Another comment at Murph\’s

Compare and contrast two statements.

Richard Murphy: “We can never solve all crime”

Richard Murphy: “Yes I am saying there isn’t an efficient level of crime”

If we can never solve all crime then there is a level of crime that it is efficient to have. Only if we can solve (or prevent, clean up, stop) all crime can it be efficient to do so.

If we cannot solve all crime then we have to make a decision about which bits we’re not going to solve: otherwise we will be devoting ever more resources to solving that last bit of crime even while we know that we cannot in fact reach the goal.

Thus there is an efficient level of crime to accept that we have.

50 comments on “Another comment at Murph\’s

  1. And allowing tax abuse, and so the movement of illicit funds, should be the one not to ignore.

    But then you libertarians probably like your guns, porn and drugs to be controlled by lawless psychopaths.

  2. Arnald,

    I think you’ll find that most Libertarians would want those things completely decriminalised thus taking control of them away from lawless psychopaths.

    Then again, your dealer might be a really top bloke in which case I apologise for the generalisation.

  3. Twat @1, The discussion is not about whether to ignore particular types of crime, but whether to ignore particular instances of a type of crime. Thus we will not ignore theft, but we may ignore particular instances of theft, eg we may not bother prosecuting someone how helps themselves to a grape in tesco while shopping.

    Your comment regarding guns, porn and drugs is complete non sequiter.

  4. As my (long ago) sociology tutor said, “if there were no laws there would be no crime” along with all the prior crap he passed on this was reason enough for me to get up and leave.

  5. Forget lawless pyschopaths. Given the agressive and irrational nature of most of your posts Arnald, let’s all hope you don’t have access to any of those.

  6. Worzel
    Most posts on this blog are littered with the profane and the insulting. I expect a similar response from you to others in the future, otherwise you’re a hypocritical tit.

    Dunce @4
    Your knowledge of the shadow finance industry is obviously sufficiently extensive to understand how the proceeds of crime, be they hiding legitimate earnings from wherever, or by hiding the illegitimate earnings from whatever, renders my point a non sequitur. Maybe you could draw me a picture or something.

    Probably as knowledgable as your spelling, huh.

    As for the rest of the libertarian argument. Of course decrimming has merit. But that’s not the state of play. That’s why your attacks on seeking justice from the cheating finance industry is completely non-sensical, and judging by the bile (yes Worzel, it’s rife this bile thing, can you actually read?) directed to tax campaigners, which incorporates campaigning to bring BigFin into some sort of line, can only be seen as condoning criminals.

    Well done. That’s why you’re not taken seriously.

    Sirsly you’re not. Jeebus.

  7. Twat @1, my point still stands. You are so incapable of comprehension that you are unable to distinguish between ignoring types of crime, and ignoring instances of crime.

    The shadow finance industry is not why guns and drugs are controlled by lawless psychopaths, that is a consequence of the fact they are illegal.

  8. Dunce @9
    Are you really that dense? Cut out the machinery of finance for criminals and you cut out a major plank of criminal superiority.

    Come on, Einstein, tell me how a succesful criminal operation works without compliant legitimate movement of capital. If it were a transparent set of operations, yer know, liberal, we could pinpoint and apportion blame very easily.

    No. You would prefer that lawless psychopaths TAKE FUCKING ADVANTAGE (you clueless muppet) of the very industry that you defend to the hilt without knowing fuck all about it.

    Where are the libertarian numbskulls on tackling endemic mega-criminal operations?

    The fact is, you don’t een care. That’s why the epithets are so easy.

    Build a fortress, why don’t you. Shoot the undesirables. It’s your law. Twats.

  9. Arnald,

    I think what bothers me most about all of this is that for all the talk of ‘big finance’ and the ‘shadow economy’ being taken apart by HMRC anyone who’s even remotely realistic knows that it’ll be the cheap cash in hand jobs done by local builders, people selling Egyptian fags down the local and the boss who pays his staff cash in hand when they do overtime rather than stick it on the payroll who’ll really get hammered.

