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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: Apollo-Soyuz on October 22, 2010, 07:05:29 am

Title: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on October 22, 2010, 07:05:29 am
http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=555

 So I assume the brothers agree and walk away fully compensated. They no longer have a claim against the miscreants. The three owe a debt to Merry.

Thought experiment: Two outta three flee Ceres. One stays to pay off his debt.

1. Can merry put a bounty on the other two's head? Is a broken "gentleman's agreement" enforceable in arbitration?

2. Let's say that the remaining one not only pays off his debt, but as a gesture to be made publicly known also works to pay off the remaining two's debt. Are the two absolved completely, or does Merry still have a claim against them for jumping  Ceres?

3. Would you be more inclined to barter, trade, or employ the remaining one knowing that he worked extra so that Merry would not suffer a loss?

4. Does it matter if Merry is paid off for the two that are AWOL if the payment is said to be a "gift" rather than "repayment"?

5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

All questions are phrased in the sense of standard Ceres custom, rather than say US case law.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Azure Priest on October 22, 2010, 08:18:52 am
1.) Assuming the other two can find some method of leaving Ceres, as covered extensively in Wally's "Justice Agent" plot line, they would be out of Ceres' jurisdiction, making arbitration moot.

2.) If miscreant #1, pays the debt for #2 and #3, going by the precedent set here, Merry would have no case going against #2, or #3, but #1 sure would, but again, #2 and #3 are outside Ceres' jurisdiction and arbitration would be impossible unless they return.

3.) I would certainly trust #1 more than #2 or #3, but not more than any random Belter that I might meet.

4.) It doesn't matter how Merry is "paid off" as long as it's done in the name of #2 and #3, and the person paying has the right to spend that money, or gold. (It would be wrong for Merry to accept stolen funds for example.) If 2.) has already occurred, the payment would rightfully belong to miscreant #1.

5.) Automatically? No. If 2.) Has occurred, but not 4.), miscreant #1 could file claim(s) against #2, and #3 should he choose.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on October 22, 2010, 09:05:43 am
What I can't understand is why the Guzman brothers so enthusiastically said "Works for us". While they can't prove that the three miscreants intended to leave them for dead, and thus were willing to waive that claim, presumably because they felt that having to pay off their debt would be penalty enough... I would think that they would still believe that to be quite likely. I know that I would take it personally if someone were willing to compass my death, but it could be that the Guzmans are much more optimistic and forgiving than I am.

Even so, I find it hard to believe that Merry could possibly be so annoying - even if it would be a good thing for her to learn a lesson - that they would really prefer to see her meet a bad fate than for those three to get what is coming to them.

Maybe it's because of my hoplophobic tendencies that I think that the safest place for anyone who has demonstrated a willingness to kill me in order to take my money is six feet under, and so I find it hard to understand the Guzmans, who are better men than I. Or maybe I'm forgetting that because this is a comic strip, sometimes it's played for laughs.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on October 22, 2010, 09:12:54 am
Quote from: Azure Priest
1.) Assuming the other two can find some method of leaving Ceres, as covered extensively in Wally's "Justice Agent" plot line, they would be out of Ceres' jurisdiction, making arbitration moot.

Well the original crime here occurred off of Ceres. so "jurisdiction" is a fuzzy term. I suppose you could convince an arbitration agent to "make house-calls"



Quote from: Azure Priest

2.) If miscreant #1, pays the debt for #2 and #3, going by the precedent set here, Merry would have no case going against #2, or #3, but #1 sure would, but again, #2 and #3 are outside Ceres' jurisdiction and arbitration would be impossible unless they return.

4.) It doesn't matter how Merry is "paid off" as long as it's done in the name of #2 and #3, and the person paying has the right to spend that money, or gold. (It would be wrong for Merry to accept stolen funds for example.) If 2.) has already occurred, the payment would rightfully belong to miscreant #1.


Ernie and Burt have settled, but if two of the 3 skip, and then a year later "wire money", are they in the clear? Or is there still damages due from "breach of contract" and "late payment"



Quote from: Azure Priest

3.) I would certainly trust #1 more than #2 or #3, but not more than any random Belter that I might meet.

I put this one here because even if you have paid for your crimes, you might find it impossible to earn money, or buy goods and services if your reputation is bad enough.

regarding 5), since skippers #1 & #2 never agreed to transfer the debt, I'd be inclined not to honor #3's claim against #1 & #2 unless he bought a contract. Since it's a  "gentleman's agreement", presumably no written contract will be made up. I'd find it tough to honor a "resold" verbal contract unless the reselling agreement was also somehow recorded.

Also I'd say since #1 and #2 breached their contract (recorded in court by that camera thing) they still own damages (to be determined, but I think bounty fee + breach of contract fee) to Merry, even if they payed off their original debt.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on October 22, 2010, 09:21:19 am
What I can't understand is why the Guzman brothers so enthusiastically said "Works for us". While they can't prove that the three miscreants intended to leave them for dead, and thus were willing to waive that claim, presumably because they felt that having to pay off their debt would be penalty enough...

Well, I for one would have ordered Little Toot to vent atmosphere as fast as possible. Anything less and I'd be taking an unnecessary  gamble with my life for a chance to save someone who obviously doesn't care about my safety or property rights. I think I could live with that.

Of course, I've never "seen the elephant", and just might have mercy if I was in their pressure suits. Also, I live in a state where deadly force is never legal for merely thief, and furthermore I have a duty to retreat if possible.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: happycrow on October 22, 2010, 09:30:50 am
@Quadlibloc and Apollo-Soyuz:

In my reading, the Guzman brothers are uncomfortable with the moral question it poses (note they've been brought up in a religious household as established VERY early in the original strip), and so having Merry guarantee their damages lets them simply get back on moving with life.  I know a lot of guys and gals who, given a choice between sweating bullets about whether they truly did "justice," and picking "compensate and move on," will pick the latter, every time.

In terms of the original questions:

1. Can merry put a bounty on the other two's head? Is a broken "gentleman's agreement" enforceable in arbitration?

I would guess that nobody would object to her hiring a manhunter to have them nabbed and summarily delivered to said pig farm.

2. Let's say that the remaining one not only pays off his debt, but as a gesture to be made publicly known also works to pay off the remaining two's debt. Are the two absolved completely, or does Merry still have a claim against them for jumping  Ceres?

Merry still has a claim on them.

3. Would you be more inclined to barter, trade, or employ the remaining one knowing that he worked extra so that Merry would not suffer a loss?

Yes, actually.  I've known a lot of young men who were total eff-ups, and am willing to give extra consideration to the rare ones who can admit it and consciously try to make right.  That deserves respect in my book.  Voluntarily working at a loss (or for nothing) in order to settle a debt demonstrates moral fiber (even if simply a misguided sense of loyalty to the jumpers), and would result in me being much more willing to give him the time of day than I would otherwise... which is about zero.

No to both four and five.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 22, 2010, 09:41:15 am
What I can't understand is why the Guzman brothers so enthusiastically said "Works for us". While they can't prove that the three miscreants intended to leave them for dead, and thus were willing to waive that claim, presumably because they felt that having to pay off their debt would be penalty enough...

Well, I for one would have ordered Little Toot to vent atmosphere as fast as possible. Anything less and I'd be taking an unnecessary  gamble with my life for a chance to save someone who obviously doesn't care about my safety or property rights. I think I could live with that.

Of course, I've never "seen the elephant", and just might have mercy if I was in their pressure suits. Also, I live in a state where deadly force is never legal for merely thief, and furthermore I have a duty to retreat if possible.

It looks like it was an opportunistic crime. They saw an opportunity and took it. They perhaps wanted the masscon, which they would finish digging out and then go sell? Surely they didn't want the ship, it was known to belong to someone else and they should have known its AI would not work ideally for them.

But is that certain?

I would be a bit paranoid. "Try to avoid killing someone until you are sure you have no more questions they can answer."

Suppose it was opportunistic. If you give them a good deal, let them pay you back your own losses and hold no more grudge than that, are they likely to hold a grudge? Will they stalk you to try to kill you, when it appears you think it's over? Or will they continue to be opportunists? Anything you can recover from them is a plus compared to having to dispose of their corpses, and the risk does not seem large.

On the other hand if there's a pricy market for body parts, the economic question is different. But still I feel like it's better not to kill more people than necessary. If they look real dangerous, like for example there's a serious chance they'll take over the ship and kill you, then it might be safer to kill them while it's easy.

I'd be concerned for Merry, though. If she's so nice to them, one or more of them might get the impression she's doing it because she thinks they're hot. They don't seem particularly perceptive just yet, and might be slow to understand her concept of rape.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: GaTor on October 22, 2010, 09:44:25 am
Paying off a debt is all well and good, however there is also the matter of protection of the citizenry.   Is Mary responsible for any crimes committed by these three if released into her custody?  The fact is the brothers were stranded and would have died if not for their own actions.  All the woulda, coulda shouda, don't mean crap.  This was attempted murder at the very least and these three are going to be set free?  Look I'm pretty much a libertarian but the bottom line is that there are BAD PEOPLE who will kill, rape, torture, steal, molest and otherwise endanger the public.   I'll grant you that our 'Terry" courts are far from perfect but one of the main reasons a penal system exists is to isolate these predators from the populace.  So what happens if these three decide to skip out on their debt, steal a spaceship and in the process of doing so kill the owners like they tried to do with the Guzmans?   Hell I understand everyone getting their say and that debts must be paid but IMO these bastids are dangerous.  
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Sio on October 22, 2010, 10:00:02 am
Merry won't HAVE to post a bounty on their heads, because they won't run.  If these bozos are "free as birds", the first thing they're gonna do is the STUPID thing and go after Bert and Ernie for "getting them in trouble with the Law".  They'll try to bust heads, and they'll wind up, perfectly honestly and above-board, at room temperature. Or lower.

Alternate theory is that SOME will run as soon as they clear the door of the courtroom.  They'll be off Ceres so fast they'll get cited in absentia for causing a major pressure drop in municipal cubic.  But at least one will stay to "get even" with the boys.  He'll end up as fertilizer in the city's processor, having pulled some kind of weapon on a public street to attack them, and get his fool brains removed via kinetic trephining.

If they ALL run, Merry won't learn a damn thing except that "these poor lads were just frightened of the barbaric practices of slavery and crude frontier justice here on Ceres, and rightly so!" and will continue to be a Terry-brained pain in the tuchis.

I think the Guzman boys enthusiastically said "Works for us!" because their society is all about civil liability, not revenge.  Once the books are balanced, they're happy.  It isn't about "rehabilitation", or "punishment", it's about paying for the damage done.  Once they're paid for the damage that's been done to them, they're happy as two fleas in a bottle of blood, and are more than pleased to walk away from the mess, having been made whole again.  They aren't after the pirates' scalps, they were after damages.  If they wanted the pirates dead, they could have just vented the brig cabin to space, or shot them when they tried to escape en route.  It doesn't matter to them if the damages come from the pirates working it off on a pig farm, or if someone else vouches for it and posts it for them -- in fact, they like it BETTER the latter way because the get it all up front, instead of in dribbles and drabbles as it's earned.  It's a better deal for them if Merry posts it as a lump, because they get their repairs paid for right NOW by someone else instead of having to front it themselves and get reimbursed over time.

Since the boys were raised in that culture, that's how they think automatically.  Their thought is "how do we pay for these damages to Lil Toot?"  Not "how do we teach these scumbags a lesson?"
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on October 22, 2010, 10:19:17 am
Hell I understand everyone getting their say and that debts must be paid but IMO these bastids are dangerous.
I think so too. But then I think there are surprises in store, because the people of Ceres (with the possible exception of Merry) aren't stupid.

I suppose it could be that Cereans are more tolerant than people here are of having people running around who think they're dangerous... because they're armed.

One possibility is that they will try to run, they will endanger others... but they will suffer the humiliation of being rounded up, not by five full-grown men, heavily armed... but just by one rather young man, the aspiring justice agent of the previous short story arc. That was such a short arc that we may not have seen the last of him.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Sio on October 22, 2010, 10:27:06 am
GaTor wrote:
Quote
 I'll grant you that our 'Terry" courts are far from perfect but one of the main reasons a penal system exists is to isolate these predators from the populace.

Our courts are not "Terry" courts.   "Terry" courts are courts on Terra in the universe of EFT.  Don't confuse modern-day U.S. or otherwise-Earthly courts with those of the comic universe. You'll break your brain and miss the point.  And for gossakes don't start taking the term "Terry" as an insult to you personally!  They're not talking about you, they're talking about fictional characters!  (Making Ben Affleck's  finger gestures from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back")
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: GaTor on October 22, 2010, 10:54:15 am
Our courts are not "Terry" courts.
Au contraire Mon frere.  Terry referes to  "Terran" meaning Earth.  Yes EFT is a work of fiction, but it is an extrpolation based on our world and projected into the future.  A possible timeline of where we may be.   And, given the authors posts in this forum, if you think the writers are not basing EFT on our current politico-governmental state of affairs I think your greatly mistaken.  
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Azure Priest on October 22, 2010, 11:34:19 am
Our courts are not "Terry" courts.
Au contraire Mon frere.  Terry referes to  "Terran" meaning Earth.  Yes EFT is a work of fiction, but it is an extrpolation based on our world and projected into the future.  A possible timeline of where we may be.   And, given the authors posts in this forum, if you think the writers are not basing EFT on our current politico-governmental state of affairs I think your greatly mistaken.  

Especially the post where the authors say it's NOT based on the current world and any event that seems to be is purely accidental?

It doesn't matter if the miscreants bolt or not. Merry is a "know-it-all, bleeding heart liberal" type, and would trod all over everyone else to protect them, even if they do something bad to her.

Also Merry agreed to "eat the loss" so if they run, she's got no claim on them in any event.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: happycrow on October 22, 2010, 12:33:14 pm
She a principled idealist who's willing to put her money where her mouth is.

I've got no problems with folks like that.... cynical bastids who aren't willing to actually walk the walk, otoh... but you're right: having publicly agreed to eat the loss, she has no claim -- and in some cultures has just communicated to them that they SHOULD run, because she's taking care of them.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: Ensenadasailor on October 22, 2010, 12:58:56 pm
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: GaTor on October 22, 2010, 01:19:47 pm
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?

Sv. is short for 'Sovereign" aka Sov... I think.  It's a unisex term applied to both males and fems.  Like sir or ma'am, lady etc.   as for Merry, well thats her name.  Kinda informal procedings. 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on October 22, 2010, 02:57:49 pm
but you're right: having publicly agreed to eat the loss, she has no claim
I wouldn't go that far. Her agreement is to eat the loss if they run and can't be found. Her claim against them is in no way waived, as they would quickly find out if they ran but were caught.

I may feel that the political setup on Ceres might not be applicable to all situations, but I definitely don't claim that the people on Ceres are stupid, or would tolerate a legal system that was.

I'd be concerned for Merry, though. If she's so nice to them, one or more of them might get the impression she's doing it because she thinks they're hot. They don't seem particularly perceptive just yet, and might be slow to understand her concept of rape.
In the real world, I'd be concerned for Merry for that reason as well.

