Murder and our perception of reality

The graph below shows the rate of homicide in England & Wales going all the way back from 1967 to 2016.

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The graph details the rate of murder per 100,000 of population which is the standard reporting metric. It’s a reasonable metric to use to consider the relative safety of citizens over the given time period. Remarkable decline in homicide rates from 2003 (1.79 per 100,000) to almost half that number during 2015 (0.9 per 100,000).

Does this reflect your personal perception of relative public safety?

Source data: Office for National Statistics

The dependency ratio problem

Europe is aging rapidly. The big challenge of an aging population is the ‘dependency ratio’ i.e. an age-population ratio of those typically not in the labor force (the dependent part ages 0 to 16 and 65+) and those typically in the labor force (the productive part ages 17 to 64). It is used to measure the pressure on productive population and is a measure of the sustainability of a society.

How do you reverse the dependency ratio challenge facing Europe? Other than increasing the retirement age, options are a) have more children b) increase immigration. Birth rate seems to be in perennial decline across much of the developed world, so really the only other significant option is to increase the intake of foreigners who can boost the total active workforce. It’s an interesting dilemma to present to individuals who dislike ‘foreigners’. 

America has remained surprisingly young, but I think this is largely due to its historic openness in attracting the best of the globe by selling the ‘American dream’. With the United States increasingly becoming inward looking, how long before America starts to face the same challenge as Europe?

Religion is the cause of most wars?

How often have you heard the statement that “religion is the cause of most wars”? In the book, “Encyclopedia of Wars,” authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod document the history of recorded warfare, and from their list of 1763 wars, 123 have been classified to involve a religious cause, accounting for less than 7 percent of all wars and less than 2 percent of all people killed in warfare.