    I’ve never understood why the left seem to think that big business (who certainly do avoid paying any more tax then they have to) are tax evaders when they can afford to employ an army of accountants to make sure that everything is nice and legal.

  10. Fambly
    Can’t you see that that is what campaigning is about?

    The big biz and the rich should not be able to have the privilege of being to circumspect the law through a network of shades.

    By allowing, and condoning the practice, we enable the real bastards to do what they want.

  11. Arnald. It’s circumvent not circumspect. You really don’t grasp the point do you ? The law is being adhered to that’s all any of us can do, if there are loopholes or complexities then it is either badly written law or impossible to define to the minute degree that you would like in order to fulfill your dream of a just society. Other people have different ideas about that it doesn’t make them criminals or psychopaths, your favoured world would be oppressive and quite possibly violent, a playground for the real psychopaths, it’s happened before.

  12. I don’t normally bother to pick people up on minor spelling mistakes in blog comments; they tend to be written in a hurry after all. However, seeing as you want to be such a smug little cock about my spelling, I feel compelled to point out that the word is “circumvent” not “circumspect”. The word “able” was also missing.

    “Probably as knowledgable as your spelling, huh.”
    The above is not a sentence.
    “een ” should be even.

    etc.
    We can play that game all day if you like.

    ” Cut out the machinery of finance for criminals and you cut out a major plank of criminal superiority.”

    We really are a thick cunt aren’t you. If we know who the criminals are, we don’t need to cut the machinery of finance, because we can prosecute them for their criminality. If we don’t know who they are, then anything we do to hurt criminals hurts everyone else as well.

    Now go back to giving Richard reach-arounds, there’s a good chap.

  13. Arnald. I seem to remember reading a thread in which you were involved some time ago. It suggested that you were resident in Guernsey and working in a financial services business but when coming across suspicious activity you decided not to report it. Is that correct or is my memory failing me?

  14. Chrissums
    You really know nothing.
    The machinery allows criminals to flourish.
    It’s there for a reason. That’s the whole point of secrecy jurisdictions. It’s all dressed up as a professional and well meaning business, but in reality it is a parasitical embarrassment to decent human behaviour.

    Not that you would know what that is.

    Thornavis
    The system is geared towards the rich and the multinats. By having that in place, it is phenomonally easy for criminals to piggy back. Surely a libertarian would argue the case for transparency?

    But I forget. You’re not libertarians. You’re just selfish.

  15. Back on Tim’s original point, it is certainly true that there is a cost to law enforcement, and in the case where enforcing the law becomes so costly that it outweighs some of the damage caused by crimes(or alleged crimes), then the equation changes. With “victimless crimes” (such as laws against drugs, porn or whatever), the cost of enforcement issue also brings in the problem of organised crime, etc.

    And taxes vary in the cost of collection: the easier and simpler the tax code, the greater the chance of getting in revenue. Simples.

  16. “You’re not libertarians. You’re just selfish.”

    Well, given that freedom is about the freedom of people to pursue their own rational self interest so long as it does not aggress against that of others, then libertarians are, by definition, “selfish”, but not necessarily in the negative sense that that word carries, Arnauld.

    As for your points about offshore tax jurisdictions, I would add that many of them have far higher standards of reporting and transparency than some so-called regular places. Moscow is “onshore”, the Caymans are “offshore”, yet I know for a fact that the latter is more robust as a legal jurisdiction.

  17. I called them secrecy jurisdictions.

    The point about libertarians being selfish is that it is usually those with the means and the power that call for such ‘freedoms’, as they well know that it becomes easier for them to impose their ‘freedom’ on others.

    See the market. The richer one gets, the more reach one acquires, and the more able you become to influence and distort the environment to your own ends. Eventually competition is squashed.

