2010 March 01 Monday
Chilean Looters Become More Organized

The looters in Concepcion are not just going after food and water.

Concepcion, Chile (CNN) -- The drive into Concepcion couldn't have been more dramatic. We turned the corner through a dense morning fog onto a main street and a small crowd moved into the streets against traffic. It's just two days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake toppled walls and collapsed buildings, but people are looting.

Young men ducked beneath gates and smashed windows, yanking out boxes holding appliances and grabbing cell phones and clothes. Grown women slid between window bars and ran down streets with bags full of booty.

Robbers are becoming more organized and citizens are organizing against them.

Residents in Concepcion said they were organizing groups to defend their properties from robbers and looters, who the city's mayor said on Monday were becoming more organized.

That the citizens can bring themselves to organize is a promising sign.

Natural disasters in Japan do not lead to looting. The Japanese are extremely well behaved. Kobe Japan in 1995 provides a contrast with Chile.

Even though there were rumors to the contrary and goods were available for the picking in the shattered store windows there was little or no looting in Kobe. Jewelry stores were unprotected yet no one took anything. People waited patiently in lines with the only arguments coming from people who insisted that others go before them.

Peoples are different in important and fundamental ways.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 March 01 11:17 PM  Culture Compared

Matt@occidentalism.org said at March 2, 2010 12:12 AM:

Some pictures of the looters and the citizens that are organizing against them would be interesting. Any guesses?

DragonHorse said at March 2, 2010 7:31 AM:


Highway banditry was common in Japan until the middle 19th century, this was done by organized groups, many of them became the Yakuza. Many of those groups were also composed of Ronin (Masterless Samurai who were basically unemployed, but due to caste, were not legally able to farm or do other things) I'm sure if their was a disaster they would take advantage of that if their was available goods they could trade or sell in a black market. Germans looted after WWII and set up a huge black market in the bombed out cities, such as Hamburg, Vienna was the same.

Today this would likely not happen unless all society broke down (as often happened during WWII, especially on the Eastern front due to the total devastation)...because Germans and Japanese are wealthy and more educated and will get aid much faster. There are just less criminal minded people in society, because you don't need to be. Not even in a disaster is people's mindset so "zero-sum" desperate.

Toadal said at March 2, 2010 8:55 AM:

DragonHorse said:

"Germans looted after WWII and set up a huge black market in the bombed out cities, such as Hamburg, Vienna was the same."

I can't find written accounts or images of Germans looting in Berlin and Vienna as a result of the Allied bombings and devastation during WWII. Are you making this up?

DH also said:
"..because Germans and Japanese are wealthy and more educated and will get aid much faster."

No, its because on average their populations are, on average, more intelligent, and this enlarges their time horizon and cooperative patience.

Martin M. said at March 2, 2010 10:49 AM:

"The Japanese are extremely well behaved."

Well, except for that one time in Nanjing.

Meanwhile, Toadal:

"I can't find written accounts or images of Germans looting in Berlin and Vienna as a result of the Allied bombings and devastation during WWII. Are you making this up?"

I'm with you. W.W. II research is nothing but one proof of Geman virtue after another!

Daniel said at March 2, 2010 12:59 PM:

>>Some pictures of the looters and the citizens that are organizing against them would be interesting. Any guesses?

Search on YouTube. Most(all?) of the looters appear to be Amerindian or mestizo with the Amerindian part predominating. Despite what you may hear, Chile is not a white majority nation.

This is dismaying. Chile is probably the most successful Latin Country. It should be classified as first-world, yet if the slightest stress (and it is a slight stress. The earthquake touched a minuscule portion of the country, the basic infrastructure is intact and government help was applied immediately) can knock this society for a loop, what this does portend for Latin countries such as Venezuelan, Mexico, Southern California, New York and Texas? Not encouraging.

Dragon Horse said at March 2, 2010 2:03 PM:


Why do you need pictures? You aren't fond of reading?

