James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gated Communities

Fred Foldvary actually likes the Bush's upsurge plan, because it is a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach. Establish one gated community, then another, then another. The question I have, is government - particualarly America's occupying forces - up to the task? I doubt it. In any case, Foldvary has one great insight:
The new plan includes creating gated communities in Baghdad. This is how the market has been establishing local security world wide. In South Africa, where violent crime has risen to an extreme height, people with the means to do so have responded by creating walled neighborhoods. There is one entrance, with a guarded gate. Visitors are required to provide identification.

In South African cities, wealthy and middle-class neighborhoods are protected by a high wall, topped with electrified fencing. A second layer of security is provided by the household, with bars on the windows, strong locks on the doors, and alarms connected to private security companies which provide armed response. One cannot obtain insurance unless one has such protective devices.

Governments world-wide have failed to provide what is supposed to be the prime reason for the state, protection from violence. Markets world-wide have responded to the demand for security with gated communities. Conventional economic theory says that security is a public good which markets will underprovide, which makes it necessary for government to provide with taxes. But the reality is the opposite: the prevalence of violent crime is evidence of government failure, while markets can and do fill the gap.

1 comment:

  1. If the US armed forces set up gated communities, this won't be market forces at work. Market forces would be leaving the Iraqis alone and letting them come up with what works for them. It won't look like what the USG wants, however.

    Gated communities don't usually have to deal with RPGs and explsoives and organized assaults. They are great for reducing burglaries and muggings in the community but not so much for invasions.