    So really the whole libertarian outlook predicates favouring the already rich.

    It doesn’t make anyone any better at living, yerknow, as a social entity.

  18. The original point, which Murphy appears to have willfully misrepresented or woefully misunderstood, is that it’s about trade-offs; if the costs outweigh the benefits, a rational person will think twice before chasing the particular crime in question. It does not mean the person “condones” or “excuses” or “justifies” the crime, any more than the CPS condones or excuses or justifies a crime it decides not to prosecute because it doesn’t think it has a reasonable chance of success.

    (Murphy goes even further, suggesting that such a person is a “proponent” of crime. It is really quite odd.)

    Now, we can argue about what the costs and benefits are; as someone said, there might be more costs than might first spring to mind, e.g. tax evasion might facilitate other criminal activity. But that is detail we can argue about – the principle itself is reasonable.

    Tim possibly chose the wrong word in “ignore”, because it didn’t come across that he would wholly ignore the crime but rather keep an eye on it and review the situation if it changed. Indeed that is the clear meaning of the last paragraph in his original post:

    If the numbers change, we get £2.33 in tax revenue and only a £1 reduction in activity…..or let’s say for each £1 in revenue we get only a 30 p reduction in economic activity (which is about what the tax deadweight costs are for an economy like ours) then perhaps I would argue for the crackdown.

  19. “The point about libertarians being selfish is that it is usually those with the means and the power that call for such ‘freedoms’, as they well know that it becomes easier for them to impose their ‘freedom’ on others.”

    Not strictly true. A lot of wealthy people are quite keen on regulations and so on as a way to shaft small businesses, for instance. And a lot of the relatively well-off in our society are part of the rent-seeking classes that benefit from certain kinds of privilege that would vanish if we had genuine laissez faire.

    Of course, it is undeniable that people who create genuine wealth via entrepreneurship want to decide how to deploy it, so it is not surprising really that some of them are classical liberals, favouring low taxes, etc. Hardly surprising, and not proof that there is anything wrong about it.

    Of course, many poor people are understandably attracted by the siren songs of Big Government, but that does not mean they are correct.

  20. The rich and successful are the ones who pay the bills, so that’s why they wield more power in dictating how their cash is spent.

    But obviously you’d rather those who make little or no contribution to the State’s coffers to dictate how eveyone else’s money is spent ?

    Your use of the parasite metaphor in a previous comment is quite apposite.

    Remoras follow sharks around because it’s easier than fending for themselves. They enjoy lovely sharky leftovers, without trying to dictate where the shark should go, what it should eat, or ultimately, berating it for being a shark.

    Of course the Remora’s Revolutionary Council might favour following Dolphins around, however they’d soon go hungry when they discovered that Dolphins, whilst appearing all lefty and right on, are actually selfish cunts.

  21. Just remind me which company caused you to embark on this revolutionary crusade by sacking you ?

    I have a whole wodge of cash ready to invest to keep empowering them.

  22. On the issue of “secrecy jurisdictions”, this is not really true, either. Sure, Switzerland is probably still a secrecy jurisdiction, but this is decreasingly the case (the recent UBS case vis the US being a good example). I’d wager that any serious tax collector trying to penetrate banks would have a less difficult time in Liechtenstein or the Caymans than, say, Greater China (which is not dubbed as a tax haven), Russia or for that matter, parts of Latin America.

    The truth of the matter is that the definitions of tax havens used by Richard Murphy and his pals are little more than attempts to attack those places that happen to have low or fairly light taxes, which of course offends his socialist political views.

    And the old line about the rich getting “empowered” only applies if they are able to get their hands on the levers of state power and “pull up the drawbridge”, so to speak. This is not a trivial matter; it is a legitimate concern and one that genuine free marketeers should be concerned about. However, the sort of confiscatory tax policies favoured by the Richard Murphys of this world won’t help. In fact, by stifling entrepreneurship, they reduce the kind of upward mobility that ensures we don’t get fossilised elites, etc.

