“The paradox of non-punishment”

Here’s the question:

Suppose counterfeiting carried a mandatory life sentence. In the face of such a severe penalty, no one counterfeits, and thus the penalty is never imposed. This is a desirable outcome, and yet most of us would not wish to live in such a society. Why?

My answer is that I would like to live in such a society.

I would change the question only to say that this is not "a desirable outcome" – it is "the desirable outcome."

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