I just read an editorial in the Times, “The Geography of Hate.” The editorial explained that the increase in Noose incidents since the Jena La event, were the result of a new social reality – “a renewed march toward racial and social justice, but a surprisingly broad and deep white backlash against the gains of black America.” The article also documented the level of crimes in the United States as more than 190,000 incidents per year.
After reading Drucker, it is clear that there is another explanation for the rising hate crimes noted. In Peter Drucker’s first book, The End of The Economic Man (1937), he linked an increase in hate activity to a decline in economic opportunity and a concomitant diminished respect for the individual. Extreme income inequality during the Weimar Republic, Drucker argued, fueled Hitler’s rise to power. Elsewhere he noted the increase in hate crimes in America during the Great Depression. For Drucker, economic stability and opportunity were always requirements for sustaining a democracy.
Could the spike in hate crimes be linked to the record pessimism Americans feeling about the economy? Has the polarization of incomes over the last 10 years led Americans to question the viability of their opportunities? Drucker felt this polarization was dangerous to the fabric of our society, and a responsibility of corporate executives. Let’s hope both for more sensible corporate leadership and federal policies, so that Americans in all economic strata can regain optimism.