Inequality prevalent in violent societies

2012-10-25 21:08

Johannesburg - Gender and economic inequality are prevalent in violent societies, a conference on crime reduction heard on Thursday.

"South Africa is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, but we also have one of the highest levels of violence," said KwaZulu-Natal University academic Anthony Collins.

"There are African countries that are poor, for instance Malawi, but have less violence."

He said rich countries, such as the United States, were also violent, because of high levels of inequality.

"What research is showing is that it is not the poverty; it is the economic inequality that is more significant," Collins said.

"South Africa and Brazil are among the most unequal societies in the world and they also have among the highest levels of violence, although South Africa is higher."

Collins cautioned that this was not a simple matter of cause and effect. Many other factors had to brought into the mix.

"There is a lot of social behaviour, cultural traditions, values, ideas [and] historical causes like in instances where societies have been through a lot of conflict, like South Africa."

He said in the past there had been two views on violence. One was that people were violent because they disrespected the law.

Then, the progressive view came which said society was violent because of social circumstances.

"That was obviously true, but that got over-simplified into this claim that poverty causes violence," said Collins.

"It is where you’ve got poverty and wealth in the same society next to each other. This creates a condition in which violence flourishes."

Another contributing factor shown by research was the prevalence of gender inequality.

"A lot of societies where women and men have a more equal status are less violent... in a society with a lot of patriarchal structure, those societies turn to be violent," said Collins.

Delegates from around the world attended the conference, themed "National And International Perspectives On Crime Reduction and Criminal Justice".

  • des.cider - 2012-10-25 21:55

    Violence is prevalent in societies in which the people are unequal (intelligence, competence, wealth generation, etc)

      goeie.jaarling - 2012-10-26 05:26

      Well said des.cider, you got the crux of the matter!

      parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-26 09:08

      Thus multi cultural societies.

  • nico.dejongh.90 - 2012-10-25 22:47

    The five destructive passions are lust, greed, undue attachment to material things and vanity or egoism. All other destructive mental states are include in them. These passions take possession when mind is allowed to run wild, out of control of the spirit. J.D. Rockefeller: "The poorest man is he who has nothing but money." The love of money is the root of all evil. One basic law against all crime - I don't lift my hand against my neighbor or his possessions. See - no robberies, no murder, no rape, no nothing of this evil crap that destroy our peace. How easy and yet...

  • Maxodin - 2012-10-26 00:29

    Equality has nothing to do with violence. Covetousness and arrogance begets violence. People who sell drugs make crap loads of money and yet they are still violent. People who murder for gain will never stop because there is no off button. They are entitled to their gains even though they have to kill and take by force. Men don't rape because they are unequal. They rape to express dominance. They'll take what they want and no one will stop them.

  • mark.job.338 - 2012-10-26 06:55

    Pieter, you are choosing to avoid the inter-group inequalities. Perhaps you should choose to recognise that there are people who are in a much worse economic position than the white group. It would be even better if you realise that poor black families have the same problems as poor white families - putting bread on the table.

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-26 08:46

    Violence, other crimes and racism is just human expression when races, groups and nations are forced together in a unity state against their will. Remove the cause via a multi-state solution and most problems will disappear. Modern elites have two strategies for holding multi-racial empires together: - Massive Repression, as in the old Soviet Union and in communist Yugoslavia. - Racial preference schemes to achieve "social cohesion" by preferring one group over another. (Malaysia, India, China, United States, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka). Racial preference schemes reward racial anger. The race with the most anger is the one that will get the greatest government benefits through racial preferences. Thus, the existence of these preferences sets off a scramble among competing racial groups to display more racial anger than other competing groups. The group that displays the least anger is the one on whom the greatest burdens will be placed. In RSA it thus clear why whites are under huge pressure and why coloured also feels completely left out. We can fix this or face eventual civil war or peaceful total economic collapse.

  • anthonie.vanbosch - 2012-10-26 12:04

    Anthony hits the nail on its head. If we want to hit violence and crime on its head we need honest people who, through their living example, show that they are not greedy, earn a realistic income and oppose evil. We do not see many of these people around us, the reason why we can blame greediness, evilness and inequality. It is common sense. I have just heard on the TV program 3rd Degree this morning 26 October 2012 that a previous machine operator, now Union manager earns R1.4million. This is craziness and greediness in its most extreme form. Well-done South Africa ?. I am disgusted.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2013-02-26 11:36

    high levels of inequality, Bull$hit reason! It's got nothing to do with inequality but everything with greed! "It is where you’ve got poverty and wealth in the same society next to each other. This creates a condition in which violence flourishes." Who created this atmosphere? Who said the poor must live next to the rich and why? So who is then in actual fact keeping violence alive causing it to get worse? As usual you will not like the answer, but once again quite obvious.

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