Re: a new thread

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sun May 21 2000 - 23:49:36 MDT

>From: Cynthia <>
>Subject: Re: a new thread
>Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 18:51:40 -0700
>----- Original Message -----
>My idea is to use insurance companies. Parents would be required to buy
>insurance on their future kids. And these policies would pay off if the
>has a horrible birth defect, ends up in jail, or on welfare. This would
>the decision in the hands of a free market. And this should encourage
>types to either reduce the number of children they have, or use high
>sperm donors. It might also help people make better mate selection
>BTW, I think we could also require insurance as a condition for parole.
>way harmless people would be let out, while dangerous people would be
>impossibly high insurance rates.
Good Job Cynthia!! As I've been posting - if you've noticed - insurance
provides a general solution to a lot of problems having to do with risk. It
should be possible to completely replace the monopoly state in a few decades
with competing insurance companies, in fact, plus private arbitration
systems, private police, and hopefully, a general social contract.

In such a society, if it's profitable to rehabilitate a criminal, then
someone will probably make a business out of it. If a particular person
refuses to change his predatory behavior, however, then, when he or she runs
out of resources to finance it, they will find their freedom so curtailed
that merely to survive will require making deals at very unpleasant terms -
reflecting the risk they pose to anyone who chooses to deal with them at
all, a good lesson if they will learn it, and an example and deterent to

A lot of the problem in dealing with criminals is this notion of "public
property." If the roads and sidewalks were all privately owned - as they
already are in many proprietary communities - then where would the criminal
go? How would they get there? There would doubtless be communities of
higher and lower risk, employing varieties of strategies to deal with market
demand and preference. The criminals, as they were apprehended or
identified would find themselves increasingly segregated into communities
oriented toward high-risk citizens.

Jails as such would likely be few and far between, while occasional "pirate
societies" or "Casbahs" might give a degree of freedom - at the price of the
associated risks - to the incorrigibles, while keeping them away from their
more rational intended victims.

(From an engineering standpoint, you probably don't want to eliminate crime
altogether. If you do, you tend to lose your immune system. Criminals keep
us aware to some degree of risk factors, much like hackers.)

Anyway, what you suggest are not some sort of special cases, but rather,
pieces of a more general solution. In the case of the children, however, I
suspect that part of the eventual evolution of the social contract might
involve paying some percentage of one's income back to one's parents or
guardians, thus creating a more positive incentive to raise good kids than
just lowering ones insurance premiums.
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