Externalities and Prince Harry

A big fuss is being kicked up about the fact that the news media kept secret the fact that Prince Harry was on the front lines in Afghanistan. Now I can understand that people might be pissed that he’s getting special protection because people might target him. I can kind of sympathize with this point of view, why should he get special protection?

However, I think the main isse here is that if the bad guys target Harry then that puts the other members of his unit in danger they would not face if it was not public. In effect Harry’s presence if publicly known imposes a negative exernality on other members in his unit through the increase in attacks that are likely to occur once the bad guys find out he’s in the area.

I think once you look at it from the perspective that we are protecting the many other people serving in his unit by keeping it secret, it’s actually a very reasonable thing the media did.

Apologies for not talking about methodological issues like James and Matt, I don’t read as much they do!