Really interesting post in 3 Quarks daily today by Eric Michael Johnson on collective violence
It includes this graph that correlates food prices and social unrest in the Middle East. Models that suggest that group behavior are the result of lots of individual moral decisions don’t seem to fit with this data. That is one of the problems of conservative individualistic mind sets: they see unrest as individual decision making that needs the deterrence of repressive policing or some change to education to drive in morality and respect for property and the status quo. They don’t often consider things like the price of food or the scale of cut backs that affect the poor.
It also includes this graph of unrest in Europe correlated with scale of government spending cut backs.
Total amount of social discord (CHAOS) in Europe between 1919 and 2009 correlates with the value of budget cuts relative to GDP. Reproduced from Ponticelli and Voth (2011).