American vs. European homicide rates
Don Kates brought my attention to this paper by the late Eric Monkkenen. It's interesting on a number of levels (including the conclusion that European homicide rates were very high during the medieval period and then fell rapidly during the Industrial Age ... when popular histories tended to treat the period as disruption, urbanization, and exploitation).
I'm kind of surprised at the conclusions about the laxity of punishment of criminals.
I'm also surprised at the claim that the American justice system is so widely dispersed (between Federal, State, County, and City levels) that criminal punishment can vary widely across the nation.
However, the claims have some foundation in fact.
The evidence about the fall in murderous violence in Europe during the ramp-up to the Industrial age is intriguing.
Posted by: karrde at November 9, 2007 08:15 AM
One could also view the countries of Europe as an analog to U.S. federalism. Compared to each other on this basis, I suspect the notion of federalism as a cause falls flat.
But at the same time, It would be interesting to do a "compare and contrast" of this article with the article about violence in the Harvard Law Review by Kates and Mauser (http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf). I haven't done this yet, but my first impression is that there are some significant differences in the "facts" and conclusions presented in the two works. Has anybody checked this out?
Posted by: Alan A. at November 10, 2007 11:30 AM