  23. Arnald

    There are people who demand a small state and low taxes, but still expect their existing interests to be protected with vigour. There are people who believe that everything we have should be gotten through merit and endeavour, but who think that inheritance tax is undiluted evil. You may call them ‘Libetarians’, but I would call them ‘Arseholes’.

    They are like the people who preach Christian family values, but ignore Christian chairty values. They are like the lefties who want the state to hold all the power, but cry foul whenever the state excercises it… or who believe that the rich should be taxed, and define rich as ‘anyone with more money than me’.

    Some people pick and choose the elements of a philosphy that suit their interests. That’s just how it is, and it’s not a left/right issue.. it’s a people issue. For every person who calls himself a Libetarian, but is actually a hypocritical arsehole.. I’ll show you a dozen ‘Socialists’ who are just as bad… but if someone identifies himself as a Socialist to me, then I’ll make an effort to figure out what he really believes before I draw my conclusion.

  24. No Johnathan, you clearly do not know what you are talking about re secrecy jurisdictions.

    It’s nothing to do with rate of taxation and everythjing to do with the laws they make in order to obfuscate the endeavours of other jurisdictions to enact their own laws on their citizens.

    It’s financial terrorism.

    Transparency is the only true way to facilitate the free market. Supporting secrecy only perpetuates financial crime, which is indelibly linked to wider crime.

    It’s not about corruption per se, so China and Russia, in this specific definition, are not included,. It is about jurisdictions that invite tax avoidance through their legal and constitutional anomalies. OECD rated measures to promote transparency are provably ineffective, and often downright misrepresentation. Murphy’s insistence, and all who have worked in the global campaign, has done more than at any other time before to highlight the level of financial depravity that bloggers like Worstall are hell bent on protecting, citing a political animosity. That’s why I can happily call anyone that opposes transparency as a supporter of a vast criminal fraternity. It ain’t nothing to be proud about.

    Thought Gang

    This blog is a self proclaimed libertarian blog. As mentally ill as that sounds, that’s what Worstall claims to be. You only have to look at all the other links to see that it is purely politically motivated.

  25. “It’s financial terrorism. Transparency is the only true way to facilitate the free market. Supporting secrecy only perpetuates financial crime, which is indelibly linked to wider crime.”

    You are ignoring the fact that this is not a simple black and white issue. Take the Swiss (I am not defending their banking system all the way, in case you ask). Secret bank accounts benefit not just real or alleged crooks and the like, but also those who, for perfectly legitimate reasons, want to keep their financial affairs private.

    This is not a minor issue. Financial privacy is not something to sneer at; and in fact it is a separate issue from tax, since there would be a need for strong privacy laws on money even if people paid different rates of tax. Transparency cannot and should not mean that governments have unfettered powers to seize the wealth of citizens as they see fit, any more than they should be able to do this with medical records.

    So I reject your argument that anyone who is sympathetic to certain types of financial jurisdiction is a supporter of a “vast criminal fraternity”. To say that is overheated nonsense is being kind.

    As for your characterisation of this blog, you are pretty cheeky in somehow claiming it to be “purely politically motivated”. So are you: your comments clearly show you to be a man of the left, at least in terms of your support for often draconian tax laws, government spending and the rest, and to suggest that you are somehow an objective critic would be absurd.

    What you cannot stand is that this is a blog that is mercilessly effective in exposing the rubbish of people such as the Murphys and Toynbees of this world. Well, go and produce your own blog, or whatever. But give us a break in trying to claim that you are some sort of pure seeker for truth. Your own words give the lie to that.

  26. Johnathan
    Private individuals have a right to privacy, as long as they conform to the laws of the jurisdiction where any income etc is generated. That is very different to the use of financial structures developed purely to trick the true source of wealth, the real value of that wealth and all the rest.

