Understanding the “Private” in “Private Security”
Recently in the pages of the Mises Wire, Jason Morgan argued that private security isn’t enough in terms of ensuring personal security and that America needs militias. While I agree with much of the spirit of Dr. Morgan’s essay, there are a few things I wish to clarify and say in defense of private security.
We Should Be Clear about What We Mean by “Private Security”
The word “private” is often used to describe (and conflate) things that are quite different. Your barber’s private business is quite distinct from a “private prison” (which I consider to be more accurately referred to as a “contract prison”). The former is funded voluntarily by people looking to beautify their mullets whereas the only customers of the latter are governments financed through taxation. And while it is surely the case that the institutional incentives of the contract prison are different than those of a prison run directly by state employees, this does not mean that contract prisons are part of a free market.
The same reasoning applies to other state-centric activities: a war does not begin to resemble a free market because it is fought by mercenaries rather than enlist
Article from Mises Wire