Best Tool to Fight Crime is Welfare

The best way to fight crime is to take away motivation to commit crime. It’s been proven time and time again that severe punishments don’t deter crime, so how can we creat conditions which ensure people don’t want to break the law. The solution is welfare.

Economists have proven that when people lose a social security system they turn to the easiest (most efficient) way to make up their losses: crime. Therefore we should fund welfare programs instead of thinking that funding the police will deter crime.

They found that terminating the cash welfare benefits of these young adults increased the number of criminal charges by 20% over the next two decades. The increase was concentrated in what the authors call “income-generating crimes,” like theft, burglary, fraud/forgery, and prostitution. As a result of the increase in criminal charges, the annual likelihood of incarceration increased by 60%. The effect of this income removal on criminal justice involvement persisted more than two decades later.

The researchers found that the impact of the change was heterogeneous. While some people removed from the income support program at age 18 responded by working more in the formal labor market, a much larger fraction responded by engaging in crime to replace the lost income. In response to losing benefits, youth were twice as likely to be charged with an illicit income-generating offense than they were to maintain steady employment.

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Kazakhstan Listens to Protestors, Moves Towards Democracy

Earlier this year the people of Kazakhstan went to the streets to protest the authoritarian government, which was met with lethal force from the government. Now, that same government is loosening their grip on their populace and moving towards democracy in a huge win for the democratic movement. The very recent past has been very tough on the citizens of Kazakhstan but the future sure looks better.

More proof that protesting works! And democracy is more than just being able to vote.

The poll on constitutional changes was seen by many as a chance to close the chapter on the country’s former leader.

According to Tokayev, the proposed changes will empower lawmakers and dismantle the “super-presidential” system currently in place. But the reform also ends a slew of privileges enjoyed by Nazarbayev.

Another amendment nixes Nazarbayev’s right to run for president more than two times.

The reforms will also ban the president’s relatives from holding government positions — another controversial issue in the oil-rich country.

They also significantly strengthen the role of the country’s parliament, restore the Constitutional Court, and abolish the death penalty.

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Ontario: Go Vote!

vote sign

It’s Election Day in Ontario, so if you’re in the province go practice some democratic action. Basically every party is trying to make the province better except for the one in power, so go vote for anybody else. Last election the planet-destroying and inequality increasing Conservatives won with a minority of voters, so just getting out to vote can make a difference. The good news is that more people asked for mail in ballots than before, which could mean a more engaged citizenary.

Go vote!

More than one million people – about 9.92 per cent of eligible voters – cast a ballot in advance polls, according to Elections Ontario. The agency said it has sent voting kits to 126,135 eligible residents, a sharp increase from 2018, when only 15,202 ballots were doled out that way. Voting kits must be received by 6 p.m. on election day and can be mailed or dropped off at a returning office.

How do I vote?

Ontario residents can vote in person on election day (today, Thursday, June 2) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET at their assigned polling station, based on the location of their current residential address.

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Check out Elections Ontario.

BC Decriminalizes Hard Drugs

beer

British Columbia has learned that punishing drug users doesn’t stop drug use or the negative impact drugs have on our society. The province decided to shift from a punishment approach to drug control to a health focussed approach, as in they will help people get off of drugs instead of incarcerating them. The first step in that process is to decriminalize the drugs in question, note this is not legalization (like alcohol and marijuana).

The goal of decriminalization is to reduce the harms of arrest and drug seizure on individual users, officials said, and to reduce the stigma around substance use that prevents people from seeking health care or accessing adequate housing and employment.

“In the short term, decriminalization will stop seizures and arrests and connect people with services and supports,” said Malcolmson, noting that reducing stigma will be a long-term goal.

Fear of arrest and of losing employment, housing or custody of children often prevents people who use drugs from accessing harm reduction and health supports, or from telling family and friends about their substance use.

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Reminder: Occasionally Pop You Filter Bubble

Argument analysis flowchart
Figure 1 from Cook, Ellerton, and Kinkead 2018. CC BY 3.0

When Russia recently expanded their invasion into Ukraine they clamped down on what they called “fake news”, meaning that the increased their censorship. Many western-owned media companies were banned from operating within Russia while other companies continued to operate but with high levels of censorship. The popular app TikTok kept running in the country and now serves vastly different content to Russians than it does to others. The Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is not that far from the Russian city of Belgorod yet what they see about the war couldn’t be further apart.

NRK recently looked into TikTok filter bubbles and it’s a good reminder for all of us to alway check our filter bubbles so we don’t fall prey to manipulation. Check other country’s news and thoughts on matters for a variety of perspectives. As always, use reason.

In Kharkiv, the war is raging. In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of videos like this have been uploaded to TikTok.
The social medium has become a place where an increasing number of people are looking for the latest news about the Ukraine war – although it can be difficult to know what’s real.

In Belgorod, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are blocked. Chinese-owned TikTok still operates as one of the few global, non-Russian platforms.
But will a TikTok user who lives here get to see any of what’s going on in the Ukrainian neighbouring city?

Check out NRK’s filter research.

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