On gangster justice and competition to the violence monopoly

The other day I was listening to BBC’s 5 Live Report on the rise of Gangster Justice as a means to maintain a social order in some areas of the UK. That reminded me of a violence theory I read not long ago on The Sovereign Individual.

The theory goes as follows, what makes a Government “the” Government within the borders of a country or nation is her ability to monopolise violence and extract safety taxes from its ‘clients’.

If they are correct, when the world moves towards ‘private’ armed forces (paid mercenaries to fight overseas wars like in the Spanish or US example in Irak), pay for higher policing level (apparently you can get extra policing in your area in exchange of extra money for Scotland Yard), or just moving into walled up private residential areas, it seems just as normal that middle and low classes try to protect themselves through gangs or the underworld ex-cons. On the program they mentioned a piece of statistics that blew my mind. Apparently, only 3 in 100 crimes reported to the police get solved. And that does not include the ones that don’t get even reported.

For the government and the well-offs, it is allright to bend the rules.

It is OK for a Government to use mercenaries or so called ‘security contractors’ to fight a, to some like myself, unlawful war at the price of loosing face and getting the country in debt but keeping home soldiers alive.

It is considered aspirational to wall yourself off from your surroundings and live in a golden cage, keeping your family safe.

But what happens when someone resorts to former convicts and gangs to settle a dispute or use violence to protect their business, family or livelihood? Legal and social pundits will tell you that these actions feed the underworld and risk the social DNA of our societies. But these charlatans would never spend a night, let along a life in some of the most depressed areas of any country.

As usual, democracies are for some more democratic than others.

But what really worries me is that if governments around the Western world are losing their grasp on the monopoly of violence -and ultimately the power to charge a safety and security tax-, the next natural step is tax avoidance… hang on, we are already there! Why pay security tax, if you don’t get value for money?

.Calvin

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