Drugs and Deterrence

by Kieran Healy on January 28, 2004

Mark Kleiman notes that the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program has been killed. This was a useful dataset on patterns of drug-use amongst criminals. In his post, Mark quotes John Coleman, a former bigwig at the DEA, who says

The importance of ADAM always has been its stark statistics showing the large percentage of criminals high on drugs and alcohol at the time of their crimes. ADAM surveyed arrested felons and then drug-tested them to confirm their statements about drug use. It was all voluntary but showed, nonetheless, extraordinary levels in some cases of drug use by criminals.

This confirms my non-expert belief that there’s a great deal of evidence telling us that a big chunk of violent crime happens when the perpetrators have been using alcohol or some other drug. People under the influence of drugs tend to have a diminished capacity for rational decision-making. This makes me skeptical about, e.g., fiendishly clever analyses of the rational deterrent effect of prison sentences on crime rates. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the detail of such analyses per se, it’s that they throw away reliable knowledge before they begin. Ignoring information of the sort that ADAM provides may make an elegant theory of crime more tractable, but it makes a true theory of crime less likely.

Odds and ends

by Ted on January 28, 2004

I’ve been heavily involved in work production related activities, but I should point to Daniel Drezner, who is blogging about a potentially huge story.

The Bush administration, deeply concerned about recent assassination attempts against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and a resurgence of Taliban forces in neighboring Afghanistan, is preparing a U.S. military offensive that would reach inside Pakistan with the goal of destroying Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, military sources said.

U.S. Central Command is assembling a team of military intelligence officers that would be posted in Pakistan ahead of the operation, according to sources familiar with details of the plan and internal military communications. The sources spoke on the condition they not be identified.

[click to continue…]

Look just buy the bloody thing will you

by Daniel on January 28, 2004

My contribution to Henwood week will be up tomorrow … meanwhile, London-based CT readers can see the man himself give a talk on the general subject of the New Economy, tonight for one night only. The venue is 72 Great Eastern Street, kicking off at 7pm. I won’t be there myself because I’ve developed a really shocking head cold, but it ought to be fun. The nearest tube is Old Street or Liverpool Street, and here’s a map.

The New Economy lives

by John Quiggin on January 28, 2004

Having finally managed positive earnings over a full year, Amazon shares have now acquired that most basic measurement of value, a price-earnings ratio. With shares at $53 and earnings of 17 cents per share, it’s a bit over 300 to 1, which suggests that perhaps the New Economy is not dead after all. With revenues growing at 20 to 30 cent per year, and slowing, it’s hard to see how Amazon can deliver the four or five successive doublings in profit that would be needed to justify this price.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to get hold of Doug Henwood’s book After the New Economy so I can’t relate this directly to Kieran’s review> But I will make the point that, especially on first acquaintance, the Internet is like a magic mirror. More precisely, it’s like Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised, which shows the viewer whatever they most want to see. Among the academics and other geeks who built the Internet this was a co-operative world in which sharing based on mutual esteem would displace the profit motive and render large corporations obsolete. In the United States, where stock market mania predated the dotcom boom, the mirror showed a route to instant riches. (Thomas Frank’s One Market Under God, which I reviewed here along with what I found a very disappointing book from William Baumol, The Free Market Innovation Machine, is very good on all this).

After starting this post, I thought it would be a good idea to read the comments on Kieran’s, and I notice that Brad de Long has offered an Amazon book prize to the first member of Crooked Timber to follow Kieran up. I don’t suppose I could ask for a copy of After the New Economy, could I?

Update I’ve fixed a couple of typos noted by commentators. Thanks for that. I’ve also attended to a problem arising from my inexperience with ecto, that led to duplication of part of the post

Walking Trees

by Henry on January 28, 2004

As part of our never-ending “quest”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/000727.html to increase shareholder value, I’ve munged up a stripped down version of Crooked Timber for people with mobile devices of one sort or another; it’s available at “https://www.crookedtimber.org/mobile/”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/mobile/ (there’s a link in our left sidebar too). Comments from people who actually live in the 21st century and have mobile devices with Internet access would be appreciated. Thanks to “Dive Into Mark”:http://diveintomark.org/ for the basic templates.