Thursday, May 08, 2008

Intelligence (Law School) Doping

So, apparently, that habit of taking adderall or some other drug to, em, focus during the LSAT didn't wear off - we've heard people doing this for their 1-L exams as well. It's the type of thing that Richard Posner refers to as intelligence doping. Interestingly enough, Posner doesn't see much of a problem with allowing it:

The case for banning intelligence doping is even weaker than the case for banning sports doping. One reason is that there is a strong positive externality from increased cognitive functioning, since smart people usually cannot capture the entire social product of their work in the form of a higher income. Like other producers, part of the benefit that their production occurs inures to consumers as consumer surplus. An example is patentable inventions. Because patents are limited in duration, usually to 20 years, any benefits that a patented invention generates after the patent expires enures to persons other than the patentee. Even if there were no positive externality--even if the user of an intelligence-enhancing drug captured the entire incremental income generated by that use--there would be a social benefit, since the user is part of society, and hence no economic argument for banning.

Do you? If it turns out that there is a massive evidence of kids taking adderall or whatever before their exams (say LSAT or law school exams, I don't care), and drug tests could efficiently screen out these people, would you support it? Or, are the effects of adderall (or whatever) really no different than someone taking another drug (say caffeine - which has many of the same effects, albeit much weaker) before the big test. Or, do we agree with Posner's "greater competition for the gifted" outlook:

Of course the naturally gifted will object to any "artificial" enhancements that enable others to compete with them. But it is not obvious why their objections should be given weight from a public policy standpoint. It is not as if allowing such enhancements would be likely to discourage the naturally gifted from developing and using their gifts (it might have the opposite effect, by creating greater competition for them), let alone discouraging bright people from seeking out other people to marry and produce children by.

In other news, now would be a *really* great time to learn EVIDENCE, seeing as we have the exam at 1 PM today. On the plus side, at 4.30 PM, we'll be 2Ls.

1 comment:

puja said...