Econ 101 incentives matter

One of the most fundamental truths in economics is that incentives matter. When an activity is rewarded that activity will happen more than it would have otherwise. When an activity is punished that activity will happen less than it would have otherwise.

The recent (and historical) events concerning extremist Islamic rioting is just case and point. As Eugene Volokh notes, the more we apologize the more we open ourselves up to further attack:

What then will extremist Muslims see? They killed several Americans (maybe itself a plus from their view). In exchange, they’ve gotten America to submit to their will. And on top of that, they’ve gotten back at blasphemers, and deter future blasphemy. A triple victory.

Would this (a) satisfy them that now America is trying to prevent blasphemy, so there’s no reason to kill over the next offensive incident, or (b) make them want more such victories? My money would be on (b).

Maybe A View from the Porch is right, deterrence is the answer.

This is the part where we’re supposed to park HMS Thunderer off the coast and start shelling their straw huts before we land a party of Royal Marines with some Gatling guns to shoot up the wog village and teach the heathens some manners.

Wait, I forgot, this is where we apologize to them for offending their peaceful religion.

I was born a hundred years too late.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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