Religion, Economics, and Deskilling Work

Despite the Saudi belief that beheading by skill swordsmen is the way God wants to carry out executions, a shortage of skilled swordsman has led the government to turn to firing squads.


Kirkpatrick, David D. 2013. “Saudis Consider Firing Squads for Executions.” New York Times (11 March): p. A 10.

“After centuries of public beheadings, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considering firing squads as an alternative means of execution.   A special inter-ministerial committee has recommended that “because of the scarcity of swordsmen and their unavailability in a number of regions” the princes who govern Saudi provinces should be free to use firing squads, according to a statement from the committee, reported in Saudi newspapers on Sunday.”

“The few officially authorized swordsmen were so busy traveling between different regions to conduct executions that they sometimes arrived late, “which causes security confusion” complicated by “the resulting spreading of rumors through modern technology,” the statement noted. Saudi Arabia is the only country that still executes criminals by beheading, carried out with a sword and conducted in public. The kingdom has beheaded 15 people so far this year and more than 75 in each of the past two years.”

5 comments so far

  1. deusdarkjaws on

    meh, what’s wrong with guillotines? its similar to the sword…at least the same outcome…

    • mark hansen on

      while i oppose capital punshment, firing squads are the surrest, swiftest and least painful way to kill people.
      should any state in the u.s. wish to use capital punishment, i suggest that the firing squad be made up of the govenor, the state attorney general, the district attorney and the assistant d.a. who trid the case

  2. mark hansen on

    of course while it is deskilling to go from a single swordsman to a firing squad, it does increase employment from one person to four.

  3. Jim Farmelant on

    I can’t understand why Harry Braverman didn’t touch upon the issue of the deskilling of executions in his book, Labor and Monopoly Capital.

  4. john c. on

    Are they hiring?

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