    Take the recent stamp duty avoidance recently highlighted in the news. Having an opaque company based in BVI should be no reason not to pay what’s due on a property sale. It’s a basic breach of democratic principal.

  27. Arnald – If you and Murphy want to rid the world of financial crime and therefore all sorts of other crime as you imply, then why don’t you campaign that the UK cuts its corporation tax to zero? That way we attract all the horrible tax avoiders in places such as the Cayamans and we can clean up the world.

    Also, why are you regularly extremely rude in your posts?

  28. And it’s not the state “seizing as they see fit”, it’s rightfully taxing citizens as they have been democratically mandated to do so.

    That’s why this swivel eyed nonsense about totalitarianism is so wide of the mark.

  29. MW
    I take what I receive matey.

    so in this thread……Chrissum starts “Twat @1,”

    So lay off the hypocrisy.

  30. MW. It’s not the rate of tax, is the laws and vehicles created to hide the provenance, ownership and destination of the money.

  31. “And it’s not the state “seizing as they see fit”, it’s rightfully taxing citizens as they have been democratically mandated to do so. That’s why this swivel eyed nonsense about totalitarianism is so wide of the mark.”

    That is where you are wrong. There must be limits on how much a state, including a democratic one, can seize. That is why there are things like constitutions and bills of rights. There is a balance to be struck, of course. But it exists; democratic governments do not and must not have unfettered rights to take what they want.

    As for the stuff about artificial tax avoidance schemes, sure, many of them are scams and should be closed down. But some forms of avoidance strike me as nothing sinister at all. I “avoid” paying inheritance tax, say, if I give some money away at a certain date, etc.

  32. Arnald

    1. i didn’t call you a hypocrite
    2. its not just in this thread so referencing chrissums an saying you take what you receive is no defence
    3. Coincidence that you seem to be targeting juristictions with lower tax rates then?

  33. MW
    1. Why don’t you call Chrissum “so rude” then. I think you’ll find he has form. Also, Worstall is hardly polite is he?
    2. Yes it is.
    3. The target is the structure, not the places themselves. Although those places don’t do themselves any favours by lying about everything (in a crude parasitical smug kind of way).

  34. “And it’s not the state “seizing as they see fit”, it’s rightfully taxing citizens as they have been democratically mandated to do so.”

    And where do you stand on governments who are ‘democratically mandated’ to cut public spending? Or reform pensions? Or explicitly and knowingly tolerate huge swathes of the tax avoidance that you’re so opposed to?

    Is that all “rightful” in your eyes?

    Or is it just possible that governments have something of a habit of doing whatever they wish to do, irrespective of what any vague ‘democratic mandate’ suggests the rest of us would like them to do.

  35. “The target is the structure, not the places themselves.”

    But by the “structure”, in many cases what it means are the low taxes of such places, which is why people use them to avoid double-taxation, for instance. And avoidance of double-taxation does not strike me as akin to financial “terrorism”.

  36. Thought Gang: very good point. I would add that when it comes to thinking about the constraints on even democratic regimes, the onus should be on those who want the state to use its coercive powers, not on those who want to have rather less of such powers. For instance, such powers should have sunset clauses in them, so they fall into disuse unless voted for again after a year, etc.

    For what it’s worth, I accept that tax is necessary, as a necessary evil, if you like, to pay for certain collective goods that are vital even to the most laissez faire order. But it clearly is a legitimate issue to figure out the costs of collection and enforcement, and to consider the distorting effects of different types of taxes. Which is why even “swivel eyed” libertarians like me might debate the pros and cons of property taxes, or consumption taxes, tolls, charges, or whatnot. But when a character like Arnald or the Murph or whoever goes on about how any debate around these points is akin to tolerating crime, you know there is no point in trying to rationally debate them.

  37. Arnald. A question for you, I have an ISA, am I a tax avoider ? Presumably not as the government allows this form of tax reduction. If ISAs were abolished however and I decided to transfer that money somewhere that it couldn’t be taxed would that be evasion, even though there was no net loss to the treasury ?

