There are many reasons why it is a mistake to leap from the findings of behavioral economics to the conclusion that the state should be given more power to force, or even just to “nudge,” individuals to change their actions. Mike Munger points us to one of those reasons – a reason that is particularly frightening.
Most technological breakthroughs come from technologists tinkering, not from researchers chasing hypotheses. Heretical as it may sound, “basic science” isn’t nearly as productive of new inventions as we tend to think.
(HT Warren Smith)
Prosecutions are preceded by police investigations. Police, says Kozinski, have “vast discretion” about, among many other things, which leads to pursue and witnesses to interview. They also have opportunities “to manufacture or destroy evidence, influence witnesses, extract confessions” and otherwise “stack the deck against people they think should be convicted.” A woman spent 23 years on death row because of an oral confession she supposedly made during a 20-minute interrogation by a detective who Kozinski says was later shown “to be a serial liar.” The conviction of a man who spent 39 years in prison was based “entirely” on the eyewitness testimony of a 12-year-old who saw the crime from a distance, failed to identify the man in a lineup and was fed information by the police.
(The too-many conservatives who accuse critics of cops as being “soft on crime” are blind to the reality that much crime is committed by cops. That cop-committed crimes, such as civil asset forfeiture, are committed by uniformed, titled, and badge-carrying government officials – and done so in the name of fighting crime – doesn’t change the reality that the cop-committed crimes are crimes, and that the cops who commit these crimes are parasitic and often murderous criminals.)
To bemoan a capitalist earning high profits is like complaining about a surgeon saving too many lives.