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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
-- Bill Northlich

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Laws Don’t Prevent Crime, They Punish It

The headline is from Barry Ritholtz.  It is something I've been saying for low these months, e.g., here., where I mentioned similar-ish points as BR, but I was reacting to the fact that most of the blogosphere was then complaining about what assholes the bankers/loan sharks/ratings agencies/Fed heads whose name starts with G, etc were/are. My point was that it’s not against the law to be a venal bastard, and that most such will go to great length to avoid jail.
So, if you are an adult, your algorithm should be:
1. Observe bad behavior
2. If there is a law agains it, punish; goto 1.
3. Otherwise, make a law against it; goto 1.
Non-adult behavior is to say oh, we made some laws a while back but the VB's just got around them so that’s not effective.
...Or - maybe laws do prevent crime somewhat.

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