Archive for January 22nd, 2014

More Smoked Salmond: “Scottish Independence for the Common Man”

Good analysis of the Independence question here from Politicoid.



I’m finally getting around to the subject of Scottish Independence. I was really a bit lost on how to start this; I mean, it seems like there’s just so bastard much to consider, right? Currency, the EU, welfare… For what seems now to have been a shockingly long period of time, I couldn’t even understand the question. Identifying as I do with the term ‘British’ as much as I do ‘Scottish’, it seemed, well, just unnecessary.

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Perverse Incentives IV: Economies of Forced Labour

[ US & Them IUs & Them IIUs & Them IIIUs & Them IV ]

No other society in human history has ever imprisoned so many of its own citizens for the purpose of crime control.
                Marc Mauer, The Race to Incarcerate

cannabis-handcuffsThe US state of California imprisons more people than the Federal Bureau of Prisons. That state alone incarcerates more citizens than France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined. The United States as a whole imprisons nearly two million people. The US locks up, proportionately and absolutely, more of its citizens than Soviet Russia under Stalin. Estimates vary, but a likely figure is that half of those prisoners are non-violent marijuana users, and that’s why California locks up so many people. The primary enforcement regime for pot possession busts is administrated via state and local policing.

Eric Schlosser was writing about this at the Atlantic as early as 1998:

The prison boom in the United States is a recent phenomenon. Throughout the first three quarters of this century the nation’s incarceration rate remained relatively stable, at about 110 prison inmates for every 100,000 people. In the mid-1970s the rate began to climb, doubling in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s. The rate is now 445 per 100,000; among adult men it is about 1,100 per 100,000. During the past two decades roughly a thousand new prisons and jails have been built in the United States.

In other words, that explosion in incarceration tracks precisely with the increasingly punitive history of US drug prohibition. Continue reading ‘Perverse Incentives IV: Economies of Forced Labour’

January 2014
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Per Argument Ad Astra

Politics, history, economics and rampant speculation from a victim of the Great Recession, currently at large in the West Midlands.

"When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters."
                -- Adam Smith