Vice Squad
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Manchester City United -- By Casino?

Punters were wrong-footed by the Casino Advisory Panel when longshot Manchester somehow managed to be recommended for the first (and for the foreseeable future, only) super-casino license in Britain. Stoppage time continues, as the final decison still awaits Parliamentary approval, but if the result holds, Blackpool and Greenwich will be relegated. Part of the arsenal backing Manchester's bid is the fact that the area is in need of 'regeneration,' perhaps because of two years of Chelsea dominance. Apparently Manchester is good at regeneration, though one might think that sufficient opportunities to build a good reputation in that arena would be enough to preclude the reputation from being built. The linked article quotes the leader of the Manchester City Council: "Manchester has an unrivalled track record in the delivery of major regeneration schemes so we are confident we have the expertise to deliver a world-class venue, creating thousands of new jobs for local people."

Speaking of arenas, the proposed casino site is just out over the touchline of the City of Manchester Stadium. Speaking of 'regeneration,' variants of the word appear seven times in this BBC article about the response within Manchester to their come-from-behind victory.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007
Prosecution & laws gone wild

A few days ago, a substitute 40-year old teacher in Connecticut was convicted of exposing students to pornography on a computer at a middle school. The teacher was apparently a victim of spyware that caused x-rated ads to pop up on the screen after she accessed a website completely unrelated to pornography. A good discussion of the case is here. This is indeed a fine example of prosecutorial excess and I don't have much to add to that point. It's not that unusual for the prosecutors to be overzealous, however. Just look at the Duke lacrosse case. What is perhaps more amazing is that apparently the jury (I assume it was a jury trial) went along with the prosecutors here. Generally, I do not like to question jury decisions, because they hear the entire case and I don't. But in this particular case, it is hard to avoid reasonable doubt.

Even more outrageous, however, is the fact that a person can get 40 years in prison (and presumably be labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life) for exposing children to pornography. The entire argument in the case was apparently whether the teacher clicked on the porn sites herself or whether it was a pop-up caused by spyware. But what was going through the head of the state legislators who came up with a 40 year prison term for this crime?

The sentencing is on March 2.

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"Girls gone wild" is not welcome in Bloomington

Last Wednesday, Jake's nightclub in Bloomington, Indiana, canceled (subscription required) a scheduled for Friday "Girls Gone Wild" party after some protests. Interestingly, the club's owners pulled the plug on the party after the petition circulating at Indiana University threatened, among other things, a remonstrance against Jake's liquor license for failing to "maintain a high and fine reputation in the community." Looks like from the business point of view, alcohol as a vice trumps soft porn, at least in Bloomington.


Saturday, January 27, 2007
A Meta-Gambling Snag

On Tuesday morning Britain will reveal which of the seven regional finalists will be awarded the right to open Britain's first Las Vegas-style "super-casino." Greenwich, home of the Millennium Dome, is a strong contender, as is the seaside resort town of Blackpool. But perhaps you favor one of the other entries, such as Cardiff? In any event, Britain being Britain, you can wager on the outcome of the casino award. But will you get a fair shake, or have insiders polluted the pool? According to this article in the Sunday Times, there might be some shenanigans afoot:
Late on Friday the bookmaker Paddy Power was offering evens on the supercasino going to Greenwich, home of the dome, and slightly longer odds on Blackpool, wannabe Las Vegas of the north.

Then suddenly the bookmaker noticed a series of suspicious bets. Some customers were trying to place as much as £5,000 a time on Blackpool winning the contest.

“Normally we’d get bets of £10 or £20 on this sort of thing. We were also being asked to take bets on Greenwich losing — which is unusual,” said a Paddy Power spokesman. “Everyone was wanting to bet on Blackpool getting it and London losing.”

The bookie suspended operations briefly and rapidly changed tack, making Blackpool the odds-on favourite.
Incidentally, one of the advantages of legal betting is that attempts to manipulate outcomes, such as occur during point-shaving scandals in sports, are easier to identify when the betting is open and regulated.

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Friday, January 26, 2007
Singapore's Anti-Drug Cruelty

For most of human history sellers of opiates have engaged in a legal and even respected trade. Of course, in our more enlightened times we know that such sellers must be punished. And no country is more eager to punish, and to take the punishment to absurd extremes, than Singapore (though China and Malaysia are among the progressive nations competing for the honor). Today Singapore hanged a 21-year old man who had been convicted of heroin trafficking.

