mattmacf wrote:Let's play devil's advocate for a sec. The only problem with this idea is that if all of the crime goes away, there are thousands of people now without jobs.
Well, the criminals don't have jobs.
Police officers, court officials, prison guards, attorneys etc. are now put out of work because there are fewer crimes to investigate and litigate.
Prison guards lose jobs. but Police Officers can find other things to do. Police forces are very rarely culled back. You could just throw them at traffic offenses if you had to.
Their costs are already paid for, and in the legalized drug world there is an increased tax base from the sales of legal drugs. So it isn't as if we are short of cash.
Attornies, similarly, have other marketable skills. They are highly educated and mobile workers. They could move over to corperate law, or they could start defending people against traffic tickets. They could get qualified to work in other nations, or heck -- they could even become politicians!
Judges with less time pressure on their hands could spend more time trying to figure out if the person in front of them is actually guilty. Less cases leads to more successful appeals, and a greater refinement of your legal system.
Prison guards can work in private security, or get hired in the new legal drug selling industry.
Increased demand for educational services, because once illegally selling drugs is less profitable to poor kids, more of them will see getting educated as a way out of poverty, grabs at other labour.
The thing is, in a modern market capitalist system, slack is pulled in and used. The slack can cause some temporary problems with the economy, but we have figured out how to poke the economy to get it to pull in slack and use it for growth.
How it exactly happens is complex: but so is how the food for a bistro in paris arrives fresh for the consumer. Look up "feeding paris" for a bit of edutainment. :)
<sarcasm>Obviously this would be a BadThing(TM) for society and we cannot let it stand!</sarcasm> While it may be a good thing in the long run, in the short-term, there is too much to lose by changing the status quo.
You underestimate the sheer robustness of a market economy.
It could cause a slight drop in salaries and employment in those industries, but it should be made up by additional demand elsewhere.
'course, the future demand can't lobby for the change, while the past demand can lobby against it. ;)