Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, November 12, 2004


When I first moved to Canada in 1971, one of the first things I learned was that Canadians are very concerned about extra-territoriality: the effective export of U.S. laws and policies to Canada. An example often cited was a reported U.S.-imposed ban on GM-Canada, keeping the Canadian firm from selling vehicles to the Cuban government by threatening to prosecute the parent firm, GM, for "trading with the enemy".

From the excellent writer Dahlia Lithwick in Slate, here's an intriguing example of extra-territoriality, but sort of in reverse.

Some people were smuggling cheap, untaxed alcohol into Canada. But apparently they haven't been prosecuted in Canada. Nevertheless, they were charged (and convicted) of wire-fraud violation in the U.S. because they used interstate telephone services to set up and maintain the smuggling enterprise.

The case has recently been heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, where it is (almost) clear the justices are not interested in enforcing Canadian anti-smuggling law in the U.S., at least not explicitly. Rather the case seems to hinge on U.S. law regarding ill-gotten gains using U.S. telephones.
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