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George Donnelly

collaborator, Thoreau Media

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Secure universal human rights through the demonopolization of governments.

Governments are monopolies. They don't allow much competition if any. When they do, their excessive amount of power tends to crowd out the competition. See for example how social security crowded out traditional mutual aid societies in the US. Given that monopolies are generally disliked (for good reason) and tend to provide poor service (because they don't have as much to lose), why do we tolerate monopoly in the sphere of justice and police? If government agencies had to compete in an open market, maybe people would get better service for their dollars and pesos, don't you think?

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  • Feb 16 2011: Surely we'd get better service if government services were competing with private agencies. Just look at the value provided by private schools and home-schooling parents as compared to government schools! (Only one example for now...)
  • Feb 16 2011: YES! They wouldn't be around for long if they had to compete. Their idea is to profit from the people, not to offer better services.
  • Feb 22 2011: This sounds like a great idea. This is a topic that needs discussing. Governments are already out of hand, causing human rights violations all over the world. Even in America and the UK, the police state has only grown stronger post 9/11. What are the people going to do about it?
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    Feb 17 2011: Unfortunately the fundamental services that government provides us; infrastructure, education, healthcare, policing, fire response, are all services that really shouldn't rely on a citizen's ability to pay.

    Public service 'monopolies' have one crucial difference from their private monopoly counterparts: Government has to respond to the people. As much as we may hate some of our public services and schools, the alternative of private ownership for such necessities (by those who worry most about their profit margin) doesn't just wreck social mobility- it cannibalises it.

    Could you possibly imagine private police protection!?

    "I'm sorry sir, you'll need to upgrade your protection plan if you want your car back. Get premium (it's on sale!) and you'll have our whole police force find your car, then clean and wax it before returning it to you!"
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      Feb 17 2011: "Government has to respond to people"

      If the majority of people don't like the quality of service they receive from a business, the business goes bankrupt. If people don't like the quality of service they receive from the government, the government taxes them more. If they refuse to pay, they get put in jail, or shot. Which one is more responsive, again? Oh right, you're going to come back and say, "but people get to vote!" Which is such a bad joke it's painful to even discuss. Let's see... go out of business today, or - might get a small portion of the executive staff kicked out in 2-4 years and replaced with almost identical clones.

      It's very nice that *you* like public "education", but I think it destroys young minds. I think it's child abuse, frankly. Speakers here on TED and brilliant minds like John Taylor Gatto have demonstrated repeatedly that it is not a surface problem, but a fundamental flaw, that causes the school systems to fail. Can you please explain to me why I am obliged to help you pay for it? Similarly, it's very nice that some people like war, but I don't like blowing up little children, in fact I think it is murder. Can you please explain why the necessity that you, or perhaps others, perceive, means I have to participate in it?

      What exactly about "the largest minority of people supports this" makes something "necessary", let alone moral? Have you considered the possibility that *all* the things you call "social justice" or at least a great number of them are inhuman monstrosities?

      But please, by all means, go on paying for them. If your service provider can create larger value at lower cost than mine, who invariably would *not* provide these "services" than it falls only on the children you're seeing abused and mutilated, and people who care for them, to fight back. But I suspect if we all could choose something else, this would never be chosen.
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      Feb 17 2011: Separately, regarding police:

      Police commit most crime at the same rate as any average Joe on the street, but are notably 6 times more likely to commit murder and over twice as likely to commit rape:

      www.copblock.org/1595/making-the-case-for-more-police-accountability/

      Besides those crimes, justice systems worldwide spend untold billions of dollars keeping millions of innocent people in cages for non-crimes (like possession of harmless herbs, avoidance of funding above-mentioned atrocities, etc). This is false imprisonment, and my odds of being falsely imprisoned by the "justice" system are a hundred thousand times higher than of being kidnapped by a private criminal. They are furthermore ineffective at preventing real crime, let alone at prosecuting it, with conviction rates being as low as 10% for petty theft and, alarmingly, below 40% for serious crimes like murder and rape. Studies of prison populations and the general public have suggested that the number of crimes that the mere existence of police agencies deter may be below 10% (meaning that for every 10 crimes committed, there would be 11 without any police).

      Given that governments have killed 250 million people in the 20th century alone vs. perhaps a few tens of millions for private murder, given that they confiscate on average 50% of the income of their populations vs. a few fractions of a percent lost to private theft and embezzlement, I somewhat unconcerned about what a private defense agency would do to me. At least, in theory, I could stop paying for them if I thought they were actually *more* of a risk by orders of magnitude to my life and property than criminals, as with government. I am much more worried about who is going to protect me from the police, frankly. But yes, I can imagine private police. I am not sure they would be a whole lot better / less useless, but it would be hard to be worse.
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      Feb 17 2011: Doesn't government *also* rely on people's ability to pay? Government charges fees for many services in addition to all its taxes. What if people were no longer able to pay enough to government in order to keep up with what all of its services cost? What then?
    • Feb 17 2011: Most people don't have the ability to design and manufacture automobiles or computers, but we understand that more car and laptop choices means better quality, lower cost and increased innovation.

      Why can't comparatively simple services like road building, security and fire protection also benefit from competition?
    • Feb 22 2011: @Adan Karra - If you don't want that kind of agency around, why not build neighborhood watch groups that police their own neighborhoods? A group that not only helps to protect against murder, theft, rape, but also fire protection, too. Heck, that'd be better than both of the private or government option. You'd be right there next to the problem at hand to deal, no need to wait for someone who's five or more minutes away from the scene of the problem.

      Just sayin', ya know?