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The Forum > Article Comments > Gary Becker 1930-2014 > Comments

Gary Becker 1930-2014 : Comments

By Andrew Leigh, published 8/5/2014

Gary Becker began to apply economics to crime when he was running late for a meeting, and had to choose whether to spend extra time parking legally or park illegally and risk getting a ticket.

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Politicians, being canny rodents, realise that their power and connections make corruption a low risk, high income earner. That is many politicians not all.

The lawyers at ICAC, from the Bench to the Dock are finding that this inquiry is an irritant but unlikely to land them in gaol (like normal mortals).

Some politicos are above reproach. The Greens are pure, of course, and brave Sir Clive a man of integrity.
Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 8 May 2014 11:14:23 AM
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Yes Andrew!
But shouldn't the punishment fit the crime?
On the one hand, we see an immoral grub stealing a few thousand in union funds, while multimillionaire wall street Bankers, who between them caused the GFC, that likely sent millions to the wall, largely remaining free and untouched!
And, what's worse, have been able to not only keep their ill gotten Millions, but were also, so it seems, rewarded with plum jobs on capital hill or inside the Federal reserve?
The worst example of patent wall street criminality, I believe, owning not one, but half a dozen Lear jets.
Perhaps he/she thought, after banking, I could become entirely self employed after the corporate world and take up the corporate tourist trade?
I don't believe anyone paid, except those unwise enough to rip off the rich and powerful, or served as a political scapegoat, that served the electoral interests of the opposition?
Oh for the days, when only unpaid volunteers manned parliament, rather than professional career pollies, or failing that, people with real world experience, and successful businesses behind them! Or failing that, just some good old fashioned crooks, thieves and shonks?
At least they'd, like the Bow Street Runners, know what to look for!?
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Thursday, 8 May 2014 12:31:25 PM
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Thanks for the article, Andrew, I always though of Becker as a kind of a Peter Singer of economics, though their politics are fery different. Both are wide-ranging, lucid, rigorous in pursuing his ideas to their logical conclusion, and gleefully court controversy. I enjoy both of their writings, even when I completely disagree with them.

Like Singer's utilitarianism, though, Becker could be very reductionist. I suspect his type of thinking has contributed to the growing popular dislike of economists.
Posted by Rhian, Thursday, 8 May 2014 1:49:25 PM
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