Read Epub The Social Order of the Underworld ä David Skarbek –

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Omprehensible what is really going on in the prisons street gangs and political system After several iterations of the author s use of the theory to explain how prison gangs came to be how they operate what their upsides and downsides are I believe any reasonable reader will agree that the author has not only made his case but will think something like Oh geez why did we not think of that beforeThe author uses a wonderful device to hook the reader and keep himher intrigued and emotionally connected throughout the book stories of real prisoners which are as poignant relevant and gripping as can beRead the first page and a half to see what I mean I bet ou will then read the rest of the book to find out what prison gangs are really all about and what realistic things can be done to make the system vastly better for taxpayers prisoners and societyThat should be all A Runaway World? you need to get into this wonderful book but ifou still want let me know and I can give ou details of specific things that really intrigued andor impressed me This is not an ethnography It is hard to say what it is It is not really suitable for anybody who works in corrections because the information presented is common knowledge It is not really appropriate for those interested in corrections because it oversimplifies gangs in prison I was fine with the book until the end when the author started to offer suggestions for improvements to the corrections system such as a prison voucher system so inmates can choose their facility which he believes will make prisons work harder to make their inmates want to stay at their facility Alternative titles for this book Anarchy Doesn t Exist or Why Hobbes and Lock Were Wrong This book is a lot of fun It mixes a bunch of different types of evidence court transcripts interviews administrative data to answer the uestion why was there a large rise in the prevalence of prison gangs in the US over the past 30 ears Skarbek s answer is fundamentally because the convict code an informal set of rules previous in place was no longer tenable when the prison population became The Literary Conference younger much larger and violent Gangs set up to enforce order primarily to facilitate the market for drugsSkarbek employs game theory of the informal type rather than the NashRubensteinHarsyani type to understand why prison gangs operate in the way they do for example why are gangs almost always divided along racial lines and why do gangs punishing others within their own gang for harming people from other gangsThe argument generally seemed to me to be pretty plausible The one thing I felt it was lacking was substantive econometric analysis Even a simple regression of the proportion of prisoners who are in gangs on the number of prisoners or average age of prisoners is missing The book seems to indicate that this is due to lack of available data Fair enoughou can t blame Skarbek for that But while the other types of evidence appealed to are very useful and are deployed in a convincing manner there must necessarily be a lot of game theoretic story telling to join up prisoners testimonies with a model of the gang market Although of course metrics is rarely decisive it does allow us to look at these relationships atheoretically in reduced form If there is such a relationship then the game theory can explain why But without that metrics work it is much harder to judge whether the theory is right or just a nice storyOverall the book is highly readable very informative and probably largely accessible to non economist. Ct them and why they have a powerful influence over crime even beyond prison walls The ramifications of his findings extend far beyond the seemingly irrational and often tragic society of captives They also illuminate how social and political order can emerge in conditions where the traditional institutions of governance do not exist.


Le who they believe will serve the organisation wellThe gangs allow people to do deals by ensuring that people are trustworthy because they will enforce contracts For instance if a white inmate gets drugs from a latino inmate and then refuses to pay the white gangs will actually force the inmate to pay or physically harm him to keep order Skarbek points out that prison gangs actually reduce riots and some kinds of violence as the gangs want things to be orderly so that they can make money from their illicit activities Prison lockdowns due to riots hurt gang profits The many downsides of gangs their own kinds of violence and the corruption they lead to are not ignored The remarkable pressure that they manage to bring to bear on crime outside prisons is explained convincingly The book provides a really interesting glimpse into how the underworld organises itself It s really interesting to read about how human self organisation arises in incredibly inhospitable environments Some really interesting data points but the book illustrates the problem with relying on self interested sources in this case prison officials and COs to discern the workings of otherwise opaue institutions Especially on the crucial uestion of how prevalent gang activity is in certain systems for which the author only has the opinions of prison officials and they are uite interested in making the gang problem seem as large as possible to justify their budgetary needs You seldom get a book which is so admirably clear in its thesis explains why competing explanations are lacking in a conventionally academic book we would have had to dredge through chapters of the author engaging with nonsense in detail in this book this is dispensed with in a few paragraphs pointing out how deficient these theories are and then goes on to show systematically how his explanation is much convincing and action guiding Because of the visceral subject matter and stories the author can rely on this never ceases to be anything but a fascinating read even though he commendably makes his basic points up front and then the rest of the book is mostly repeatedly showing how these points relate to different aspects of prison life and culture The author never glamorises the subject but never demonises it either Thus he can credit prison gangs for dramatically reducing the level of violence in American prisons while also highlighting the misery and evil they fuel inside and outside of prisons I would have liked the last chapter to be even ambitious and have explicitly suggested lessons from the study not only for prisons but for other areas of informal governance What an amazing book I was a bit dubious going in that I would really be able to appreciate this book s topic but was very happily surprisedThe first 10 pages or so are an incredible description of what the book is all about and why it is important Breathtaking in it s fresh clear and realistic approach to explaining the rise of prison gangs and what to do about themThe book destroys the pernicious myth that prison gangs are the cause of crime and harms to prisoners The case is patiently poignantly and persuasively made that the reverse is the case gangs alleviate crime and insecurity for prisoners than they causeFacts both anecdotal and as systematic as the data available allows are analyzed from a fresh economic perspective as free of stifling jargon as possible and made crystal clear in it s implications A theory of governance is used that acts like a clarifying lens to make Nal officers Yet as David Skarbek argues gangs form to create order among outlaws producing alternative governance institutions to facilitate illegal activity He uses economics to explore the secret world of the convict culture inmate hierarchy and prison gang politics and to explain why prison gangs form how formal institutions affe.