However, this is not the real world, it's a comic strip. And it's not its PG-13 rating that is protecting Merry from this.

It's the fact that it's being written by an advocate of AnCap or a similar philosophy... rather than an advocate of the "Guantanamo keeps your children safe at night and the police are always right" philosophy. Admittedly, the Death Wish series of movies did illustrate self-defense instead of state power in action... but, in general, rage and paranoid fear of crime lead to acceptance of statist remedies rather than confidence that self-defense is adequate.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: sams on October 22, 2010, 03:26:42 pm
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?

Sov stands for Sovereign, in the sense that each Individual is Sovereign over his own person and liberty ;)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 22, 2010, 09:13:16 pm
In my reading, the Guzman brothers are uncomfortable with the moral question it poses (note they've been brought up in a religious household as established VERY early in the original strip)...

Are you sure about that? The only hint of religious opinion that I can recall was an ambiguous, probably factious, exclamation from Ernie when he and Bert arrived at The Little Prince and were met by former jet jockey, Commander Drenkowski (page 200):

“Whoa there, cowboy! You just scared the bejesus out of this old agnostic.”

I don't know what I might have written that gave the impression of a religious household. I'd appreciate it if you could quote me... uh... "chapter and verse."
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: SandySandfort on October 22, 2010, 09:27:32 pm
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?

Sv. is short for 'Sovereign" aka Sov... I think.  It's a unisex term applied to both males and fems.  Like sir or ma'am, lady etc.   as for Merry, well thats her name.  Kinda informal procedings. 

Go to the head of the class! "Sv" is like "Mr." or "Ms." "Sov" is like "Mister" or "Miz." Early on, Pedro tells Merry to call him "Pedro" or "Sv Rosenberg." Most Belters eschew honorifics except in situations where they wish to show respect or be more formal. So Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 22, 2010, 09:33:26 pm
I'd be concerned for Merry, though. If she's so nice to them, one or more of them might get the impression she's doing it because she thinks they're hot. They don't seem particularly perceptive just yet, and might be slow to understand her concept of rape.
In the real world, I'd be concerned for Merry for that reason as well.

However, this is not the real world, it's a comic strip. And it's not its PG-13 rating that is protecting Merry from this.

No, she could be in danger from these guys. But Merry is a big girl and decided to take her chances. It's called "assumption if risk." And a negative outcome for Merry is one of several scenarios I considered. You'll just have to keep reading to see which way it goes.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 22, 2010, 10:24:42 pm
Paying off a debt is all well and good, however there is also the matter of protection of the citizenry.   Is Mary responsible for any crimes committed by these three if released into her custody?

I don't know what the story's culture says, but I can make an argument that she is not.

There is currently no charge against them for attempted murder etc. They only have to pay for damages. The pig farm is a preferred way for them to do it because it's easy there to keep them from running, and the arbitrator doesn't trust them not to run. If Merry pays the money without asking them to pay her back, then they could be free. If she wants them to pay her back and they agree, then they owe her money that they ought to pay. If they don't pay on schedule and she calls for arbitration, then they could wind up on the pig form as before. If they commit further crimes, they are responsible for those crimes.

I can imagine it the other way round. They get loose and they try to kill some random stranger who appears to give them a chance to profit, and they fail again. The stranger sues Merry for letting them loose when she should have kept them locked up until she could be sure they were no longer dangerous. I can imagine that. I can even imagine an arbitrator ruling in the stranger's favor. But it doesn't seem real plausible to me. How would she know they weren't dangerous until they were dead or at least real old and decrepit? And this first arbitrator only wants to keep them until they have paid off their debts. Would they be dangerous then? I can imagine it. She makes an error of judgement that endangers someone else. I could see it even better if it was a piloting judgement error.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on October 23, 2010, 02:12:59 am
They get loose and they try to kill some random stranger who appears to give them a chance to profit, and they fail again. The stranger sues Merry for letting them loose when she should have kept them locked up until she could be sure they were no longer dangerous. I can imagine that. I can even imagine an arbitrator ruling in the stranger's favor. But it doesn't seem real plausible to me.
It doesn't to me either. Instead, I would think that the person liable wouldn't be Merry, but the previous arbitrator who ruled that Merry's proposed solution was acceptable!

What seems strange, essentially, is that the arbitrator in the current comic is deciding a matter that is purely between individuals - i.e., civil law - when it's clear that the three people from whom a settlement is sought are dangerous people, so one expects to see a proceeding of criminal law. Some people are too dangerous to have running around loose, and those three seem to be such people.

Perhaps with an armed populace able to take care of themselves, this just isn't an issue. I can't see it working - so far, this sequence seems to illustrate AnCap failing more dramatically than I, a critic of the idea, would have expected. I presume though, that's only to lead into a triumphant conclusion which will show how it really does work, and work well.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: dough560 on October 23, 2010, 05:15:47 am
It's the middle of the night.  The following takes the long way around and is not as concise as I would like.

Merry posts a bond for the adjudicated damages.  The smart perp(s) seek employment to support themselves and retire their adjudicated debt.  They are accepted back into society, having proven their worth.  The stupid perp(s) evade their responsibilities and Merry forfeits the bond to  to the Guzmans.  The perps are responsible for their behavior and remain "outlaws".  Those outside the law.  Merry has no responsibility for the perps actions/behavior.  Her risk at this point in the story, is financial.  I would consider the possibility one or more perps, skipping out quite high.  The perps could perceive  Merry as a sucker who they could turn into a victim.  Not a good result for Merry.  She will suffer at least a financial loss if all the Perps skip.  Those who don't skip, will be responsible for the debt.  The skipping Perp(s) will find themselves "Posted as Outlaw(s)" as someone, not to do business with.  Result.  No one will accord them trust to honor their debts or give them the benefit of doubt.

J Thomas:  There is no state to impose a "Legal Fiction" where the "State" is the victim in any criminal proceeding.  Result: there is only a civil proceeding where restitution is the goal.  There is no state enforced "Punishment or Rehabilitation".  The Perps agreed to arbitration in this case and arranged for legal counsel.  Failure to do so would have found them "Posted as Outlaw(s)" who do not honor their responsibilities.  For who would sell air, ammunition, food, fuel, habitation, health care, transportation, water or weapons to someone who will not face their responsibilities.  A business, aware of their "outlaw" status who does business with them would be running a significant risk.  For who would want to do business with those who support "outlaws".  When the Perps initiate force as they try to gain their necessities, sooner or later, they would be delt with, by their intended victim.  The only "mercy" they could then expect, is a quick death.  Their other option would be to return to a statist failed legal system we all know and love.  In short the professional criminal class.

J Thomas:  Its not that you don't get it.  It's that you refuse to get it.  No one is so blind or ignorant as those who refuse to learn.  In spite of your obvious intelligence and education, you still refuse to learn and thereby, think. 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on October 23, 2010, 06:27:35 am
So I suppose I ought to post my interpretation

Quote from: Apollo-Soyuz


Thought experiment: Two outta three flee Ceres. One stays to pay off his debt.

1. Can Merry put a bounty on the other two's head? Is a broken "gentleman's agreement" enforceable in arbitration?

It seems that anyone with a justifiable reason may imprison and transport another person, if they're willing to face the music afterwards. So I'd guess that she could put a price on someones head. There might not be anyone willing to take on the liability though.

Quote from: Apollo-Soyuz

2. Let's say that the remaining one not only pays off his debt, but as a gesture to be made publicly known also works to pay off the remaining two's debt. Are the two absolved completely, or does Merry still have a claim against them for jumping  Ceres?

I'd say breach of contract was an offense you could drag someone into court for. Since the 3rd perp wanted the world to know he was paying off everyones debt (to enhance his reputation as a trustworthy individual), I'd say that Merry no longer had a claim for anything that wasn't paid for.

Quote from: Apollo-Soyuz

3. Would you be more inclined to barter, trade, or employ the remaining one knowing that he worked extra so that Merry would not suffer a loss?

I might be willing to hire for small onetime jobs, where the chance of loss was low. I'd also talk up his reputation afterworlds if he indeed did a fine job. It would take more than that one gesture to convince me he was a changed man, but that would be a start.

Quote from: Apollo-Soyuz

4. Does it matter if Merry is paid off for the two that are AWOL if the payment is said to be a "gift" rather than "repayment"?

Depends on the details. Did Merry state she had the right to resell the debt when her verbal agreement? This is the kind of messy stuff that would go to arbitration.

Quote from: Apollo-Soyuz

5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

Again, depends on the details. He may have made it known that he was paying for the debt, but failed to say if it was a gift or that he was assuming the debt. If I was Mary and I somehow perp 1&2 paid her back, I'd certainly try to refund #3.


Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 23, 2010, 07:38:10 am

J Thomas:  There is no state to impose a "Legal Fiction" where the "State" is the victim in any criminal proceeding.  Result: there is only a civil proceeding where restitution is the goal.

Is the goal restitution, or is the goal satisfaction for the victims? B&E chose to ask only for restitution. If they had said, "We don't want these guys living in the same universe as us, do we have the right to kill them?" and the arbitrator said yes, then would they have gotten much blame? We've seen a previous example where the victim shot both known criminals on the spot. Perhaps she could have said, "I want them to work on the pig farm until they each have paid me a million grams of gold.". That wasn't what she chose.

Quote
There is no state enforced "Punishment or Rehabilitation".  The Perps agreed to arbitration in this case and arranged for legal counsel.  Failure to do so would have found them "Posted as Outlaw(s)" who do not honor their responsibilities.  For who would sell air, ammunition, food, fuel, habitation, health care, transportation, water or weapons to someone who will not face their responsibilities.  A business, aware of their "outlaw" status who does business with them would be running a significant risk.  For who would want to do business with those who support "outlaws".

Some might be happy selling to them if they can pay cash. Particularly if no one finds out. That leaves them with the problem of getting cash, though.

Perhaps they could be street musicians. Nobody has to trust a street musician, you listen to the music and you tip them or not. Do well enough as street musicians and somebody might trust them to show up at a gig.

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Thomas:  Its not that you don't get it.  It's that you refuse to get it.  No one is so blind or ignorant as those who refuse to learn.  In spite of your obvious intelligence and education, you still refuse to learn and thereby, think. 

I think it was late at night and you didn't follow my reasoning carefully. An AnCap society can work however its members agree. And if its members vary, in ways that they can live with, it could be quite variable.

So I can imagine it could go multiple ways. B&E only want payment for damages. Merry pays them and they are satisfied, now it's entirely between Merry and the perps. Or I can imagine that later they hurt somebody else and the new victim blames Merry or the previous arbitrator and sues them. It might be hard to get a judgement against a member of the Arbitrator's Guild, or it might not. Maybe there isn't any arbitrator's club and arbitrators have no professional courtesy to each other. And maybe lawyers have no professional courtesy to each other either. Maybe there are no lawyers! (Then what is Merry?)

It could go every which way depending on the society and the particular arbitrators. I can imagine it.

I think your idea is the most obvious approach and I can easily imagine that one. But possibly there could be an AnCap society that didn't do it that way, or that allowed things to vary and not always go that way.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 23, 2010, 11:09:51 am
So I can imagine it could go multiple ways. B&E only want payment for damages. Merry pays them and they are satisfied, now it's entirely between Merry and the perps. Or I can imagine that later they hurt somebody else and the new victim blames Merry or the previous arbitrator and sues them. It might be hard to get a judgement against a member of the Arbitrator's Guild

I am fascinated that severally of you actually believe that Merry or the arbitrator could have any liability for what the defendants do. What is your theory of liability? What is your cause of action? Certainly, there is no proximate cause. Respondeat superior doesn't apply to the arbitrator nor to Merry. Negligence does not apply because there is no duty to protect others. If you kill somebody while you are hijacking their car, you are responsible for the consequences of your act; not your parents, teachers or minister; just you.

Arbitrators Guild? What possible legitimate purpose could such an attempt to restrain free trade, serve? In a free society, anyone can serve as an arbitrator if the parties agree. And since there is no government to enforce such a monopoly, a guild would provide no benefit to arbitrators or their clients. An aside. Even though lawyers are part of a government enforced cartel, they have no qualms about eating other lawyers alive in legal malpractice suits or other causes of action. You must be thinking of the government law enforcement guilds that close ranks to protect bad cops.
 
(Grammar gripe. The preferred spelling (i.e.,used by most educated users) is "judgment." I note that most of you get it right.)

EASTER EGG ALERT: Do the defendants ring a bell? (I didn't even let the EFT team in on it.) A big Attaboy/attagirl for the first person to figure it out.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 23, 2010, 05:11:33 pm

I am fascinated that severally of you actually believe that Merry or the arbitrator could have any liability for what the defendants do. What is your theory of liability? What is your cause of action? Certainly, there is no proximate cause. Respondeat superior doesn't apply to the arbitrator nor to Merry. Negligence does not apply because there is no duty to protect others. If you kill somebody while you are hijacking their car, you are responsible for the consequences of your act; not your parents, teachers or minister; just you.

In terms of morality, I tend to agree with you. However, anyone can sue anyone else and the arbitrator decides. To say that neither Merry nor the current arbitrator would be sued on it implies a remarkable unanimous view among members of a particular AnCap society.

I imagine it as less likely the lawsuit would succeed than that it might be created. You make a good case that it is not their responsibility to protect anybody. But I am not certain that every arbitrator would agree with you.

Try a rather different example. You are in your ship heading directly toward Ceres at rather high relative velocity, and you throw out some junk you don't need. Later you decelerate and dock. Your fast-moving junk damages a docked ship and some machinery on the surface of Ceres etc. It's clear where it came from. Does anybody have a case against you? I would say yes. You are endangering people and their property. They have a right to expect you not to drop junk on them, when there was a reasonable chance it would hurt somebody. On the other hand, suppose you were in an orbit where you had no reason to think it would hurt anybody and 15 years later it did. In that case I'd say your liability is much less.

Now one that's a big closer. A man is accused of shooting somebody at random. The wounded victim testifies what he says happened. The attacker says something incoherent, the jews and the muslims are after him, he has to wait until the mother ship beams him up, live free or die, he needs some drugs to stop the mind control rays. You are the arbitrator. The victim wants money, and the attacker has it. You let him go and give him back his guns. Right after he's free, right outside the door, he sees a woman wearing a star of david necklace and shoots her. She survives, but what with one thing and another he does not.

Do you have any liability in that case? It wasn't your responsibility to pay for his medical treatment, which might anyway be ineffective. It isn't your responsibility to lock him up, either at your own expense or to make him pay for it or work for it. You aren't your brother's keeper. Why should you do anything other than see that his fine is paid and give him back his gun? Well, I think you ought to try to do something more. Here's somebody who really can't take care of himself and who really isn't up to moral responsibility. I expect if the woman who has been shot would feel it would have been good if you had arranged some better result. But she might likely not sue you over it, and she might likely lose if she does sue. You might feel as I do that there is a moral responsibility, but that doesn't have to translate into an arbitrated penalty for failing to come up with a good solution.

