Monday, November 26, 2007

Quantification of societal costs

If the civil liability system ill serves societal purposes, and it is grossly exploited by the lawyers to enrich themselves, how does one calculate the economic costs to the society in order to try to quantify the magnitude of the problem?

This is an important question and probably not one that is easy to answer. In some sense, I am asking about "excess" or "unjustified" costs, and it would take an economist or two to come up with an appropriate defintion for "excess" or "unjustified," and who knows what kind of data assembly and analysis is needed to make estimates using the definitions in question.

For the time being, I will be free wheeling and speculative and say $250 billion a year.

A next question is, once there is some quantification, how much of a collective motivation is there for the body politic to strongly desire change? If $250 billion a year is a reasonable estimate, I think that amount makes determined efforts worthwhile.

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