Tag Archives: TED

Imprisonment rates are higher in more unequal countries

Here’s yet another reason the 1% owning and controling everything is bad for everyone. Guess which country is the most unequal in income of big countries? That’s right, the one with by far the most prisoners: the U.S.A. Prisoners are shown on a log scale, so that’s not just a little bit higher, it’s about three times higher than Canada or UK.

Why is the USA so high? It’s not more crime, of the violent homicide and robbery variety. It’s harsher sentencing, especially for drug-related crimes. That’s one of many points Richard Wilkinson makes in this TED Talk from July 2011, in which he uses hard data to tie income inequality not only to imprisonment, also to child conflict, drug abuse, infant mortality, life expectancy, mental illness, obesity, high school dropouts, teenage births, and social mobility. The most socially mobile country? Denmark. The least? The USA.

I got his slides from The Equality Trust.

Oh yes: we don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia to make a few CCA executives and shareholders richer at the expense of the rest of us. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.


Nuclear (Stewart Brand) vs. renewable energy (Mark Z. Jacobson) at TED

Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog fame is a long-time environmentalist who in recent years decided nuclear was necessary. (He also decided no-till was necessary, which was enough to convince me he’s gone barmy.) Here at TED he debates Mark Z. Jacobson, whose new study says we can power the world with wind, water, and sun. I think Jacobson should reconsider including building more hydroelectric dams, but his study does demonstrate that we don’t need nuclear or biomass. But watch it and see what you think:

Here is my critique of Brand’s arguments: Continue reading