Producing natural herbal remedies competes with remedies made by large corporations, usually patenting the same naturally existing elements, and thus is illegal. This was part of business already at 1700's, but in much smaller scale than today. It was more related to keeping the powerful in power by making sure the public had their bread and circus services than profit. Today, the society has advanced much further, by introduction of much more profitable system consisting of public services such as police forces and prisons run by large corporations.
Taking an example of stake burning: Stake burning is not very profitable, it takes a few hours and the revenue source is lost in the process. Most revenues, like media rights and tickets are one-time, and there is little side business generated by relatively simple process requiring only some wood, rope and matches and few hours of manpower. Also, stake burning faces heavy competition from terrorists and natural accidents.
Instead, jailing people for long periods of time provides continuous revenue source and much more complex system with more possibilities for increased revenue. For example, every inmate could produce 100+k revenues per year (ARPI, Average Revenue per Inmate), plus additional revenue from using inmates for manufacturing purposes, and selling products to them at good profit. New proposals have been made for inmates having to pay their stay at rates of $50 per night. As the inmates can only work for the prison operator provided factories, the process can be optimized so that all that revenue goes to the prison operator, or to a wider mesh of corporations, in addition to revenue from governments paying for running the prisons. Talk about captive audience.
To keep the revenue growing, you need long prison terms, and more punishable crimes. Thus, more and more things need to become illegal, and instead of fines, years-long jail terms are used. The ecosystem includes politicians who get paid for new laws, judges who get perks or direct commissions for longer prison terms, and the whole industry working around the prisons.
Getting other bits of the system privatized provides full vertical integration, and creates huge new possibilities. Instead of ARPI, we are talking about ARPC, Average Revenue Per Criminal. Imagine:
- Private police goes around arresting people for new crimes after taxpayer-paid private investigation. This can even be partially automated, in particular in copyright crime field, P2P tracking can be automatically used to generate arrest warrants, to generate a flow of mass crime. More complex Crimes can involve tens of people generating a large case, intelligence services, etc, generating millions of revenue per each case and all the money from the Criminal is taken and given to one or more of the corporations (Megaupload, for example) . Even false arrests are hugely profitable, almost anyone can be arrested by almost anything, buying fertilizers, making cynical jokes, talking with someone suspicious, etc. As most accountability has already been removed or is being removed, this is now perfectly valid business model, as long as appropriate measures are done to outsource to suitable offshore production units, for example, to Guantanamo.
- Criminal is taken to privately run court, where defense and prosecution lawyers, both paid by taxpayers, stage a good show, best of which can be sold media rights for. By increased number of criminals, lots of new facilities, court houses, etc need to be build and more people employed.
- Then the Criminal is put in prison, where both inmate's own and taxpayer money is squeezed out, and then for a predetermined time the inmate acts as production tool for some purpose. Around this number of taxpayer financed services are created, like counseling, education, training, etc.
- After release, the system will focus on turning the Inmate a Criminal again.
ARPC would probably double or triple with this system compared just to ARPI.