In previous articles on the causes of war we discussed the youth bulge theory.
The youth bulge theory suggests that wars may break out when 30 to 40 percent of the males of a nation belong to the "fighting age" cohorts from 15 to 29 years of age. This theory argues that many "angry young men" find themselves in a situation that tends to escalate their adolescent anger into violence: they are:
• Demographically superfluous,
• Might be out of work or stuck in a menial job, and
• Often have no access to a legal sex life before a career can earn them enough to provide for a family.
The combination of these stress factors, it is argued, usually heads for one of six different exits:
• Violent Crime
• Emigration ("non-violent colonization")
• Rebellion or putsch (?)
• Civil war and/or revolution
• Genocide (to take over the positions of the slaughtered)
• Conquest (violent colonization, frequently including genocide abroad)
The question that needs to be asked is whether the current level of black and latino youth unemployment (hovering near 36%) could be a source of major domestic unrest in the US?
The short answer is that the unrest already exists—gangs in urban America.
While the critical issue for economists and social progressives is that the ages of 16 to 24 are make or break years for lifelong earning potential. With one out four blacks and one out of six Latinos under the age of 25 without work, a generation of youth of color risks falling behind. One report on the topic by Demos, the public policy organization, argues that the “exclusion of young people of color” from job opportunities “weakens the promise of America.”
There are three additional challenges that magnify black and Latino youth joblessness.
1. Lower college graduation rates for youth of color puts African-Americans and Latinos at a severe disadvantage. As more workers with higher education compete for jobs that were once dominated by high school graduates, the prospects for people of color becomes worse. That’s because a third less blacks and half as many Latinos have college degrees as whites.
2. Disproportionate school discipline directed at blacks and Latinos is a driving force behind lower education attainment rates for these two groups, further damaging lifelong earning potential.
3. The way that higher incarceration rates damage the job prospects of youth of color. With six out 10 individuals in prison black or Latino, over 300,000 people of color are released from incarceration each year. Incarceration severely limits job opportunities,
The escape is gangs. The FBI reports that: “Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. According to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in others.”
In short, a state of war already exists in most jurisdictions. But given the composition of the gangs it could be concluded that there is a political reluctance to whole heartedly fight the war. However if this limited war is allowed to continue there are well resourced and trained groups who will take matters in to their own hands—the result would be domestic carnage in the short run and elimination of the gangs in the long run, unless the federal government were to step in to attempt to broker a peace—that would truly be a no win situation.
The solution for politicians is to throw money at the issue to buy off the gangsters—that is proven not to work. What is probably needed is the equivalent of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s with guards/trainers. Everyone associated with a gang would be forced off the street and into a camp where they would work for minimum wage, attend classes and be weaned off of the culture of the gang while developing a work ethic.
As the gang population decreases productivity in the inner city will increase with jobs being created for the former CCC member to return to. Such a program’s success is dependent upon the number of gang members forced off the street and how rapidly—speed is of the essence to preclude the civil war that I spoke of earlier.
Is there a politician who is willing to step up to this issue for what it is?