Feed the Worms Who Write Worms to the Worms
Posted 16 June 2004 - 10:00 PM
If we execute murderers, why don't we execute the people who write computer worms? It would probably be a better investment.
Let's do the math. What do we get out of executing a murderer? Deterrence. A high-end estimate is that each execution deters about 10 murders. (The highest estimate I've ever seen is 24 murders deterred per execution, but the closest thing to a consensus estimate in the econometric literature is about eight.) That's 10 lives saved, with a value—again a high-end estimate—of about $10 million apiece. (The closet thing to a consensus estimate in the economics literature is about $7 million per life. I am rounding up.) So let's say the benefit of executing a murderer is roughly 10 times $10 million, or $100 million—and that's probably at the high end.
I don't like worm writers, but this guy who wants to kill them goes too far... And I even think that quoting a humal life is hypocritical.
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