Fix standard of living, fix crime

Fix standard of living, fix crime

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The Bank of Jamaica projects unemployment will be 12 per cent and, with the Jamaican dollar devaluing against the US dollar and the other major currencies, people's standard of living will diminish.

Jamaica has been in a sort of state of emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis, yet homicides remain rampant. The longer the Government uses states of emergency (SOE) to fight crime the less effective they will become. The criminals will learn how to work around stronger police and military presence. It is Darwinian.

The recent incident in Spanish Town in which some residents protected suspects being pursued by the police illustrates why policing to fight crime will always be ineffective.

People do whatever it takes to survive. Morality is a survival tool and once moral standards hinder survival, many will abandon morality.

The best way to fight crime and murder is to improve the people at the lower socio-economic standard of living. Currently, life for the poor will get more difficult, and so will fighting crime.

With a general election drawing near, politicians will be compromised. I believe that socialism and capitalism are outdated; both promised fraternity and equality, but failed. My only concern is that both are ideologies and they usually survive regardless of if you change personalities or parties.

From 1962 Jamaica has tried both ideologies and both have created poverty and crime. We should now believe what Albert Einstein said about insanity — doing the same thing and expecting different results.

My view is that the dominant human imperative is to survive and reproduce. If that becomes difficult people will cheat. It is like in a board game; when people start to lose, some cheat. In extreme cases, they 'turn over' the game — like what happened to Jamaica in 1980.

History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes, according to Mark Twain.

The Jamaican society is volatile. The 389 gangs illustrate social stratification that needs to be corrected.

Policing is like managing a headache; you need a stronger dose to ease the symptoms until the medication become ineffective. The only real solution is improve everyone's standard of living.

Brian Ellis Plummer

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