Even if you can’t/don’t want to follow this all the way through the charts and graphs, read the last two paragraphs.

Resource Curse

A friend recently pointed me in the direction of an insightful blog post by a former professor, Tim Burke, on the riots.  Tim Burke is a brilliant guy, a keen observer and, not coincidentally, takes almost all the credit (if there’s credit in it) for getting me interested in economic development in the first place.

Burke’s basic point is this: framing the riots as the products of “underlying causes of unrest,” instead of juxtaposing the relatively minor damage they caused against the massive economic damage done by bankers and media organizations is (1) not a very “empowering” line because the causes of riots are unbelievably complex, and (2) “forms a dyadic pair” with the tough on crime folks.

As far as it goes, this is absolutely true.  In terms of the first point – that on the unbelievable complexity that constitutes a “riot” – economists like Ed Glaeser, even if…

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