Thus (wryly) John Birch, giving a reader response in The Conservative Woman:
"Allowing and even encouraging (by lack of effective punishment) crime to take place at the levels that it is today makes me highly suspicious. Has anyone ever read a study on the positive effect of crime on the economy? After all the huge number of people necessary to clear up behind criminals, all those middle-class jobs in the prison service, judiciary, probation, welfare, hospitals, paramedics. They all create turnover in the economy in one way or another linked to crime. Then we have security services, cctv, locksmiths, insurance companies, all those replacements for items stolen. And so it goes on. It makes me wonder if going soft on crime is being used to boost the economy."
John Mortimer's fictional barrister Horace Rumpole often reflects how the Timson family of criminals keeps him in claret - and indirectly, also helps employ judges and all the rest.
But what might all those resources have been used for instead, if crimes were severely reduced?
And what could we do with all the first-class brains engaged in the complexities of taxation and its avoidance?
And the geniuses using their mathematical nous to play in the great casinos of stocks and bonds?
The waste! The opportunities!