Dead Prostitutes and Private Police
Dave Killion — August 31, 2010
We are frequently told that such-and-such an activity cannot be left to the private sector on the grounds that private actors are motivated purely by profit. The insinuation is that private actors will cut any corner, tell any lie, and rip off the consumer at every opportunity as if that is the only way profit can be had. But try and replace the profit motive with some other allegedly nobler sentiment, and tragedy ensues. For evidence look no further than the murders committed by Robert Pickton.
How is it that a man can kill so many people over such a long time and not be found out? Easy. There was no profit in catching him. The government officials who investigate these matters get paid whether they bring a man to justice or not. For the wealthy this is no matter. Just as the rich buy private education, private health care, and private neighbourhoods to avoid shoddy government provisions, they also hire private policing when they need it. For the poor there is no alternative, but imagine if there were!
Imagine a transient prostitute disappears. She may have few friends, and a dysfunctional family in a different province. In the current system her case will of course find itself at the bottom of the pile. But in a private system a private actor who brings the perpetrator to justice would be able to petition the court for reimbursement for the time and effort invested. And this reimbursement would be paid by the criminal. I know this is a big idea for a lot of people, and they will have a lot of questions about implementation, etc., but the first question should be this: Under the system I just described, how likely is it that Pickton would have murdered over two dozen women before he was stopped?
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