Before WWII, 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake hit Japap

"On Sept. 4, The Dunkirk Evening Observer reported: "Rioting has broken out at Tokio [sic], adding its horror to those of the flames. The population is in desperate need of food. Koreans are reported to be taking a leading part in looting and pillaging and martial law, which has been proclaimed after the disaster has been extended." Other newspapers reported that 200 armed Koreans were driven from Tokyo after battling with the Japanese military, Korean looters were being shot, and that the Japanese population was being armed by the police to deal with the Koreans and the socialists."

The Japanese murdered many ethnic Korean in the days to follow. People also accused them of poisoning water supplies, so their were riots, they identified Koreans by their accent and slaughtered them. Obviously Japanese were looting as well. Don't they have the highest IQs in the world?

We can go to Canada in 1995, no natural disaster at all, just a soccer game in Montreal:


""One minute we were all hanging out and celebrating and then all hell broke out," said Jean-François Hotte, who watched as a Foot Locker store was ransacked by looters. A liquor store was also hit."

1989, UK, soccer fans drunk, rioting, looting:


Need I go on, I can...want me to talk about China???

Dragon Horse said at March 2, 2010 2:07 PM:

So Randall, don't compare Chile 2010 with Japan in 1995 (second wealthiest nation on earth then) compare it to japan 1923 and you will see a level of violence and chaos in the wake of a natural disaster that is worse than Haiti in 2010 and Chili combined. lol You are right, "Peoples are different in important and fundamental ways."

ziel said at March 2, 2010 4:18 PM:

Dragon Horse, from your quoted account it was the Koreans who were looting. How do you manage to jump to the Japanese were looting? The Japanese were organizing to rout the Korean looters. Koreans of course, to this day, are known as first-class rioters. And we're supposed to be surprised that the British working-class is badly behaved? Or French Canadians? Don't annoy us with your sophistry - stick with PZ Myers blog and you can join in the mass self-congratulatory circle jerk in his comment section.

Dragon Horse said at March 2, 2010 6:29 PM:



Japanese people were looting as well.



The thing about Koreans was mostly propaganda. Remember that Korea, at that time was part of the Japanese Empire, the Koreans in Japan were at best indentured servants, at worst slaves. Koreans were as much scapegoats in the same way as Jews and Gypsies were in Eastern Europe during the same period.

Koreans have the same IQ as Japanese and according to cultural metrics are not significantly different from Japanese anyway. Yes Koreans have worse tempers and are nasty drunks (unlike the stereotypical happy drunk Japanese) but as compared to a Mainland Chinese person or an Indian, Japanese and Koreans are 1st cousins, genetically and culturally. Okinawans were also killed. Basically anyone who did not speak a dialect similar to that of the Kanto region who could not pronounce certain words were assumed Korean and killed. There was no evidence Koreans poisoned anyone, started fires, etc.


The point is simple.

1) Natural Disaster.
2) Japanese and Koreans (high IQ East Asians)
3) Rioting, looting, burning stuff down, lynching

4) Much worse violence than went on in Haiti and now in Chile. Wow, blacks, Mestizos, and Amerindians not as violent and nuts after a disaster as the great IQ endowed East Asians. lol Who would have thought...

I don't think that Japanese people's genes changed from 1923 to 1995 in such a way to radically change them. lol

If it ain't nature, then it is...? Problem with all this gene determinist meme is it makes people intellectually lazy. Why do I need to go to another blog? You don't like your world view challenged?

Jake said at March 2, 2010 7:17 PM:

Good stuff Dragon Horse, nice to see some reality and sense on the comments on these HBD blogs. HBD has a great deal of truth and explanatory power but too many people are treating as a religion, and if you question it or even try to introduce some nuance into HBD discussions, you are more often than not told to get lost. The comments section on these HBD blogs are just dismal.

re Japanese rioting - even if the Japanese don`t riot or loot, I`m not at all sure that`s a good thing as it can show passivity, docility, and a lack of assertiveness, all qualities that East Asians are often accused of possessing - they would rather starve like docile lambs than transgress social norms *misbehave*. Now THAT would be a brainwashed populace.

I suspect thought that that isn`t quite the truth - the truth is probably that the Japanese are endowed with a healthy dose of survival instinct and are not such meek lambs as that, but that modern Japan is an efficient and organized state that can deliver disaster relief in a timely manner - thus looting unnecessary.