Update: Moscow's mayor endorses the cruelty.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Russian antitrust agency upholds public morals

Despite some arguments to the contrary, I have always thought that Russia was a rather unusual country (perhaps there is no such thing as a “usual” country, but I am not going to worry about these things here). Still, once in a while, even I get surprised about some things that happen there. As far as I could gather from a relatively brief news item on a Russian language news site, four years ago the Moscow branch of the Russian anti-monopoly agency decided that the advertisement for Moulin Rouge magazine was “unethical” and, therefore, prohibited the ad (or perhaps even the magazine – this is not clear from the news item). The ad showed a lady (quite beautiful one, I might add) who was topless, but covered her nipples with her hands. The publisher of the magazine appealed the decision to the Arbitrage Court. The publisher lost its case a couple of days ago.

First, it is a mystery to me why the anti-monopoly agency would be involved in making ethical judgments. But perhaps even more amazing were the arguments the agency used (and the court upheld and even specifically referenced) to motivate its decision. In its reasoning, the anti-monopoly agency cited the Sermon on the Mount (“everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”) as well as the “Foundations of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church” (I won’t quote from there; it’s too boring). Moreover, the anti-monopoly agency also sprinkled its opinion with a few citations from the Koran including such statements as (my translation from Russian) “it is a sin to look at a woman who is a stranger and see parts of her body” and “it is a sin to undress needlessly and walk around naked” (I am not sure though what constitutes "need" with respect to undressing). Based on all this, the anti-monopolists concluded that the ad violated “common norms of humanity and morals” and contained “images offensive to the religious beliefs of individuals.” Wow. And I though that the Antitrust Division of the US Justice Department was too intrusive.

The Moulin Rouge publisher intends to appeal the court decision.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Libertarian Paternalism and Vice Policy Robustness

Professor Becker, Judge Posner, and Professor Sunstein have had a blog exchange concerning “Libertarian Paternalism.” This phrase comes from work by Professors Sunstein and Thaler, and it concerns policies that push folks in a certain (presumably desirable, for typical people) direction, without limiting their freedom to choose otherwise. As a form of Libertarian Paternalism lies at the heart of my approach towards vice policy, I thought that I might say a little bit more about it.

The name I have adopted for my approach to vice control is the “robustness principle.” The robustness principle states that a vice regulatory regime should work well irrespective of the precise extent of rationality or addiction associated with vice.

The main rationale for the robustness principle lies in ignorance. We can’t easily judge when a habit becomes an addiction, or when rational consumption involves dynamic inconsistency or shades into compulsion. So we want to avoid a regulatory regime that only makes sense if there is no such thing as vice rationality, or an alternative regime that only works well if everyone makes considered, sober judgements about his or her vice participation. What we tend to end up with when we avoid these extremes is vice controls that offer some assistance to those who are misinformed or struggling with self-control issues, as long as those controls do not impinge significantly upon those who are rationally vicious. We entreat and induce but we do not compel -- a’ la libertarian paternalism.

Pure laissez faire towards adult vice if not so attractive, even if we depart from it through mandatory information provision. The difficulty with laissez-faire lies in the affinity of addiction to disease, and the problems with vice self-control that arise among non-addicts; in John Stuart Mill’s terms, vice consumers might often be in some state “incompatible with the full use of the reflecting faculty” -– and hence at least partially exempt from the deference that generally should be paid to adult self-regarding decisions. (And if laissez-faire is a first-best strategy, competing jurisdictions that impose differing robust regimes will eventually reveal that fact –- in the meantime, the departures from those first-best free market polices will not be very costly, given the criterion of robustness.)

The robustness-based vice exemption from our usual deference to adult self-regarding behavior is only a partial exemption. Pre-emptive controls on vice decision making hold the potential to be extremely oppressive, as Mill noted: “The preventive function of far more liable to be abused, to the prejudice of liberty, than the punitory function; for there is hardly any part of the legitimate freedom of action of a human being which would not admit of being represented, and fairly too, as increasing the facilities for some form or other of delinquency.” Those policies that help guide vice decision making in the direction of rationality will become very expensive (in terms of the welfare of rational vice producers and consumers) if they establish substantial barriers to informed use. So unless we are absolutely certain that there is no such thing as rational, informed vice consumption, significant impediments are unwise.

