Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An End to Cops

John Stossel's latest article argues that regulation is foolish because people break the law anyway.
Advocates of regulation attribute almost magical powers to regulators, but clever cheats can get around any system. They always have. It's their chosen profession, and the regulators can't look everywhere. Regulation advocates also assume that bureaucrats are disinterested and incorruptible, but we know this is not always true. People who work in government are like anyone else. There will always be a percentage of individuals who can be tempted by corrupt opportunities.

. . . Fraud will always exist. Enforcement of anti-fraud laws is a useful deterrent, but in the end there's no substitute for investor vigilance. Government regulations provide a false sense of security -- and that's worth less than no sense of security at all.
I think Stossel is right but he clearly doesn't go far enough. For example right now a portion of our taxes goes to pay inefficient police officers to protect us from criminals. And what do we read in the papers, day after day? Crimes are still being committed. Criminals aren't dumb and they aren't giving up. And Police seem unable (and in some cases unwilling) to stop them. So why not leave security up to the individual? Rather than the false security of a police force, leave it up to each individual to provide their own security! And if they don't feel competent to handle that themselves, they could hire a security firm to protect themselves. Such firms would doubtless be cheaper and more efficient than Government Run Policing, and they would be required to be effective by the logic of the free market.

But wait, I guess a lot of people wouldn't have the means to hire a private police force. And that might lead to an increase in crime, as crime becomes more profitable. But this would be great economic news for security companies; they could raise their rates. And the people in society who really contribute and are rewarded, would be able to protect themselves by hiring these security firms.

It'd be a golden age.

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