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Set Risk Free

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Part of the Crime Prevention and Security Management book series (CPSM)

Abstract

However, by the end of the 1970s, the idea that governments should keep risk under control by manipulating market forces as and when necessary had largely come to an end. At this juncture, mainstream political thought on the right (then followed by that on the left) had been transformed into believing that protection from such risks should be thrown away. If risk was set free from the economic controls that had held it back, so it began to be claimed with growing stridency, this would revitalise economies, allow risk-takers to make their fortunes free from government restrictions; allow market forces rather than the inefficient and increasingly suspect state bureaucracies to distribute society’s wealth and rewards; allow the worthy and the successful to flourish—and in so doing make life in the fast lane an attractive and sought after possibility for all. It would also be the case that the irresponsible and the unworthy would have to wallow in their own misfortunes—they and only they would be responsible for this: why should the rest of society have to carry their burden, why should the state have to come to the assistance of the worthless, as welfare recipients were regarded in this discourse? In the course of these dramatic political and social transformations, the rule of law would be enforced to protect the worthy from the unworthy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    From the 1970s, the unemployment rate for young people has been significantly higher than for other age groups, after being largely negligible before then. In Australia, it had climbed to seventeen per cent of fifteen- to twenty-four-year-olds in 1982, similarly Australia. In Canada, it reached nineteen per cent in that year. In the UK, thirty per cent of sixteen- to seventeen-year-old school leavers were unemployed in 1980. In the US, youth unemployment reached a high of eighteen per cent in 1983. No corresponding data is available for New Zealand.

  2. 2.

    Walsham v. Walsham [1949] 1 All E.R. 774, 775.

  3. 3.

    Clark v. Clark, The Times June 24, 1958. (C.A.).

  4. 4.

    Evans v. Evans [1965] 2 All E.R. 789, 790–91.

  5. 5.

    Sheldon v. Sheldon [1966] 2 All E.R. 257, 259.

  6. 6.

    The crude divorce rate increased in Australia from 0.65 in 1960 to 2.67 in 1980. In Canada from 0.39 in 1960 to 2.59 in 1980; in New Zealand from 0.69 in 1960 to 2.08 in 1980; in England and Wales from 0.51 in 1960 to 2.99 in 1980; and in the US from 2.18 in 1960 to 5.19 in 1980.

  7. 7.

    The average family/household size in Australia decreased from 3.6 in 1961 to 3.0 in 1981. In New Zealand from 3.7 in 1951 to 3.0 in 1981; in England and Wales from 3.1 in 1961 to 2.7 in 1981; in Canada from 3.9 to 2.9 from 1961 to 1981; and in the US from 3.3 in 1960 to 2.8 in 1980.

  8. 8.

    Introduced in the late 1960s in the US, this involves welfare recipients having to undertake requirements involving training, searching for jobs, some form of community service and the like in return for their state benefits.

  9. 9.

    Care needs to be taken not to overstate how “the rule of law” was then enforced. In the US, of course, the “war on drugs” was initiated then and by 1990, its rate of imprisonment (prisons and jails), stood at around 400 per 100,000 of population. The fastest rate of increase, however, occurred in the 1990s in that country. The position was much more muted elsewhere, with prison rates relatively static at around 100 per 100,000 of population. In the UK, there was much more emphasis on enhancing police powers and numbers (see Reiner 2007). Indeed, following Home Office white papers of 1988 (Punishment, Custody and the Community), and 1990 (Crime, Justice and Protecting the Public), the Criminal Justice Act 1991 was intended to reduce the prison population by putting sentencing on a “just deserts” basis and limiting the power of judges to imprison. In New Zealand, it was also intended to apply neo-liberalisms’ economic rationalism to criminal justice by limiting imprisonment to violent offenders (Criminal Justice Act 1985).

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Pratt, J. (2020). Set Risk Free. In: Law, Insecurity and Risk Control. Crime Prevention and Security Management. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-48872-7_3

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