Forty One

Being forty-one isn’t that great but gettting on with the same group of people [up there] for forty-one 365s is quite a feat. Having been in this place for more than a decade, all I can say is that it has helped me quite a bit since the forest couldn’t possibly be a better place than this. I realised too, that things that we keep criticising, like not preserving stuff, are really not that valid because we have to stress constantly the invalidity of such topics with pragmatism. Admit it, everyone are Kantian in some way or another, unless we have another set of logic, that probably says that 22 times 2 is 41, at least in the typical numerical kind of sense.

I was thinking Kantian for a few days and getting confused by how utilitarian our Justice system is. Intuitively, we have been right in applying certain punishments and so on but to think Kantian sets things in another perspective. Let me just give you a scenario for the thought experiments all philosophers enjoys indulging in.

You walk on streets and get robbed of our wallet. You recognise the guy and reports to police. That guy went to buy some cheese from the supermarket to eat with your money. The police caught him with your wallet in his pocket, finishing his last bit of cheese on a park bench. He gets arrested, goes on trial, you testify against him, he admits, and he gets jailed for a week – you don’t get your money back, not even the cheese that he didn’t quite finish because he was chased by the police.

Pardon my preoccupations with cheese, but just think about it, you lost your money (or cheese), the thief loses his freedom for a week and the supermarket makes a profit from the cheese they sold. Doesn’t this resemble the Positive Externality model we learnt in Economics? Except it has a twist, the third party gains in expense of the consumer and this third party can considered a messenger of transaction. In jailing the thief, we punish the messenger, ‘do justice’ for the consumer and rewards the producer. What does it say about our ‘sense of justice’ from a Kantian perspective? Tweaked. Absolutely.

To maximise welfare for the society then, we should make the thief work in the supermarket until he makes enough pay to buy the cheese, put the money into the wallet he stole, then walk on the streets – getting the victim to rob him and he is not to give chase. The police then closes the case – no judge needed, just the one who gains, the supermarket. As with all welfare maximising solutions of the economy, allocative efficiency cannot be achieved, we are simply attaining the social efficiency, and that’s through the police intervention with the aid from the ‘producers’.

When taking on ideas of utilitarian, we can hardly rely on philosophical intuition that have been trained and destroyed by culture and upbringing – we can only depend on economic analysis and rationalisation. Of course, that may not work out as best because of the nature of the ‘counter-intuition’ and the perception of the pure stupidity of the solution as a result of our nuture, once again. So sadly, Kantian ideas remains invalid in the eyes of law and justice.

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