Re: law enforcement for profit

Date: Sun May 21 2000 - 20:18:19 MDT

Matt writes:
> A bit silly, but just a thought: What about having insurance companies
> invent and enforce traffic rules - everyone is required to carry some
> policy, but you choose which and are only bound by your providers
> regulations. There's a competitive pressure then on insurers to issue
> as few tickets as possible, so as to attract customers, but also to
> maximize safety and avoid paying out. That's the trade off we're trying
> to make, and If anyone's in a position to figure out what's
> legitimately dangerous driving and what's not, it's people selling
> insurance.

That's an interesting idea. It seems that there might be a problem in
that it would not discourage driving habits which injured other people
more than the driver himself. However due to the nature of automobile
collisions most accidents injure both parties, so this might not be that
bad an effect.

Robin Hanson had a somewhat analogous idea, which is that health insurance
companies would pay out when you die. Therefore they would have incentive
to pay for health treatment which extends your life. (Unfortunately,
Robin has also pointed to research which seems to question the true
value of much medical treatment, hence this plan might lead to people
getting a lot less medical care than they get today.)

The health idea is at, and Robin has
a page with a bunch of other ideas at


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