Two former models who are now special agents are on the trail of mobsters in possession of a music book that has the coded location of a chest of gold bullion


Giving violators more punishment than they deserve can undermine the benefits of cooperative action. […] At the same time, imposing markedly less punishment than what a violator deserves creates disaffection and acrimony that also can subvert cooperation. In other words, it is not punishment that is needed to maintain social cooperation, but justice. […]

In 1848, the discovery of gold brought 300,000 men to California from all over the world. Yet this sudden mass of humanity lived without a functioning legal system. And if there had been a legal enforcement system, it was unclear what law it would enforce. […] Without a functional government, there were no licensing procedures, fees, or taxes to regulate gold prospecting. No miner worked land that he owned. Any prospector could join any mining camp at any time. Camp populations were heterogeneous: “Puritans and drunkards, clergymen and convict, honest and dishonest, rich and poor.” There was no common language, culture, or legal experience. […] The men shared a common set of needs, however. Each miner needed to be able to leave whatever he owned unguarded each day while he worked his claim. A miner who found gold needed to protect his find until he could convert it into cash or goods.

{ Paul H. Robinson/SSRN | Continue reading }