Sixteen results of prohibition

From the Chicago Boyz:

When a law bans exchanges wanted by everyone directly involved a number of things happen:

1) The exchanges continue;

2) Prices of the banned items rise and wars to control turf begin;

3) New criminals are created, including many people who are ordinary good people (like colored margarine seekers);

4) New enforcement agencies and staff are created;

5) New jails are built and new jailers are trained;

6) Laws, lawyers and lawsuits proliferate;

7) A new branch of law and its practitioners prosper and support further extension and complexification of regulations;

8) A portion of the entire apparatus of enforcement and punishment is progressively corrupted;

9) New agencies and staff are created to discover, eliminate or suppress the corruption;

10) Many begin to support ever more drastic suppression and punishment;

11) A profitable subliminal partnership emerges unifying the interests of violators and enforcers as the profits from the illegal trade are negotiated and distributed among them;

12) The business engages all of the following: bad people buying and selling, good people buying and selling, police, judges, academics, enforcement trainers and suppliers, prison builders and suppliers, staff to support all of this, journalists to cover it, media organizations to sell the coverage;

13) Completely uninvolved people are caught in crossfires, including taxpayers;

14) The costs of controlling the new flourishing evil continue to grow seemingly without limit;

15) The vast network of beneficiaries of the law applaud and lobby for its continuation, vilifying all opposition;

16) Everyone gets more and more discouraged and inclined to hate all humanity. This list is probably too short.

However all of these bad things may be balanced by the fact that creative people are engaged in producing media based on the things that happen because of the prohibition, and by watching and reading we all learn delightful new things about how the world works. (channeling Voltaire).

It is not enough to simply ban exchanges that have consequences we don’t like. The costs of doing it should be compared with the costs of not doing it. Those costs usually dwarf the costs that would arise from unhindered transactions.

Read the 25 responses, on the Chicago Boyz forum.



Filed under News

3 responses to “Sixteen results of prohibition

  1. This author focuses on the practical downside of mala prohibita law, but he ignores the most important reason, and that is that violates the rights of people that it is supposed to protect, hence it is immoral, and illegitimate.

  2. charles jasunas

    They asked Elliot Ness in the movie about the prohibition what he would do now, seeing that this law was on its way out, he replied.” I’ll go have a drink”. Good answer !

  3. Richard Barrett

    What a parallel with the Raw Milk situation. Most people who do not own a cow, have to joint the Black Market. Price has rose to $5.00 a litre in Alberta. I am disappointed at the amount of taxes that is going to support the oppression of Michael Schmidt who has not caused one person to be sick.
    The Milk Regulations have become complexed so much that they contradict themselves. Example: Milk can only go to Processing Plant if it is transported off the farm but yet in another Regulation, it may be transported to the owner’s home which may be off the farm. Another stupid Regulation is that if the milker is not the owner of the cow, the person milking the cow can not drink the milk because the cow owner will be fined $25,000.00 for the first drink. If the farmer has a Quota, he can loose it which is worth $28,000.00 per cow. This results in the Quota Farmers supporting the drastic punishment of the small farmer that shares with his neighbours.
    The Provincial & Federal governments are lobbied by a paid Lobbyist by the Dairy Industry to protect their Supply Management system.

    Let us all work to change this. Ask your MLA if they would support the concept of a group of friends being able to lease land, buy cows, feed etc, and be able to bring the Fresh Unpasteurized Whole Milk into the city to a locked refrigerated container for the Owners’ Household use. If they will support this Milk Regulation change, have them cc. their Ag, Minister and send me the MLA’s name. Thanks!

    My E-mail:

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