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The Case for Legalizing Blackmail

Summary:
Seriously I am just a rebel. Where else do you get hard-hitting stuff like this? An excerpt: The interesting aspect of this system is that it would provide an informal means of “fining” people for violating social taboos. Although this might strike some (such as Scott Sumner, whom we’ll discuss in the next section) as a horrifying means of puritanical social control, we could alternatively view it as a useful mechanism of minimizing socially undesirable behavior that augments more conventional law enforcement.For example, consider the infamous case of the comedian Louis C.K. According to him, he always officially got consent from women before engaging in his wildly inappropriate behavior. So assuming that he is telling the truth, he didn’t engage in

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Seriously I am just a rebel. Where else do you get hard-hitting stuff like this? An excerpt:

The interesting aspect of this system is that it would provide an informal means of “fining” people for violating social taboos. Although this might strike some (such as Scott Sumner, whom we’ll discuss in the next section) as a horrifying means of puritanical social control, we could alternatively view it as a useful mechanism of minimizing socially undesirable behavior that augments more conventional law enforcement.

For example, consider the infamous case of the comedian Louis C.K. According to him, he always officially got consent from women before engaging in his wildly inappropriate behavior. So assuming that he is telling the truth, he didn’t engage in officially criminal behavior.

Even so, most observers agree that what he did was WRONG and should be actively discouraged by social pressure, including economic incentives. In a society with a mature, legal blackmail industry, as soon as Louis C.K. started earning some real money, the women involved could have told their stories to a company like The Truth Hurts. After its internal investigators verified the allegations and were confident “something was there,” they would approach Louis and ask (say) $200,000 for every year that they sat on the story. Out of that payment, perhaps the company would transfer half to the women complainants, likewise ensuring their annual payments so long as the public never learned of the allegations.

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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