I believe humans naturally avoid violence when it is an option, and one of the first world's primary offerings is options. But all it would take to elevate the level of desperation in the first world is the elimination of a few options.
Here's a kind of related story that may have some meaning for those of you who have been up our way. The People's Pint in Greenfield MA, our beloved after-dojo bar, was burglarized recently. A safe was stolen containing their cash and check receipts (which is most of what they have; they only recently started accepting cards, and most of their regulars pay cash out of habit). Also stolen was the cash donations that patrons had made to the Franklin County Community Meals program (also known as Share the Bounty). When I heard the news, I thought, "Who does that?" and immediately realized that the thief was almost certainly someone who perceived that they had needs and no other/better way to meet them than to steal. The perception (and perhaps the reality) was of a lack of options; the result was an antisocial act. Here in the first world, we can have options side by side with lack of options; we can also have different perceptions of the same reality -- depending on which side you fall on, the result is optimism or desperation. I'm reminded of a dojo-mate whose home and car were badly damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, who lost a lot, but who got the help and resources needed to get by and slowly put things back together, who said, "Now we know what it is to be rich."