Nah, probably the high IQs.

Ehkzu said at March 2, 2010 8:52 PM:

I've been in Japan, and what really strikes Americans is the high degree of cultural and racial homogeneity. And of course unlike the Japan of the Kanto earthquake, today's Japanese society is affluent and educated. So I'd expect less looting just based on those facts.

OTOH Japanese bureacrats after the Kobe earthquake refused to let American search and rescue teams go there with their trained search and rescue dogs, because of Japanes dog quarantine rule. If they'd made an exception due to the emergency they'd have lost both their jobs and their careers.

Likewise in Japan's economic downturn after their real estate bubble burst some decades ago, government was virtually paralyzed. Their extreme need for rule by consensus severely hampered them.

And...Brazilian immigrants to Japan have had a lot of trouble assimilating despite being 100% Japanese racially.

GreenOne said at March 2, 2010 9:35 PM:

A better comparison is the human response to hurricane Katrina, Mississippi vs Louisiana. Or to drill down further, the southern gulf coast of Mississipi as compared to New Orleans. Why did Mississipians behave so much better than the people of New Orleans? The people of Mississippi probably self selected for more civilized traits.

Today, Mississippi is mostly rebuilt, while areas of New Orleans are still in a shambles. The whole story of New Orleans has been given a shiny gloss by the press, but the reality is that the population behaved like third world savages - raping, pillaging, and murder.

Thousands of generations of evolutionary pressure can make people groups very unique...human biodiversity is real. That Japanese or Germans can act uncivilized is no surprise, as all humans are capable of dark deeds given the right circumstances.

But, when a people group trips over into "savage" behaviors at the slightest provocation, it is a fair question to ask, "Just how thin is the veneer of civilization with certain people groups?" It is also fair to assume that peoples who have the longest evolution in cooperative societies would ON AVERAGE, behave better under extenuating circumstances.

ziel said at March 3, 2010 4:12 AM:

Jake and Dragon Horse - all you've done in your rebuttals is reinforce Randall's point that people are different! Perhaps Randall erred in implying too much of a normative judgment in that comment. Obviously Americans don't need to be reminded that the Japanese are not an angelic people. You say "Yes Koreans have worse tempers and are nasty drunks" - wtf! Either people are different or they're not - which is it? And your link on the Kanto earthquake, while interesting, hardly draws a picture of an anarchic Japanese response to the disaster - quite the opposite. Again, they're response may not have been pretty, but it sounds pretty organized and systematic, exactly what we expect from the Japanese.

Jake - you're all over the place - not sure what your point is, except people-are-the-same-everywhere, except maybe they're not and with the Japanese it's bad whatever it is. We know of course from history what the Japanese are capable of, but there's a pattern to it - it tends to be systematic, filled with all sorts of rules about (to me) bizarre notions of "honor", even when committing mass atrocities.

You guys haven't provided very good arguments debunking the Japanese stereotype - all I've seen are ad hominems against those you disagree with.

Mthson said at March 3, 2010 5:59 AM:

Fast forward a couple of decades, and "blank slate" folks have to do a 180 because reprogenetics has become possible, and only people without consciences would advocate keeping the genetically stupid masses stupid.

Lauren said at March 3, 2010 10:10 AM:

According to CNN, some people are angry at the lack of response from the government, not just because they need food. Of course looting is going to happen, just as much as military response: http://bit.ly/ces7ky

Dale said at March 4, 2010 3:36 PM:

"And...Brazilian immigrants to Japan have had a lot of trouble assimilating despite being 100% Japanese racially."

This isn't actually true. All the mainstream news articles (like in the NYT) sugggest that these "Japanese-Brazilians" are 100% Japanese racially, but they're actually mixed with other ethnicities from Brazil.

patrick said at March 4, 2010 5:26 PM:

Many Japanese Brazilians are full-blooded Japanese; others have ancestors from other ethnicities (mostly Europeans such as Portuguese and Italians).
Chileans are mostly mestizos, but on average they have more European ancestry* than mestizos in Mexico, Central America and the Andes. Upper-class people have less Indian ancestry and more non-Spanish European ancestry than members of the lower and middle classes. But I don't think that race or ethnicity (apart from class) has nearly as much importance in Chile as in Venezuela, Bolivia, or Central America.
By the way, Argentina, which is "whiter" than Chile, has been less economically and politically stable over the past 3 decades.