An investigation into the nature and purpose of prison gangs through the lens of an economist I don t always agree with the technical tools and economic explanations used but they do lead to conclusions that are interesting and appear to be reasonable Namely that prison gangs arose to fill a security and power vacuum which I m taking off a star for Skarbek s wooden writing style Other than that this is an impressively well researched highly coherent analysis of a subculture that by its very nature has a strong incentive to hide its existence from anthropological inuiry I daresay it has revolutionized the way I conceptualize organized crime in prison rather than continuing to see it as dysfunctional aberration of a healthy market economy helmed by psychotic ultraviolence addicts I m inclined to favor Skarbek s theory that it is a natural step in social evolution when the typical consumer demands of a severely confined population collide with an lack of legitimate governance to protect the welfare of market actors An interesting take on racism on page 101 inmates who don t know each other can t identify as easily whether someone is a Marxist or a Christian or as uickly as determining whether the inmate is white or blackan inmate cannot change his race so racial segregation limitstaking advantage of groups or falsely claiming membership in a group Gangs do not form to promote racism race facilitates gang governance The problem described here seems to be in a heavily transient population I need to know whether I can trust ou even if we aren t personally acuainted so ou need to display something ou can t fake to verify our membership in a group whom I respect if ou forge an identity signifier ou can take advantage of that identity group s social capital and our negative actions will degrade its reputation so there s a strong motivation to choose symbols that resist counterfeiting Skin color is inherent in a human body and largely unalterable so it is something I can reliably use to assess our identity and allegiance In all the book is an intriguing look at a brutal clandestine world Skarbek breathes dignity and rationality into the residents of an extremely dehumanizing system without apologizing for their atrocities and that s an admirable literary tightrope to walk Skarbek provides an engaging overview of the US mostly California prison system and provides a compelling way of understanding the emergence o The Social Order of the Underworld How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System 2014 by David Skarbek is a fascinating look into when how and why prison gangs have formed in the US and how they operate The book concentrates on the Californian Prison SystemPrior to the 1950s the Californian Prison system housed a fairly small number of inmates and Skarbek says there were no gangs instead prison inmates had a code that they obeyed that was fairly simple but allowed inmates to remain fairly safe As the population of inmates grew rapidly prison became dangerous as new inmates didn t know the code and inmates had little in common with each other In order to provide protection gangs arose and then began to provide services for inmates including drugs and payment systems and a method of enforcing agreements The gangs formed along ethnic lines and geographic lines Skarbek argues not because of racial attitudes but simply because race is something that allows easy identification These gangs create their own rules and even write their own constitutions They recruit peop. When most people think of prison gangs they think of chaotic bands of violent racist thugs Few people think of gangs as sophisticated organizations often with elaborate written constitutions that regulate the prison black market adjudicate conflicts and strategically balance the competing demands of inmates gang members and correctio.

Read Epub The Social Order of the Underworld ä David Skarbek –

I am Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Political Theory Project at Brown University My research examines how extralegal governance institutions form operate and evolve and in particular how people define and enforce property rights and engage in trade in the absence of strong effective governments My first book The Social Order of the Underworld applies th