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Tate Fegley: Crime and Punishment in a Libertarian Society

Tate Fegley on Mises Weekends

Tags Free MarketsLegal SystemThe Police State

07/09/2015Tate FegleyJeff Deist

Tate Fegley and Jeff Deist discuss what crime and punishment might look like in a libertarian society, and how to convince skeptical libertarians that private police can do a better job of dealing with violence, theft, and fraud.

Private, competing defense agencies would operate with completely different incentives than state police: unlike government cops, private cops get fired when crime goes up. Private police have a direct financial interest in avoiding escalation of conflicts, avoiding legal liability for death or injuries, and avoiding damage to their agency's reputation. And under a Hoppean insurance model, both insurance companies and property owners have a direct incentive to prevent, rather than merely respond, to crime.

Finally, they discuss how direct restitution, rather than lengthy taxpayer-funded incarceration, would be a more economically efficient and more humane approach to helping crime victims.

Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Contact Tate Fegley

Tate Fegley is Chair of Business and Economics at Montreat College and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

Contact Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul, and as an attorney for private equity clients. Contact: email; Twitter.