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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Overlawyered: "Middle-class peeves cost more money than exists"

Is this a pathetic exercise in economics or what? You might as well tally
up all the 'costs' that lib-caps attribute to the downfall of business. The
anti-trust laws, the E.E.O.C., the "larcenous" taxes, unions, pensions,
minimum wages, insurance & other benefits, pollution regs, O.S.H.A. regs,
all manner of 'unfair' regs. I'm sure someone has generated a spreadsheet or
ten giving those 'exact' figures. I leave it as exercise for you, dear
readers, to Google up some figures. Bet that is some bitchin' big
number. --pseudolus

---------------------------------
Via R.J. Lehmann (Mar. 27), here are some figures indicating that the sum
total of the alleged costs of other people's bad behavior may well exceed
the total sum of money in existence. To be more specific: start by adding up
the claimed health expenses, productivity losses and other social costs of
such indulgences as alcohol ($185 billion a year, it's said with spurious
precision), overeating ($115 billion), gambling ($54 billion), and so forth.
Then throw in categories such as the costs of crime, time wasted by
employees visiting web sites and watching sports events, and so forth. By
the time you're done, Lehmann says, you can "come up with a grand total of
$7.39 trillion - well in excess of the $6.70 trillion that actually
exists" -- at least if you're willing to include a few dodgy entries in the
catalog, such as taxes. (Thomas C. Greene, The Register (UK), Mar. 16).

It's not hard to see the relevance of this line of logic to themes often
dealt with in this space. In the utopia of the litigators we would succeed
in charging the social costs of our overeating to the food business, the
costs of our gambling to the casinos and lotteries that led us on, the costs
of 9/11 to assorted banks, airlines, building owners and Saudi nabobs, the
costs of street crime to deep-pocketed entities guilty of negligent
security, and so on and so forth for the costs of auto accidents,
pharmaceutical side effects, failure to learn in school, domestic violence,
etc. It would not be surprising if the sum total of all the different
injuries, insults and indignities dealt out to the human race, if monetized
at the rates prescribed by advocates, handily exceeded the sum total of
wealth on hand to pay, even were the whole wealth of the world placed at the
courts' disposal.

Posted by Walter Olson on June 29, 2006 12:25 AM
----- source...Overlawyered: "Middle-class peeves cost more money than
exists"

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