Is the bank ATM a public good?3 min read 27 Nov 2013, 01:48 PM IST
The idea of mandating banks to provide security to ATMs betrays a pitiable lack of understanding of the changing face of public goods
The unfortunate assault on a woman at a Bangalore ATM took me momentarily back to an incident in my childhood. I was brought up in a place where the state was practically absent. No, this was not a Maoist-infested area but an “industrial township". Only those who have lived there will appreciate the peculiar phenomenon of these townships chugging along despite the absence of the state, because virtually all functions were taken care of by the company to whom the township belonged—schools, hospitals, electricity distribution, sewage, water supply, garbage collection, etc. What about law and order? Well, by extension, this was really absent because policing can’t be outsourced, but we never felt that way as the serious-crime rate was very low.