a new blog on the economics of graffiti

the economics of graffiti blog at http://economicsofgraffiti.blogspot.com/ is new but very interesting. I would consider most of the content sociology or anthropology but the summary paragraph hints at some incentive and cost benefit analysis.
“economists study systems. There is a system that produces graffiti and this blog is about that system. Graffiti is considered both art and vandalism, but it is a response to social pressures unlike any other type of art or vandalism…
According to Banski, who is arguably the most famous anonymous graffiti artist in the world, ‘graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.'”
Hat tip to Ed Stringham via the barstool economists listserv.
Btw: I’m on at train as I’m posting this. Mobile blogging is pretty cool.

Is the criminal justice system racist?

Heather Mac Donald says no in an interesting piece in today’s City Journal.

The black incarceration rate is overwhelmingly a function of black crime. Insisting otherwise only worsens black alienation and further defers a real solution to the black crime problem.

I find her discussion compelling, but would still argue that the criminal justice system is disproportionate. There’s too many people of all types in prison, black, white, Hispanic, men and women. It seems reasonable to take the next step that the over-carceral nature of the criminal justice system is felt more harshly by poorer and more minority populations.
I agree with Mac Donald that this is not racism, but it is a problem. Her facts are accurate that blacks commit an overwhelming majority of the violent crime in America, but what she fails to comment on is that prisons are politically promoted and assumed to be a salve for this ailment. Where are the great deterrent effects of increased incarceration, harsher penalties and cracked down drug policies? Obviously such efforts are falling short from their expectations amongst the activist community. Lacking any real viable outlet to express their unease with the current system, lacking any real mechanism to effect the system to meet their unique needs, activists are left to entertain the theories that Mac Donald argues to be unsupported by the facts.