CMV: A society that protects the weak from the strong must also protect the stupid from the smart.

Attempts to protect people from making poor decisions veers into dangerous territory, IMO.

Compensating people for making poor decisions completely fucks up the incentives for everyone, and means people don't actually manage risk reasonably. People don't have to worry about being scammed, meaning they don't actually take measures to protect themselves. Unlike violent crimes, where repercussions can be permanent and irreparable so people always have a reason to protect themselves to the best of their ability and avoid risk, property can be replaced and returned. Without actually taking risk on, people make shitty decisions at the cost of everyone else. Depending on the type of compensation it might end up being the same game played at a higher level, where people plead ignorance and claim to have been misinformed about something, to get compensation for it, like in insurance fraud.

Alternatively, punishing people for deception can be highly ambiguous, and has a high overhead cost. Companies that are unaware of contaminated products? Implicit or background knowledge about goods that the consumer is not aware of that the seller assumes they are? Mistranslation and cultural differences? All this results in is legalese where people waive their rights, and we're back where we started except for those who aren't savvy enough, or don't have the resources, to cover their asses.

And then there's the fact that straight-up forbidding people from making categorically shitty decisions with some penalty attached to it helps nobody. Drug-testing welfare recipients, or not letting the poor make any investments, or regulating industries in such a way that drives up costs and drives out competition, are all harmful knock-on effects from those sorts of policies.

Reputation systems and public records of scams and all that sort of thing can help people too, while still allowing the people who are in the best position to do so to evaluate the risks and decide for themselves.

/r/changemyview Thread