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 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vatican Officials Convicted:
A New Plot for Dan Brown?

Vatican radio officials convicted

A court in Rome on Monday convicted a Vatican cardinal and the head of the city-state's radio station for electromagnetic pollution.

They were given 10-day suspended sentences, which they have appealed.
...Residents of the Rome suburb Cessano near the station complained they could hear Vatican Radio broadcasts through their lamps because of electromagnetic disturbances.

"It is a great success and a great victory for those people who have been suffering for years," said Lorenzo Parlati, head of the environmental group Legambiente for the Lazio Region, which was part of the civil suit. It claimed the waves were harming the health of those living nearby.
Update: This link from the BBC also points out that they were assessed court costs and damages, which makes more sense. See below.
[h/t to BF and cmt for these links]

Is it really efficient to jail these guys? What is the public interest in deterrence that cannot be handled with civil damages?

Suppose Party A imposes a cost on Party B, but Party A is judgement proof (e.g., bankrupt or too poor to pay). The threat of jail time works as a reasonable alternative form of deterrence for people who might be like Party A in the future.

Alternatively, if Party A is an employee of a big, rich organization, then tort damages, payable by the employer, might be much more reasonable.

The only problem with payment of damages is who gets the money? The aggrieved parties (B)? the gubmnt? or how about The Eclectic Econoclast?
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