Monday, December 06, 2004

Becker & Posner Start Blog

Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker and Federal Judge and legal scholar Richard Posner have decided to bring their acumen to the blogosphere and have started a site to explore various current issues in a dialogue format. They jump right in and tackle the topic of preventive war. Even though this initial dialogue was dry and academic in was intelligent and thought provoking, and whether you agree or disagree with them it should be an interesting blog to follow. Here’s a quote from their initial post:

In addition, many state-sponsors of terrorism often prey on the zeal of individuals who are willing to kill themselves in promoting what they consider a higher cause. These suicide bombers clearly cannot be punished after they commit their acts (although their families could be) because they forfeit their lives while attempting to kill and injury others. One can try to raise the probability that they will fail-through barriers, walls, and other protective activities- but free societies are so vulnerable that these can never be strong enough deterrents.

The only really effective approach is to stop them before they engage in their attacks. This is accomplished by tracking them down and imprisoning or killing them based on evidence that they intend to engage in suicidal attacks. Those planning such acts can also be punished on the basis of intent.

The same argument applies to dictators who are willing to use weapons of mass destruction to attack their enemies when they do not care if many of their populations are killed and maimed by retaliation from other countries.

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