Security and privilege: update

What we have here is a failure to communicate. I attempt to clarify.

Several emails in response to my post on “Security and privilege” convinced me that I had made myself obscure.

This isn’t a security problem. Elite travelers don’t get less scrutiny than others; in fact, they probably get more, because the people searching their bags aren’t trying to keep long lines moving. The advantage they (we) get is not having to wait to be searched.

My colleage Andrew Sabl points out a parallel problem: if citizens had to face the random and arbitrary malice to which the current immigration rules expose long-term residents who aren’t citizens, that system would be politically unsustainable.

Notice that in both the airline and the immigration cases, the problem isn’t just a two-way tradeoff between security and convenience, but a three-way tradeoff, where the third term is resources. For only money, we could have a ratio of TSA personnel to travelers that let everyone go through as quickly as the privileged now go through.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: