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, August 19, 2005

Deterrence and Expectations

Recently a former Canadian resident was kidnapped in Iraq, held for ransom, and murdered before the ransom could be paid.

Toronto — Iraqi gunmen have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Baghdad, a slaying that occurred despite the fact his family was preparing to pay $250,000 demanded for his release.

Zaid Meerwali fled dictator Saddam Hussein's Iraq to live in Canada in the early 1990s. His family says he became a successful chartered accountant before returning to his homeland early this year to get married and start an import-export business.

Then, slightly more than two weeks ago, 10 gunmen disguised as police officers stormed into his compound, hitting his wife with a rifle butt and stealing cash and jewellery before throwing Mr. Meerwali into the back of one of three waiting pickup trucks, his brother, Munir, said yesterday.
I have made the following position very clear to my family. I hope these wishes are honoured:

If I am ever kidnapped, do everything possible to inflict costs (time costs and other costs) on the criminals. Do what you can to help apprehend and incarcerate and/or kill them. At the same time, it would be nice if you could free me, but that must not be the most important objective.

In the end, do not pay any ransom. If a delivery of cash is expected, delay it. If a delivery must be made, deliver a bomb instead. Whatever you do, don't pay a ransom.

I am older than middle-aged; I have had a good life. Pain does not scare me (though I do not wish to experience it). But I would rather the money stayed with my family than go to criminals. And I understand completely about familial love; they should pay nothing.

Will my having made this statement public have any deterrent effect on potential kidnappers?
Or will they interpret it as a strategy from someone whose family would pay anything to get him back?

If the latter, they seriously misunderstand both my net worth and my family.
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