Friday, 15 January 2010

Mechanism design and terrorism

Fareed Zakaria gives us another reason (if you need one) not to torture people:
As for the calls to treat the would-be bomber as an enemy combatant, torture him and toss him into Guantanamo, God knows he deserves it. But keep in mind that the crucial intelligence we received was from the boy's father. If that father had believed that the United States was a rogue superpower that would torture and abuse his child without any sense of decency, would he have turned him in? To keep this country safe, we need many more fathers, uncles, friends and colleagues to have enough trust in America that they, too, would turn in the terrorist next door.
Incentives matter even in terrorism.

(HT: Jeff Miron)

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