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If I ruled the world

Cigarettes are designed to kill you painfully. How silly—they should be designed to kill you painlessly, preferably just as you retire

By Julian Gough   July 2009

Governments everywhere face falling revenues, while their expenditure explodes and their unfunded pensions commitments threaten fiscal catastrophe. Some of the most innovative solutions to this dilemma are coming out of China. The authorities in Gong’an county recently ordered their civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the local brand of cigarettes each year. As local official Chen Nianzu pointed out, “The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax.” This kind of creative thinking makes China the envy of the world. But it is merely the beginning.

Cigarettes have always been a simple way to get…

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