Friday, May 25, 2007

It Is Economic Madness Not To Steal

I will be back in the Mother Country in June. Flights for four will cost a bomb but all is apparently not lost.

Financial times not being quite as good as they once were in the PG household, i intend to catch a break from the government's latest crime-busting scheme, whereby it is no longer compulsory to actually purchase goods from retailers.

Apparently, stealing their goods now not only avoids the need for an annoying criminal record (provided i pay the fine within three weeks) but will also avoid any requirement for time-wasting court appearances.

But that's not all.

So long as my ill-gotten gains amount to less than $400, i will only be liable for an on-the-spot fine of $160! And if i convince a minor to pilfer the loot for me, that fine reduces to a mere $80.

As the locals here might say, 'How Good is That'?!

That's a profit of $320 for each bout of looting (minus a small payment to the minor in quesition). You have to admit the economics and risk/reward trade-off are compelling.

Supposedly it is only first-time offenders that are able to avoid court, but in practice repeat shop-lifters are now exempt. It is what we traders would call an arbitrage (a riskless trade).

Clearly my fellow countrymen are not slow in 'doing the math' too.

In 2004, 2,072 were on-the-spot fines issued for shop thefts of under £200.
In 2005, that figure increased to 21,997
And in the first six months of 2006, 16,807 were handed out.

Oh, and for those of you questioning the morality of my plan, i advise you to keep up with the times. In today's post-modern world, morals are all relative, didn't you hear? You may harbour some quaint Judeao-Christian notions that stealing is wrong, but i don't. You may view my plan as a immoral means of transferring wealth from the productive sector to the undeserving, but i view it merely as switching wealth from the evils of tyrannical capitalism to the deserving poor.

After all, it's no less than what Robin Hood did, all those years ago. And he's still revered as a hero.