SandySandfort on July 15, 2010, 11:13:02 pm
I just ran across a very comprehensive survey of anarcho-capitalist theory and fact. I think it might clear up a lot of the misconceptions and unjustified assumptions that have been tossed about on this forum. It's the Anarcho-capitalist FAQ and it can be found here:

  http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/faq.html#part11

Enjoy!

MacFall on July 16, 2010, 08:07:38 am
Bookmarked. I'm sure I'll be using this.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

NemoUtopia on July 18, 2010, 08:59:44 pm
This is definitely the best 'what is', thought provoking read I've run across related to the subject. Definitely bookmarking myself, and suggesting a [locked?] sticky-thread for such links as they come around these parts.

MacFall on July 18, 2010, 09:33:32 pm
The only thing I didn't like about it is that he defined anarcho-capitalism as being a separate philosophy from libertarianism, whereas it is actually the logical conclusion of libertarianism's central tenet.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

WarpZone on July 19, 2010, 01:28:12 am
Interesting read.

How would an individual of modest means in an Anarcho-Capitalist society achieve justice according to his own personal moral code against the personal moral code of a wealthier peer?  There are countless real-world examples of how moral actions are seldom the most profitable actions, at least in our society.

It seems like the richest person would just buy out the biggest and best-equipped private security firm, which would then buy out or merger with as many of the other private security forces as it could.  Then the richest person would add a law to his personal legal code that "the richest person makes all laws" and set his bloated private security force to work quelling any resistance.

For all our governments' faults, they at least provide for the hypothetical possibility of justice triumphing over wealth.  It seems like an Anarcho-Capitalist society wouldn't even offer that small comfort, instead guaranteeing the opposite: an ever more efficient and streamlined means for the rich to plunder all other classes.

Please discuss.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 01:33:13 am by WarpZone »

dough560 on July 19, 2010, 03:18:41 am
WarpZone, your scenario is an excellent way to commit suicide in a libertarian society. By trying to impose his will on another, Rich Dude has initiated force on a massive scale.  Resulting in the affected population eliminating the problem at the earliest opportunity.  Additionally the insurance companies would reign in the security companies.  Rich dude owns both?  Sooner or later Rich Dude gets still gets handled and ceases to be a problem.

WarpZone on July 19, 2010, 06:21:18 am
Okay, fair enough.  I outlined a worst-case scenario, and got back a pat response.  Point taken.  Both the situation of abuse and the response to that abuse are probably going to be subtler and more nuanced than that.

So let's try a less extreme scenario:

Say Alice makes $2 million a year and Bob makes $20,000 a year.  Bob feels Alice has wronged him.  In an Anarcho-Capitalist society, what is Bob's recourse?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 08:31:15 am by WarpZone »

SandySandfort on July 19, 2010, 09:08:49 am
Say Alice makes $2 million a year and Bob makes $20,000 a year.  Bob feels Alice has wronged him.  In an Anarcho-Capitalist society, what is Bob's recourse?

Sue in arbitration. If Bob is in the right, Bob wins, Alice pays.

What if Alice refuses to accept arbitration? Baaad idea. Then nobody will want to do business deals with her except maybe cash on the barrel head. No matter how she got the money (something you conveniently skipped over), she's going to find it hard to increase it or even keep it as she spends it over time--assuming merchants will even do business with her.

What if she "buys off" the arbiter? Then, if the general public perceives this as an injustice, that arbitration agency never works in this town again. Also, Alice gets treated exactly as in the paragraph, above.

Now here is something I bet you didn't think of. What if Alice sues Carol in arbitration? I bet finding an agency that will work with Alice will be difficult. Maybe Carol simply refuses arbitration. Normally this would be bad, but most people would laugh and say, "serves her right."

But maybe Alice gets Carol to arbitrate, but Carol counter claims asking for big damages. Does Alice continue? If she loses, does she pay? If she pays, well, that 2 mil didn't turn out to b such an advantage after all, your hand-waving to the contrary. My guess is that if Ms Rich Bitch loses and doesn't pay, she's dead metaphorically and maybe for real.

