Day: November 29, 2014

Have We Lost the War on Drugs? – Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy – WSJ 2013

One moderate alternative to the war on drugs is to follow Portugal’s lead and decriminalize all drug use while maintaining the illegality of drug trafficking. Decriminalizing drugs implies that persons cannot be criminally punished when they are found to be in possession of small quantities of drugs that could be used for their own consumption.

Decriminalization would reduce the bloated U.S. prison population since drug users could no longer be sent to jail.

Decriminalization would make it easier for drug addicts to openly seek help from clinics and self-help groups, and it would make companies more likely to develop products and methods that address addiction…

A study published in 2010 in the British Journal of Criminology found that in Portugal since decriminalization, imprisonment on drug-related charges has gone down; drug use among young persons appears to have increased only modestly, if at all; visits to clinics that help with drug addictions and diseases from drug use have increased; and opiate-related deaths have fallen.

Have We Lost the War on Drugs? – WSJ.

Friday afternoon video: Adam Smith’s man of system

Knowledge Problem

Lynne Kiesling

Adam Smith’s “man of system” is one of my favorite metaphors for a policymaker who is so taken with imposing his vision of society that he treats the individuals in it like pieces on a chessboard, ignoring the fact that each one of them has his or her own principles, values, and autonomy — his or her own “laws of motion”, in Smith’s language. The man of system sees individuals as pieces of a system, as means to an end, which is his vision of a planned, ordered society.

Our friends at Learn Liberty and philosopher Jim Otteson have collaborated on a short and evocative video explaining the man of system and the consequences of his actions.

Something thought-provoking for your weekend. Look for the man of system; he’s everywhere in policy today, to our detriment.

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The IEA Says Peak Oil Is Dead. That’s Bad News for Climate Policy

Peak oil is a fallacy that will never die

Science & Space

No one—aside maybe from survivalists who’d stocked up on MREs and assault rifles—was really looking forward to a peak-oil world. Read this 2007 GQ piece by Benjamin Kunkel—while we’re discussing topics from the mid-2000s—that imagines what a world without oil would really be like. Think uncomfortable and violent. Oil is in nearly every modern product we use, and it’s still what gets us from point A to point B—especially if you need to get from A to B in a plane. If we were really to see the global oil supply peak and decline sharply, even as demand continued to go up, well, apocalyptic might not be too large a word. And for several years in the middle of the last decade, as oil prices climbed past $100 a barrel and analysts were betting it would break $200, that scenario seemed entirely plausible.

But there was an upside to peak…

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