A robust vice policy regime should stand up pretty well if our knowledge or situation changes. And our knowledge and our situation are constantly changing. Tomorrow we might learn that moderate alcohol consumption has more severe negative health effects than our current understanding indicates. The next day evidence might arise that moderate ecstacy consumption promotes mental health with little risk of addiction. A robust regime has already taken these possibilities – and their opposites, that alcohol has more benefits and ecstacy more costs than previously believed –- implicitly into account. We are quite unsure about the extent of rationality governing the use of these substances, so robustness instructs us to choose policies that operate effectively whether the case for rational use improves or deteriorates. (This property of hardiness in the face of altered circumstances is not exhibited by either broad vice prohibitions or laissez-faire.) There might be good reason to adjust even a robust regime at the margins if our understanding of costs and benefits changes – but not to radically revise that regime. Robust rules build-in substantial tolerances for errors in our understanding.

Robustness is a useful precept beyond vice policy, particularly where there exist significant departures from perfect information. A major virtue of democracy as a form of government, for instance, is that it is robust with respect to the personal qualities of politicians: democracy operates well when enlightened leaders are at hand, and it also works tolerably (though less well) when leaders are shortsighted or cruel or venal. Democracy represents a compromise: democratic institutions purposely make it harder for exceptional leaders to guide a country in desirable directions, to ensure that a bad person temporarily in charge will not be in a position to inflict enormous damage. A theoretically better system would be one with expansive executive powers when an enlightened leader is in charge, but much more limited powers when a mediocre or diabolical person holds the reins. But we cannot easily judge (or agree upon) who is enlightened and who is diabolical, so democracies institute a system of checks and balances that constrain leaders of any stamp. The theoretical benefits of basing the extent of power granted upon the character of the current executive are not available in practice. Similarly, the optimal vice controls that would not interfere with rational adult choices while guiding the decisions emanating from diseased or irrational minds are not viable in practice.

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Monday, January 22, 2007
Britain's Gambling Liberalisation Nears

Why is it that "crackdowns" on gambling can occur overnight as part of a port security act but liberalisations meander for years? At any rate, the long-prepared British gambling liberalisation (first mentioned in Vice Squad in December 2003) continues to wend its way towards implementation in September. Not without controversy, however. This week [update - actually, next week] will bring the announcement of where Britain's first Las Vegas-style "super-casino" will be located -- the list of finalists includes the Millennium Dome -- and tonight a television show likely to be highly critical of the British government's conduct in developing the liberalisation will be aired. British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell defended the liberalisation in yesterday's Observer, noting that "More than 99 per cent of people who gamble develop no problems." Ms. Jowell also reiterated the purposes of the liberalising legislation, those of protecting children and problem gamblers, while regulating gambling providers to ensure social responsibility.

Tessa Jowell is not only the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, she is also the Minister for the Olympics -- London is the host for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The Millennium Dome, a spectacular White Elephant (and now offically known as the O2), is slated to host the gymnastics events in 2012. Lottery revenues are a major source of financing for the 2012 games.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007
Big Brother Won't Fund Little Sister's

Little Sister's Bookstore in Vancouver, Canada, keeps having some of its gay erotica seized at the border by Canada Customs on the grounds of obscenity. Little Sister's has been challenging the seizures in court, and has secured a couple of judicial victories. But yesterday the bookshop lost on its claim that its legal fees should be advanced by the government, under the terms of a now-repudiated policy that provided public funding to groups making Constitutional challenges in significant cases. So it now appears that Little Sister's will have to forego further legal action, and tolerate the occasional seizure by Canada Customs.

