How to Increase Fires, Crime — & Illness

There’s a reason society doesn’t have “for-profit” firemen or police.

Put it this way: imagine if we did.

Purveyors of “fire extinguishing services” would have an incentive to do things that actually increased the number of fires.

Like commit arson.

Or object to things that lowered the risk of fire — like install fire alarms, develop non-flammable clothes, use fire-retardant building materials, enact modern building codes, etc.

Of course, for-profit fire stations would not be distributed throughout the community, but concentrated near the most expensive commercial and residential buildings.

That’s because putting out fires in those structures would be much more lucrative than battling blazes in the poorer parts of town.

“Crime Apprehension Services”

Now imagine what a for-profit police force would look like.

A safe, low-crime community doesn’t need much police protection — ergo, low profits.

However, once there’s crime . . . suddenly there’s demand for police protection. That is, provided society can afford it (high crime + no money = the South Bronx, circa 1978).

Certainly, no fire department or police force — for-profit or non — would actually break the law to stimulate demand for their services.

But why have monetary incentives that create that temptation?

Private vs. Public Health Care Model

So . . . if a for-profit fire department would in theory benefit from more fires, and a for-profit police force would benefit from more crime, what would a for-profit “health care” industry profit from?

Bingo! More illness.

In fact, the more sick people, the better — as long as they can still pay. Or someone can. Like government — which really means the rest of us.

Which catches us up to today.

After decades under the sway of the for-profit medical model, the U.S. economy is clearly straining under the financial burden.

Like the manager who reluctantly goes to the mound to take the ball from the fading starting pitcher . . . . maybe it’s time to substitute a new business model.

Fortunately, it already exists.

P.S.: Bonus questions: 1) how does a lightly regulated, for-profit financial sector maximize revenues? Answer: we already know; 2) what does a for-profit military benefit from? Dwight Eisenhower was the first modern President to pose — and answer — that one.

And finally . . . want to know what happens when you privatize a city’s parking system? Chicago just did — and early reports are that it is so unpopular that it might end Mayor Richard Daley’s career.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
2 Responses
  1. Ned

    Perhaps you should also mention privatizing military services…not that Saddam wasn't a clear and immanent threat with weapons of mass destruction capabilities at his disposal and direct ties to al Queda

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