Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Race and Economics: A short Sowell column reviewing an economics book. Unemployment among black people was lower than unemployment among whites before the government passed minimum wage laws. Those laws were basically the result of white union workers trying to remove the competition from nonunion black workers. The entrenched poverty and unemployment among black people is mainly due to bad government policies.

College Costs Linked to Risky Teen Behavior Research shows a correlation between high community college costs and self-destructive behavior. When reading things like this, always remember that correlation is not causation, but it certainly is plausible that people are more self-destructive when they see less chance of a good future.

In Defense of Flogging

I propose we give convicts the choice of the lash at the rate of two lashes per year of incarceration. One cannot reasonably argue that merely offering this choice is somehow cruel, especially when the status quo of incarceration remains an option. Prison means losing a part of your life and everything you care for. Compared with this, flogging is just a few very painful strokes on the backside. And it's over in a few minutes. ...
My defense of flogging—whipping, caning, lashing, call it what you will—is meant to be provocative, but only because something extreme is needed to shatter the status quo. We are in denial about the brutality of the uniquely American invention of mass incarceration. In 1970, before the war on drugs and a plethora of get-tough laws increased sentence lengths and the number of nonviolent offenders in prison, 338,000 Americans were incarcerated. There was even hope that prisons would simply fade into the dustbin of history. That didn't happen.

I have discussed a similar thing in the past. Of course, my proposal is more scientific than old-fashioned flogging.

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