief trying to sell my Neutral Milk Hotel and Sleater-Kinney albums on the street. I tend to doubt that this would have been a really lucrative theft. Again: a loss to me, but no gain to the thief.
Senseless, pointless destruction of property; risking arrest and jail for nothing; stealing items that have no particular street value. The causal relationships are muddled, here, but it seems to me that poverty self-perpetutates, to some degree; a degrading milieu leads people to waste energy on dumb and counterproductive behavior, causing social degradation.
Anyway, the dude forgot his screwdriver. I found it on the floor of my car. And I'm not giving it back, you bastard.