  38. If ISAs were abolished however and I decided to transfer that money somewhere that it couldn’t be taxed would that be evasion, even though there was no net loss to the treasury ?

    Err, yes? Unless the transfer was either to a different UK tax-efficient fund or income from it was declared to HMRC.

  39. Arnald at 32.

    your comments about stamp duty avoidance have absolutely nothing to do with the BVI. Rather it has everything to do with the UK Stamp Duty Law.

    If one were to look at a country which was serious about getting rid of avoidance of this type one could look at Australia. In Australia the sale of a “landholding body corporate” is a transation subject to Stamp Duty on the value of the underlying property. By having this rather simple definition inserted into the Duties Act in a number of Australian States this type of avoidance was stamped out years ago.

    That allows individuals who require thier privacy to be respected to use a company to hold thier property whilst paying the required amount of stamp duty.

    So don’t bang on about how awful the BVI is because it factilates stamp duty avoidance in the UK. It doesn’t! .

    The avoidance exists because the UK government permits it to exists. It could very easily shut down this loophole but has CHOSEN not to, for whatever reason. Other countries have shut this down (even some of the Channel Islands have done so).

    The approbation which you heap on jurisdictions such as the BVI is nothing more than prejudice. All of the avoidance about which you claim is the policy outcome INTENDED by the UK government. If the UK government chose to close these loopholes it could but it doesn’t, for its own reasons.

    Choose your example more carefully in future as this one merely exposes your ignorance (even more so than usual).

  40. Offshore Observer
    If the scam wasn’t available then we’d need no new legislation, hmmm?

    Don’t kid yourself about the secrecy jurisdictions’ holiness. Of course the UK can close that loophole, but tell me, how are they going to find out who owns the shares without demanding transparency?

    For the loophole to be closed it would require some sort of register of ownership, with named individual beneficiaries. Yeah, right!

    Oh, and the UK is responsible for the biggest network of secrecy jurisdictions worldwide. So the attack is on the City more than on the dependencies and overseas territories.

    But you see, you seem glad that such machinations are available for the rich. You seem glad that the Treasury is not getting the revenue due to it. And you are obviously glad that public services are being slashed of income in a wholescale fashion to pay for the mistakes of the finance industry, the heart of which is hidden and morally corrupt.

    You can’t use the ignorance card on this one. Clearly you have no concept of cause and effect, yerknow the thing that Worstall thinks he knows better than anyone else.

  41. Arnald,

    Wrong. The “scam” is only avaliable because of UK legislation which permits it. Nothing to do with the use of companies. You could use a UK company and achieve exactly the same outcome.

    The Australian States have closed this loophole, this type of avoidance simply cannot happen in Australia. Attempting to do so is evasion which is a CRIME, and yes people get put in prison for committing crimes such as tax evasion..

    Australia has managed to sort this out … why not the UK … let me think, because they have chosen not to. Thats fine, that is public policy, governments can choose a variety of different policies if they wish. Its called representative democracy.

    Am I glad the Treasury is not getting the revenue due to it? Interesting question, actually the revenue it is getting its the revenue lawfully due to it. After all it is their own law which permits this, so obviously they are getting what thier law requires them to get.

    You seem to wish to turn tax into a moral issue, it is not a moral issue but a legal issue. You must pay what the Law requires, that is called tax compliance. You need not pay what others think you “ought to pay” but what the Law requires you to pay. thankfully we have this thing called the rule of law.

    The UK treasury has permitted people to avoid Stamp Duty in this way, that is thier law, and I have no problem with people complying with the Law.

    I am not glad that these machinations are avaliable for the rich. I couldn’t care two figs really, they are obeying the Law and that is fine with me.

    If you don’t like the Law by all means campaign to change it! That is your right. We live in a democracy after all.

