EBOOK DOWNLOAD The Social Order of the Underworld
EBOOK DOWNLOAD The Social Order of the Underworld
P in a group whom I respect if you forge an identity signifier you can take advantage of that identity group s social capital and your 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 nalterable so it is something I can reliably se to assess your 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 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 ntil 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 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 people 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 Programming in Objective C underworld organises itself It s really interesting to read about how human self organisation arises in incredibly inhospitable environments Skarbek provides an engaging overview of the US mostly California prison system and provides a compelling way ofnderstanding the emergence of prison gangs He Beyond Band of Brothers uses the analytical tools of economics drawing on signaling theory constitutional political economy and industrial organization to provide a narrative in which prison gangs emerge to provide protection when norms based on decentralized enforcement no longer provided adeuate means of governing social interactions within the prison system This book is a great examplesing the economic way of thinking ie rational choice theory to The Water Of Life understand something that has been seen as falling outside the realm of the study of rational actors We learn that we should not see prisoners as non rational actors who only have a preference for racism and violence Skarbek shows that profit can provide the incentive necessary to curtail violent behavior and setp organizations to provide governance for impersonal exchange We also see that monopoly power is incredibly important to the reduction of violence Skar. Nal officers Yet as David Skarbek argues gangs form to create order among outlaws producing alternative governance institutions to facilitate illegal activity He ses 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.
This book is a lot of fun It mixes a bunch of different types of evidence court transcripts interviews administrative data to answer the estion why was there a large rise in the prevalence of prison gangs in the US over the past 30 years 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 younger much larger and violent Gangs set p to enforce order primarily to facilitate the market for drugsSkarbek employs game theory of the informal type rather than the NashRubensteinHarsyani type to nderstand 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 enough you can t blame Skarbek for that But while the other types of evidence appealed to are very seful and are deployed in a convincing manner there must necessarily be a lot of game theoretic story telling to join p prisoners testimonies with a model of the gang market Although of course metrics is rarely decisive it does allow For the Love of All Thats Holy, Dont Buy a Boat When Venus is in Retrograde 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 economists 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 pointsp 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 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 Scary Stories 3 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 asickly 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 you even if we aren t personally acuainted so you need to display something you can t fake to verify your membershi. 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.
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Bek documents these aspects and of prison gangs during a period when the increase in prison gangs power coincided with a reduction in violence among prisoners The argument that nder current conditions gangs make prisoners experiences better and safer than the relevant alternatives which do not include everyone acting peacefully of their own accord is provocative and well supportedBeyond just nderstanding prison gangs and the environmental factors that led to their emergence Skarbek does an excellent job of describing the process of how impersonal exchange emerges after norms governing personal exchange break down He accomplishes this better than many other authors who have attempted it including Leeson North and Greif A key The Bartender uestion in this literature is where the shadow of state produced violence does not loom large can impersonal exchange emerge and if so how is it sustained Skarbek shows that impersonal exchange can arise without state enforcement of rules and that this is accomplished when the benefits of creating organizations to provide governance outweigh their costs Thing I disliked most about the book authors like Skarbek along with Leeson like to distinguish between governance and government when arguing that anarchy is not so bad What they fail to admit is the organizations thatndergird impersonal exchange where there is no formal government are essentially just miniature state like entities that enforce the rules via violence just like a formal government would doThing I liked most about the book everything else the economic theory is presented so well and the stories of prison gangs are interspersed at the proper points to illustrate the economic concepts I recommend this to everyone Alternative titles for this book Anarchy Doesn t Exist or Why Hobbes and Lock Were Wrong 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 Tono Bungay uestion of how prevalent gang activity is in certain systems for which the author only has the opinions of prison officials and they areite interested in making the gang problem seem as large as possible to justify their budgetary needs 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 Magical Sweet Mermaid 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 the prisons and prison staff werearenable or The Choice unwilling to provide themselves Due in part to overcrowding corruption changes in sentencing practices and a variety of other factors The gangs also serve to stabilize and coordinate the in prison economy of drugs weapons information etc at a cost The gangs maintain order and their authority through a monopoly on violenceFairly well put together and easy to read Though certainly not written from a radical prison abolitionist stance the author does seem to arrive at positions which point vaguely in that direction 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 issed that acts like a clarifying lens to make comprehensible what is really going on in the prisons street gangs and political system After several iterations of the author s Elementary Treatise in Herbology use of the theory to explain how prison gangs came to be how they operate what theirpsides and downsides are I believe any reasonable reader will agree. 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.
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