Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Shorter Judge Posner

"2 plus 2 = bomb them back to the stone age."

Oh, OK, that's a TAD bit unfair. Go read for yourself as Judge Posner argues that a cost-benefits analysis may be used to to decide whether to launch a pre-emptive war (that's a grossly simplistic summary, but I'm too lazy to elaborate).

Lots of people in Judge Posner's comments section, and elsewhere, were outraged by the judge's dry, bloodless use of economic theory to evaluate war, but personally, I think it would be a good idea to do some kind of cost-benefit analysis before invading another country. Too bad nobody in the Bush administration did one. Bush just said "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out" and then the administration commenced its marketing campaign. The administration sure devoted a lot of time and energy to selling the war. If only it had taken a little time to actually evaluate the potential costs. Instead of banking on the throwing of roses and the blossoming of democracy and the free-flowing oil paying for everything.

For more intelligent commentary on Judge Posner and law and economics than you will ever find here, go read Publius's excellent critique . And do not omit to read the excellent Medium Lobster's post applying Judge Posner's methodology to the question whether we should take pre-emptive action against other entities.

By the way the comments to Judge Posner's first post were a hoot, if you when you read them you imagine the contrast to the deferential treatment to which the judge is probably accustomed. They, the comments, ranged from fawning (OK, he's probably used to that) to impertinent to rude to semi-literate. My own comment was knee-jerk snarky and I immediately wanted to take it back and tone it down, but alas, Haloscan is a harsh mistress.


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