    You see Arnald I am what is called a “liberal” as opposed to a “libertarian” (whatever that is). I believe that individuals should be free to do whatever they wish, provided it doesn’t harm anyone else. This such as free speech, the right to vote, a free press, and the rule of law are vital to a well functioning society. I also beleive in democracy and believe in government. Of course governments must be subject to the rule of law the same as everyone else. If they are not then you have tyranny not liberty.

    Do you believe in Liberty?

    The role of government is to balance individual freedom with the need to have a civil society (read John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuar Mill etc). There are different ways to achieve this, and each country must find its own way and make its own choices.

    To your next point:

    Should public services be cut pay for the mistakes of the finance industry? No I don’t believe they should. What I do believe is that government are Keynesians when it suits them.

    Keynes argues that governments should intervene in the economy to smooth the business cycle. During the boom times, they should run surpluses, increase taxes etc etc to damp down the excesses of capitalism. In the recessions they should run deficits to stimulate demand. All eminently sensible stuff. What the UK had was a government which “eliminated boom and bust” and spent up big during the boom times on revenues it though were sytemic but were cyclical. Then when the recession comes all of a sudden they are keynsians. What they had done was spend money (to win votes) which was not going to be there in the future. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if the money was spent on infrastructure but it was instead wasted.

    For a prudently managed economy look no further than your former colony (AUstralia), during the boom times it ran surpluses, during the recession it is running deficits. Did it have a financial crisis it certainly did, the government had to intervene to guarantee deposits. But it’s finance industry was better regulated and had a genuniely prudent government. Have public services been cut there, NO THEY HAVENT. Yes it had the mining boom but that has been a curse as well as a benefit, the appreciation of the dollar has seriously damaged that countries competitiveness.

    The problems of the UK have been created by BAD GOVERNMENT POLICY. Now you have years of pain for fix problems created by a government that didn’t know what it was doing. Of did know what it was doing but was too busy focussing on getting reelected and lying to its people about how rich they were getting.

    Yes the finance industry in the UK got it seriously wrong during the boom times, but guess that is ultimately the GOVERNMENT’S fault. So don’t scapegoat the finance industry (whatever that is), because around the world, very large chunks of it has gotten through the crisis largely intact becasue it was well regulated and well managed. The UK was not but that was because the government introduced a toothless FSA and as a result attracted a world of spivs and fools to runs its financial institutions.

    Government set the rules, governments are responsible when those rules don’t work.

    So yes I understand cause and effect.

    What I also understand it the law of unintended consequences. People’s behaviour changes in response to government policy, it is the effect of that change which cannot be quantified and will mean that almost all policy outcomes are somewhat unpredictable

  42. I posted this comment, but it doesn’t seem to have made it through moderation, no idea why…

    “@Richard Murphy

    “We can never solve all crime”

    I don’t get it, genuinely, I think I must be missing some fundamental point to your argument.

    Assuming a moral will to solve all crime, then the police could probably get pretty close to 100%, provided they were given the resources. Resources just being another word for money with which to buy manpower, technology, technical expertise etc. However society has never come close to giving the police such resources, there’s always a trade off between what can be done at a reasonable cost and what has to be left unsolved. Obviously the more heinous of crimes are given the most resources and a financial analysis is not relevant, but somewhere down the scale comes a point where somebody has to say, “we can’t afford to allocate more resources to that investigation” it may be a sad situation, it may be morally wrong, but until such a time that society keeps voting for more and more money for the police it is a reality. Richard, with the line I quote above you seem to accept such a line exists somewhere.

    Worstall seems to suggest that as far as tax evasion goes the line is were the costs still balance the immediate benefits. Assuming there are secondary social benefits, then the line might be moved to a point where the costs of investigation are greater than the tax immediately collected, but there is still a line where somebody has to say “This is too expensive to investigate”

    So my question is, how does one decide where that line is?”

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