Mapping the Connection Between Poverty and Rioting

A visualization of London's class inequality helps ask important questions about what sparked that city's riots.

Sign seen at a March 2011 anti-austerity rally in London.

The riots that wreaked havoc across London this week are over, and Prime Minister David Cameron has promised swift justice for their participants (police say more than 1,200 people have been arrested since the madness began). Now it's up to sociologists and political pundits to speculate about why the riots happened and how to prevent them from happening again.

Today, the Guardian offers a visual perspective on what may have caused the riots. For their interactive "Mapping the riots with poverty" project, Guardian journalists Simon Rogers and Matt Stiles used data on "deprivation" (read: poverty metrics) to offer a juxtaposition of where the riots happened and where Londoners live. The results probably won't surprise you—the dark reds represent poorer communities while the blue and green zones are wealthier. Each pushpin stands in for an instance of violence, theft, or property damage.

Everyone knows that correlation does not equal causation, but the correlation here is especially striking. The neighborhood of Tottenham, where the riots kicked off, has the fourth highest rate of child poverty in London and an unemployment rate that's twice the national average. What's worse, it's been that way for years.

The line connecting joblessness and looting sneakers from a Topshop may seem hazy at first, but looking at maps like this it's not all that hard to deduce: Poverty fuels anger (PDF) and anger, when sparked under the right circumstances, fuels riots.

photo via (cc) Flickr user mastermaq

via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

Keep Reading