Thursday, May 27, 2004

I Agree

Death to the Hackers!

So says Fabio Rojas in this post on the Marginal Revolution:
Steven Landsburg has a clever column...pointing out that the economic damage prevented by executing a murderer is less than damage caused by the author of a wildly successful computer virus. If we're willing to fry Jack the Ripper, why not send Urkel to the chair?...

For me, Landsburg misses a simple point: human beings are probably hard wired to care about concentrated damages (like murder of a person) rather than diffuse damages (like screwing up everybody's email for an hour). No cost-benefit analysis will likely persuade people to go against this intuition.
I'm persuaded. Fry 'em and forget 'em.