Private Solutions to State Failures

“Without the government who will [fill in the blank]?” It’s a question anti-statists face frequently. People seem to lack the imagination necessary to come up with any ideas of who would build roads, teach children, or protect people in the absence of government (and I want to know who is building roads, teaching children, and protecting people in the presence of government). As we find more governments collapsing we are getting an opportunity to see who can provide the services that were formerly monopolized by the governments. One many has developed a potential alternative to the state’s first responder services:

What if you could report emergencies anywhere, have faster response times, and strengthen local communities, all without spending thousands of dollars or involving bureaucrats?

We are seeing sluggish emergency response times in many big cities around the United States, and in parts of Detroit and Chicago you’d be lucky if someone came at all, even hours later. This is the problem with having a one-size-fits-all monopoly on emergency services. Sure, the system works pretty well, but when it has problems it can be a matter of life and death. And those problems don’t cause any firm to lose profits when they drop the ball. Tax money still fills the agency’s coffers, rewarding incompetence. (In economics we call this a soft budget constraint.)

Cody Drummond at Peacekeeper is rethinking defense and emergency response with a new app he is developing. His focus? Bring it local and use something you already carry to alert those around you to a problem. In those critical first moments during a crisis, you can alert those closest to you and get the help you need faster.

This system has the potential of replacing lengthy police response times (if they respond at all) with quick response from members of your community. It could also save lives if medical emergencies can be attended to quickly by any medical personnel in your community, as opposed to waiting for an ambulance to arrive from a far away hospital. What makes solutions like this even more appealing is that they don’t stop working just because the government has shutdown. One of the biggest problems with allowing governments to monopolize services is that those services cease being available in the event of a budget cut or shutdown.

Will Mr. Drummond’s solution work? Only time will tell. But we know that state controlled police don’t work (unless you want your dog euthanized) so an alternative must be found. Even if Mr. Drummond’s solution doesn’t work out I will tip my hat to him for trying.