Ronald Bailey of Reason recently talked with Claremont McKenna College economist S. Brock Blomberg at the Copenhagen Consensus 2008 Conference. You can read the entire article here. They talked about a paper that Blomberg and Dean Gregory D. Hess wrote together entitled "International Terrorism: Causes, Consequences, and Cures."
Bailey describes the conference as the place "in which leading economic experts aims to prioritize the world's biggest problems."
The first issue that the economists addressed was transnational terrorism. While one economist wanted to expand the funding of Interpol, Claremont McKenna's S. Brock Blomberg found that increasing Interpol's budget would have a marginal benefit at most.
Bailey then asked Blomberg and another economist, by the name of Sandler, about how to dismantle the costly and largely useless airport security measures.
In his perspective paper, Claremont-McKenna College economist Brock Blomberg tried a different set of calculations and basically came up with the same benefit cost ratios as Sandler, except he found that boosting Interpol's budget was a marginal benefit at most. After the session, I asked Sandler and Blomberg how we could go about dismantling the costly and largely ineffective post 9/11 counterterrorism measures in the U.S. They both looked bemused. Sandler opined that maybe one day some of the hassles at the airport will go away, but didn't foresee any lessening of border controls. Blomberg simply noted that once these things are established they never go away.Yep. The one constant of government is that it grows and grows while the rest of us pays and pays.
P.S. If you have the time, you can watch an interview with Bailey and my uncle here at the Universidad de Francisco Marroquin.