Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bazaar Security

Why is it that advocates of market forces push capitalism as the best solution to everything - except when it comes to security?

I listen to arguments all the time about how we should just let efficicent market forces work in matters like retirement pensions, global trade, health care, and roads.

I even listen to capitalist extremists explaining why we should get rid of welfare, social security, and other "socialist" concepts ("this is a country of opportunity, and people who can't make enough money to live here are just lazy and undeserving").

Yet I never hear even these Ayn Rand wannabes advocating leaving the airline security situation to market forces.

Why not let the airlines compete freely? Some will offer the beefy security being dictated by the Bush administration - no toothpicks, shoes, or toothpaste allowed on-board. Others could offer the "security lite" version (maybe only 1 box cutter per passenger, school IDs accepted in lieu of government ID, etc). Presumably, the security lite version would be cheaper (and faster), and the heavy security version would be safer.

Let Americans decide which they prefer. Those who want to be protected against the 1 in six million chance1 of being killed in a terrorist attack on an aircraft could gladly pay the premium for the privilege. Those who prefer to save their money for other priorities could do so as well.

We already do this with automobiles. In a given year, the odds of dying in a car wreck are dramatically higher than dying in a plane wreck (about 1 in 7,000, vs. about 1 in 400,000). And the odds of dying in a small car are almost double those in an SUV (59% vs 35%).

Yet we let people choose to drive over fly, and we let them pick the kind of car they want to drive in.

Heck, even Merry Ol' England, land of socialized medicine, has stauncher capitalist proponents that the U.S. of A. The CEO of Ryanair is threatening to sue the British government over their airport security restrictions as being overly burdensome on commerce.

Where are those staunch Republican Capitalists when they're needed most? Cowering? (Or do they just all work for defense and security contractors?)

1(The odds of being killed by a terrorist are hard to identify, since they're usually lumped in with other kinds of assaults, but they are somewhat less than 1 in 77,000. With the odds of dying in a plane crash at 1 in 392,000, and 6% of those being caused by sabotage, the odds of being killed by terrorist sabotage of a plane are about 1 in 6,500,000).


At Sunday, August 20, 2006, Blogger Rick Fisk said...

Ha! Is this akin to that wierd email you wrote about below? I post a libertarian screed on my blog and then you post one just prior or just after I do? When are you going to finish telling that story!??

I can't tell if that was real, or an Iidea a you've developed for a work of science fiction. But I'd buy it if it were the latter and am waiting with bated mouse and scroll wheel in an case.

Sorry I missed you party.


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