Blackmailing for Mutual Good: A Reply to Russell Hardin

22 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2011

See all articles by Walter E. Block

Walter E. Block

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business

Date Written: July, 13 2011

Abstract

Blackmail is the demand for money, or other valuable consideration, coupled with a threat, typically, to expose information the blackmailee prefers to keep secret. For example, I threaten that unless you give me $1,000, I will tell your wife that you have been unfaithful to her. Since you value your marriage more than this amount of money, you pay me for my silence. As a result, you gain the difference between these two amounts. If my silence is worth $5,000, you benefit to the tune of $4,000. My gain is roughly $1,000 because sending a letter to your wife telling her about your peccadillo, and enclosing the pictures I have of you in the act will cost me only postage and a moment of time. As such, blackmail is like any other mutually beneficial economic transaction, at least in the ex ante sense.

Suggested Citation

Block, Walter E., Blackmailing for Mutual Good: A Reply to Russell Hardin (July, 13 2011). Vermont Law Review, Vol. 24, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1885125

Walter E. Block (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business ( email )

6363 St. Charles Avenue
Box 15, Miller 321
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
(504) 864-7944 (Phone)
(504) 864-7970 (Fax)

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