The Justice of Bukele?

Source: Bet On It
by Bryan Caplan

“Nayib Bukele just got re-elected, and the reason is no mystery. Since he assumed power in 2019, El Salvador has gone from a murder rate of 36 per 100,000 to 2.4 per 100,000. Granted, when Bukele took office, the Salvadoran murder rate was already in steep decline. Still, going from the most murderous country in the world in 2015 to the second-least-murderous country in the Americas in 2023 is an absolute miracle. A absolute miracle achieved by indefinitely jailing over 70,000 on mere suspicion. … Bukele’s defenders normally appeal to a pure utilitarian calculus. Suppose that in the absence of his draconian crackdown, the Salvadoran murder rate would have stayed at the 2019 level. If so, Bukele’s new policies are saving over 2,000 lives per year. If the typical inmate ends up serving 50 years in jail, that means that he’s ruining 70,000 lives to save 100,000. … The obvious objection is that utilitarianism is a ridiculous moral philosophy.” (02/12/24)