Thursday, 8 September 2011

The riots-not-linked-to-poverty fallacy

Did poverty play a significant causal role in the riots?

Those who would prefer this was not true often employ the following argument - they say, "ah, but these other poor people didn't riot, so poverty cannot be the cause."

So for example, David Cameron: "These riots were not about poverty. That insults the millions of people who, whatever the hardship, would never dream of making others suffer like this."

Letter to Newsweek magazine: "Saskia Sassen blames conditions in disadvantaged areas for the UK riots, ignoring urban areas for the UK riots, ignoring that other deprived regions - Glasgow, Tyneside, South Wales - didn't riot."

By the same logic we could also show that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer. "Smoking clearly wasn't the cause of Dave's lung cancer. After all, Mary, John and Peter also smoke and they didn't get lung cancer, did they?"

Poverty may or not be a causal factor re the riots (obviously it was a factor), but this sort of logic reveals nothing other than the desperation of those who see the obvious potential link and want to bury it.

No comments:

Post a Comment