Blaming affluence for youth violence

In: Uncategorized

15 Aug 2008

David Lammy, New Labour’s skills minister, makes a crass link between growing affluence and youth violence in the latest New Statesman (14 August). Some excerpts:

* “In society, the fetishisation of money and the growth of consumerism add new pressures. In a “bling” culture, criminality easily becomes a short cut to symbols of wealth and power that will otherwise take years of hard work to achieve.”

* “the crucial point is this: a resilient economy cannot substitute for a good society.”

“An inability to delay gratification – whether with food, alcohol, money or sex – is becoming a hallmark of our age, reinforced by advertising and media (by the age of ten, the average British child recognises nearly 400 brand names).”

Some questions for Lammy:

– Why is it that richer societies are generally less violent than poorer ones (see posts of 20 July 2006, 30 July 2006 and 31 December 2007)?

– Why is it that only a tiny minority are involved in youth violence despite the mass of society becoming more affluent?

– How does he square his argument with the fact that, according to official figures, violent crime is not increasing in Britain (see Mick Hume’s recent article in spiked on this theme)?