The Economics of Hate

The Economics of Hate

Samuel Cameron

This important and highly original book explores the application of economics to the subject of hate via such diverse topics as war, terrorism, road rage, witchcraft mania, marriage and divorce, and bullying and harassment.

Chapter 9: Is There a Policy Conclusion?

Samuel Cameron

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, public sector economics


One of the main motivations behind this book was observation of the mushrooming body of uncoordinated anti-hate related legislation in the major western democracies. So it is appropriate that we now come to look at what narrow and wider microeconomics has to say about this and also finally wrap up by asking what we now think hate is. In Chapters 2 and 3 we covered the canvas of mainstream microeconomics which brings fairly obvious policy conclusions as far as effectiveness goes; the simple message is to use some kind of price signals. The extreme deterrent would be the death penalty as befell Sadam Hussein. Execution and all lesser measures are expected to work on the grounds that haters can be treated as rational actors who treat punishments as ‘prices’ of their undesired activities. This is a well-trodden path in the large economics of crime literature. Optimal government policy would seek to maximize the net social benefit of prevention. One implication of such a ‘raspberry jam’ approach is that we can assign monetary values to the consequences of hate. For example, we might take slavery or pornography as forms of hatred (although this inevitably opens up again the definitional minefield). We can then look at the psychic costs, external effects and transactions costs. Slavery affords a good example of the subtleties of the issue. This became a celebrated notorious research topic in economic history due to work which claimed that slavery, in the USA, was...

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