*Not just Spanish- Chile attracted immigrants from Europe- especially France, Croatia, Germany and the British Isles- during its first 100 years of independence.

O'Brien said at March 5, 2010 5:19 PM:

I think East Asians *do* have a higher threshold for malicious behaviors than whites or Amerinds. However, East Asians, and other "bright" groups can also be very sophisticated in the way they carry out bad behavior, and the consequences can be quite complex and severe. It is the responsibility of high-IQ people to use their intelligence for humanitarian, or at the very least, commercial rather than self-centered purposes.

Nerissa Belcher said at March 6, 2010 2:35 AM:

The Gini index is a measure of the income distribution in a country. The lower the number the more equal the income distribution is. Numbers which follow are from the CIA link below (1).

Iceland in 2005 had a score of 25. The USA in 2007 had a score of 45. The USA has a significantly greater percentage of its wealth in the hands of a lower percentage of its people than Iceland. In a country like the USA it is a national emergency to bail out billionaires on Wall Street and relatively unimportant to help out the rest, i.e. majority, of the population in the event of financial or other distress.

Compare Chile to Japan:

Chile 54.9 (2003)
Japan 38.1 (2002)

My prediction is in countries in which the rich are supported by the government in oppressing the majority, i.e. poorer, population, as in the USA and even more so in Chile, we'll more likely see looting and other misbehaviors in the event of significant stressors like earthquakes and financial meltdowns. This has little to nothing to do with genetics. It is mostly about national policy. For example, I doubt the genetics of Canada differ significantly from the USA. Yet Canada has a Gini score of 32.1 (2005). How often do you read of looting by the masses in Canada?

In conclusion if you wish a more civil population encourage a national policy such that wealth is more equally distributed.

1. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

Mthson said at March 6, 2010 11:28 AM:

Nerissa said:"I doubt the genetics of Canada differ significantly from the USA."

Yes, if you only compare the majority ethnic group in those two countries, most measures like education and crime rates are the same.

However, the US is unique among wealthy nations in that a large portion of it's population have genes deriving from regions that are historically impoverished.

California, for example, despite having one of the most friendly governments toward the poor and having a constant stream of revenue coming from being at the global center of industries like tech and entertainment, ranks at the bottom of US states in most measures like education and literacy. This isn't a story about "government oppression."

Nerissa Belcher said at March 9, 2010 9:29 AM:

I already said this in my first reply but it is nice to see that research supports me.


YES! Magazine / By Brooke Jarvis
What Makes the Healthiest and Happiest Societies? Hint: It Not Rich People
The healthiest and happiest societies aren't those with the highest incomes but those with the most equality. Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson discusses why.
March 9, 2010

We live in a world of deep inequality, and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. We in the rich world generally agree that this is a problem we ought to help fix—but that the real beneficiaries will be the billions of people living in poverty. After all, inequality has little impact on the lives of those who find themselves on top of the pile. Right?

Not exactly, says British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson.

For decades, Wilkinson has studied why some societies are healthier than others. He found that what the healthiest societies have in common is not that they have more—more income, more education, or more wealth—but that what they have is more equitably shared.

In fact, it turns out that not only disease, but a whole host of social problems ranging from mental illness to drug use are worse in unequal societies. In his latest book, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, co-written with Kate Pickett, Wilkinson details the pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, encouraging excessive consumption....(continued on web link above)

Mthson said at March 9, 2010 2:14 PM:

Nerissa, sure a society with human equality would be nice, but creating even modest human equality even between siblings (who share 50% of their DNA) through social means is impossible at this time.

Among the siblings in my family, one of us was a genetic outlier from early on, and now has an income 3x that of the other siblings. There's nothing fair about that, so for liberals to continually resist the advancement of biotech means they support the status quo of innate injustice.

The only way to achieve genuine human equality is through reprogenetics.

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