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Arbitrators Guild? What possible legitimate purpose could such an attempt to restrain free trade, serve? In a free society, anyone can serve as an arbitrator if the parties agree. And since there is no government to enforce such a monopoly, a guild would provide no benefit to arbitrators or their clients. An aside. Even though lawyers are part of a government enforced cartel, they have no qualms about eating other lawyers alive in legal malpractice suits or other causes of action. You must be thinking of the government law enforcement guilds that close ranks to protect bad cops.

These things happen. In a world where anybody has the legal right to be an arbitrator, there could still be people who get a reputation for being good, to the point that they can charge professional prices and perhaps specialize in doing arbitration for a living. They will pay attention to each other, because they will see a lot of each other etc. They might easily have an unofficial club that only successful arbitrators get invited to join.

My father was a dentist. He did very good work and kept his prices relatively low, and he built a thriving practice. Once he organized a meeting of all the dentists in a seven-county area, not through the ADA but just a social meeting. They discussed fixing prices and made some progress, but he said there was one dentist he needed to have there who just didn't show up. The man like him had a great reputation and kept his prices low, and they really wanted him to participate. This sort of thing would surely happen even if dentists were not licensed by the state. Of course it takes a government to enforce it if it's going to be perfectly enforced, or at least enforced as perfectly as government actually enforces things..


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(Grammar gripe. The preferred spelling (i.e.,used by most educated users) is "judgment." I note that most of you get it right.)

I don't like that spelling. "Judgement" is an acceptable secondary spelling and the more it gets used the closer it will come to being declared the preferred spelling.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 23, 2010, 06:29:01 pm
What seems strange, essentially, is that the arbitrator in the current comic is deciding a matter that is purely between individuals - i.e., civil law - when it's clear that the three people from whom a settlement is sought are dangerous people, so one expects to see a proceeding of criminal law. Some people are too dangerous to have running around loose, and those three seem to be such people.

In anarchy, all law is civil law - albeit civil law that has the option of saying "it is OK to kill this guy", or "it was OK that you killed this guy.

In this case, due to Merry's intervention, the bad guys are getting off easy.  Without her do-gooding, they would have been enslaved, not running around.

But it is always civil law.  

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 23, 2010, 06:37:13 pm
Is the goal restitution, or is the goal satisfaction for the victims? B&E chose to ask only for restitution. If they had said, "We don't want these guys living in the same universe as us, do we have the right to kill them?"

Historically, in such cases, the offended party just kills the offender, then reports what happened and faces the music, which is typically a small or large fine to paid to survivors of the dead.  The worst penalty an arbitrator usually gives is to declare the offender an outlaw and then give him a head start - possibly a rather short head start.  However, the society depicted in this comic does things a little differently.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 23, 2010, 08:35:05 pm
In terms of morality, I tend to agree with you. However, anyone can sue anyone else and the arbitrator decides. To say that neither Merry nor the current arbitrator would be sued on it implies a remarkable unanimous view among members of a particular AnCap society.

Absolutely no unanimity is needed. The members of society don't get a vote. In law we express your "anybody can sue anybody" concept as "You can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardry."  So what? Do you think you have a snowballs chance in hell of actually pulling it off?

As I was asking your buddy, what is your cause of action? What theory of justice would give you standing? What idiot of an arbitrator would take such a case and what defendant would agree to such an arbitrator? And what Belter would honor such a judgment?

You might as well assume warlocks and elves did it as what you are  seriously (I guess) positing.

Try a rather different example. You are in your ship heading directly toward Ceres at rather high relative velocity, and you throw out some junk you don't need. Later you decelerate and dock. Your fast-moving junk damages a docked ship and some machinery on the surface of Ceres etc. It's clear where it came from. Does anybody have a case against you? I would say yes. You are endangering people and their property. They have a right to expect you not to drop junk on them, when there was a reasonable chance it would hurt somebody. On the other hand, suppose you were in an orbit where you had no reason to think it would hurt anybody and 15 years later it did. In that case I'd say your liability is much less.

Why? That's silly. Damage is damage and if it arose out of your negligence, elapsed time has nothing to do with it, nor does your intent. Negligence is negligence. I am not going to address your increasingly bizarre hypotheticals.  In every case, they have been asked and answered.

In a world where anybody has the legal right to be an arbitrator, there could still be people who get a reputation for being good, to the point that they can charge professional prices and perhaps specialize in doing arbitration for a living. They will pay attention to each other, because they will see a lot of each other etc. They might easily have an unofficial club that only successful arbitrators get invited to join.

Oh, you're just talking about reputation capital. Asked and answered.

My father was a dentist. He did very good work and kept his prices relatively low, and he built a thriving practice. Once he organized a meeting of all the dentists in a seven-county area, not through the ADA but just a social meeting. They discussed fixing prices and made some progress, but he said there was one dentist he needed to have there who just didn't show up. The man like him had a great reputation and kept his prices low, and they really wanted him to participate.

Thus defeating your own "guild" concern. Perfect!

This sort of

I don't like that spelling. "Judgement" is an acceptable secondary spelling and the more it gets used the closer it will come to being declared the preferred spelling.

Which it is not now. Live in darkness.  ;)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 23, 2010, 11:19:24 pm
In terms of morality, I tend to agree with you. However, anyone can sue anyone else and the arbitrator decides. To say that neither Merry nor the current arbitrator would be sued on it implies a remarkable unanimous view among members of a particular AnCap society.

As I was asking your buddy, what is your cause of action? What theory of justice would give you standing? What idiot of an arbitrator would take such a case and what defendant would agree to such an arbitrator? And what Belter would honor such a judgment?

So, imagine this. You have what you think is a serious issue against another person. But he thinks you're wrong so he doesn't need to take it to arbitration. So he doesn't need to. If some arbitrator agrees to handle the case, the other guy doesn't need to accept that arbitrator -- in fact any arbitrator who agrees to handle the case is automatically disqualified for agreeing to take it.

It looks to me like you need a grand consensus about law to get that result. Otherwise what keeps somebody who's popular from pulling that if you (who are not so popular) try to sue him for something that is really important? "That silly Sandy Sandfort, what a ridiculous idea for a lawsuit! He has no basis for suing over something so stupid! No arbitrator would take it and if one did that would prove he was a bad arbitrator that I should not accept. Let's have another round, boys." And you can tell your story and he tells his story, and his story gets believed, and there is no arbitration to even try to find out who's lying.

Well, but what happens if you try to find an arbitrator who will take the case and you can't find one? I guess that's a clue. "Stop right there. You're saying that jamesD did that? I don't believe it. You'd never get a jury to believe it. You'd better just forget the whole thing." If you can't find an arbitrator then that's an important clue. If you find one then of course the other guy won't want to use the guy you picked, so your guy and his guy agree on somebody -- somebody who probably hasn't heard any of the details yet, and so there's reasonable doubt what he'll decide.

Unless there isn't much doubt, in which case your arbitrator really ought to try to talk you out of it. "I can see your point but I doubt many others can. You just don't quite fit into the society yet and you don't understand how things work here. You can't sue JamesD. He literally gets away with murder. Be happy you're still alive and just walk away."


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Try a rather different example. You are in your ship heading directly toward Ceres at rather high relative velocity, and you throw out some junk you don't need. Later you decelerate and dock. Your fast-moving junk damages a docked ship and some machinery on the surface of Ceres etc. It's clear where it came from. Does anybody have a case against you? I would say yes. You are endangering people and their property. They have a right to expect you not to drop junk on them, when there was a reasonable chance it would hurt somebody. On the other hand, suppose you were in an orbit where you had no reason to think it would hurt anybody and 15 years later it did. In that case I'd say your liability is much less.

Why? That's silly. Damage is damage and if it arose out of your negligence, elapsed time has nothing to do with it, nor does your intent. Negligence is negligence.

So if the debris that B&E's mass driver shot out in more-or-less random directions while they were rescuing themselves hits somebody in 15 years, then they're liable? I don't think you have thought this out.

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I am not going to address your increasingly bizarre hypotheticals.  In every case, they have been asked and answered.

I don't see that they've been asked and answered, and you have no obligation to answer.

My argument from morality (not law) is that I should treat other people as both individuals who have moral responsibility for their own actions, and as unguided missiles. When people are heading for some stupid clusterfrack and there's something reasonably simple I can do to help them avoid it, then I should do so. Unless I personally benefit from the clusterfrack, or it looks safer for me to mind my own business.

Harris was responsible for ordering someone else to commit murder, and Young was responsible for carrying it out. You don't say that Harris was not responsible just because Young was also responsible and should have disobeyed.

If I have reason to think that somebody will make a bad moral choice, or they are not really capable of making the choice, and I carelessly send them off to do it at random, am I less negligent than if they were big rocks that I negligently launched at high-v? Especially when I am their arbitrator?

I don't suggest that I be held legally responsible for that, except in particularly clear-cut cases. But is it a bad moral stand?


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My father was a dentist. He did very good work and kept his prices relatively low, and he built a thriving practice. Once he organized a meeting of all the dentists in a seven-county area, not through the ADA but just a social meeting. They discussed fixing prices and made some progress, but he said there was one dentist he needed to have there who just didn't show up. The man like him had a great reputation and kept his prices low, and they really wanted him to participate.

Thus defeating your own "guild" concern. Perfect!

Why defeating? They did collectively raise their prices. He raised his less. They'd have preferred it to be unanimous among the good dentists, but he was only one man and he was already working as hard as he wanted to.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 24, 2010, 12:22:24 am

So, imagine this. You have what you think is a serious issue against another person. But he thinks you're wrong so he doesn't need to take it to arbitration.

Sure I can imagine that, but I can also imagine fire-breathing dragons. That doesn't prove anything. Why is it always assumptions and presumptions with you J Thomas? In a society where arbitration is common, what is your justification in assuming someone is going to blow it off? And if they do, so what? Is your next assumption that the first guy will blow away the other guy? In the real world, what usually happens is... nothing. The next most likely consequence is that the first guy will talk trash about the second guy. Oh, boo hoo!

I will say it again, the assumptions and fire-breathing-dragon scenarios the anti-freedom contingent on the forum keep spinning, get old very fast. This is what happens when people consciously or sub-consciously assume their conclusions when they make their arguments. Flex a neuron or two and try to image how it could work and why all the silly scenarios are... silly.

Okay, just one more before I hit the sack. I don't know why I let myself get sucked into these asinine, ill-thought out scenarios.

So if the debris that B&E's mass driver shot out in more-or-less random directions while they were rescuing themselves hits somebody in 15 years, then they're liable? I don't think you have thought this out.

Sure I have. (a) It's not negligence. (b) It comes under the common law concept of "necessity" (though in that case, damages might be due, if the damage was a realistic and foreseeable proximate cause of the damage.) It wouldn't be, though, so no cause of action.



Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 24, 2010, 02:18:04 am

So, imagine this. You have what you think is a serious issue against another person. But he thinks you're wrong so he doesn't need to take it to arbitration.

Sure I can imagine that, but I can also imagine fire-breathing dragons. That doesn't prove anything. Why is it always assumptions and presumptions with you J Thomas?

Because we're discussing an imaginary assumed society. You say "It has to work this one way because that's what will happen." I say "What keeps it from happening this other way?" You say "Don't think about that, it has to happen my way." I have more fun thinking about it and looking for ways it could fail and ways to prevent and also alleviate those failures. I get the impression you don't enjoy the same things. That's OK, I enjoy watching what you do.

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In a society where arbitration is common, what is your justification in assuming someone is going to blow it off?

Because you said that they would.

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Absolutely no unanimity is needed. .... What idiot of an arbitrator would take such a case and what defendant would agree to such an arbitrator? And what Belter would honor such a judgment?

If people are unanimous about what's valid law, then if you make a frivolous lawsuit they all laugh at you. "What Belter would honor such a judgment?" If people don't all have all the law thought out ahead of time, then what keeps people from blowing it off when you have a legitimate lawsuit?

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And if they do, so what? Is your next assumption that the first guy will blow away the other guy? In the real world, what usually happens is... nothing.

Yes, the other guy owes you, but he refuses to discuss it and rather than kill him or something you just write it off.

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The next most likely consequence is that the first guy will talk trash about the second guy. Oh, boo hoo!

Yes, there was an earlier claim that people would accept arbitration and accept the arbitrator's ruling because their reputation would suffer otherwise. But if they don't? Oh, boo hoo. I can imagine it either way. I can imagine it both ways. If somebody sues you, you need to accept arbitration (and we hope win) because your reputation is important to you and to your business. If you sue them, they don't need to arbitrate because they don't care if you talk trash about them.

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Okay, just one more before I hit the sack. I don't know why I let myself get sucked into these asinine, ill-thought out scenarios.
So if the debris that B&E's mass driver shot out in more-or-less random directions while they were rescuing themselves hits somebody in 15 years, then they're liable? I don't think you have thought this out.

Sure I have. (a) It's not negligence. (b) It comes under the common law concept of "necessity" (though in that case, damages might be due, if the damage was a realistic and foreseeable proximate cause of the damage.) It wouldn't be, though, so no cause of action.

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Damage is damage and if it arose out of your negligence, elapsed time has nothing to do with it, nor does your intent. Negligence is negligence.

So, if you send a load of fast heavy stuff at Ceres and damage stuff, that's negligence and you owe. You should have known better. If you send the same load in some random direction and there's no reason to suppose somebody will be there, it isn't negligence even if somebody does get hurt from your action. Right? If it looks like a 1% chance somebody will get hurt and somebody does get hurt, you owe. If it looks like one chance in a million and somebody gets hurt, you don't?

And of course there are lots of rocks traveling in random directions and fast relative velocities anyway. What's a few more?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 24, 2010, 02:19:49 am
So, imagine this. You have what you think is a serious issue against another person. But he thinks you're wrong so he doesn't need to take it to arbitration. So he doesn't need to. If some arbitrator agrees to handle the case, the other guy doesn't need to accept that arbitrator -- in fact any arbitrator who agrees to handle the case is automatically disqualified for agreeing to take it.

Then I damage his reputation over the issue.  If his reputation gets bad enough - for example I get judgment against him from a respected arbitrator, and he blows it off, then if I use violence against him, my prospects of getting away with it are much better.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 24, 2010, 02:33:38 am
So, imagine this. You have what you think is a serious issue against another person. But he thinks you're wrong so he doesn't need to take it to arbitration. So he doesn't need to. If some arbitrator agrees to handle the case, the other guy doesn't need to accept that arbitrator -- in fact any arbitrator who agrees to handle the case is automatically disqualified for agreeing to take it.

Then I damage his reputation over the issue.  If his reputation gets bad enough - for example I get judgment against him from a respected arbitrator, and he blows it off, then if I use violence against him, my prospects of getting away with it are much better.

You get judgement from a respected arbitrator he has not agreed to?

My suggestion is that any time you have a complaint, you find somebody -- your mother or whoever -- who would rule in your favor if the facts you claim are true. The custom should be that the other guy takes it seriously even if he doesn't know anything about what you think he's done to you. He picks a second he trusts, and the seconds agree on somebody to do the arbitration.

Then if the actual arbitrator decides you have wasted everybody's time, he assigns penalties you must pay your victim for your baseless complaint, and he has you pay everybody you have inconvenienced.

If the consensus is that some people -- your defendant and his crony arbitrators -- get to decide you have a frivolous case and they don't need to respond at all, and all you can do about it is complain in public, that leaves a lot of room for problems.

