Private Enforcement of Property Rights
The Demand for Specialists in Violence
When the state does not enforce property rights, people will hire specialists in violence to do so. This is one example of a larger trend of the privatization of security that is occurring at multiple levels in Africa. States hire private security companies to protect valuable natural resource extraction operations, and wealthy people hire private security firms to protect their homes and land. However, there are consequences to this privatization of security. The second part of the chapter addresses the unique problem of property protection by specialists in violence in Accra, Ghana, where young men called Land Guards act informally to secure property rights from encroachment. Land Guards fill the need for security of property rights, but they also bring with them negative externalities. Privatized security for the protection of property rights in major urban areas of Africa challenges our current understanding of the political geography of power in Africa and the Weberian understanding of the state
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