Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Careful with that market reasoning

I just heard someone on the radio from Cato, the capitalist think tank, argue against the CAFE standards, and the beauty of his case carried me away. All that government waste that goes into trying, jailing and executing murderers, I thought, when history and the examples of other societies show that the incentive system of personal revenge and reprisal is unrivaled for efficiency and for bringing about natural borders and truces appropriate to the respective skills and strengths of the adversaries. In our own country we have enterprise zones that prove the principle--the L.A. neighborhoods of the Crips and the Bloods, for example, in which a thriving shadow economy in drugs and protection has persisted stably for decades. The societies of knights and lords persisted for untold centuries in Europe, and they did it on the honor system and by placing faith in the Invisible Hand.

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