PDF or EBOOK The Social Order of the Underworld ↠ David Skarbek

His to veryone You seldom get a book which is so admirably clear in its thesis is so admirably clear in its thesis why competing xplanations are lacking in a conventionally academic book we would have had to dredge through chapters of the author ngaging 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 xplanation 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 ven 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 ither Thus he can credit prison gangs for dramatically reducing the level of violence in American prisons while also highlighting the misery and vil they fuel inside and outside of prisons I would have liked the last chapter to be ven ambitious and have xplicitly suggested lessons from the study not only for prisons but for other areas of informal governance Alternative titles for this book Anarchy Doesn t Exist or Why Hobbes and Lock Were Wrong 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 xistence 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 conomy helmed by psychotic ultraviolence addicts I m inclined to favor Skarbek s theory that it is a natural step in social volution 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 ach other can t identify as asily 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 you ven if we aren t personally acuainted so you need to display something you can t fake to verify your membership 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 unalterable so it is something I can reliably use 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 xtremely dehumanizing system without apologizing for their atrocities and that s an admirable literary tightrope to walk 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 in certain systems for 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 This is not an thnography 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 nd 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 An investigation #their inmates want to stay at their facility An investigation the nature and purpose of prison gangs through the lens of an conomist I don t always agree with the technical tools and conomic xplanations used but they do lead to conclusions that are interesting and appear to be reasonable Namely that prison gangs. Nal officers Yet as David Skarbek argues gangs form to create order among outlaws producing alternative governance institutions to facilitate illegal activity He uses conomics to xplore the secret world of the convict culture inmate hierarchy and prison gang politics and to A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, explain why prison gangs form how formal institutions affe. This book is a lot of fun It mixes a bunch of different types ofvidence 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 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 up to The Shadow Reader enforce order primarily to facilitate the market for drugsSkarbekmploys game theory of the informal type rather than the NashRubensteinHarsyani type to understand why prison Gangs Operate In The Way operate in the way do for Cinderella Unmasked (Fairytale Fantasies 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 substantiveconometric 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 nough you can t blame Skarbek for that But while the other types of vidence 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 The Power Of A Choice 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 nonconomists Skarbek provides an ngaging overview of the US mostly California prison system and provides a compelling way of understanding the mergence of prison gangs He uses the analytical tools of conomics drawing on signaling theory constitutional political conomy and industrial organization to provide a narrative in which prison gangs The Case for Paleolibertarianism and Realignment on the Right emerge to provide protection when norms based on decentralizednforcement no longer provided adeuate means of governing social interactions within the prison system This book is a great Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling example using theconomic way of thinking ie rational choice theory to 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 set up organizations to provide governance for impersonal xchange We also see that monopoly power is incredibly important to the reduction of violence Skarbek 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 among prisoners The argument under current conditions gangs make prisoners xperiences better and safer than the relevant alternatives which do not include veryone acting peacefully of their own accord is provocative and well supportedBeyond just understanding prison gangs and the nvironmental factors that led to their mergence Skarbek does an xcellent job of describing the process of how impersonal xchange merges after norms governing personal Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. exchange break down He accomplishes this better than many other authors who have attempted it including Leeson North and Greif A key uestion in this literature is where the shadow of state produced violence does not loom large can impersonalxchange merge and if so how is it sustained Skarbek shows that impersonal xchange can arise without state nforcement 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 that undergird impersonal xchange where there is no formal government organizations that undergird impersonal Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery, exchange where there is no formal governmentssentially just miniature state like Il morto di Maigret entities thatnforce the rules via violence just like a formal government would doThing I liked most about the book verything lse the conomic theory is presented so well and the stories of prison gangs are interspersed at the proper points to illustrate the conomic concepts I recommend 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 laborate written constitutions that regulate the prison black market adjudicate conflicts and strategically balance the competing demands of inmates gang members and correctio. Arose to fill a security and POWER VACUUM WHICH THE PRISONS AND vacuum which the prisons and staff wereare unable or 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 conomy of drugs weapons information tc at a cost The gangs maintain order and their authority through a monopoly drugs weapons information tc at a cost The gangs maintain order and their authority through a monopoly violenceFairly well put together and Sexual Secrets 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 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 withach other In order to provide protection gangs arose and then began to provide services for inmates including drugs and

Payment Systems And A 
systems and a of nforcing agreements The gangs formed along thnic lines and geographic lines Skarbek argues not because of racial attitudes but simply because race is something that allows asy identification These gangs create their own rules and ven write their own constitutions They recruit people who they believe will serve the organisation wellThe gangs allow people to do deals by nsuring that people are trustworthy because they will nforce 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 Purely Sexual 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 inhospitablenvironments 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 The West Transformed: A History of Western Civilization, Vol 1, to 1715 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 freshconomic 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 comprehensible 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 xplain 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 motionally 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 you 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 you need to get into this wonderful book but if you still want let me know and I can give you details of specific things that really intrigued andor impressed Ct them and why they have a powerful influence over crime ven beyond prison walls The ramifications of his findings xtend far beyond the seemingly irrational and often tragic society of captives They also illuminate how social and political order can merge in conditions where the traditional institutions of governance do not xist. ,



The Social Order of the Underworld