The last three months have seen several largecorporatefines levied in response to various high-profile financial scandals, but an article in The Economist asks if fines are still not high enough to actually deter crime:
The economics of crime prevention starts with a depressing assumption: executives simply weigh up all their options, including the illegal ones. Given a risk-free opportunity to mis-sell a product, or form a cartel, they will grab it. Most businesspeople are not this calculating, of course, but the assumption of harsh rationality is a useful way to work out how to deter rule-breakers.
Extremely high and extremely low fines both carry costs, so The Economist suggests a middle ground: fines that offset the benefits of the crime itself.
The Economist has a special section this week on mobile phone technology in emerging markets. The section includes articles on trends in mobile phone ownership, the role mobile phones are playing in economic development, and new uses for the technology.
With the magazine industry in bad shape, newsweeklies are trying to imitate the one freakishly successful exception: The Economist. In a Vanity Fair article, Matt Pressman outlines four reasons why they can’t, using analogies like this one to explain: “The Economist is like that exotic coffee that comes from beans that have been eaten and shat out undigested by an . . .
Last week, I learned two important things. They both happened as the result of a post I wrote about various errors, typographical and otherwise. I noted that the excellent Economist magazine dropped an “r” from the word “pastries,” inadvertently rendering it “pasties.” Well, The Economist was not wrong but I sure was. Many readers informed me that a pasty (pl.: . . .