They said it could never happen: People are crowdsourcing private security forces in Oakland


What about police and firefighters?  The roads?  Who’s going to make sure your food is safe to eat?

Unfortunately, many people are unable to see an alternative to the monopoly that government has on many of the services that we use.  Even when the service isn’t monopolized (see private regulation), some people cannot imagine life without the perceived steadying hand of government.

In the discussions of privately provided services with higher degrees of externalities (although, give me a product or service that doesn’t produce externalities one way or another), it is inevitable that someone will bring up the police.  Well, some neighborhoods in Oakland are taking it upon themselves to pay for their own security services.

This won’t be an alternative to the Oakland police.  These residents will still be forced to pay taxes to “receive” an obviously inadequate service in return.  But they are proving a point.  They’re showing that they’re willing to augment what they’re already supposed to be getting.  What would this mean if state-supplied police ceased to exist?  Would people simply not pursue getting protection?

Something tells me the answer is no.

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