Just an additional note about scenarios. I mentioned this before, but WarZone chose to ignore my advice. Before you play the game, you have to create a plausible scenario. Above, I alluded to the fact that how Alice got $2 million was avoided (strategically, if I had to guess). Either she made it legitimately or she inherited it. If the former, she has a history of playing by the rules. Strange she should decide to commit financial seppuku in her dealings with Bob. If she inherited it... well, we all know about the wastrel children of the rich. All they do is piss the money away. If their parents were nouveau riche, then the old cultural observation plays out, "shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three generations."

Truth be told, I like to argue, but I have work to do. So in the future, when the trolls, or the merely uninformed, start making special pleadings, I will restrain my inner warrior and simply ask for the context and justification for silly and/or outlandish "gotcha" scenarios. (It's okay with me, though, if Terry Freeman or some of our other bright posters, kick your ass.)   ;D

terry_freeman on July 19, 2010, 12:05:16 pm
At the heart of all these trollish scenarios is the assumption that the villain is not merely rich, but willing to become poor (or dead) in order to scratch some perverse itch. Because trolls are inherently too lazy to do research or to think, they simply don't sketch out the likely consequences.

Let's go back to the model sketched by David Friedman of Icelandic law. ( Google up your own references, I can't do everything for you ). Killing a person was treated as a matter of civil law; there was a schedule of fines. One was obligated to report such a killing before travelling three houses away from the scene. If one did not report the deed, one became an outlaw, who could be killed for free. This was the original meaning of the word outlaw: outside of the protection of the law.

OK, imagine that Miss Ritchie Witchie can afford to pay fines, and she has a taste for human flesh. She inherited the money, so she doesn't care about preserving it. Two things might slow her down. One, her would-be victims have the right of self-defense; it may not be long before Miss Ritchie Witchie is killed. Two, law is not frozen forever since it is not created by stupid idiot monopoly legislators; it is discovered by creative human beings operating in a free market. A likely market response to Miss Ritchie Witchie is a sliding scale of payment  - you may get one killing at the usual rate, but the 2nd and 3rd are really going to cost you.

Would she pay? Yes, if she wants to keep doing business with others. Not paying the fine means to be shut off from commerce with people who provide food, fuel, electricity, and so forth. She also risks becoming an outlaw - outside the protection of the law. It might be the custom that she could be killed with impunity, or it might even become a duty to kill her, depending on the scale of her infractions.

As I reiterate: law in an anarchic society is not made by monopoly legislators; it is discovered by people who must respond to market forces. They'll discover a way to tame Miss Ritchie Witchie's muderous impulses.

A truly rich person such as Bill Gates can afford pretty near everything he wants - a glorious home, boats, planes, computers, food, and so forth. But any person of even modest means can generally match Bill Gates one-to-one on a particular pursuit, given time and incentive to specialize. This is especially true if our Bill Gates hypothetically pisses off a large group of people who combine forces against him.

The old adage: I can afford anything I want, but not everything I want.
 
Now imagine a state with a monopoly police force. A "bad apple" gets his jollies killing people who resist his demands for property. How do you get rid of him, given that the courts ( part of the monopoly state ) treat the police (another part of the same monopoly state ) with great deference, accepting claims of "assaulting an officer" even when the alleged "criminal" weighs 98 pounds and is handcuffed while surrounded by ten burly wussies who so feared for their lives that they beat the alleged criminal black and blue. The entire charade is paid for by your tax dollars.

Give me a free-market bully anytime, who has to find and pay for his own corrupt judges; at least I don't have to contribute to the charade.

WarpZone on July 19, 2010, 01:41:39 pm
Sorry for proposing trollish-sounding scenarios.  I'm likely to continue to do so because:

- I basically just learned about this stuff.
- My imagination about what humans are capable of is fueled by my observations of the society which we currently have.
- It sounds good, but it doesn't sound workable.  I wish it were workable.  The more holes I try to poke in it and get blocked, the more workable it will seem to me.  And you'll get to discover new ways to block trollish arguments, it's win-win.

