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« Christian Right | Main | More moral hazards: a reply to threeportdrift’s comment »

Thursday, 20 December 2007


You seem to be defining moral hazard in terms of legal and illegal behaviour. Is the law the primary definition of what creates a moral hazard? If the law is out of touch with a very great proportion of society's view on the taking of drugs (be that cocaine, dope, alcohol or nicotine) then which is out of kilter, society or the law?

How does the law get changed or established if not by social pressure? And while that social pressure is being applied, people may well be behaving 'illegaly' eg the suffragettes, pirate radio station DJs/listeners(?), dog owners without 37p licences.

"Such a high proportion of drivers have been convicted of speeding that many of them accept the status of convicted criminals as normal, not something of which they should feel ashamed."

I don't feel any shame for my 3 points and £60 fine gained by doing 55mph in a 40mph roadworks limit on the M4 at 7 am on a quiet, dry, worker and equipment free morning. There was no need for a speed limit in those conditions, the law was applied in a pointless and non-constructive manner and it's an ass! However, that does not mean that my respect for laws on not murdering is altered. And I see no moral hazard in the fact that I might now support efforts to make speeding laws more representative of stopping real dangers like speeding around schools, playgrounds etc. rather than punishing people for the law's sake.

I think you need to offer a lot more evidence for this statement -

"On the one hand, ordinary oiks caught with drugs receive, at the very least, a criminal record and a good chance of going to prison. Their life chances are often ruined, while the rich and famous continue to smoke and snort with impunity."

The argument could just as superficially be made that ordinary oiks get off time and time again with warnings even whilst their behaviour gets more and more destructive, and that in such circles, a criminal record for drug taking is not seen as anything 'really' criminal. Whereas the rich and famous can be much more greatly harmed when being caught from drug offences eg Angus Deayton, the Blue Peter presenter etc

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