After the experience of small robbery, I’ve gotten to think about some reflections of public policies and their implications on the reality. The theme that I’m going to write on this post is about the cost of security and its impact on social distrust, based on personal metaphor of living in Honduras. Some questions have emerged on my mind and it wasn’t too easy to respond to those due to some different standards of morality and social norms, but it should be easy to share such questions here:
1. If I feel insecure in the same territory that I’m sharing with others, should a lock be put on my door?
2. If I want to put a lock, who should be paying for the cost?
3. And what about the others who live in the same territory? What if some of their doors aren’t suitable to put a lock? Should they remain in vulnerability according to their circumstances?
4. How to build a social trust, assuming the possibility of the next robbery?
5. Me having a lock would help to build a social trust? Or is it considered as a social segmentation and distrust? Would this theme be related to gated society phenomena in Latin America region?
6. Which regimen should be better for this moral justification; the capitalizational or the universalist approach of public policies?
I believe in human innocency, but I also believe in human idiocy as much. No matter what the reason would be, there sure be conflicts and crimes. Not all human activities are productive, rather can be destructive followed by their political, moral and religious dogmas. For example, the Honduras nation spends 5% of its GDP on criminal/policial cost. Comparing that some nations spend 7 to 12% on social welfare system, this 5% of Honduran budget really can make a big difference on welfare of Honduran population. Rather, we witness that human idiocy doesn’t really help the developmental case (I can’t judge, since there might be related to black market activities that benefit people, but I’m here just to cite that Honduras has remained as the poorest nation in whole American continent).
Actually I have decided to put a lock on my door, since I experience anxiety when I’m not around home. I can’t be at home at all times, so for personal inner peace I should get one. I don’t want to assume that anyone would be in my room poking through my stuffs when I get messages asking where I am around away from home. Yes, it can be an innocent asking but also can be a start of idiotic move. And I highly believe that the lock should be paid by the Landlord, or to say, the State, since I’m paying monthly rent that includes basic services like water and electricity, or to say general taxes, to have a right to have my personal and private space, which now has invaded and failed to keep the privacy. So I figured, when the public policies don’t orientate to build social trust and cost, it should be individual burden to gate up with individually invested locks: the origin of gated society and segmentation of social classes in Latin America. Especially in Exclusive welfare system countries this phenomena is much visible than other system nations (Esping-Anderson, 1990, 1999; Figueira, 1998; Barba Solano, 2005), even though this phenomena is quite visible even in other welfare system countries like Brazil and Argentina.
Selectivity and universalism also is a big debate in such theme. Like I questioned before, me having a lock would be equal as others being victim of future robbery? If the certainty of a next robbery is predicted, the anwer is YES. Who’s fault is that? It’s surely the fault of the bugler or the criminal. But the both cost, invest on security lock of my room in one hand and the criminial cost of other room on the other hand, are not productive. It’s a lose-lose situation of the focalization of public policies, rather it would be better in this case if the Sate guaranties to put the lock on all other doors. But even with this, the bugler decided to break in to act the crime, it would be even a bigger lose-lose situation. Think about all that money spent!
So before all, I can conclude that it is important to build a social trust first. But how? Should it be a moral education in formal primary and secondary education system? Is it a family value or religious value of the society? Of course, there is another trust issue too: the trust between the State and the citizens. Will the population trust the State to pursue an innocent development and welfare, rather than an idiotic and destructive gain?
Public policies, after all, should be designed to generate public value (Moore, 1998). I believe there would be no concreat answer to which paradigm is better in public policies. Rather, it’s important to measure that those policies are oriented to generate public value, with participation of citizens. Social justice and economic redistribution are important matters, but will it be sustainable without social trust between the States and the citizens, or between citizens?
Barba Solano, Carlos (2005). Paradigmas y regímenes de bienestar. San José de Costa Rica. FLACSO.
Esping-Anderson, Gasto (1990). The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton. Princeton Universtiy Press.
__________________ (1999). Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies. New York. Oxford University Press.
Filgueira, Fernando (1998). “El nuevo modelo de políticas sociales en América Latina: eficiencia, residualismo y ciudadanía estraficada”, en B.Roberts (ed.). Ciudadanía y Políticas Sociales en América Central. El Salvador. FLACSO.
Moore, Mark H. (1998). Gestión Estratégica y Creación de Valor en el Sector Público. Barcelona.