The last time Vice Squad checked in with Little Sister's (in July 2004), the bookstore had won, at the trial level, the right to federal funding for its lawsuit. That decision was later overturned upon appeal, and the appelate ruling was upheld yesterday by the Supreme Court of Canada. Those who support laws that provide for government censorship of obscenity should keep in mind that what the official enforcers will deem to be obscene will not necessarily be the same material that the law's supporters have in mind.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007
Neteller Abandons Gambling Sites for U.S. Residents

In October 2006 the US adopted a law that aimed at crippling internet gambling by attacking payment intermediaries. Credit card companies and PayPal had been scared off years ago, leaving Neteller as a major player in the field. Neteller's initial response to the new US law was to continue to serve the US market, at least until the Treasury Department unveiled its enforcement plan, due by July 10. But the arrest of two of Neteller's founders earlier this week hastened the move -- announced in a Neteller press release today -- to cut the e-gambling link of US residents, including almost 500,000 US customers who were active in Neteller during the fourth quarter of 2006. Today's move by Neteller followed (by one day) the US internet gambling exit by a major Canadian payments intermediary, Citadel Commerce Corporation. Other "e-wallet" firms remain active, but the effective closure of Neteller and Citadel to Americans will cause at least a short-term dent in internet gambling.

Both Neteller (British-based) and ESI Entertainment Systems, Inc. (the parent company of Citadel) are publicly-traded companies and hence more susceptible to US legal pressure. The financial records required of public firms can be used as evidence, and such information formed part of the prosecutorial package against the Neteller founders.

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Friday, January 12, 2007
Mr. Prokhorov has been released

The Russian oligarch who was arrested on Tuesday in Courchevel, France, has been released. We can all relax. It's still apparently legal to wine and dine young women and even offer them lodging. I do hope that the French police had a better reason for arresting and holding all those people in jail for a couple of days than what they revealed. But I have no evidence of that.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007
Russian oligarch arrested in France

One of the richest men in Russia and the world, Mikhail Prokhorov, 41, was arrested with 27 other people, including several young women, in a French ski resort of Courchevel. Apparently, all the women were let go soon after the apprehension, but Mr. Prokhorov and at least some of his friends are still held in custody in Lyon. So far, no charges have been filed. It will be interesting to see what these not so poor Russians are charged with, if anything. It seems that it might be soliciting prostitution or perhaps even (God forbid!) drug possession. (Prostitution itself is not apparently illegal in France, but solicitation is.) From the available information, it appears that the Russian women who were initially apprehended with Prokhorov and others were not prostitutes. Moreover, the Bloomberg article referred to above quotes Lyon's state prosecutor as saying that "[t]he possibility of gifts, dinners and lodgings in five-star hotels being offered to the women is ``part of the investigation.'' Wow. By this standard, most American males might be guilty, except, of course, we would need to replace "five-star hotels" with something more affordable such as one's appartment. But perhaps there will be more serious charges involved. One interesting thing is how little information seems to be available on the web about all this in English. When I googled "Prokhorov prostitution" I did not see any entries on the first page that related to this story. I guess why should anybody really care that a guy who has $7.6 billion is arrested for (presumably) soliciting prostitution? In any case, the French authorities are going to make a statement about this case tomorrow and perhaps I will say more about it then.

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First reactions

About a week ago Jim had a post on cigarette taxes, where he asked his students about the effects of raising the tax by 50 cents per pack. Curiously, one of the first answers that came to my mind was not on Jim's list of expected (or, apparently, received) answers. I immediately thought of what would happen to state revenues from the tax. I guess it takes a person who has done tax policy consulting for many years to think first of the effect of tax on state revenue and only later about other consequences. I wonder if, when offered a drink, a person who has written a book on vice thinks first about the history of prohibition, "external" drunk driving deaths, etc.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Australian Ecstasy Use

Australia leads the world in the consumption of ecstasy, according to this article. (Thanks for the pointer from the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.) Naturally, the widespread ecstasy use is causing some concern. What it isn't causing, however, is an over-the-top police response. Indeed, undercover officers stay away from raves:
Questioned on the use of undercover officers at rave parties and nightclubs, Mr Overland said police no longer went into these premises to make drug arrests. "We have found from past experience they can be quite volatile and doing that can actually cause more problems than it solves."
What, an accounting of the relative costs and benefits matters in selecting among anti-drug policing strategies? Once such an approach takes hold, there is no telling where it might lead...

PS -- The loyal Vice Squad reader might have noticed that our long national nightmare of Vice Squad dormancy was declared over at the beginning of 2007. Nevertheless, things will be a bit quiet for a week, as we expand our horizons.