Particularly if the other guy owns a newspaper and you don't.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 24, 2010, 04:35:29 am
You get judgement from a respected arbitrator he has not agreed to?

Between respectable people, they would almost always wind up with an agreed arbitrator - but the average no good scum small time crook who breaks into your house is not going to agree to anything, and is going to be dealt with in a more expeditious manner.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: sams on October 24, 2010, 05:31:02 am
If the consensus is that some people -- your defendant and his crony arbitrators -- get to decide you have a frivolous case and they don't need to respond at all, and all you can do about it is complain in public, that leaves a lot of room for problems.

Particularly if the other guy owns a newspaper and you don't.

Dude I'm really sorry that we left you in the past, but right now, Newspapers are dying, the Blogosphere revolution thanks to the internet have made information discussion almost priceless  ::)

Newspapers and TV network can't set the agenda anymore and if the case is really such an instance of Croniesm you will be sure to have a Gazillion legal bloguers clashing over it and publicity that you could never imagine ... don't forget that nothing prevent in principle to have something like the ACLU to exist
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on October 24, 2010, 08:48:34 am
I'm with the Guzman brothers - and I think they reflect the spirit of anarchy well - if they are "made whole", then the problem is finished. Merry did the Guzmans a favor, since they will be recompensed immediately, instead of in dribs and drabs as the three criminals work off the debt.

As for "keeping criminals off the streets", it is my suspicion that Merry is responsible for any acts of mayhem by the three criminals. In any case, public safety is likely to be more abundant in an anarchy, where everyone is likely to be armed, than in London, where it is illegal for people to carry even a steak knife in public without "proper authorization."

"Jurisdiction" is meaningless in an anarchy; there are no arbitrary physical boundaries.

Presumably there are bounty hunters, protection agencies, and arbitration agencies on the moon, Mars, and so forth. With tanglenet, it should be easy to exchange information and manage a cooperative effort to locate fugitives.

If prisoner #1 works off not only his own debt, but the debt of prisoner #2 and #3, I'd consider hiring him. I'd hire anyone who had managed to pay off his own debt - but I'd count my silverware.

Stuffing people into prisons is not very productive. The victims are not recompensed for their injury. Prisons are essentially schools of criminal behavior; criminals swap notes and learn how to avoid capture and how to more effectively criminalize others. Better they should learn in the school of hard knocks how to make an honest living, like the rest of us. The more they goof off, the longer it takes to work off their debt. The harder they work, the sooner they are free of the debt.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 24, 2010, 09:48:51 am
I'm with the Guzman brothers - and I think they reflect the spirit of anarchy well - if they are "made whole", then the problem is finished. Merry did the Guzmans a favor, since they will be recompensed immediately, instead of in dribs and drabs as the three criminals work off the debt.

Yes. B&E's problems are done when they get their damages and put it in their past.

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As for "keeping criminals off the streets", it is my suspicion that Merry is responsible for any acts of mayhem by the three criminals.

I can see it the other way round. Say they hurt somebody. The woman they hurt then sues Merry. "If it wasn't for you, they would be locked up on a pig farm and they couldn't hurt me."

Merry's advocate asks questions. "Why is it you sued Merry and not the actual perps? Why did you not sue the arbitrator who agreed to let them run around loose? Why only Merry?"

"Because out of all of them, Merry is the only one who has the money. The perps only have debts. The advocate is just barely breaking even and he might even get away with it."

They explore the possibilities. The woman can sue the perps and put them on the pig farm. They pay her and Merry both back, in the proportion of their debts to each. Also a little to the owner of the bar where they have signed a contract to continue performing 1980's rock music. Since their income will be down considerably, it will take them a long time to pay off. Or she can let them continue at the bar, getting her money back much quicker if they don't get into more trouble. Or she can see whether Merry will pay her off immediately and it will no longer be her problem.

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Presumably there are bounty hunters, protection agencies, and arbitration agencies on the moon, Mars, and so forth. With tanglenet, it should be easy to exchange information and manage a cooperative effort to locate fugitives.

So, say you are going about your business as a traveling merchant, and suddenly a bounty hunter shows up to cart you across half the belt for a crime you have never heard about. Somebody claims you did something serious and you are a fugitive, and they had arbitration without you to present their case. After an unacceptable time and hardship, you arrive back at the site and demand an arbitration where you are present. You get the facts and conclusively prove that you are innocent. Who do you sue? The plaintiff who had no real case? The arbitrator who decided you were guilty without even calling you up over tanglenet and hearing your side? And the bounty hunter who accepted the dubious quest? Anybody else?

With tanglenet, is it such a hardship to arbitrate when you aren't physically present? Call you up, explain the situation, get your side of it. You tell your local advocate everything you can for him to track down witnesses etc. If it looks necessary and acceptable, the arbitration can wait until you can  get there. You aren't a fugitive until you have been informed about the problem and you have had a chance to reply, and you don't do so.

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If prisoner #1 works off not only his own debt, but the debt of prisoner #2 and #3, I'd consider hiring him. I'd hire anyone who had managed to pay off his own debt - but I'd count my silverware.

Yes. When there is a labor shortage, you might have work that you can't find anybody more credible to do. And if it's stuff that doesn't get done unless he does it, you may not be taking that much risk.

Still, you are choosing to trust him. If you can't trust him at all then it's more work to supervise him than it could possibly be worth.

I'm not clear how the pig farm makes a profit with untrusted labor. It might be even harder when the ham-gourds get common.

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Stuffing people into prisons is not very productive. The victims are not recompensed for their injury. Prisons are essentially schools of criminal behavior; criminals swap notes and learn how to avoid capture and how to more effectively criminalize others.

Agreed. When there is a labor surplus, a fraction of the population will not be employed. They're likely to knock around and get in trouble. It would be good to find innovative ways to reduce the labor surplus, but that takes innovation which is not guaranteed. Or we could kill them when they first get in serious trouble, since there's no place for them. But that is barbaric. Putting them in prison is a bad compromise -- they're out of the way, mostly causing trouble for each other. They haven't been killed. If they're needed for something they could be released. In that situation I don't see a better compromise than this bad one -- except to innovate in ways that create jobs.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 24, 2010, 11:51:36 am
I can see it the other way round. Say they hurt somebody. The woman they hurt then sues Merry. "If it wasn't for you, they would be locked up on a pig farm and they couldn't hurt me."

In law, we refer to this as the "but for" theory of liability. Without some show of causality, much less proximate cause, it always fails. No conscientious arbitrator would agree to hear such a frivolous case without something more substantial in the claim.

Merry's advocate asks questions. "Why is it you sued Merry and not the actual perps? Why did you not sue the arbitrator who agreed to let them run around loose? Why only Merry?"

"Because out of all of them, Merry is the only one who has the money. The perps only have debts. The advocate is just barely breaking even and he might even get away with it."

Yeah, but money does not = liability. First, there must be a showing of culpability on Merry's part. Good luck. BTW, the doctrine you are describing is referred to as "deep pockets" and I always find it cynical and manipulative.

So, say you are going about your business as a traveling merchant, and suddenly a bounty hunter shows up to cart you across half the belt for a crime you have never heard about.

No, let's not say that. First show me some good reason to believe it is likely to happen. In any case, you are smart enough to figure out who gets sued and who wins in such an unlikely event. FYI, an arbitration cannot happen unless both parties agree to it, so your already flawed scenario is further damaged by your assumptions. You are going to have to think more clearly than that.

J Thomas, here are some clues you should hear if you ever intend to make a persuasive argument. (It could happen!) :

1. KISS1 (Keep It Simple, Sir)--Pick one issue and keep with it. Don't try to address a million issues in each post. If you have a million issues, please start a new thread for each one.

2. KISS2 (Keep It Short, Sir)--I rarely see someone who writes as many words as you, while saying so little. Essentially, the pith of every paragraph you write (sometimes several paragraphs) could be summed up completely in one short sentence. Why do you insist on torturing your readers with oral diarrhea? Focus, my man, focus.

3. KISS3 (Keep It Sensible, Sir)--Before you click "Post," ask yourself if you are making assumptions, what those assumptions are and are they realistic in the real world? Yes, just about anything can happen in the real world, but your scenarios are very, very unlikely to occur. And guess what? Errors and injustices happen in every system. So the real question is, "which system is likely to deliver the best justice, most of the time?" Remember, AnCap does not have to be perfect. It only has to be better than the alternatives.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on October 24, 2010, 12:09:00 pm
I am fascinated that severally of you actually believe that Merry or the arbitrator could have any liability for what the defendants do. What is your theory of liability? What is your cause of action? Certainly, there is no proximate cause. Respondeat superior doesn't apply to the arbitrator nor to Merry. Negligence does not apply because there is no duty to protect others. If you kill somebody while you are hijacking their car, you are responsible for the consequences of your act; not your parents, teachers or minister; just you.
It's true that if the three defendants take unfair advantage of Merry's generosity, and, in addition to attempting to skip out, hurt someone else in the attempt, they can't claim that someone else, besides themselves, ought to carry part of the debt created by their actions.

But if everyone is responsible for their own actions, then I claim that the Guzman brothers' "Works for us" is irresponsible on their part - and the arbitrators acceptance of Merry's offer, and Merry's offer itself, are also irresponsible.

Just because the three miscreants are human individuals, responsible for their own actions, doesn't mean those actions aren't predictable. They're dangerous, and they are very likely to attempt to hurt people.

Therefore, in a non-AnCap society, where hardly anyone except criminals and state policemen and soldiers is armed, turning people like that loose would be a highly irresponsible act, and someone doing so ought to face punishment.

Since I assume the intent of the story is not to make the Guzman brothers look bad, but to make the AnCap setup on Ceres look good, what I expect is that Merry will end up with some liability to their former victims for her foolishness... but the miscreants, rather than posing a real danger to anyone, will instead come up against the ability of Cereans to defend themselves in a sudden and dramatic fashion that surprises them (and entertains us).

And my conclusion from this will be that this doesn't demonstrate that AnCap works, because even people who are allowed to carry guns aren't always lucky, and so my belief that an unacceptable risk was created, even though that risk didn't eventuate, will stay unshaken.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 24, 2010, 01:31:44 pm
I can see it the other way round. Say they hurt somebody. The woman they hurt then sues Merry. "If it wasn't for you, they would be locked up on a pig farm and they couldn't hurt me."

In law, we refer to this as the "but for" theory of liability. Without some show of causality, much less proximate cause, it always fails.

You're talking government law now. AnCap law would be whatever got agreed to. I tend to agree with you about this case, but where do you draw the line? "Your chemical plant put noxious fumes into my air. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have cancer." It looks like the same argument, and there's something bogus about it, but they shouldn't have the right to put noxious fumes into shared air or somebody else's private air.

"You incorrectly told Bob that I seduced his wife. If it wasn't for you he wouldn't have knocked out two of my teeth." It isn't something he should lie about, and also it isn't something Bob should believe from one liar, or respond in this particular way.

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No conscientious arbitrator would agree to hear such a frivolous case without something more substantial in the claim.

This is the part I'm not clear on. Sam thinks he has a case against Bob. His counselor (his mother or whoever) agrees. Bob and his counselor naturally disagree. So Sam's counselor and Bob's counselor try to agree on an arbitrator, and each person they choose looks at the case ahead of time and decides before taking the case that Bob is innocent, so they refuse to take the case.

So Sam gets no chance to really make his case. Bob has no chance to clear his name. Perhaps the counselors keep looking until they find a nonconscientious arbitrator who will take the case, and who knows what he will do?

It looks to me like Sam ought to get a conscientious counselor who will tell him the truth. Not his mother. He should perhaps get a second opinion. If he goes with a counselor who pushes it, an ethical arbitrator he chooses ought to tell him he doesn't really have a case. A less ethical arbitrator might take the case and then make him pay for losing. But if he can afford it, there's nothing wrong with giving him his day at arbitration even though he will lose. If he won't learn short of that....

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Merry's advocate asks questions. "Why is it you sued Merry and not the actual perps? Why did you not sue the arbitrator who agreed to let them run around loose? Why only Merry?"

"Because out of all of them, Merry is the only one who has the money. The perps only have debts. The advocate is just barely breaking even and he might even get away with it."

Yeah, but money does not = liability. First, there must be a showing of culpability on Merry's part. Good luck. BTW, the doctrine you are describing is referred to as "deep pockets" and I always find it cynical and manipulative.

Yes, I shortened it by making her naive enough to blurt that out.

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So, say you are going about your business as a traveling merchant, and suddenly a bounty hunter shows up to cart you across half the belt for a crime you have never heard about.

No, let's not say that. First show me some good reason to believe it is likely to happen. In any case, you are smart enough to figure out who gets sued and who wins in such an unlikely event. FYI, an arbitration cannot happen unless both parties agree to it, so your already flawed scenario is further damaged by your assumptions.

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Presumably there are bounty hunters, protection agencies, and arbitration agencies on the moon, Mars, and so forth. With tanglenet, it should be easy to exchange information and manage a cooperative effort to locate fugitives.

So, you're saying that if somebody accepts arbitration and then runs, it's OK to grab him. But if he runs instead of accept arbitration, it is not.

Quote
Errors and injustices happen in every system. So the real question is, "which system is likely to deliver the best justice, most of the time?" Remember, AnCap does not have to be perfect. It only has to be better than the alternatives.

Errors can happen in any system. I'm interested in how to arrange the customary ways to do things, to minimise errors and injustices. I like the idea that you never get judged unless you agree to arbitration. There's something fundamentally fair about that. You don't get railroaded into a kangaroo court. So how to arrange things when somebody refuses arbitration when he ought to? So far I've heard four choices:

1. You can write off your losses.
2. You can point out that he refused arbitration, which is something of an admission of guilt, and then publish insulting facts about him, which some people will probably believe.
3. You can arrange to steal stuff back from him until he's paid what he owes you.
4. You can kill him and in your defense point out that he refused arbitration.

JamesD said something I interpreted as getting a judgement from a respectable arbitrator the defendant had not agreed to. When I reread his statement I could easily see him just using that as an example of something that hurts the other guy's reputation -- if he *did* agree to arbitration by a respectable arbitrator, and then he blew off the judgement. He earlier had talked about people who would refuse arbitration and I put those two sentences together into a meaning he likely did not intend.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on October 24, 2010, 02:17:13 pm
You're talking government law now. AnCap law would be whatever got agreed to.

Oh really? Where did you get that idea? This might help you get your head around this concept. Think of it as working like the English Common Law. Precedents builds up over time, but are always based on the ZAP. Over time, arbitrators distinguish edge cases as to the application of the ZAP in real issues in conflict. Those distinctions become a part of the organic body of "law" for want of a better term. To understand how the common law works, see:

  https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Common_law

I think you should be able to figure out which aspects of common law theory apply in the Belt (and elsewhere) and which aspects do not.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 24, 2010, 05:53:09 pm
You're talking government law now. AnCap law would be whatever got agreed to.

Oh really? Where did you get that idea? This might help you get your head around this concept. Think of it as working like the English Common Law. Precedents builds up over time, but are always based on the ZAP.

