Spare the rod, enslave the child.

The litter problem on this campus, though greatly reduced since I first came, still bothers me. Some will immediately jump up with "it's a tragedy of the commons," but this is a dodge. Properly, it's a tragedy of socialization: I and many others, without any more incentive, consistently deposit our trash in the proper receptacles. The solution to this is usually to impose stiff fines for littering. These fines, however, can be criticized in that they disproportionately impact the poor*, the wealthy don't mind a fine so much.

The solution, then, might be Swedish-style fines. This isn't my preferred solution, though: I believe canings are in order. At first, this sounds barbaric but this is only because we are socialized to think this way and not consider the full implication of the fine. Nozick does have a point: confiscation of income is tantamount to slavery. What then is more barbaric: a swift and honest caning or a subtle and unadmitted slavery?

*An odd note: there is rarely complaint that prison sentences disproportionately impact the wealthy. The very poor lose little by going to prison because they had little to lose while sending an Enron chief to prison easily puts him out millions of dollars.

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