This is a sort of follow-up on a segment on Dr. Hsieh's latest "Rationally Selfish" webcast, but with a broader scope. The segment was about whether or not "private prisons" would be proper. To quote her "answer in brief":
Now, this seems to me to miss a crucial aspect of the question: is it proper for the government to contract out its monopoly on the retaliatory use of force at all? If memory serves me right, Dr. Peikoff answered a question about this, but since I am unable at the moment to load his website (is it just me...?), I can't verify that or say with certainty what his answer was.
I am thinking here not only of private prisons, but also of private courts, private police, and private military, perhaps in the form of security contractors such as the infamous Blackwater.
What are your thoughts?
Edit: Here is Dr. Peikoff's podcast I was referring to: http://www.peikoff.com/2010/06/07/to-what-extent-is-it-proper-for-a-government-to-outsource-its-legitimate-function-to-private-contract/
When government hires an individual, the nature of the related employment agreement is contractual. Similarly, when government buys a product from a private company, they are engaging in a form of contractual relationship with that company. So, I don't see any philosophical or moral reason why a company couldn't or shouldn't take the place of one or more individuals when it comes to the use of force.
The main challenges would be to keep those types of relationships free of favoritism (cronyism), fraud and corruption. I think that's possible, but it would take some careful thought and planning beforehand.
answered Nov 03 '11 at 00:33