Blackmail Should Be Illegal
(David Henderson), Checkmate on Blackmail (Robin Hanson)
Smart people are failing to provide strong arguments for why blackmail should be illegal. Alice does not know, among other things, Bob’s liquidity or value for money, how much Bob values keeping the information secret, how secret Bob expects the information to remain if Alice does not reveal it, how much Bob trusts Alice to deliver on her side of the bargain if paid, how often Bob thinks Alice will reveal the information if not paid (or even if paid, which also happens), and how much Bob wants to avoid giving in to blackmail. Alice will also want to invest quite a bit in making the release of the information maximally unpleasant for Bob – to make sure it does the most harm possible.