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Duration:03:49
Uploaded:2015-11-24
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The data visualization tool used in this video can help you learn all kinds of things about how you will probably die: http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/

In which John discusses the changes in crime rates in the United States over the last 25 years, the minor outrages of the American penny, what will and won't kill you, the cycles of Internet outrage, rising pharmaceutical prices, and whether human life is getting better even as we feel like it is getting worse.

Thanks to Rosianna for the asshattery and everything else! http://youtube.com/rosianna

SOURCES:
Violent crime has dropped by 50% in the US since 1990: http://www.statista.com/statistics/191219/reported-violent-crime-rate-in-the-usa-since-1990/
Property crime is also falling: http://deviance.socprobs.net/Unit_9/Page_4.htm
A large majority of Americans think crime is going up: http://www.gallup.com/poll/186308/americans-say-crime-rising.aspx?g_source=perceptions%20of%20crime&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles
Lots of data on homicide rates in American history: http://ourworldindata.org/data/violence-rights/homicides/#note-11
Understand what is causing death and disability in the U.S. (and around the world) as well as which causes are growing and which are shrinking: http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/
On the Internet we like to share what makes us outraged: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1309.2402v1.pdf
Pennies are stupid and ridiculous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77C47XYm_3c
Asshat Martin Shkreli raises a drug's price 5,000%: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/turing-pharmaceuticals-ceo-martin-shkreli-defends-5000-percent-price-hike-on-daraprim-drug/
Warner Chilcott raised the price of a drug Hank needs to survive by 1,200% overnight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPf8vwnoEtU
Unemployment is down in the U.S. http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
The economy has grown consistently since 2010: http://econsnapshot.com/2014/01/31/q4-gdp/
Americans' happiness score is higher in the 2015 report than in the 2010 report: http://worldhappiness.report/
And yet we think the country is going in the wrong direction: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/right_direction_or_wrong_track

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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday.

I want to ask you a question. Do you think the violent crime rate in the United States has gone up, or down, or stayed about the same since 1990?

The answer is that it has gone down, dramatically.

In fact, there are about half as many violent crimes per one thousand Americans as there were 25 years ago. Overall crime rates are also down dramatically, but every year since 2006 at least 60% of Americans polled have said that they feel that crime is going up. And I am among them. In fact, I wanted to make a video about why crime is going up in the United States only to find, you know, that it's not.

Okay so if you are an American, this is how likely you are to die of various causes. You see violence down there in the bottom right corner. That's all interpersonal violence: war, terrorism, murder, etc. Now because victims are disproportionately young, violence becomes a bigger problem if you change this visualization to measure disability-adjusted life years, which is like a measure of how many years of healthy life are lost due to various causes.

But it's still a relatively small public health problem in the United States, smaller than suicide or drug overdoses or asthma or complications from pre-term birth or traffic accidents. And also, violence is shrinking faster as a cause of death and disability in the United States than any other major cause, except for HIV.

So Hank, several studies have shown that on the Internet, we like to share what makes us outraged. And that incentivizes media companies (even very small ones that make videos in their basements) to find outrageous stories because we know that you will share them. I've done this, like in 2010 I made a video about how outrageous it is that we continue to mint pennies even though they cost two cents a piece to make and are never used to buy goods or services.

The problem is the penny, while it's an obvious outrage, is an exceedingly small outrage. I mean the US government could save far more money just passing a long-term highway funding bill, which Congress has been unable to do for the past six years. But that isn't as narratively simple or as easy to get outraged about, so we don't talk about it much.

And then there is Martin Shkreli, the Bond villain-esque former hedge fund manager, whose company acquired the rights to a drug that treats people with toxoplasmosis and promptly raised the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. The Internet boiled with outrage until the company promised to lower the price. Two months later they just announced that for some customers they are going to lower that price all the way down to $375 a pill.

But the outrage at this asshat masked a much more complicated and interesting problem. Like even before the price hike, the drug cost 30 times more in the US than it did in the UK. And these price hikes aren't even particularly new or rare. Long-time Nerdfighters will remember back in 2011 when Warner Chilcott raised the price of its drug Asacol 1200% overnight. There are dozens of other examples, and this stuff isn't happening because of one individual's asshat-ery. It's happening because there's a huge web of problems with pharmaceutical markets in the US.

Point being, our collective outrage may have slightly decreased the price of one rarely prescribed drug, but it's done nothing to address the larger issues that affect every American who takes medication.

Now of course the Internet can and does grapple with big and complicated problems, and it's also given a voice to people who traditionally have been discriminated against in public discourse. And I also don't think there's anything wrong with being angry. Anger combined with sustained effort can lead to real change. But when we allow ourselves to casually move from one outrage to the next, from pennies to Martin Shkreli, nothing ever really changes.

Well, except that maybe we've become more afraid and pessimistic. Like since January of 2010, crime is down, the US joblessness rate has fallen dramatically, the economy has grown, and we report being happier on average than we were five years ago. And yet, every single month since January of 2010, more than two-thirds of Americans have felt that the US is headed in the wrong direction.

And I feel like we're unnecessarily inundated with bad news because we seek it out, and when we find it, we share it, and so we become more afraid and pessimistic than we need to be. But then again, as a nation we've never been healthier or claimed to be happier, so maybe we're getting exactly what we want, even if we don't know it.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.