With the recent news that Seattle City Council Pledges to Cut Police Budget in Half, I've been thinking about the principle of prevention VS cure. For context, Seattle City council has backed a veto-proof majority in city council, backing a blueprint from activists to cut the city's $400 million police budget by 50%, and redirect much of that to funding community-led public safety initiatives and affordable housing. This is the first in 2 side-by-side wins done in Seattle, the second being the $200 Million Tax Seattle City Council has passed on Big Business.
Something to note, on the topic of the Police Budget cuts, is how when the BLM marches started, the vast majority of videos being posted online of police acting poorly came out of Seattle, evident of the brutal and poor state of Seattle PD.
This essay, however, I don't intend to make about the politics of police in the United States, but rather I intend it be a short piece to incentive further thought into the importance of prevention, as opposed to cures, in many of the problems we face today.
To illustrate why I believe we should place a higher importance on prevention, I bring up the point of police de-funding, and re-investment into community, as I think it's a great at illustrating what my claim is about and it's importance.
I find it interesting that the percentage of the city budget that has been allocated to the police has stayed consistent, or even increased (in proportion to the city budget), across the United States, despite the fact that crime has gone down in the past 30 years. There is also seemingly no evidence that an increase in police spending, as we have done so, does anything to actually decrease crime.
On the other hand we delightfully find when we invest in community programs, and the betterment of communities, what you find that all of this cumulative social investment goes a long way towards decreasing crime and poverty in the city. Fore example, in investing in child-rearing and parenting resources, we see that it results in a return of $7.09 for every public dollar spent source. This is because by giving people the resources they need to succeed, more people statistically succeed- these simple socioeconomics, however, takes policy makers some time to understand.
Community investment is demonstrated time and time again to prevent crime from happening, and thus makes the police less useful in stopping crime. This is part of my premise that prevention should hold more weight than cure, just because we so little focus on prevention compared to cure.
This also seems to be the same for mental health- as James J Beshara puts in his essay titled "Mental Wealth"
When it comes to mental health, our society approaches it like we did with physical health 50 years ago. We only think about it when something goes wrong ... We might benefit from approaching mental health like we invest in anything else in our lives.
The same principle can also be extended onto the topic of procreation and antinatalism- we should place a higher priority in preventing the creation of more people, which would reduce our potential need to put so much focus on reducing harm in exceedingly more and more life.
This essay can be extended into a conversation of personal ethics that are focused on the minimization of potential harm reduction, such as I like to believe Stoicism can.