Also, keep in mind I'm not deliberately trolling.  This is what peoples' thoughts sound like when they have lived in a state all their lives and don't know anything different.

Going with the evil cannibal scenario, though, you're assuming:
- People will find out she is eating people.
- People will find out she's not paying for it.
- What one person learns about Alice, all people immediately know and believe.
- Alice is *aware of * and *believes* the previous three things.
- Money can't buy superior firepower in a free market.
- Money can't buy assistants and helpers in a free market.
- Money can't buy marketing which could be used to convince people that Bob is lying.
- Individuals living in a Anarcho-Capitalist society will never make selfish decisions, for example keeping quiet about the murder of a stranger so that they can keep their job working for Alice.

I never assumed Alice had no reason to safeguard her fortune.  I assumed that rich people in a Anarcho-Capitalist society will be at least as good at staying on top of the market as rich people in today's society, probably more so, since money is literally the only tool you can use.

I also never assumed it was cannibalism, just petty stuff.  Stuff she knows she can get away with because money talks.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 04:06:37 pm by WarpZone »

NemoUtopia on July 19, 2010, 05:23:51 pm
I'll admit this has been a thorn in my own brain, but the counter is that even if she could...normal 'rich' folks do this all the time in State society. Not all rich folks by any means, but the creatively immoral with the wealth. Upon thinking about it, I have come to the (possibly wrong) conclusion that while it may not be more expensive in current terms to initially make such cover-ups, it will be more relatively expensive, making it much harder. Throughout history, there have been means by which the rich have more economic leverage than their assets might indicate because of political power and coercable land owndership. In such States, the story of bribing is usually linear and relatively flat. Al Capone said it best indeed: if you can pay someone 'in charge' and trust their authority will hold their subordinates, you pay much less than paying off each subordinate. In AnCap society, such strucutres would be far less leader-centric and while the short-term ability of, say, a Private Protection Company's top leader to have those under him follow orders against their will is significantly less than current enforcement agencies supported by the State itself.

People found to be making such decisions will face a few options, but all of them end up with exponential cost. Perhaps said rich person could pay off the PPC head and then even the entire PPC for a while. Because there would not be a monopoly, a conflict will inevitably bring to light something distasteful, if not the entire history. The PPC will likely lose any customers after this, and members of this now bankrupt company would have trouble getting future work because of assosiation. Alice will only be able to purchase protection at a VERY high premium. Additionally, any further bribes (and likely prior bribes) would have to be some form of 'hard' currency other than land that the killer has ready access to...a bribee may have low morals, but isn't necissarially an idiot thung. They'll want something Alice can't simply take back through her proven modus operandi, and likely insist on very clear methods of verifying that Alice's 'gifts' aren't simply 'loans'. The costs may start out lower than bribing necessary in a State, but habitual criminals shouldn't be able to get away with nearly as much for nearly as long as under most current systems because of this exponential increase over time...it's not much consolation to those that end up victims, but the cost in lives and suffering of others would be less. Heck, a common form of horror story in such a society would likely be about being simply another victim in an endless line of them by someone who wouldn't be stopped under modern governments.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 05:26:12 pm by NemoUtopia »

J Thomas on July 19, 2010, 05:46:50 pm

Going with the evil cannibal scenario, though, you're assuming:
- People will find out she is eating people.
- People will find out she's not paying for it.
- What one person learns about Alice, all people immediately know and believe.
- Alice is *aware of * and *believes* the previous two things.
- Money can't buy superior firepower in a free market.
- Money can't buy assistants and helpers in a free market.
- Money can't buy marketing which could be used to convince people that Bob is lying.
- Individuals living in a Anarcho-Capitalist society will never make selfish decisions, for example keeping quiet about the murder of a stranger so that they can keep their job working for Alice.

The more that people are dedicated to making the system work for everybody, the less any of that will happen. But there are occasional miscarriages of justice in every system.

