The Decline and Fall of Violence

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The world is a more peaceful place today that at any time in history -- by a long, long shot.

More in:

Comments [1]

David Lawry from New Zealand

While the legalization of abortion in the USA probably explains a reduced pool of potential criminals, in USA. Has that type of legislation been world wide. If not how do we explain world wide crime reduction? I would concede that at least in more modern countries this type of legislation probably is to the fore.

I would be interested in others thoughts about another possible cause of crime reduction. That being the reduction of time available to potential criminals to commit crime, given that they can attain the emotional high, committing crime produces for many, in the virtual world of gaming.

The idea here is that in my view many criminals, I would submit a high proportion ,don't commit crime for rational, monetary outcomes even though they may perceive that they do. But that people get caught up in the emotional hype, akin to a sexual buzz, heightened emotional state if you prefer, from committing crime which acts as an ongoing motivator to get that buzz. Hence continuing that criminal spiral and choosing to use time in the acts that achieve that buzz.

What if virtual gaming provides that buzz in a way that satisfy s that emotional need. If this had any truth to it, then many would chose to use the time available, in the virtual world plotting and killing, whatever the game requires but achieving the desired outcomes. The end result is less time actually being available to commit real crime in the real world.

Certainly the level of gaming and its power to connect across many levels is a new factor that has not previously existed.

If at some level there is validity in this idea/ theory, that emotional needs are satisfied in the virtual world could this be a factor for the significant crime reductions being seen world wide . Ie people are simply spending less time committing or planning criminal acts in the real world as they can achieve many of the desired outcomes in the virtual world

Nov. 05 2011 02:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Freakonomics Radio

In their books Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomicsSteven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior. As boring as that may sound, what they really do is tell stories — about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. American Public Media’s Marketplace and WNYC are now bringing those Freakonomics stories — and plenty of new ones — to the radio, with Dubner as host. Just like the books, Freakonomics Radio will explore “the hidden side of everything.” It will tell you things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do.


Supported by