In my Economics of Development class and my Comparative Government class, I took an interest into the country of Nigeria. Nigeria has a lot of potential for growth but one major problem is the police are very corrupt and The Economist has a recent interesting article on this. This is from the article:
“Many of those arrested never have their cases investigated at all “Often these arrest are not done with a view to taking the person through the criminal-justice process,” say Innocent Chukwuma, whose Cleen Foundation (formerly the Centre for Law Enforcement Education), researches criminal justice. “They are done with a view to extort and harass.” He estimates that just 5% of those arrested ever end up in court. Many are extracted from police custody only by bribes.”
This often brings up the old debate of should you give a homeless beggar spare change. The argument for is obviously it helps that person and you will probably drop or not use your change. The argument against is that you create a market for pan handling and that will not stop them from harassing people.
Now other countries like India are much worse than this but in the U.S. we only see moderate harassing. So you ask how is this like the police situation in Nigeria? Well do you pay the bribe because it would encourage those police to continue to harass you?
Is this a collective action problem? Where the group would be smart not to pay the cops in bribes but the individual will do so. This is somewhat like a collective action problem even though the decision to bribe is an individual decision.
Of course the person bribing is not doing anything wrong. The fact that there is a governmental monopoly on violence and they use it to make money is. I would suggest that an anarcho-capitalist state would work well there.
Their really really nice web site lays out the history of police which is funny because most of it is private, here. This is from it:
“When the first paid professional police force was proposed in Britain, it was strongly opposed by those who feared that such force would lead to repression and threat to the freedom of the individual and to democracy.”
They have two web sites is one a fake? Here is the other one.