Collective action and inaction

The purpose of government is solving collective action problems. Consider crime. Government coordinates collective resources to protect individual victims, which benefits the collective, regardless of whether each member of the collective has been or may be at risk of victimization, by creating a society in which we are relatively free from worry about being victimized.

But who constitutes the collective? Not the women whose domestic violence complaints are ignored, the immigrants whose wage theft goes unprosecuted, the black men killed by police, the poor people exposed to toxins by corporations paying their way free from environmental regulation.  The collective are holders of concentrated wealth. The rest are systematically less assured of freedom from victimization.


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