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Re: Are there enough FBI agents to handle Digital Telephony?????

At 11:05 AM 11/21/95 -0500, Peter Wayner wrote:

>Has anyone ever done the math on the FBI's new wire tapping
>proposals and determined whether they'll have enough agents to
>do all of the listening? Doesn't a court ordered wire tap
>require that people listen in and screen the recordings. Does

No.  Automatic equipment (pen registers) is almost as old as wiretaps.

>12,500 agents would cost $1.2 bill
on a year if they each cost
>about $100,000 in salary and benefits. But we need to account
>for vacations, shift work and testifying the trials of the drug
>lords who are sent to jail. Let's assume that you only need
>1/10th the people to handle the two evening shifts. That gives
>you a cost of $1.4 billion before vacations. Adding 40% to cover
>vacation and weekends puts you close to $2 billion. Let's round

The bodies are still needed for management, analysis, arrest, prosecution,
and punishment.  Until Robocop is deployed, the criminal justice system will
be a labor intensive effort.  This is still good news for us though.  Anyone
who's been in business (say George McGovern after his Connecticut inn
bankruptcy) can tell you that people are the most expensive part of a
business.  You pay all that cash each year and at the end of the year you
have nothing concrete to show for it.  You are just buying time.  Labor
costs become more of a problem as the quantity and value of capital goods
increases since the more slowly increasing factor (labor) is bid up.  Thus
people cost a lot more these days than they did in 1800 because capital
goods (per unit) are much cheaper than they used to be.

(Ignore temporary changes in returns to labor as women, 3rd world residents,
or freed commie slaves join the labor force.  They are quickly absorbed.
Wants are unlimited.)

Now the increasing cost of labor is not a problem if those workers are
producing goods of value.  They are "making" their own earnings.  If they
are in a parasitic profession, however, -- one that subsists on what it
steals from others -- the rising cost of labor means that that institution
has to steal more and more to keep up.  Eventually, the speed of economic
change can swamp the theft ability of such an organization.

Such swamping occurs because market entities support their own growth or
they don't grow.  Since they lift themselves up, growth is unlimited.
Parasitic entities on the other hand are limited by the strength and
susceptibility of their host.  Hosts may weaken if the parasite grows too
much or it may find a way to cast off the parasite.  No one rejects a market
economic actor that is a potential customer or employer but parasites are
rejected whenever possible.

Market Earth on the nets gives us many opportunities to both fuel fast
growth and shake off parasites.  It is perfectly possible for markets to
outbid the secret police for the labor of its agents given the compound
growth rates that are a feature of friction-free capitalism.


"Don't call it Anarchy.  Call it Disintermediation."