Among the Inuit, who tended to live in small groups with minimal hierarchies, the most common causes for murder included:

1. A woman preferred to switch husbands and persuaded the new man to kill the old one.

2. A man who lost his son at sea developed a habit of killing any young man who visited his community who was not his son.

In each case, unless there was someone who was too upset over it, the murders would go unavenged. Whole villages would forgive a man for killing strangers.

There was a story of a young man who made the mistake of telling people how wonderful his wife was. So one of the older hunters took the wife for himself. The village elders told the young man that his rival was too good a hunter to allow him to be killed, but the young man should take his wife and flee as far and as fast as he could.

You can't expect people to follow abstract justice when their own interests are involved. A whole community will give a lot of leeway to somebody who does a lot to benefit the whole community. In a society where that's more explicit than it is now, it might at least apply more to people who actually provide benefit and not so much to parasites who appear to. And if we had a justice system which is no better than what we have now, but considerably cheaper, at least it would be cheaper.

You may have noticed that these people assume that money will not be the only tool in the toolbox. People who believe only in markets might think that way. But the concept here is that there is a society, and people track information about everything in the society which is likely to affect them, at least to some extent. So they are likely to get involved in things that can hurt the society even when there's no money in it for them, and they are likely to take the side that brings in less bribe money for them if they think that side has other advantages.

Anarchist ideologues will try to argue that their hypothetical society will be perfect. Real societies will probably have things that look like flaws. But let's set the bar a whole lot lower. If a new society was a giant improvement over what we have now, wouldn't that be enough? And a giant improvement over what we have now is setting the bar ridiculously low. That might be pretty easy.

WarpZone on July 19, 2010, 06:27:28 pm
Okay!  Now we're getting somewhere! :)

I guess my biggest issue is that however unjust a written law may be, at least you know what the law is.  Unwritten rules are much worse.  If you're new to an area, you don't even know what the unwritten rules are until some group of locals busts you for breaking them.  I've never been in trouble with the police, and I don't mind paying taxes too much, but I've been hassled for being different lots of times.  I would hate to live in a society where THAT form of regulation is the only law.

Just my perspective.  I suspect it's not an entirely uncommon one.

(I wouldn't wanna get shot in the face for not being some guy's son, either.  But let's assume that's unlikely.)
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 06:31:11 pm by WarpZone »

wdg3rd on July 19, 2010, 06:51:47 pm
Okay!  Now we're getting somewhere! :)

I guess my biggest issue is that however unjust a written law may be, at least you know what the law is.

Do you know what the law is?  For that matter does any individual cop, lawyer or judge?  The complete set of federal laws (not to mention regulations which have been given the power of laws) is much larger than one person can read in a lifetime, and then it's on to state and local laws.

The saying is that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Everyone is ignorant of most "written" law.

Hell, most cops here in New Jersey seem to have missed the extremely heavily-advertised law that if your windshield wipers are operating, your headlights are required to be on.  At least half the cop cars I see in the rain are operating without headlights.  Yet it's the easiest ticket possible, much easier to catch than a drunk driver.  An extract of the law is on the inner side of every car inspection sticker along with the warnings about seatbelts and children's car seats.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

SandySandfort on July 19, 2010, 09:55:23 pm
I guess my biggest issue is that however unjust a written law may be, at least you know what the law is.  Unwritten rules are much worse.  

Did you even bother to look up Lex Mercatoria? There is nothing about an anarchy that precludes written laws. The French and Spanish have language cops to keep their languages "pure" (even though they are merely historic patois of the Latin and local vulgates). They enforce "proper" French and Spanish with punitive, written laws. English has no language police. Yet somehow most educated people know that ain't "ain't no good" and that "'i' before 'e' except after 'c' or when sounded as 'a' as in 'neighbor' or "weigh.' Of course, some dictionaries, such as the OED, attempt to codify, or at least report and suggest, rules, but their editors are ever aware that English is whatever the people say it is.

Besides, do you really need a written law to tell you murder is bad? I don't.

 

anything