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Right now I am debating against three other people in another forum about socialized health care. It has expanded to taxes in general now. In an objectivist society, what would fund the roles of firefighters, policemen and the military?

Thanks.

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Broadly, the same people who fund them today would fund them in any society. There is no other source but citizens. Today, however, funds are taken forcibly from people -- by democratic fiat. Objectivism proposes that the funding should be voluntary. Of course, the implications of this are pretty wide: it might change the focus of the police and military if they have to rely on voluntary funding. [Caveat: This should not be taken to imply that the military will need to drum up money campaign by campaign.]

Objectivism, as such, does not detail the mechanism of government funding. While one can throw out various ideas, I personally think that it's too far in the future to be getting specific. A huge, but critical, first step is to curtail the nature of government (i.e., what it does), not its funding. I suggest drawing the line there: advocating a government that is responsible for military, courts and police, and nothing else. If we can move from where we are today, to a system where we still have taxes, but have only the essential functions of government, we'd have covered almost all the essential ground.

Also, of those three, fighting fires is not an area where one requires a single agency to have a monopoly on the use of force. So, fire-fighting would be come in the form of private organizations. That's how they were in many places in the past; there's no good reason to have them run by government.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Also, of those three, fighting fires is not an area where one requires a single agency to have a monopoly on the use of force. So, fire-fighting would be come in the form of private organizations. That's how they were in many places in the past; there's no good reason to have them run by government.

I disagree, I think they should serve as a branch of the police since they are still protecting people from force, even though it's accidently in most cases.

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As for fire, I think people would still want to buy fire insurance for their homes and businesses. If the government didn't have firefighters, the insurance companies would have a strong financial incentive to create their own groups of firefighters, because it would help them reduce damages caused by fires and therefore reduce the premiums they charge their customers, reduce the payouts they have to make, and increase profits. Insurance companies might also even help to put out the fires of people who didn't buy their policies, in order to prevent such fires from spreading to the homes and businesses they do insure.

Just a thought...

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As for fire, I think people would still want to buy fire insurance for their homes and businesses. If the government didn't have firefighters, the insurance companies would have a strong financial incentive to create their own groups of firefighters, because it would help them reduce damages caused by fires and therefore reduce the premiums they charge their customers, reduce the payouts they have to make, and increase profits. Insurance companies might also even help to put out the fires of people who didn't buy their policies, in order to prevent such fires from spreading to the homes and businesses they do insure.

Just a thought...

I can see that working too, but I'm worried about whole neighborhoods burning down without anyone fighting the fire because they don't have coverage. I just don't think it will be very profitable. You could make a non-profit type of orgnization, but Fire Stations are expensive as hell and I don't know if a non-profit could afford it. Or if a for-profit would make a profit off of it.

Thats why I think it falls in the realm of government/police work. Don't know where else to put it.

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I can see that working too, but I'm worried about whole neighborhoods burning down without anyone fighting the fire because they don't have coverage.

Couldn't you say the same thing about infectious diseases? "If you don't treat everyone, they will spread out of control." What about floods? Earthquakes?

You could make a non-profit type of organization, but Fire Stations are expensive as hell and I don't know if a non-profit could afford it. Or if a for-profit would make a profit off of it.

If you classify firefighting as a legitimate function of the government, then you believe that it should be illegal for me to contract with someone to protect my home from burning down in a fire? Doesn't that seem like a violation of my rights?

If you believe that firefighting should be provided as a non-coercive service, then you would be welcome to pay any fire department to protect my home, but you cannot force me to pay for it, or stop me from paying someone else to protect me. That doesn't sound like the police at all.

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