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Monday, January 08, 2007
Anti-Khat Fundamentalism

The Somali Islamic Courts Council no longer sets the rules in Mogadishu, so its short-lived ban on khat has been rescinded. (Thanks to Alcohol and Drugs History Society for the pointer.) Nothing like banning a substance used for centuries by a majority of the male population. The SICC banned movies, too, and I suppose that that ban went south with them as well.

In the US, the fundamentalist government banned khat nationally in 1993 -- put it in the dreaded schedule 1, in fact, reserved for only the worst drugs, like heroin, psilocybin, and pot. (State laws on khat seem to vary, however.) This is one war that the Blairites in Britain have not joined. In Tennessee, a Somali immigrant found with 17 bags of khat -- which degrades quickly so must be consumed within a few days of harvest -- was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison. Motion pictures remain legal in Tennessee, generally speaking.

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Friday, January 05, 2007
Heavy Smokers and Cigarette Taxes

Classes at the University of Chicago began this week, and in the first 'Public Policy Analysis' class of the quarter I asked the students what effects they might expect from an increase in cigarette taxes of 50 cents per pack. (Surely I had my reasons?) I anticipated answers about higher cigarette retail prices, lower cigarette consumption, a switch to higher quality cigarettes, reductions in the consumption of complements (alcohol?), increases in the consumption of substitutes (snus!; marijuana?), more smuggling from low-taxed jurisdictions, more intense smoking of those cigarettes that are consumed, and shorter cigarette butts littering the ground. One student suggested that light smokers would probably reduce their consumption, but that heavy smokers would just pay the higher prices, and continue to smoke their 2 packs a day or whatever. My less-than-gracious response, alas, was (as I recall) that the student's claim was "plausible, common, and wrong."

After the class I began to wonder if I really had good grounds for my position. In general with respect to vice goods, I think there is solid evidence that even addicts decrease their consumption in the face of price rises. But what about in the specific case of cigarettes? A quick check on the web indicates that my intuiton (or memory?) seems to hold up, for once: heavy smokers on average cut back in the face of cigarette tax increases, with the average decline reflecting both cesssation by some previously heavy smokers and decreased consumption among those who continue to smoke. But the evidence that I have at hand, either via the web or in my vice library (everyone has a vice library, no?), still falls somewhat short of conclusive. This study on New York City, for instance, covers a time period when restrictive measures beyond higher taxes were being implemented, and to get the "higher taxes cause heavy smokers to cut back" result requires some, well, extrapolation. This study on Australia provides somewhat more direct evidence, while still being less than fully determinative.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007
Ignition Interlocks

Yesterday I intended to say something about ignition interlock devices for cars, but I got derailed. What I have to say about them is that they are gaining in popularity, in terms of being mandated for drunk-driving offenders.

Interlock devices try to determine whether a driver is impaired; if impairment is detected, the car will not start, or, if it is already running, the car will be shut down. There are various technologies that are available (including Saab's Alko-key), but most involve having the driver blow some air into a detector. Frequent retests are required, in part to dissuade people from using surrogates to bypass the test. (Many people who occassionally drive after doing a bit of drinking might like to have such a device installed, to protect them against inadvertantly driving while over the legal limit; such people will not be interested in circumventing the control. But some people, alas, will prefer to evade a positive test and drive legally drunk rather than waiting until sobriety or other means of locomotion arrive.)

In 2005, New Mexico (following an earlier policy adopted in Maryland) required that first-time drunk driving offenders have ignition interlock devices installed, and the law was credited with inducing a fall in drunk driving deaths. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is now pushing for a similar measures nationally. In Victoria, Australia, January 1 brought in a new law that would require interlocks for young first-time drunk driving offenders.

Interlock systems do not work if they are not installed, however. It seems like that is the frequent outcome in the state of Washington, even after a court orders that an offender acquire an ignition interlock: 4,400 interlock systems have been installed in Washington, while 28,000 drivers have been ordered to obtain the devices.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007
'External' Drunk Driving Deaths

Some 13,000 Americans are killed in accidents involving drunk drivers each year. Many of these fatalities are neither the drivers themselves nor passengers in their cars -- that is, many of the deaths clearly involve "externalities". Precisely how many is less clear, at least to me. A well-known 1989 article* noted a Department of Transportation estimate that 7,400 of 22,400 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 1985 were of individuals who had not been drinking, though presumably many of these individuals were passengers in the drunk drivers' cars. In the EU, it has been estimated** that 10,000 of 17,000 drunk driving fatalities each year are of people other than the drinking driver. Professor Becker, in the blog post that we recently linked to, mentioned a figure of more than 2000 external drunk-driving deaths in the year 2000, from an analysis by Professor Kevin Murphy.