That's where. The ZAP says you're doing aggression when you infringe on other people's rights. But what are their rights? The society will say about that, it isn't in the ZAP anywhere.

Where my rights end and yours begin is not in the ZAP. There are some boundaries that will be obvious to most people, and some that are clearly arbitrary social convention. They might evolve in ways that most people come to accept, but it is not particularly predictable which version you'll get.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 24, 2010, 05:55:12 pm
Think of it as working like the English Common Law. Precedents builds up over time, but are always based on the ZAP. Over time, arbitrators distinguish edge cases as to the application of the ZAP in real issues in conflict. Those distinctions become a part of the organic body of "law" for want of a better term.

In anarchic society "legal" is what you can usually get away with doing when everyone knows you did it, and "illegal" is what you cannot.

So if doing X is likely to provoke the the use of force against you, and people can get away with using force against you to stop you doing X, then X is illegal, and using force against people who do X is legal.

Now X might well be ill defined, or capable of being defined in several different ways, whereupon people hire lawyers and judges to resolve the definitions.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on October 24, 2010, 06:38:00 pm
Merry's advocate asks questions. "Why is it you sued Merry and not the actual perps? Why did you not sue the arbitrator who agreed to let them run around loose? Why only Merry?"

"Because out of all of them, Merry is the only one who has the money.

Which of course never happens under the benevolent rule of the state.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Sio on October 25, 2010, 08:47:31 am
Quote
Azure Priest doth spake:
Quote from: GaTor on October 22, 2010, 09:54:15 AM
Quote from: Sio on October 22, 2010, 09:27:06 AM
Our courts are not "Terry" courts.
Au contraire Mon frere.  Terry referes to  "Terran" meaning Earth.  Yes EFT is a work of fiction, but it is an extrpolation based on our world and projected into the future.  A possible timeline of where we may be.   And, given the authors posts in this forum, if you think the writers are not basing EFT on our current politico-governmental state of affairs I think your greatly mistaken. 

Especially the post where the authors say it's NOT based on the current world and any event that seems to be is purely accidental?

What Azure Priest said.  And that's "ma soeur", please.  If you're gonna claim kinship, at least get the gender right.

There may be some sarcastic (Sarcasm?  Here?  Quelle fromage!)  parallels drawn between Terry culture and our current mess, but to say it's an extrapolation is a bit much.  If you want to claim that EFT is an extrapolation, so is H. Beam Piper's "Terran Federation", for that matter, or any of a thousand other "future histories".

But don't read too much into it.  If it's an extrapolation, my original statement holds -- EFT Terry courts are not OUR courts, so don't get your panties in a bunch over the word "Terry".  They ain't us.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on October 25, 2010, 10:46:35 am
JThomas, you keep invoking "labor shortage" and "labor surplus". If there are no taxes and no other constraints on employment ( beyond those voluntarily chosen ), there is no surplus of labor. Supply will balance demand. There is never a shortage of economically useful work to be done - the question is "at what price?"

I offer a few articles on private law which address some of the issues which you have raised. You might, in fact, want to peruse lewrockwell.com and mises.org, as both are a fount of useful information about anarchy.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe16.html
http://mises.org/daily/1874
http://mises.org/daily/4683 - this addresses law and appeals.

In your hypothetical case, where businessman A is minding his own business and caught by a bounty hunter from some remote location, Murphy suggests that the bounty hunter, in order to retain credibility, would only accept cases which were solid - for example, you have surveillance tapes and other solid evidence. In any case, if Businessman A has credible evidence ( such as a rock-solid alibi), he'd present it to the would-be bounty hunters in the presence of a credible judge, and odds are that the case would be dismissed. Given tanglenet, it is possible - as you suggest - to bring the digital recordings and evidence from the original trial to the appeal.

Some people ask "Who makes the final ruling? Don't we need a Supreme Court?" Most people, most of the time, will be satisfied with "good enough results." Per Murphy's exposition above, a person who tries repeatedly to appeal his conviction without adequate grounds will run out of judges willing to hear his case. The process will destroy his own credibility.

A person who "makes good" on any claims against him regains much of his reputation. "Gee, he made a mistake a few years ago, but he owned up to it and settled the claim honestly. He's entitled to a fair shake." versus "That fool not only cheated Smith, he spent years trying to wriggle out of responsibility. Who wants to deal with that?"


 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 25, 2010, 02:34:02 pm
JThomas, you keep invoking "labor shortage" and "labor surplus". If there are no taxes and no other constraints on employment ( beyond those voluntarily chosen ), there is no surplus of labor. Supply will balance demand.

That is true in the long run, since if necessary the supply of living human beings will fall to meet the demand.

Quote
In your hypothetical case, where businessman A is minding his own business and caught by a bounty hunter from some remote location, Murphy suggests that the bounty hunter, in order to retain credibility, would only accept cases which were solid - for example, you have surveillance tapes and other solid evidence. In any case, if Businessman A has credible evidence ( such as a rock-solid alibi), he'd present it to the would-be bounty hunters in the presence of a credible judge, and odds are that the case would be dismissed. Given tanglenet, it is possible - as you suggest - to bring the digital recordings and evidence from the original trial to the appeal.

Yes. My thought is, given tanglenet it should usually be possible for any reasonable defendant to participate in arbitration without too much inconvenience. If he's on the other side of the belt he can still do it. If he has evidence that he has trouble presenting that way, he can ask for a delay while he finishes his business and returns. Depending on the importance of the case and his finances he might post bond to show his sincerity.

And depending on the privacy customs, it might be easy to find him.

So if he's willing to arbitrate, there shouldn't be much excuse to kidnap him.

If he refuses arbitration, then do you kidnap him on the basis of arbitration he has refused? Or kidnap him to stand trial he refuses to participate in? Some people have said to just publish the facts as a sort of warning to the rest of society about him. Or if it's worth killing him, do that.

Would you have an arbitrator look at your evidence and rule on it without his participation? Maybe, but why? If nobody makes a case against you after you kill him, you won't need that. And if they do, you'll still need another arbitration, right?

Say he owes you money and he refuses to arbitrate it so you can prove it. Well, if you rob him at gunpoint and he sues you, then you have your chance to present your evidence, right? Risky to rob him when he's armed, but it's a possible approach.

I can imagine a system where you never have to arbitrate about somebody without his agreement. I'm not sure how well it would work, but I can imagine a system with that sort of purity, that could work far better than what we have now. Comparing to what we have now is a terribly low bar, of course.

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Some people ask "Who makes the final ruling? Don't we need a Supreme Court?" Most people, most of the time, will be satisfied with "good enough results." Per Murphy's exposition above, a person who tries repeatedly to appeal his conviction without adequate grounds will run out of judges willing to hear his case. The process will destroy his own credibility.

My thought is that if I agree to an arbitrator then I'd better go along with his judgement. If I get new evidence later, I should take it to him and see if that changes his mind. He could re-open it and see what the other guy says about the new evidence, and maybe he'll have something new too.

Quote
A person who "makes good" on any claims against him regains much of his reputation. "Gee, he made a mistake a few years ago, but he owned up to it and settled the claim honestly. He's entitled to a fair shake." versus "That fool not only cheated Smith, he spent years trying to wriggle out of responsibility. Who wants to deal with that?"

If I'm choosing who to do business with, I'd rather avoid people who have been in more than their share of lawsuits whether or not they won. There could be something about them that tends to result in lawsuits. Maybe they're good at writing contracts in ways that lead their contractors to fail. There could be lots of ways to do that. For example, penalties for delay, and then they can slow you down in ways that have no penalty. You wouldn't expect them to do that since the point of delay penalties is that they want it finished on time. Unless their point this time is to collect damages from you instead of to complete on time.... Rather than try to defuse every clause in a devil's bargain, better to just work for someone else. If you can get enough business.

People who get sued a lot might somehow be trouble magnets even if they usually win, and their troubles might affect you.

You're better off if you can avoid arbitration. Work out an arrangement privately if you can, and then make the arrangement public. If they skip out on their agreed contract with you, that's about as bad as skipping out on one an arbitrator assigned, isn't it?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Bob G on October 26, 2010, 06:44:02 am
Arbitrators Guild? What possible legitimate purpose could such an attempt to restrain free trade, serve? In a free society, anyone can serve as an arbitrator if the parties agree.

Okay, maybe not 'guild', maybe more of an association. Like an 'Underwriter's Laboratories' for services. I've long suspected that this is how a free society would develop. An association would develop a code of conduct (which, unlike 'building codes' today are not incorporated into 'law'), and members of the association would pledge to abide by that code. As long as they do so, they are able to advertise as such. If that standard remains recognizable as a badge of quality it becomes a competitive advantage. The association would have an incentive to 'police' their members in order to maintain their standards' rep, and 'go after' providers who falsely claim to be members for the same reason.  Anyone can practice, but members get a leg up. There can even be competing associations (think PADI, NAUI, NASDS, etc. for SCUBA diving instruction). But still, no one is *forced* to join the (an) association to practice. If you can build a rep on your own efforts, more power to you.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: Ensenadasailor on October 26, 2010, 11:38:49 pm
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?

Sv. is short for 'Sovereign" aka Sov... I think.  It's a unisex term applied to both males and fems.  Like sir or ma'am, lady etc.   as for Merry, well thats her name.  Kinda informal procedings. 

Go to the head of the class! "Sv" is like "Mr." or "Ms." "Sov" is like "Mister" or "Miz." Early on, Pedro tells Merry to call him "Pedro" or "Sv Rosenberg." Most Belters eschew honorifics except in situations where they wish to show respect or be more formal. So Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal.

Geez guys - I can read. I know what Sov. STANDS for.  My question is about respect.  Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal and of course the Terry lawyer chose formal.  Do you suppose she would then choose to be addressed informally?  All the men are continually addressed as Sovereign.  She is not.  As if she was being shown no respect.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: wdg3rd on October 27, 2010, 12:53:49 am
What I want to know is, why are all the men referred to as "Sov. So-and-So" while the woman lawyer is "Merry"?

Sv. is short for 'Sovereign" aka Sov... I think.  It's a unisex term applied to both males and fems.  Like sir or ma'am, lady etc.   as for Merry, well thats her name.  Kinda informal procedings. 

Go to the head of the class! "Sv" is like "Mr." or "Ms." "Sov" is like "Mister" or "Miz." Early on, Pedro tells Merry to call him "Pedro" or "Sv Rosenberg." Most Belters eschew honorifics except in situations where they wish to show respect or be more formal. So Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal.

Geez guys - I can read. I know what Sov. STANDS for.  My question is about respect.  Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal and of course the Terry lawyer chose formal.  Do you suppose she would then choose to be addressed informally?  All the men are continually addressed as Sovereign.  She is not.  As if she was being shown no respect.
Sov Ensenadasailor, I've got no idea as to your personal gender or preference.  Grew up a couple hundred miles north of Ensenada, in an area where where where respect was rarely given.  (Managed to escape California to New Hampshire for my high school years, then was stupid enough to return and marry again).  As a kid in L.A., I learned never to respect anybody.  As a teen in New Hampshire, Grandma smacked me upside the head if I was lax in outward respect whether I felt it or not (as she often didn't feel it, we got along great).

Sov Ensenadasailor, tell us where we're wrong.  Then we can tell you to f u c k off.  With respect.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: dough560 on October 27, 2010, 04:20:59 am
Ok, I'll keep it simple.  J. Thomas, PAY ATTENTION!

The perps are totally responsible for their individual actions; before, during and after the arbitration.  Merry is posting a bond, a guarantee of payment, if the the perps skip.  Once the perps make restitution, Merry's bond will be returned.  The Guzmans are happy with this, for they are assured restitution.  The bond will be held and the perps will pay restitution  in regular payments.  However the perps are responsible for obtaining employment and handling all other factors regarding their survival.   
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... a bit off topic...
Post by: Bob G on October 27, 2010, 05:56:33 am
Geez guys - I can read. I know what Sov. STANDS for.  My question is about respect.  Pedro gave Merry a choice between informal or formal and of course the Terry lawyer chose formal.  Do you suppose she would then choose to be addressed informally?  All the men are continually addressed as Sovereign.  She is not.  As if she was being shown no respect.

Pg 550:"Sv. Petzger, do you have any questions for Bert or Ernie?"

Sorry, your contention doesn't wash.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on October 27, 2010, 11:31:40 am

The perps are totally responsible for their individual actions; before, during and after the arbitration.  Merry is posting a bond, a guarantee of payment, if the the perps skip.  Once the perps make restitution, Merry's bond will be returned.  The Guzmans are happy with this, for they are assured restitution.  The bond will be held and the perps will pay restitution  in regular payments.  However the perps are responsible for obtaining employment and handling all other factors regarding their survival.   

Dough560, that looks to me like a very good way for it to work.

AnCap societies may choose a variety of other ways, and some of those ways would have various flaws. If it goes your way I'd be happy with it.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: KBCraig on October 29, 2010, 01:18:35 am
I'm still waiting to learn (perhaps I missed a response) who the real-life counterpart is to "Merry Petzger". I assume it's "Perry Metzger", but that's a name I'm unfamiliar with.
Title: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: sologretto on November 03, 2010, 02:39:07 am
I thoroughly enjoy the comic.  Additionally I like the discussions about these concepts.  Multiple things I've wondered about have been discussed, but I find myself noticing an odd pattern....

There are a TON of intelligent people on this forum.  There tend to be the "defend ANCAP" side, the "what's ANCAP" side, and the "challenge ANCAP" side.   I notice the leadership is very skilled at introducing ANCAP to the "what's ANCAP" side and quite skilled at defending it.   I do notice however, that team "defend ANCAP" gets annoyed with team "challenge ANCAP" and has multiple times chosen to respond by verbally assailing the persons challenging ANCAP theories rather than focusing solely on their arguments.

As I understand the purpose of the comic is to introduce these ideas to positively bring them into the public focus.   One of the side effects is that persons like myself go... "That's a cool idea.  How would it handle X?  What about Y?"

The purpose of this questioning isn't to destroy or dispute the merit of the ideas, but to actually learn and challenge these cool ideas into being a cohesive, powerful and strong set of systems which could actually be implemented without a major "oh shit, we didn't think of..." set of experiences.

So my point is to present a challenge to the leadership.   Are the persons who hold the idealogy of ANCAP ready and willing to positively work with those of us who like the idea, and would like to help clarify or fix those issues that team "challenge ANCAP toward betterment" sees as impediments to implementation?   I know we can be annoying and like a dog with a bone, but if we truly didn't care we would just make personal insults and try to cause problems (or most likely, just not be involved). 

If we argue point/counterpoint we are in our way supporting the cause of the ideal.  I've seen a couple such persons who have carefully and positively continued to challenge the idealogy in the face of personal insult and wow....   I'm not sure I would be willing. 

Major respect to EVERYONE who is spending the time and care to positively flesh out the merits and challenges of these ideals on both sides.  ^)^
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: Bob G on November 03, 2010, 06:04:12 am
As I understand the purpose of the comic is to introduce these ideas to positively bring them into the public focus.   One of the side effects is that persons like myself go... "That's a cool idea.  How would it handle X?  What about Y?"

