Let’s Limit the Effect of Software Patents, Since We Can’t Eliminate Them (Wired)
Posted Nov 6, 2012 16:52 UTC (Tue) by nix
In reply to: Let’s Limit the Effect of Software Patents, Since We Can’t Eliminate Them (Wired)
Parent article: Let’s Limit the Effect of Software Patents, Since We Can’t Eliminate Them (Wired)
Accordingly, if they are necessary, private actors can and will provide them in a decentralized fashion. All these services existed way before this magical group of people monopolized them under threat of punishment, and will continue to exist after people have ceased believing in their pretend superpower.
As I said, the lesson of history is that this is untrue. No service for which provision to one person cannot be withdrawn without hurting the whole is usefully privatizable. Private fire services are a particularly bad example: the line between 'pay and we stop your house burning down' and 'pay and we stop your house burning down only if you're lucky enough to have a neighbour that pays too' is fine. Worse, it tended to rapidly evolve into 'do not pay and we quietly burn your house down, and use the unspoken threat of this to drum up new business'.
Healthcare, in particular immunization and infectious disease control, is another similar example.
Regarding your specific example, security guards are not equivalent to private police, even if they call themselves that: they are a workaround for the absence of an effective police service, more a firewall to keep the criminals out of your particular area than a means to actually prevent the criminals from committing crimes. (True private police can work, but conflicts of interest are avoided only if they are implemented via subscription from their entire force area. Since this is effectively identical to a tax I can't see a meaningful distinction between this and a system provided by a government, except that if your government is hopelessly incompetent this can provide an island of competence. The right long-term solution there is to make your government less hopelessly incompetent.)
to post comments)