The distinction between drivers and their passengers on the one hand, and others, on the, well, other hand, is only important if you think that the risks of riding with the impaired driver have somehow been fully taken into account in decisions to be such a passenger, and that the 'decision' to drive drunk is somehow rational, too. If these conditions hold, the 'external' costs of the driving are only those imposed on pedestrians or people riding in other cars (abstracting from still further issues with respect to public and private car and health insurance).

To be honest, this started as a post about ignition interlock devices, but my ignorance about the external deaths from drunk driving led things in another direction. Not that I have undone my ignorance on this topic -- I have simply sketched its contours. Please e-mail vicesquad at if you can shed some light on this issue.

The original topic (ignition interlocks), as well as the figure of 13,000 drinking-related traffic deaths each year, was drawn from a current MADD initiative.

*Manning, W.G., E. B. Keeler, J. P. Newhouse, E. M. Sloss, and J. Wasserman, “The Taxes of Sin: Do Smokers and Drinkers Pay Their Way?” Journal of the American Medical Association 261(11): 1604-1609, March 17, 1989.

**See Anderson, Peter, and Ben Baumberg, “Alcohol in Europe – A Public Health Perspective.” Report for the European Commission, Institute of Alcohol Studies, UK, June 2006.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Alcohol and Nicotine as Warnings Against Drug Legalization

In the comments section of this post over at Drug WarRant, 'Sam from Ithaca' looks for a brief rejoinder to a common argument against drug legalization....
Sometimes, prohibitionists use the following argument.

"Of course alcohol and tobacco kill zillions more Americans each year than all illegal drugs put together. That's because they're legal. Imagine how much worse things would be if other drugs were legal, too."

I invite everyone to share their "elevator speech" in response to this argument.
A few subsequent commenters volunteered suggestions, and 'Sam' indicated that he or she was excluding cannabis from the discussion, because of its relative lack of dangerousness. Here's my quick response:
Legal availability of drugs to adults for recreational purposes does not require a regime anywhere near as lenient as that surrounding alcohol and tobacco. Advance purchases can be required from state or regulated monopoly providers, advertising can be controlled, public consumption can be outlawed, quantity limitations can be put in place, taxes can be imposed, and buyers can be licensed, for instance. More dangerous forms of the drugs -- heroin as opposed to opium, for example -- can face stricter regimes. Enforcement and regulatory resources can then be targeted at the most socially costly types of drug use, while preventing low risk adults from facing arrest for behavior that is not blameworthy, and while greatly reducing black markets, with all their attendant harms.


Monday, January 01, 2007
Becker and Posner on Drunk Driving...and Vice More Generally

In late December the Becker-Posner blog looked at drunk driving in the US. Professor Becker suggested that drunk driving is significantly underpunished. Judge Posner thinks it might make more sense just to punish those drunk drivers who actually cause harm to others:
If there are 1.4 million annual arrests for drunk driving, and if we assume realistically that this is only a fraction of the actual incidents of drunk driving, yet only 2,000 innocent people are killed by drunk drivers, then it follows that most drunk driving is harmless. Why then punish it with arrests and severe penalties? Why not just punish those drunk drivers who cause deaths or injuries to nonpassengers?
One point that I might add is that the probability of being arrested given that you drive drunk seems to be quite low in the US: perhaps a chance of 1 in 200. [Update: An analysis (99-page pdf) using more recent data, and the new "national" Blood Alcohol Content standard of .08, puts the likelihood that a drunk driver will be arrested in the US at about 2%.]

The Becker-Posner blog has become a leading source for vice policy analysis. The second half of 2006 has featured, in addition to the drunk driving commentary, the following topics:

Internet Gambling -- August 2006

Doping in Sports -- August 2006

Taxing Fat -- October 2006

Legalizing Polygamy -- October 2006

Advertising and Obesity of Children -- December 2006

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