By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *

Just to give an example out of many let me quote Jorge Galindo who wrote that “if the state does not have a monopoly on violence, someone will have it …”, and chaos will overcome. May be this is true, however, let us point out that violence induces more violence because of the principle of action and reaction.

Or, as philosopher Franz Oppenheimer said, “The State … is an institution forced by a victorious group over a defeated one, with the purpose of regulating … the economic exploitation of the vanquished.”

That is to say, whether or not the State – the monopoly of violence – is inevitable is important to remember that peace will be achieved as violence diminishes and it will increase with more repression as simple logic says.

The countries with less freedom -for instance, according to the The Heritage Foundation index-, are those more repressed by the States, are the most violent. Countries like Japan or Switzerland with more freedom have a crime rating much lower.

On the contrary, Latin America -where countries have little freedom- is the region with the highest rates of urban violence. According to the Citizens Council for Security and Criminal Justice of Mexico in 2018 only three South African cities, four in the USA and the capital of Jamaica, are included at the top of violent cities, rating dominated by Venezuela (6), Brazil (14), and, above all, Mexico (15) where there are five of the first six.

So it is not with “the consolidation of the state, that we will allow reducing urban violence … to manageable volumes” as Galindo says, but vice versa, violence will be reduced as the state grants its citizens more freedom.

“The illegal economics in general, and drug trafficking in particular, are the main engine” of the crimes, continues Galindo. Precisely, that is why Portugal is one of the countries that has managed to quickly lower the level of crime, because it legalized drugs -even if they are very harmful- disarming these “illegal economics”.

By the way, the war on drugs, as always violence is, is arbitrarily used. For example, president Duterte decided that the Philippines will leave the International Criminal Court because he doesn’t want it to investigate his fight against the narco at a rate of one thousand deaths per month.

The state has to reduce all coercive imposition like labor laws, such as the minimum wage that causes unemployment as employers who cannot employ those who would earn less. And taxes must be lowered, because they are the main source of poverty because the rich pay them by rising prices or lowering wages. And the unemployed and the poor are the breeding ground for crime.

On the other hand, in these coercive laws corruption is born because those forbidden to do certain actions will be inclined to bribe the officials who decide the application of the norms.

Mexico has beaten its own homicide records in 2017 and 2018, surpassing Brazil and Colombia. “There are two big factors,” says Santiago Rodríguez. The war against drugs and the search for new illegal markets, such as the theft of fuel from the corrupted state company Pemex, which has a monopoly guaranteed by state coercion that prohibits competition.

In addition, governments should avoid bad examples. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is usually received with “honors” by many state leaders when, according to the CIA, is the instigator of Khashoggi’s murder.


* Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, Oakland, California