Saturday, July 21, 2018


Trafficking in human beings for private gain should be against the law in every country. Slavery does nothing to elevate the human condition. After slavery there are certain industries that shouldn't be allowed to profit off of the elimination of individual rights and freedoms. In my book, making money off of incarcerating people shouldn't be part of the profit motive because it creates what economists refer to as "perverse incentives."
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One of the better examples of how perverse incentives work in the real world was when the colonial French government in Vietnam offered the residents of Hanoi a bounty for every rat tail they turned in to the authorities. The goal was to deal with Hanoi's rat problem. Instead, it led to the farming of rats, who were then killed for their tails.

Perverse incentives create situations that inspire people to do things that undermine broader goals and the human condition.

Anyone who believes the private prison industry doesn't have an incentive to push fear mongering and racial animus over undocumented workers and Muslims traveling into the United States doesn't understand how perverse incentives work. Once you create a "suspect class" it becomes much easier to incarcerate a large groups of people, and children, because fear mongering and profits - rather than a workable immigration program and border security - are the real objectives.

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When our border policies give an entire industry the incentive to promote the hunting down and incarceration of an entire group of people, on a mass scale, we end up with low level, for profit, human trafficking. It's that simple.

Today, private prisons and border control in the U.S. provide perverse incentives - like low level human trafficking - and have no place in America.

- Mark


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