UCLA professor offers wild solution to bad bank behavior: Scare them straight


A UCLA professor has come up with a wild idea to help prevent the next financial meltdown. He doesn't propose expensive regulations and mechanisms of enforcement on financial actors. Instead, he suggests that swift and decisive punishment of the biggest instigators of financial mayhem could scare the industry straight.

Before getting into the details of his proposal, let me introduce the man and his new book, from which this idea springs. Professor Mark A.R. Kleiman heads UCLA's Drug Policy Analysis Program. Years ago, we shared an apartment while I was working at a summer job in Cambridge, Mass., and he was teaching at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Kleiman also runs a great blog -- The Reality Based Community. I contacted Kleiman a few weeks ago after seeing his new book, When Brute Force Fails, from Princeton University Press, in the window of the Harvard Book Store. Here are his email responses to my questions.

Originally published