Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Capitalist argument for abolition

Well, glory be! Abolition is being achieved because it is cheaper than executions. We know that capitalism is amoral, but that it should act in favour of a moral issue to save money! Alleluia.

When Gov. Martin O’Malley appeared before the Maryland Senate last week, he made an unconventional argument that is becoming increasingly popular in cash-strapped states: abolish the death penalty to cut costs.
Mr. O’Malley,Democrat and a Roman Catholic who has cited religious opposition to the death penalty in the past, is now arguing that capital cases cost three times as much as homicide cases where the death penalty is not sought. “And we can’t afford that,” he said, “when there are better and cheaper ways to reduce crime.”

Lawmakers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and New Hampshire have made the same argument in recent months as they push bills seeking to repeal the death penalty, and experts say such bills have a good chance of passing in Maryland, Montana and New Mexico.

Unfortunately, such arguments are unlikely to be valid in Thailand, where summary legal proceedings leading to capital punishment are unlikely to be more expensive than long term imprisonment. But, on the other hand, the low cost of appallingly overcrowded prisons, inadequate warder to prisoner ratios, and primitive conditions may indeed make lifetime imprisonment a cheaper option. Must we really engage in such economics of death? Hrdefender has just returned from a visit to Bhutan where operative Buddhist beliefs have banished the death penalty for the last hundred years, and vegetarianism, to spare the lives of animals, is a preferred life style.

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