Sago Boulevard

Friday, December 23, 2005

Economics and Capital Punishment

In light of the recent execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, Richard Posner offers an economic perspective on capital punishment. I have to think about it more before passing judgment but it's worth reading and considering.

As a rule, I think a purely economic approach to such a loaded ethical and political issue will be, at best, insufficient. Posner seems to take for granted that the State may kill those to deserve to die. While this may be true, it is far from obvious. The value of a life is much harder to pin down than he would have us believe.