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10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline | The Marshall Project
"Over the course of the 1990s, crime rates dropped, on average, by more than one-third. It was a historic anomaly; one that scholar Frank Zimring dubbed “the great American crime decline.” No one was sure how long the trend would last. Then, in 2010, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced that the homicide rate had reached a four-decade low. (Since then, overall crime rates have remained relatively flat.)While everyone agrees this is fantastic news, no one, least of all researchers and experts, can agree on exactly why it happened. Below are 10 popular theories for the decline, from abortion to lead to technology to the broken windows theory, with unvarnished views from three leading researchers—Zimring; Richard Rosenfeld, chairman of a National Academy of Sciences roundtable on crime trends; and John Roman of The Urban Institute—on which are the most plausible.

The “abortion filter” […]

The happy pill thesis […]

The lead hypothesis […]

Aging boomers […]

The tech thesis […]

Crack is whack […]

The roaring ’90s (and Obama-mania) […]

The prison boom […]

Police on the beat […]

Immigration and Gentrification […]"
crime  theories  theory  marshallproject  abortion  lead  prozac  ritalin  behavior  moods  babyboomers  population  demographics  technology  airconditioning  television  tv  cars  debitcards  currency  transactions  crack  drugs  economics  unemployment  greatrecession  recession  prison  incarceration  police  lawenforcement  gentrification  immigration  boomers 
november 2014 by robertogreco
TRANSACTIONS
"Silent scribes record your debt. Nothing passes from hand to hand except the goods you receive, or the services you hire. All of the information necessary for the settlement of your debt is recorded at the same time as the transaction, along with notations about your identity, your past transactions, your social status. Multiple accounting devices exist. Ledgers circulate freely and are convertible, negotiable, can be signed over to others in exchange for other goods and services. There is no coin, no paper money, but rather an infinite chain of receipts in a variety of material formats.

This describes not the future, but the past: the ancient world before the rise of coinage, when money was a unit of account, not a tangible object, and clay tokens, pebbles, string and cuneiform tablets recorded debits and credits.

Instead of coins or paper circulating in exchange as tokens or representations of value, that first era of cashlessness captured in centralized records the transactional information of a multitude of participants and formed the basis for entire systems of exchange. How might we begin to understand the coming era, not as the end of cash so much as the return of cashlessness? How might this attention to the longue durée of transactions reframe our understanding of payments’ materialization? And how might a historically and ethnographically nuanced understanding of payments in practice focus our attention on the material forms of debt and transactional data past, present, and future?

TRANSACTIONS: A Payments Archive aims to open a conversation among curators, academics, payments industry professionals, numismatists, collectors and others about the great human transactional archive. In the process, we seek to expand that archive, to allow more things into it, to question its boundaries, and to reflect on the immaterial and material, ephemeral and durable, worthless and valuable qualities of those things.

Museums have long been repositories for the stuff of money: metal tokens, paper notes, shells, bars, plastic cards, a variety of tangible media of exchange, payment, and value storage. How might we reconstitute a material history of money, debt, payments, and transactional records across the institutional contexts and collections architectures that often leave these artifacts scattered and disconnected? And what of non-physical forms of money, from ancient accounting to contemporary cashlessness? What of the ephemera of transactions, the ledgers and receipts that were themselves frequently transformed into instruments and indexes of credit and tokens of value?

Shifts in the form of money and payment pose a challenge to curation, but also re-open the old question of the nature of money itself. There is also an urgency to this project: Artifacts from the early days of electronic transactions are in landfills, not museums. The preservation and curation of computers and data storage devices is still nascent. That of, say, the paper warning bulletins issued by the early card networks, or the records flowing through the Automated Clearing House—not to mention the diversity and abundance of records-keeping tools and technologies by everyday people around the world—is nonexistent.

TRANSACTIONS aims to provoke conversation by juxtaposing artifacts from across the history of payments and to raise awareness of the history and future of money, payment and transactional records and data. "
artifacts  money  exchange  transactions  anthropology  currency  payment  archives  tokens  objects  history 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Free is not for Nothing. — Medium
"If you’ve never experienced it, “free” just seems like a lower number on a slider that has “half-price” in the middle. But free is not a number.

If you paid for your education, you’re likely to understand education in transactional terms. In straightforward economic terms, it means that if you charge some money, you can have some stuff. With more money comes more stuff, higher quality stuff.

But “free” is something different than “less.” And free is not less than cheap. It’s something else entirely.

Instead of education, try thinking about love. There are people who pay for love. Some pay a lot, some pay a little. But let’s be honest: everyone knows that the moment you start paying anything, it’s not just love plus money. It’s something else entirely, and the problems in paying aren’t solved by paying less than others."



"What our experiences often have in common is this: for many of us, Cooper wasn’t even the cheapest way to go to school. And it certainly didn’t offer the best facilities, campus, labs, studios, athletics, or dorm life. It was always about immense sacrifices.

So the question is: why did we go? We went not because of the financial value of free — that is, zero tuition — but rather, because of the academic value of free.

Free for everyone meant that the students who were there were beholden to nothing (nothing!) except their passion, talent, hard work, and brilliance. This unique, very particular sensibility — that, more than any other thing they could build, hire or install — this was the experience of the institution."



"Because “free” affects far more than than a fiscal bottom line. It affects the intentions, behavior, ambition, and performance of everyone in the system. In other words, it determines the academic quality."



"Remaining free is what will allow Cooper Union’s shortcomings to remain what they were for us: a source of pride, of worthy sacrifice, a reason to fight, and strive, and someday, to give back.

Academic quality is a framing, a mindset, for the best students and for the best faculty, all of whom have choices about where to settle down. They won’t come to Cooper because it’s cheaper. They went there because it was free. We were seeking an exceptional environment. Genuinely exceptional. Cooper Union was exceptional.

It came to the edge through mismanagement and misconduct. And now, I fear, misunderstanding. Most anyone who experienced it knows that the tuition-free education was the source of academic excellence, not the threat to it."



"Attending a free school of sacrifices taught me something about what free meant. Building a half-price school of sacrifices is to succumb to the culture of Cubic Zirconium and Corinthian Leather. It’s fool’s gold. Ghetto scrip. It’s not for real, and it’s not for good."

[Felix Salmon after the vote: "The Shame of Cooper Union" http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2014/01/11/the-shame-of-cooper-union/ ]
kevinslavin  cooperunion  free  love  money  education  academics  struggle  effort  meaning  sacrifice  lean  2014  highered  highereducation  tuition  transactions  payment 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Tobin Tax!
"If education was partially funded by a tax on financial transactions, a Tobin Tax, as Robert Reich proposes below, the net effect of today's market hiccup would be... more money for schools!

This is a good thing to bring up whenever a hedge fund creep or other millionaire starts talking about what's "best for kids.""
robertreich  tomhoffman  tobintax  schools  funding  publicschools  education  policy  taxes  finance  transactions  money  wallstreet  economics  humancapital 
may 2010 by robertogreco

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