January 31, 2015 by JImbo
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
Is there something innately BAD about large cities? I myself being from the country hated living in the city. I got out of there as soon as I could. I didn’t mind WORKING there, but LIVING there was not pleasant.
There is a study they did with rats that showed that at certain concentrations rats given everything else they need (plenty of food, water, etc) became psychotic and acted oddly, even violently if packed together. Taken out of that environment, they tended to revert back. They hypothesized that animals, even social animals need their space and don’t do well mentally/socially in very large, dense groups. In this case, a city. I’m wondering if perhaps the poverty and crime of the city are all simply results of that overcrowding and its effect on the people living there. Are cities just bad for people?
Scientist John C. Calhoun called it a “Behavioral Sink.” To quote him and his research relating to human beings:
“No small part of this ugly barbarization has been due to sheer physical congestion: a diagnosis now partly confirmed with scientific experiments with rats – for when they are placed in equally congested quarters, they exhibit the same symptoms of stress, alienation, hostility, sexual perversion, parental incompetence, and rabid violence that we now find in the Megalopolis.” (in link above)
The rats functioned as if they had brain damage to the neo-cortex. Yes, living in the city can make you act like you have BRAIN DAMAGE.
I would call that an important finding.
It explains so much about what we think of as “abnormal” behavior in the inner city.
It’s tough to study human populations in this regard. We can’t just depopulate a city for an experiment. Plus, folks that have been evacuated from a city (for example New Orleans) all tended to go back into urban areas where they are “used to it.”
I’m not aware of any large scale studies where they tracked individual kids moved out of cities and into the country. However, generally the numbers do tend to pan out on the larger scale.
It’s pretty consistent from city to city and state to state. That’s crime RATES too, not total crimes. So, the big cities have MORE than their proportional share and suburbs have LESS than they should compared to population size.
Rural areas aren’t listed but those are usually even lower per capita.
This leads to all sorts of questions. Was Jefferson right? Is our problem not race or poverty or crime…but just overcrowding? Are people in the city poor, aggressive and living in broken families mostly BECAUSE they’re in the city? Was “White Flight” from the urban areas racist…or was it a response to overcrowding as more and more people moved into the city?
Were our Founding Fathers in fact more MORAL people because they were raised on farms and in small towns/villages? Is Washington DC corrupt precisely because it is a sprawling metropolis?
Is there any correlation between the percentage of corrupt politicians from NYC compared to those (country) upstaters? This brings up so many questions!
I think Jefferson may have been onto something.