Wednesday , July 8 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Economics of Crime

Tag Archives: Economics of Crime

Lester Grinspoon RIP

On Thursday, June 25, Lester Grinspoon, M.D. died, one day after his 92nd birthday. This afternoon, I looked at my markups of two of his books, Marihuana Reconsidered, 2nd ed. 1977 and Cocaine: A Drug and Its Social Evolution, co-authored with James B. Bakalar. Shortly after I got my green card, in October 1977, I did an academic’s version of “sowing his wild oats.” My particular version was reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which I loved, these two books by...

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Fewer laws, less police brutality

There has recently been a great deal of discussion as to how to reduce police brutality. I don’t necessarily oppose attempts to reform police forces, but I doubt whether that sort of approach would be effective. In my view, the problem must be addressed indirectly. The primary problem is not too many police; it’s too many laws. There are two obvious objections to my argument: 1. I’ve long advocated a reduction in laws, so my motives are suspect. Perhaps I’m just using...

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John Ross on Legal Issues

If you’ve been following the Minneapolis police handling of George Floyd, you probably also know that police mistreatment of people–white people as well as black people–is not a new issue. One of the reasons is the lenient way courts and juries often treat policemen who badly hurt or even kill innocent, or relatively innocent, people. My favorite commenter on these legal issues is John K. Ross. Ross is a researcher and editor of Short Circuit for the Institute for...

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Punishment without Prisons

One of the many horrible tragedies during the current pandemic has been the widespread outbreak of Covid-19 in prisons.  Crowded with inmates and bereft of the medical resources necessary to care for the infected, American prisons have become death traps, and many of those incarcerated are now facing potential death sentences, even if they committed non-violent crimes.  What are the alternatives to prisons if society wishes to punish criminals?  The Enterprise of Law:...

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Ben Smith is One Gutsy Guy

New York Times reporter Ben Smith interviewed his big boss, Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, and the Times ran the interview, along with an introduction, yesterday. The new story was titled “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.” You have to read it to believe it or, maybe, to disbelieve it. The story is about the incredibly disparate treatment the Times gave to sexual assault charges against soon-to-be Supreme Court...

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60 Minutes’ Inspiring Show

I’ve posted before (here, for example) about various good segments on CBS’s longest-running news show, 60 Minutes. Last night, the whole thing was excellent. It led off with economics. Scott Pelley discussed the huge number of people who were out of work and who were desperately trying to reach the New York state government’s unemployment office to get their benefits. One woman he interviewed said she had worked since age 15 and had never claimed unemployment...

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Pinch Me

If you wore [sic] born and grew up in the U.S., Canada, Australia or any other country considered “developed,” there are probably a lot of things you take for granted on a daily basis. Things like clean drinking water, big grocery stores, and even mirrors. But for people who grew up in developing countries and then left, many aspects of life in the developed world might come as a shock. So writes May Wilkerson in “35 people who moved from the developing world to...

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The Social Conservatism of Hollywood

[warning: spoilers] The new Uncut Gems is further evidence for a thesis I’ve long maintained: Contrary to popular opinion, Hollywood makes a lot of socially conservative movies.  When you strip away the glamorous actors and cool music, the message is clear: Live a responsible bourgeois life or you will soon be severely punished. This is most obvious for hard-boiled crime films.  The lead characters in such stories engage in an array of impulsive, brutal, and...

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Nationalism and corruption

There’s been a great deal of focus on the Trump administration’s attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating Hunter Biden. As an aside, I don’t believe Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden, I suspect he pressured Ukraine to announce that they planned to investigate Biden, which is a very different proposition (and far worse). Elsewhere, the administration has backed away from a longstanding US policy of discouraging corruption in Eastern Europe: America’s...

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About those Republican judges

Defenders of President Trump will often acknowledge his faults, but then point to his selection of judges. I’ve never been impressed by that argument, as I prefer good judges to “conservative” judges. Most of all, I prefer judges that do not protect corrupt officials that appointed them. And Trump seems to be falling short on even that basic requirement. After the Warren Harding scandals, Congress passed a law giving lawmakers the authority to investigate anyone’s tax...

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