How things worked in the Anglo-Saxon England before the invention of crime by the State
The system of tidings
The restitution system
The role of Anglo-Saxon kings in the judiciary system
Representation of foreigners
The development of the business of justice
Increase of the king's piece
Norman invasion: elimination of the restitution system
First use of the term crime (13th century)
Elimination of the system of tidings
Destruction of the policing system
Increase of criminal actions
Current criminal situation
Modern criminal justice system: a common pool problem
Definition of common pool
Allocation of criminal justice resources
Results of reporting a crime: low clearance rate
Results of a victimization survey
Focus of the criminal justice system
Alternative proposals to solving crime in the United States
Advocating for a substantial decriminalization
Private harms instead of public harms
Creation of incentives for the victim to reporting crimes
Crime watch programs and private crime control
Crime control in the railroad industry
System of restitution: dealing with poor criminals
Experimental work programs
State victim compensation program
Results of the prison work programs
Absence of a restitution system in the United States
Potential of a restitution system: the situation in Japan
Role of a mediator
Compensation of the victim and punishment of the criminal
Consequences of this system
Repetition of crime rates
Alternative solution to crime: decriminalization
Consequences of an inefficient criminal justice system
Question and answer period
If private harm is implemented in a justice system, what incentives can be created to enforce the commitments arranged by the victim and the
criminal besides the State's action?
Do you think that a compensation victim program can be useful in Latin America? How can those programs be implemented?
What would be a fair quantification mechanism to restitute rich victims and poor victims?
How does the private security, corporative security, and federal security deal with people's privacy?
By implementing the system of restitution, are you establishing a market process where the optimum point is restitution for the victim and a minor punishment
for the criminal? How does restitution theory deal when there are various victims or criminals? Would you need an arbitrator?
Bruce Benson opens his lecture with an interesting statement: Crime is a government invention. He talks about the evolution that the concept of crime has had over the years and explains that many of the offenses we know as crimes today were at one time in history treated not as offenses against the state but against the individuals. He comments on some private alternatives that are practiced in the United States to manage crime, such as insurance companies and prison work programs. He also mentions the system used in Japan, where there is a consensus between the victim and the criminal. Finally, he mentions the idea of decriminalization as an alternative solution to crime and comments on the benefits that private security has over public security.
Bruce Benson is senior fellow at the Independent Institute, the DeVoee Moore Research Professor of Economics at Florida State University and Contributor Editor of The Independent Review. Previosly, he taught at Pennsylvania State University and Montana State University. He holds a BA and MA in Economics from University of Montanta; and a PhD in Economics from the Texas A&M University. He received the 2006 Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) and the Liberty in Theory 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from Libertarian Alliance.