The proportionality standard demands a meaningful link between the severity of crimes and the punishments received for them. This article investigates the compatibility between this philosophical demand and the practical means most commonly associated with criminal justice provision: governmental decision making. In so far as criminal justice systems require the coordination of real human and physical resources, certain forms of knowledge and incentives are required to calculate, produce, and distribute outputs proportionately. Whereas markets rely upon pricing mechanisms to generate and coordinate information and incentives across diverse stages of complex production processes, governmental decision making often lacks a calculation mechanism comparable to market prices through which knowledge about societal needs and demands can be conveyed and may thus inevitably result in some forms of punitive disparity.
Find the article at Taylor & Francis Online.