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Crime & The American Dream

There are valid statistics that prove crime is increasing among adolescents, that more men commit crimes than women, and that urban areas suffer from higher rates of crime than their rural counterparts. Further, there is more crime in the United States than in any other industrial nation. What could possibly explain these phenomenon? According to Messner and Rosenfeld in Crime and the American Dream, it’s the economy, stupid! More exactly and to the authors’ point, it is because of the class stratification manifested by capitalism in a society that continues to over-emphasize materialism as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen “The strong affirmation of the American Dream by black Americans has had fateful consequences for the institutional life of black communities” (Messner and Rosenfeld 82).

In Crime and the American Dream, the authors demonstrate the enormous and growing gap between the rich and the poor, including a higher inequality of distribution of disposable income than any nation in the world. Further, while the U.S. represents the riches industrialized nation in the world, it lags behind other industrial democracies in terms of social goods like guaranteed health coverage. In many urban areas poverty has eroded the socioeconomic infrastructure. The authors contend that in these crowded, mainly minority regions, young males look at the opportunities presented by the “American Dream” and recognize they are denied the means of achieving it: poverty, eroded education infrastructures, poor health services, violent crime, lack of employment opportunities, etc. Denied these socializing opportunities (broken families, dilapidated schools, few career opportunities) “These four social institutions—the economy, the polity, the family, and education—are the central focus of our analysis of crime…The economy, the polity, the family, and education are, i


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Crime & The American Dream. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:15, May 28, 2020, from