The purpose of this questioning isn't to destroy or dispute the merit of the ideas, but to actually learn and challenge these cool ideas into being a cohesive, powerful and strong set of systems which could actually be implemented without a major "oh shit, we didn't think of..." set of experiences.

  Questioning is good, and as you say can help refine and define the position in support. Unfortunately, the 'challenging' seems to come from those who feel AnCap *can't* work, and when their objections are answered keep adding conditions to the point of "but . . . but . . . What if fuzzy chartreuse aliens arrived and started singing 'The Road to Mandalay'?"

  Who knows? Who could know unless/until it happens? An old adage states that no plan survives contact with reality. I know only too well that you can game out scenarios in the comfort of your armchair to your heart's content, but when the fit hits the shan everything can go to hell.

Quote
So my point is to present a challenge to the leadership.

'Leadership'? These are *anarchists*!

 Anyway, welcome aboard. You're in for a wild ride.  ;D
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: quadibloc on November 03, 2010, 08:08:49 am
Unfortunately, the 'challenging' seems to come from those who feel AnCap *can't* work, and when their objections are answered keep adding conditions to the point of "but . . . but . . . What if fuzzy chartreuse aliens arrived and started singing 'The Road to Mandalay'?"
I'm sorry you feel that way about the questions I ask.

But I've been trying to point out that the question of "how do you cope with a massive foreign invasion, or a long drawn-out struggle like the Cold War" isn't exactly all that hypothetical. The massive, apparently paranoid, military expenditures and preparations of the United States seem, instead, not just to me, but in my opinion, to most people, given the history of World War II, and then the similar threat posed by the U.S.S.R. - another country, like Nazi Germany, with secret police, labor camps, the knock in the middle of the night and so on - entirely necessary and justified.

(It's true that some Americans in the time of Ford and Carter stopped taking the Cold War as seriously as Americans did in the time of Kennedy, but those people were just insane - or the wool had been pulled over their eyes by the Red agents making trouble on college campuses.)

From this point of view, it seems, crazy as it might seem to you, that within about a week of the United States voting in an AnCap President who abolishes taxes peacefully... the free and armed American people would enjoy the thrilling delights of fighting a guerilla war against Chinese and Muslim invaders. Maybe free men can effectively defend themselves, but if anyone thinks this is an improvement over the current situation in the United States... I have doubts about their rationality.

And I am sorry if that seems insensitive to anyone in this community who may have lost a loved one to a no-knock search conducted at the wrong address for the home of a drug dealer. People die in car accidents too. Fixing that kind of problem, serious though it is, is not properly addressed to the benefit of everyone by demolishing your country's ability to survive in a very tough world.

You may think I'm talking about fuzzy chartreuse aliens; I think I'm talking about expected consequences of AnCap that are as obvious as the consequences of driving a car without brakes.
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: SandySandfort on November 03, 2010, 08:10:44 am
... I thoroughly enjoy the comic.

Good start.  ;)

... As I understand the purpose of the comic is to introduce these ideas to positively bring them into the public focus...

No, not really. The purpose of the comic from my standpoint (and I think that of the rest of the team, but I will let them speak for themselves) is to entertain. So why the market anarchy sub-text? Well, that is what entertains me. I like stories where the "good guy" win and the "bad guys" lose. Of course the stories have a particular zeitgeist, but so does every other creative work involving language. Think Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, Macbeth, Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. First and foremost, they endeavor to entertain, second, to make some money and then maybe to introduce some philosophical stance. Trust me, if I want to "send you a message," you will get an email. I won't push it in my writing or hide it in crop circles.

So my point is to present a challenge to the leadership.   Are the persons who hold the idealogy of ANCAP ready and willing to positively work with those of us who like the idea, and would like to help clarify or fix those issues that team "challenge ANCAP toward betterment" sees as impediments to implementation?   I know we can be annoying and like a dog with a bone, but if we truly didn't care we would just make personal insults and try to cause problems (or most likely, just not be involved).

First, there is no "leadership." The writers and artists of EFT are in the business of offering an entertainment product. We hope that you will enjoy the strip enough to buy the books. (We'd also like to snag a movie deal, but that's another story.)

Second, everything you have asked for in your "challenge," we have done. However, after we have gotten the umpteenth "yeah, but what if..." unsupported hypothetical, from the same people who are unwilling to, or incapable of, understanding our responses, yeah, we do get a bit testy. If any reader asks a sincere question in order to gain understanding, instead of an argument disguised as a question, I will do my best to answer it. I may do this directly or by pointing the reader to external sources of information. 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 03, 2010, 09:58:29 am
Quadibloc, you are so ready to believe that the opposition is "insane" or "has had the wool pulled over their eyes."

I've been around 54 years, and I've observed a lot of this cold war nonsense in the papers. There is a consistent pattern, repeated over and over ad nauseum; if you don't spot the pattern, I suspect you of considerable cluelessness.

Pattern: posit a Great Unthinkable Threat. Posit that American expenditure on "defense" - which now equals the entire world "defense" spending - is clearly inadequate to the task. Boost "defense" spending. Five or ten or twenty years later, prominent "Leaders" admit that they lied us into War number X. Rinse and repeat for X+1, X+2, etc.

After a while, if you don't see the pattern, it is you who are "insane", or "have the wool pulled over your eyes" - not the rest of us. You are like the character in the Peanuts strip who is always ready to believe that this one time, Lucy will not snatch the ball away.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 03, 2010, 10:13:50 am
You are like the character in the Peanuts strip who is always ready to believe that this one time, Lucy will not snatch the ball away.
Well, at least you've explained why the comic La Muse is appropriate to Big Head Press despite being in some ways superficially left-wing.

But my goal wasn't to engage in an ad hominem attack on those people who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to the Cold War. I personally don't think that threat was overblown, and I certainly don't think the threat posed by the Nazis in World War II was overblown. But I don't blame you for being suspicious of how politicians use falsified external threats to make excuses for wars of aggression - so as to strengthen their hold on power.

It's just that I think it's the "other guy" that follows this pattern more closely - whether it's Hitler or Hu Jintao.

Instead, what I was trying to point out is that a lot of people do take the Cold War - and nearly everyone takes World War II - very seriously indeed, and if you need to disabuse people of that sort of thinking, you're fighting an uphill battle.

So I was responding to the offhand remark about "chartreuse aliens" to point out that what some may think of as hypotheticals are instead the living everyday reality of many people's lives.

Another set of "hypotheticals" I've occasionally raised, as have others, are questions about how private security firms could really replace the police - you know, would they fight with each other, or favor the rich, and so on.

But if someone speaking out for AnCap were in a meeting hall in a mining town in Pennsylvania, and I was coming up to the microphone to ask him a question, I wouldn't frame some detailed hypothetical question about how one might imagine that private security agencies could conceivably have problems in an AnCap society that need to be anticipated in advance.

Oh, no.

I'd just innocently bat my eyes and ask, "Oh, do you mean like the Pinkertons?"

I'm telling you this stuff now because I do like the idea of people having more freedom, not less. So I think it's a shame when I see people who love freedom, and want to have more of it, seem to be wasting their time with notions that aren't likely to deliver - and which aren't even likely to get a chance to be tried.
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: J Thomas on November 03, 2010, 01:16:52 pm

From this point of view, it seems, crazy as it might seem to you, that within about a week of the United States voting in an AnCap President who abolishes taxes peacefully... the free and armed American people would enjoy the thrilling delights of fighting a guerilla war against Chinese and Muslim invaders.

Within a week? Chinese and Muslims both?

I'm having trouble seeing how that would go. Maybe we sell them the troop carriers that the Marines used to use, and they ride those over? I just don't see it. I can see an invasion from Mexico easier than from China or a Muslim nation. The USA is the only one that currently can project power much. Most nations are stuck fighting wars mostly with their close neighbors. So for example the US Navy said the British could not re-take the Falklands, though they managed it with US assistance. What other nation in recent years has waged war far from its own borders? Only the USA, and NATO nations assisting the USA, and nations "assisting" the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq and Vietnam and Korea. The USSR used to send troops various places, and Cuba sent troops to Angola a long time ago, and sent engineering troops to some little island we then invaded only about 20 or so years ago. I'm having trouble coming up with examples.

Funny how that goes. Most nations need a military only to protect themselves from their nearest neighbors -- and from the USA. nobody but us is ready to attack distant nations. So if we gave up our military, the risk of short-run attack would be from Canada and Mexico and mostly nobody else. It's subtler dangers where we could lose out. Like, we might stop getting favorable oil deals from nations that no longer thought the US military would protect them if they obeyed or attack them if they disobeyed.

Quote
Maybe free men can effectively defend themselves, but if anyone thinks this is an improvement over the current situation in the United States... I have doubts about their rationality.

We still have a whole lot of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert in case somebody nukes us. And their reason to nuke us? We are a threat. There is no other rational reason for them to nuke us. You think the status quo is something that's hard to improve on?

Meanwhile, people say that military spending is only 4% of GDP, so who cares? If we had an extra 4% to spend on everything including investment, do you know how long it would take to double GDP just from that? Eighteen years. Eighteen years to double GDP compared to what it would be otherwise.

And is military spending 4% of GDP? If I read it right, US federal spending is around 25% of GDP in 2010.
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1990_2010&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy10&chart=F0-fed&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

And military spending was about $0.9 trillion in 2010 out of total federal spending about $3.7 trillion.
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/defense_budget_2010_3.html

So military spending was over 6% of GDP, and it has been for years -- 2010 was the first year they didn't pay the war costs in supplemental payments which they conveniently left out of the budget.

How fast would it take GDP to double if investment etc was 6% higher? About 12 years.

What do we get from it? We get to be the only nation that can fight wars anywhere in the world. And as a result we are the only nation that has enemies all over the world.

Well, but what might happen if we didn't have a military? Consider for example the Panama canal. This has military significance which has a lot to do with why we have invaded and occupied Panama so many times. Some Nazi leader pointed out that they could disable the canal with just one bomb, but they never got an airfield to send the bombers from. If we didn't control the canal, would it be run by a private entity who let anybody through on principle, provided they could pay the fees? Or would there be a local government that tried to make deals with foreign navies? If the latter, it isn't AnCap America's problem. So, a private entity runs the canal, and some government decides to occupy it because it's an important military resource. Their enemy promptly bombs it, because it's far easier to deliver submarine based or sailboat based cruise missiles than it used to be. We wind up with a canal nobody can use, which is a net benefit to one side in the war. If we had a military that could defend the canal zone against invasion and against cruise missiles etc, we would instead have a working canal that we could deny to our enemies while letting our friends use it.

Moral: AnCap societies should avoid owning or living too close to things that governments consider vital strategic military assets.

There are few of those in the USA. Ports, maybe. Base stations for satellite photo services. If you publish high-resolution satellite photos somebody might want to blow you up to keep you from publishing the photos they want to keep secret. A few other things.

And it might turn out that AnCap might have a vital resource -- they can proselytise. Get it running in the USA, and spread it to Mexico as quickly as practical. Then the Mexican government can't host foreign armies as they prepare to invade AnCap USA. It's just more AnCap and whatever they'll face across the border is what they're already facing from the time they first occupy Mexico. If it works, and people see that it works and they want it themselves, then it could dominate the western hemisphere. Who's going to do that invasion, and why? And of course, as fast as eastern-hemisphere nations work at expanding, they get subverted by anarchists so it falls apart. It could happen. People support their own government over a foreign government that has no reason to take as good care of them as it does its own citizens. How much would they support their government over a bunch of people who are no offensive threat and who just want to make stuff and buy and sell? A government surrounded by AnCaps has no use for a traditional army, only a population-control force to keep its people from rebelling.....

I don't know what will happen. But I can easily imagine an AnCap society might not get invaded. And if they do they have lots of choices, not just guerrilla warfare. For example, the AnCap girls can go out and proselytize the enemy soldiers. Tell the soldiers they can't fraternize, that they can't go on picnics with local girls who won't do any violence.... Of course the local AnCap guys wouldn't like that, but do they get a vote?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 03, 2010, 05:51:52 pm
But my goal wasn't to engage in an ad hominem attack on those people who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to the Cold War. I personally don't think that threat was overblown, and I certainly don't think the threat posed by the Nazis in World War II was overblown.

I think that the threat posed by the Soviet Union was real indeed, as demonstrated by the numerous falling dominoes, terror, and mass murder that followed our collapse in Vietnam.  I also think that the Soviet Union did not fall by itself due to the communist party going sane and dumping communism, but rather than when it was defeated in Afghanistan, the dominoes fell, at first on the utmost periphery of the Soviet Empire, but eventually all the way to Moscow itself.  

If the Soviet Union collapsed due to wise and moderate reformers in Moscow, it would have collapsed in Moscow first, and the periphery would have been last to change.  Instead it first collapsed on the furthest periphery, and Moscow fell only when Moscow had lost control of most things outside Moscow - the sequence indicates that military defeat was the cause of its collapse.

And how was it defeated?  Not by state to state combat, but by a multitude of small military groups with no central command.

Similarly, in our conflict with Islam, the US army only won when sponsoring a multitude of small private military groups, only won when privatizing war, as in the Iraq awakening movement and the initial victory over the Taliban.

Similarly, it has become obvious that the only solution to piracy on the horn of Africa is private forces - privateers, or white settlers on the Somali coast.  As the settlers in Gaza made Israel safe, settlers on the horn of Africa could make the ocean safe.

State to state operations from 1800 to 1830 failed to solve the Barbary pirate problem.  It ended only when Christendom started settling the Barbary coast in 1830.  The same looks like being true of piracy problem on the horn of Africa.

I favor, therefore, a less pacific form of anarcho capitalism than some in this group, because states are not doing very well at slaying our enemies.

I'd just innocently bat my eyes and ask, "Oh, do you mean like the Pinkertons?"

The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 03, 2010, 10:11:38 pm
The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
Perhaps I have. Of course, since many other people have accepted those myths as well, it's still a problem AnCap advocates will have to face if they propose private security forces as an alternative to police.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 03, 2010, 11:02:01 pm
The pinkertons attacked union thugs who invaded private property with the intent of murdering scab laborers.  You have accepted left wing myths about our non statist past.
Perhaps I have. Of course, since many other people have accepted those myths as well, it's still a problem AnCap advocates will have to face if they propose private security forces as an alternative to police.
I don't expect an anarcho capitalist political party to win by taking a vote, and if it won that way, anarcho capitalism would not ensue.

Rather I expect the transition to anarcho capitalism resemble the transition to floating exchange rates.  One day the system of fixed echange rates simply collapsed, as it had often done before.  The usual efforts to put things back together ensued - but this time, they were mostly unsuccessful and have continued, for the most part, to be so.

Financial collapse and military defeat tends to be followed by state collapse.  We are seeing in Europe collapse looming.  If people doubt, as I doubt, that recreating European states will fix things, anarcho capitalism may well ensue - probably not following the first major collapse, but after several similar crises where recreated states do not successfully address the underlying problems.

Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: jamesd on November 04, 2010, 12:43:44 am
But I've been trying to point out that the question of "how do you cope with a massive foreign invasion, or a long drawn-out struggle like the Cold War" isn't exactly all that hypothetical. The massive, apparently paranoid, military expenditures and preparations of the United States seem, instead, not just to me, but in my opinion, to most people, given the history of World War II, and then the similar threat posed by the U.S.S.R. - another country, like Nazi Germany, with secret police, labor camps, the knock in the middle of the night and so on - entirely necessary and justified.

Americans did OK with decentralized militias against the British, and centralizing control did not seem to improve matters much.

Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Which policy, you may recall, also defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, and arguably led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: jamesd on November 04, 2010, 01:04:43 am
From this point of view, it seems, crazy as it might seem to you, that within about a week of the United States voting in an AnCap President who abolishes taxes peacefully... the free and armed American people would enjoy the thrilling delights of fighting a guerilla war against Chinese and Muslim invaders.

In Australia, Muslim efforts to subjugate infidels to Sharia law are not going so well as in Europe, not because the government is effectually stopping them, but because one of their efforts led to something than damn near turned into a pogrom.

Now if anarcho capitalism reflects the pacific and utopian views of some in this group, yes, probably evil people would smell weakness and attack, but my preferred models of anarcho capitalism are the yankees who settled California, and the Norse who settled Iceland - and if a substantial portion of future anarcho capitalists resemble that lot, the Chinese will be very peaceful, and the Muslims will be hiding under their beds.
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: J Thomas on November 04, 2010, 08:31:41 am
But I've been trying to point out that the question of "how do you cope with a massive foreign invasion, or a long drawn-out struggle like the Cold War" isn't exactly all that hypothetical. The massive, apparently paranoid, military expenditures and preparations of the United States seem, instead, not just to me, but in my opinion, to most people, given the history of World War II, and then the similar threat posed by the U.S.S.R. - another country, like Nazi Germany, with secret police, labor camps, the knock in the middle of the night and so on - entirely necessary and justified.

Americans did OK with decentralized militias against the British, and centralizing control did not seem to improve matters much.

Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Americans took pretty many casualties this way, particularly among disorganized militias. And the British -- or the general disruption, whatever --did a whole lot of damage to the economy. Farms burned down, bad inflation, malnutrition, etc.

If Americans could have financed a better military, one that would stop the British army from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose, then Americans would have been better off. But they didn't have the resources to do that.

I guess the bottom line is that every now and then a whole lot of people get together and do crazy things. They build pyramids, or try to convert the world to some religion, or pay for expensive armies to invade and occupy other countries. And what can you do about it? Try to stop them from building pyramids etc? Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them, and hope eventually they'll go home. There are no guarantees. Creating your own big crazy group is not particularly safe either.

Quote
Which policy, you may recall, also defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, and arguably led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

It seems to be defeating the USA in Afghanistan pretty handily too. Afghans aren't real good at keeping us from going wherever we please -- in force -- and destroying whatever we want, but they've been real good at keeping us from getting anything worth having when we do. These wars are costing us something like 2.5% of GDP. And Obama hasn't had the guts to get out.

Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: quadibloc on November 04, 2010, 11:25:41 am
Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them, and hope eventually they'll go home. There are no guarantees. Creating your own big crazy group is not particularly safe either.
Some people, of course, like myself, think that American democracy works well enough that the U.S. as presently constituted, while imperfect, isn't really a "big crazy group", and so we shouldn't tamper with success.

Although I can agree that this success is wearing around the edges, so we do need to keep our options open.
Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: jamesd on November 04, 2010, 11:41:40 am
Before American forces were united under George Washington, they followed a policy of harassing the British, and denying them control, but were unable to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying what they chose.  After American forces were united under George Washington, they got hammered whenever they tried to prevent the British from going where they pleased and destroying whatever they chose, so resumed a policy of harassing the British and denying them control.

Americans took pretty many casualties this way, particularly among disorganized militias. And the British -- or the general disruption, whatever --did a whole lot of damage to the economy. Farms burned down, bad inflation, malnutrition, etc.

That is war.

And what can you do about it? Try to stop them from building pyramids etc? Unless you want to create another group as big and as crazy to oppose them, you have to accept that big groups of crazy people can hurt you, and do little things to try to change their minds or harass them,

You can kill as many of the crazy people as possible, and people they care about, and people they rely on for support.  I especially commend the contras, another group of groups with no central command, for setting fire to collective buildings with enemy administrators forced to remain inside them.  It works.  It works very well.  The Indians reversed forced collectivization by this procedure.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 04, 2010, 11:46:17 am
For most people, security means neither the US Military, nor the local Police, but something much closer to hand. "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." Americans are already discovering the virtues of self-defense.  The response of many Americans to the events of 9/11 and the subsequent economic troubles ( caused by the government and GSEs) was to buy guns and ammo.

As for hired security, it's easy for left-wing nutcases to whine about a hundred-year-old incident with the Pinkertons, but "what have they done lately?" There are more private security guards in America than police forces. How many incidents of police brutality do we hear about on a regular basis? How many incidents of private security brutality? Do the math; we have more to fear from government police than from private security forces.

In fact, we are statistically in more danger from our own government police than from foreign terrorists.

As for the "need" for WW I and WW II - America wiped out the enemies of Communist Russia and China. We all know how that turned out. These great allies of America slaughtered many millions of people - far more than Germany and Japan combined.

As for the outside-in theory of conquest, all empires tend to collapse from the outside in; the control of the periphery is weaker than at the center. This does not prove a military conquest; anybody who has been around for more than a few decades knows that the
former USSR was not conquered militarily, and anybody who claims otherwise is merely trying to rewrite history for his own convenience.

When the USSA finally collapses, it is certain that the Beltway Bandits will be the last to admit defeat. They'll still be celebrating "victory" even as states in the hinterlands seceded from the Union.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 04, 2010, 05:57:42 pm
As for the outside-in theory of conquest, all empires tend to collapse from the outside in; the control of the periphery is weaker than at the center. This does not prove a military conquest; anybody who has been around for more than a few decades knows that the
former USSR was not conquered militarily, and anybody who claims otherwise is merely trying to rewrite history for his own convenience.

The Soviet Union was held together by fear.  Thus if one domino falls, every other domino trembles, as the people underneath start to wonder what they can get away with.

If defeated in one place, trouble makers are emboldened in every place.

In May 1988, a few days after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began, Hungary had another go at doing the things it tried in 1956 - they took a big risk of war, but this time was not crushed.

They reason they were willing to take this big risk is that they judged that war was less likely, and if war ensued, victory more feasible.  They took this gamble within days of the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan beginning.  The connection is direct and obvious.

In January 1989, a few months after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began, and a few days before the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan, Hungary's parliament voted to allow freedom of association and independent political parties. One month later, the Hungarian Central Committee approved a new constitution that omitted mention of the leading role of the communist party.

The Hungarians tried on stuff that had previously led to war. They took risk of war.  When war did not eventuate, everyone joined in.

One domino fell immediately after the first, and then another domino, in a cascade, pretty good evidence that one domino caused the next.

Afghanistan made the poles unafraid. Poland made the hungarians unafraid.  Afghanistan, Poland, and Hungary made the East Germans, Czechs, and Bulgarians unafraid.

Anyone who considered opposing the fall of communism was thinking "what if I wind up like those poor gits trapped in Kabul?"  And, of course, Ceausescu did oppose the fall, and did wind up like those poor gits trapped in Kabul.

The Soviets ruled by fear - and proof of this is that when people stopped fearing them, the Soviets stopped ruling

Subsequently, in a more dramatic provocation, Hungary cut the barbed wire on 1989 May 3rd, seventy seven days after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed, again testing Gorbachev's willingness to start a new war directly after defeat in Afghanistan, and Gorbachev again blinked, a classic illustration of the domino effect.

Hungary cuts the wire 1989 May 3rd, testing Soviet will.

Gorbachev announces Sinatra doctrine 25 October 1989

Soviets began withdrawing 1988 May 15, and withdrawal was completed in 1989 February 15.

The "war of the laws" - Soviet puppet organizations publicly cutting their puppet strings began around May 1989, about sixty days after withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed, and the "war of the laws escalated directly into the collapse of the Soviet Union one year later,




Title: Re: On topic. Off topic.
Post by: jamesd on November 04, 2010, 06:42:14 pm
Some people, of course, like myself, think that American democracy works well enough that the U.S. as presently constituted, while imperfect, isn't really a "big crazy group", and so we shouldn't tamper with success.

Success?

We are losing against Islam, and national insolvency is looming.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 05, 2010, 02:49:01 am
I would not describe "retracing the path of uncountable failed empires" as "success", not when the USSA is so clearly on the downward arc as it is now. The government is pursuing bankruptcy with mad abandon, matched only - for now - by the rate at which "Helicopter" Ben is willing to create faith-based paper (or digital) money out of thin air.

Have a look at "This time is different: 800 years of financial folly" - it could be viewed as a recipe book for "how to destroy the credibility of a currency" - which the Powers That Be seem to take as a prescription, rather than as a cautionary tale. More likely, they - as so many have before - believe that "this time is different", that they have (once again) reinvented economics, brought an end to history, or by some other magical means have somehow managed to repeal those pesky laws of economics.

As jamesd just reminded us, all governments rely upon fear for their continued operation. When people stop fearing the government, it loses power. This merely restates what Gustav de Molinari observed a few centuries ago.
 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 05, 2010, 07:17:42 am
I would not describe "retracing the path of uncountable failed empires" as "success", not when the USSA is so clearly on the downward arc as it is now. The government is pursuing bankruptcy with mad abandon, matched only - for now - by the rate at which "Helicopter" Ben is willing to create faith-based paper (or digital) money out of thin air.

Have a look at "This time is different: 800 years of financial folly" - it could be viewed as a recipe book for "how to destroy the credibility of a currency" - which the Powers That Be seem to take as a prescription, rather than as a cautionary tale. More likely, they - as so many have before - believe that "this time is different", that they have (once again) reinvented economics, brought an end to history, or by some other magical means have somehow managed to repeal those pesky laws of economics.

I think they see no real choice. Each step makes them a little worse off, but the alternatives all involve doing something so unpopular they lose power and get replaced by somebody else who'll do the bad thing anyway.

Quote
As jamesd just reminded us, all governments rely upon fear for their continued operation. When people stop fearing the government, it loses power. This merely restates what Gustav de Molinari observed a few centuries ago.

When a whole lot of people need to cooperate, they work out adequate details quicker when somebody gets the final say and can force them. When it just doesn't work they say so, when it isn't great but acceptable they go along. They recognize that they need to get organized and they don't object too much when somebody powerful uses threats to help them along, provided the result is adequate.

Then comes the time they don't actually need to cooperate but the authority is still there telling them what to do for his own benefit. They don't put up with that nearly as well.

Governments rely on fear at the margin, but the amount of force they can apply is usually pretty limited -- not a whole lot more than they need, and they don't usually need very much. I guess banks are kind of that way, they keep just enough reserves to cover contingencies.

For most people they rely more on ignorance than fear. Like, how many Americans realize that the US military budtget for 2011 is over a trillion dollars? And before the purges in the early USSR got into full swing, a whole lot of people didn't even know about them. They took suspects to prison in fake meat trucks. People asked, "Why are there so many meat trucks and so little meat?". People who loved Stalin who got purged and for the first time found out about the purges, said "If only Father Stalin knew what's going on in his name, he would fix it.".

When a whole lot of people fear their government something has gone seriously wrong.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on November 05, 2010, 09:19:49 am


    Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.
*


Happy Guy Fawkes Day!


* The rest of the rhyme suggest that foiling the plot and saving the King and Parliament was a "good" thing. I just like the first part.   ::)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 06, 2010, 12:17:44 am
When a whole lot of people need to cooperate, they work out adequate details quicker when somebody gets the final say and can force them. When it just doesn't work they say so, when it isn't great but acceptable they go along. They recognize that they need to get organized and they don't object too much when somebody powerful uses threats to help them along, provided the result is adequate.

Then comes the time they don't actually need to cooperate but the authority is still there telling them what to do for his own benefit. They don't put up with that nearly as well.
Precisely. This is why I am so willing to settle for just getting democracy to work right, and keeping it honest, and am nervous about shooting for the improvement in freedom offered by AnCap when there's so much risk of it going badly wrong.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: dough560 on November 06, 2010, 03:46:09 am
Two steps forward, one step back.  Those who live in fear of failure, never succeed.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 06, 2010, 08:40:17 am
Two steps forward, one step back.  Those who live in fear of failure, never succeed.

Sure. And yet, there's nothing wrong with persuading people toward better democracy and AnCap both. Whatever results you get on either front is progress.

in that line I would like to encourage US elections of all sorts toward acceptance voting.

The idea is, when there are more than two candidates you vote for all the ones you want, and all your votes count. The candidate with the most votes wins. (Ideally if nobody gets a majority then there's nobody the majority finds acceptable, and perhaps we should then leave the position open, or have another election.)

What could be fairer? You vote for all the candidates you want. If you like all but one, vote for all but one. No need to vote just for the second-worst candidate because he's the only one who can keep the worst candidate from winning.

Simple. Obvious. Clear. Fair.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 06, 2010, 10:54:08 am
Two steps forward, one step back.  Those who live in fear of failure, never succeed.
Getting rid of taxes is two steps forward, and being invaded by China is one step back? Your counting will be disputed. Yes, fear of trying anything new is a bad thing, but so is recklessness.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 06, 2010, 01:47:58 pm
Two steps forward, one step back.  Those who live in fear of failure, never succeed.
Getting rid of taxes is two steps forward, and being invaded by China is one step back? Your counting will be disputed. Yes, fear of trying anything new is a bad thing, but so is recklessness.

Wouldn't China be likely to invade Siberia first? It has a number of advantages -- like, they can walk there. And if they want to invade the USA they could almost walk to Alaska, much easier than sending their Marines to land on the beach heads of Los Angeles.

So there would probably be some warning.

And it isn't clear what the best responses would be, it would depend a whole lot on circumstance, right?

Like, I can imagine a chinese army arriving at, say, San Diego from the mexican border, and a whole bunch of job recruiters rush up. "Did you know we have a labor shortage? Come work for us! We pay in gold. Did you know the male/female ratio is much better here than it is in china? Say, I'll give you 10 grams of gold for that souvenir weapon you're holding there."

If the first invading armies just melted away to become AnCaps, that might give the chinese generals a great big hesitation right there.

You can hypothesize chinese armies invading the USA, and I can hypothesize job recruiters. Who's less plausible?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on November 06, 2010, 03:08:45 pm
The idea is, when there are more than two candidates you vote for all the ones you want, and all your votes count. The candidate with the most votes wins. (Ideally if nobody gets a majority then there's nobody the majority finds acceptable, and perhaps we should then leave the position open, or have another election.)

What could be fairer? You vote for all the candidates you want.

Hardly. Unless there is the possibility of a write-in, you don't get to vote for all the candidates you want. Also, it's still winner-take-all. If my candidates don't get elected, I am stuck with someone I don't consider qualified to represent me. When I "vote" for a Toyota in the marketplace and you "vote" for a Chevy, we both get what we want. Political democracy and freedom are natural enemies.

If you like all but one, vote for all but one. No need to vote just for the second-worst candidate because he's the only one who can keep the worst candidate from winning.

Simple. Obvious. Clear. Fair.

"Fair." Now there is a word that means everything, so means nothing. "Fair and Balanced," "a fair wage," "fair prices," "fair trade coffee" are all Rorschach words; they mean what you want them to mean. In my experience, it is almost axiomatic that anyone using the word "fair," is either trying to bamboozle you or is unclear on the concept.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on November 06, 2010, 03:20:11 pm
Like, I can imagine a chinese army arriving at, say, San Diego from the mexican border, and a whole bunch of job recruiters rush up. "Did you know we have a labor shortage? Come work for us! We pay in gold. Did you know the male/female ratio is much better here than it is in china? Say, I'll give you 10 grams of gold for that souvenir weapon you're holding there."

Very funny and certainly more realistic than a Chinese invasion of the US. Actually, China is the one usually getting invaded, not the other way around. Ironically, your whimsical scenario is pretty much what happened to all the invaders that have tried to take over China. Over time, China just absorbed them.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 06, 2010, 04:35:38 pm
The idea is, when there are more than two candidates you vote for all the ones you want, and all your votes count. The candidate with the most votes wins. (Ideally if nobody gets a majority then there's nobody the majority finds acceptable, and perhaps we should then leave the position open, or have another election.)

What could be fairer? You vote for all the candidates you want.

Hardly. Unless there is the possibility of a write-in, you don't get to vote for all the candidates you want. Also, it's still winner-take-all. If my candidates don't get elected, I am stuck with someone I don't consider qualified to represent me. When I "vote" for a Toyota in the marketplace and you "vote" for a Chevy, we both get what we want. Political democracy and freedom are natural enemies.

If we have a government at all, elected governments are better than unelected governments. I see no problem with looking for ways to improve government and looking for ways to avoid government both at the same time.

Quote
If you like all but one, vote for all but one. No need to vote just for the second-worst candidate because he's the only one who can keep the worst candidate from winning.

Simple. Obvious. Clear. Fair.

"Fair." Now there is a word that means everything, so means nothing. "Fair and Balanced," "a fair wage," "fair prices," "fair trade coffee" are all Rorschach words; they mean what you want them to mean. In my experience, it is almost axiomatic that anyone using the word "fair," is either trying to bamboozle you or is unclear on the concept.

Well, voting for everybody you want is better than voting for one of the two who appear from the media to have the best chance.

It's fairer than that.

I had been pushing for IRV, which at least gives people the chance to vote for as many as they want and is fairly simple. But that method lets you vote first for the one you want most, with the result that sometimes you can mess up.

Like, here are 10 votes. 9 of them have a first choice and then a second choice.

A E
B E
C E
D E
A E
A E
B E
C E
D E
E

First the 1st place votes are counted:  A 3  B 2  C 2  D 2  E 1

Then E is eliminated. Then A wins with 3 votes out of 10.

7 voters did not want A at all. 10 voters thought E was OK. A won.

But with acceptance voting, you mark everybody you think is OK, never mind first and second choices. Then the votes go:

E 11   A 3   B 2   C 2   D 2

And E wins. E and A could both get a majority, and you choose the one with the bigger majority.

"Fair" is a slippery concept, but if you want voting with more than one candidate this is one of the better ways to do it.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: dough560 on November 07, 2010, 01:08:59 am
J Thomas, you have and absolute talent for saying. "What about this!" and going farther out to left field.  Give it a rest already.

Want to talk about voting and general government organization in an An-Cap Society?  Why not start a separate thread.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 07, 2010, 09:20:56 am
It is that god Democracy which is the root of our problems, not the solution.

If people believed not so much in Democracy, if they did not overlook her many foibles, we'd have sound currency and sound banks; we'd not be burdened by taxes; we'd have more actual security and justice and education than we do today.

You often hear that voters are ignorant - but who educated those voters, if not the schools which are operated by governments which are elected by voters? If Democracy were so fine a solution, would not the schools improve over the course of time? Would not the quality of voters improve over time?

Compare and contrast with computers or automobiles, which are not provided by governments. The computer of today is a far better thing than that which was available in 1978, when I bought my first Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I. The car of today is better than my first, a 1964 Beetle.

How about security? Anyone old enough to remember the 70s knows that the rate of crime was a large concern. Two things happened: more resources were invested in prisons and police, and gun laws (especially CCW laws) were liberalized. More and more Americans purchased handguns and rifles and ammo and learned to use them to defend themselves and the people they cared about. According to John Lott, this liberalization of gun laws is more highly correlated with the drop in violent crimes than any other - and it is working against another factor, known to Milton Friedman and other researchers to increase violent crime; namely, the increased efforts at prohibiting politically incorrect substances.

Any honest reading of political history would strongly suggest that we greatly reduce the role of democracy, and increase the role of peaceful, voluntary cooperation.

Smarter, better-fed, healthier, safer, wealthier - what's not to like?
 
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 07, 2010, 11:18:46 am
It is that god Democracy which is the root of our problems, not the solution.

If people believed not so much in Democracy, if they did not overlook her many foibles, we'd have sound currency and sound banks; we'd not be burdened by taxes; we'd have more actual security and justice and education than we do today.

You make good points.

Still, to the extent we have democracy, i'd prefer it work as well as it can. And we would do better if voters got a real choice among more than two parties who provide two candidates.

I've found myself voting for Democrats because the particular Republicans I could choose instead looked even worse. And I expect a lot of people have been voting for Republicans they didn't particularly like because the Democrats looked even worse to them. Two choices is like a duopoly. A product you can't avoid buying, and you can let somebody else get all the choice, or you can choose the one that competes by being a little bit better than the single alternative, on the particular issues you care about most.

Extra candidates are better. If you want less government, you get a better chance at that with more than two choices. We had Reagan and his republicans promising less government, and they gave us more government. What did less-government voters do then? They voted for more Republican politicians who promised less government. What better choice was there, vote Democrat? That gave them Bush and his Republicans who promised less government and who gave us more government. So now we have the Tea Party politicians who loudly  promise less government. A politician who promises loud is better than one who just promises, right?

That didn't come out like a strong defense of representative democracy, did it. Still, better voting can't hurt, and it might do some good.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 07, 2010, 12:56:36 pm
Having only two real choices is not a mere accident; it's an innate part of winner-takes-all voting.

When there are three parties, of approximately equal strength, and elections can pick only one winner, voters tend to rationally compute the strength of the three. They are likely to have an ordered set of preferences, a > b > c. Perhaps they prefer a to both b and c, but estimate the chance of a winning to be less than those of c; they'll vote for b instead. Every Libertarian or Green Party candidate knows about this dynamic; most voters  would rather amputate an arm or leg with a rusty saw than "waste their vote" on a 3rd party candidate.

Countries with proportional representation do not punish 3rd parties to this degree, but winner-takes-all is how it works in America, in almost every election. A few municipal elections use some form of preference voting.

In addition, there are severe ballot constraints which limit 3rd parties; these were put in place democratically ( let us all sing the praises of that false god ) in order to protect the two "major" parties against any possible threats.

It would be obvious to an impartial Martian that American voters are deeply dissatisfied with the D and R choices, and overdue for a switch, but existing democratically-enacted laws give many unfair advantages to the two halves of the duopoly.

Contrast this with how free markets work. Sure, we often have a few big players in any given field, but people are still free to enjoy the benefits of lesser suppliers. Beer drinkers are not forced to choose only betwixt Anheuser-Busch and Miller -- they can choose from other suppliers, and don't pay a tax to support the two big players. It's even possible to brew your own, thanks to the government backing off some of  their anti-freedom regulations in the 70s ( which spawned the micro-brewery movement ).

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 07, 2010, 03:34:27 pm
Having only two real choices is not a mere accident; it's an innate part of winner-takes-all voting.

The outcome of a vote has to be one decision made for all, imposed on all.  The flaws in the various voting systems are reflections of this basic problem.  Things like proportional representation (resulting in irresponsible parties) just move the problem around, they don't solve it.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: dough560 on November 21, 2010, 11:08:49 pm
One change I'd like to see:  For a bill to pass the vote must be 80 % or better.  For a law to be repealed.  40 % for repeal.  Wouldn't that change the shape of a democratic republic.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 24, 2010, 10:59:34 am
The outcome of a vote has to be one decision made for all, imposed on all.
That's not a flaw, that's a design feature.

Voting systems aren't intended to solve, or even address, this problem. They're intended to eliminate the other problem - the one of having only two real alternatives at a time.

In the book Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer noted that twice a year they had ceremonies where the Dalai Lama would announce it was time for everyone to start wearing their winter clothing, and that it was time for everyone to stop wearing their winter clothing. This is silly, since the weather can change unexpectedly, and some people are more sensitive to the cold than others.

So even a statist like myself agrees: some decisions are best left to private initiative. But only if all decisions are like that can we do without a state.

That is, of course, if the costs of having those decisions done by individuals, instead of being imposed by common agreement, are greater than the cost of the risk of the state expanding to take care of decisions that are best handled privately.

Opponents of AnCap take the former position, because they think abolishing taxes and conscription will make a society unable to defend itself well enough to avoid being easy pray to the deadly sharks out there like Hitler and Stalin.

Supporters of AnCap take the latter position, because they see the chance to vote once every few years as a slim protection against the obvious venality of politicians, even in the democracies held up by statists as shining examples.

Without AnCap having really been tried, these are largely subjective perceptions which can't be conclusively settled by argument.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 24, 2010, 04:16:53 pm

The outcome of a vote has to be one decision made for all, imposed on all.
That's not a flaw, that's a design feature.

… abolishing taxes and conscription will make a society unable to defend itself well enough to avoid being easy pray to the deadly sharks out there like Hitler and Stalin.

Well, if the pacifists in this group got their way, probably true - but suppose instead the pacifists run the government.

The government arms itself but disarms the people. 

If it is willing to use arms and use them well, like Charles the hammer or Sobieski, well that is a good solution.  But lack of will may prevent it from using arms, and diseconomies of scale may prevent it from using them well. 

The vastness of empire prevented Charles the great from using arms well, and so what he did was delegate to the men on the spot, issuing authorizations to settlers, adventurers, pirates, and brigands, to acquire lands currently possessed by Dar al Islam, the landgoing equivalent of letters of Marque and reprisal.

In the long history of war between Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb, strong central government does not seem to have served either side well.  Regimes that fought this war successfully tended to delegate heavily to settlers, adventurers, and mercenaries.

It may be unwilling to use arms due to weakness and fear, or due to moral qualms, (a surprisingly common problem with Christian theocracies, which tended to recall Christ's commandment to turn the other cheek at the most inopportune possible moment).  It may cut a deal with powerful enemies favorable to itself and unfavorable to its subjects - which is what today's western regimes seem to be doing.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on November 24, 2010, 04:36:55 pm
Well, if the pacifists in this group got their way, probably true - but suppose instead the pacifists run the government.

Whoa there Foghorn! I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone on this Forum has ever self-identified as a pacifist. Further, I don't recall anyone saying they believe that all violence is wrong/immoral/unethical/ineffective. (The generally understood meaning of "pacifism.") So, I assume you are just name calling.

Maybe you do not understand the ZAP. I suggest you educate yourself about it. As a ZAPian (I just made that up), like a pacifist, I won't initiate force against another. However, unlike a pacifist, I have no qualms about using violence in self-defense or the defense of another. I have taken four combat firearms courses of one sort or another. I have guns, know how to use them and will do so if sufficiently provoked. So Señor Leghorn, please "out" these mythical pacifist of whom you speak. Bet you just made 'em up.   ::)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 25, 2010, 03:58:27 pm
I don't think anyone on this Forum has ever self-identified as a pacifist. Further, I don't recall anyone saying they believe that all violence is wrong/immoral/unethical/ineffective. (The generally understood meaning of "pacifism.") So, I assume you are just name calling.

War is conflict between groups.  In a war, you have to kill people on the basis of group membership, not on the basis of proven individual crimes, or else you will lose  And it only takes one side to have a war.

If you are not prepared to kill or imprison people on the basis of apparent group membership, not prepared to fight a war.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on November 25, 2010, 10:02:35 pm
I don't think anyone on this Forum has ever self-identified as a pacifist. Further, I don't recall anyone saying they believe that all violence is wrong/immoral/unethical/ineffective. (The generally understood meaning of "pacifism.") So, I assume you are just name calling.

War is conflict between groups.  In a war, you have to kill people on the basis of group membership, not on the basis of proven individual crimes, or else you will lose  And it only takes one side to have a war.

So apparently, you are giving up on your claim that there are pacifists on this Forum. Pacifism and war are orthogonal. All your hand waving isn't going to change the fact that you are wrong about pacifists here. So it just boils down to name calling after all. See,

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Intellectual_dishonesty
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 26, 2010, 04:21:16 am
War is conflict between groups.  In a war, you have to kill people on the basis of group membership, not on the basis of proven individual crimes, or else you will lose  And it only takes one side to have a war.

So apparently, you are giving up on your claim that there are pacifists on this Forum.

In practice, people only claim to be pacifists in relation to wars.  If someone opposes all collective violence on the basis that it is collective, he is a pacifist, just as much as if he opposed all collective violence on the basis that it is violent.

If group A attacks group B, and a member of group B says that it is only OK to use violence on members of group A that have been proven guilty of directly, personally, and individually engaging in acts of violence, his conditions are unlikely to be met.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 26, 2010, 10:38:29 am
So apparently, you are giving up on your claim that there are pacifists on this Forum. Pacifism and war are orthogonal. All your hand waving isn't going to change the fact that you are wrong about pacifists here.
He did use the wrong word.

Sometimes people do use the wrong word because the word they're looking for isn't in the dictionary.

Not all anti-nuclear activists are pacifists. They might accept that a country, if invaded, can legitimately defend itself through conventional means. But a hydrogen warhead, carried on an ICBM to a major city, can't help but kill thousands of innocent women and children. And so, they take the position that nothing can justify the use of such a horrible weapon, and they campaign in the democracies either for their unilateral disarmament with respect to nuclear weapons, or for their concluding disarmament agreements with totalitarian regimes even when these agreements would have inadequate provisions for inspection and control.

A number of forum participants here have declared that it's wrong for even the "good guys" in a war to attack civilian targets. Not just undesirable, to be avoided if it can be avoided - if the other side respects this limit too, so that respecting it doesn't put your side at a disadvantage, therefore interfering with the all-important objective of victory - but wrong: not to be done under any circumstances.

As such a constraint appears likely to have interfered with the achievement of Allied victory in World War II, it is untenable. An Allied defeat in World War II would have been equivalent to the total extermination of the human race, on the grounds that it is morally indecent to take the attitude that "oh, I'm not Jewish, so it doesn't really matter".

Thus, World War II is useful as a limiting case which allows us to test ideas which tend in the direction of pacifism for their plausibility.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 26, 2010, 09:54:13 pm

A number of forum participants here have declared that it's wrong for even the "good guys" in a war to attack civilian targets. Not just undesirable, to be avoided if it can be avoided - if the other side respects this limit too, so that respecting it doesn't put your side at a disadvantage, therefore interfering with the all-important objective of victory - but wrong: not to be done under any circumstances.

As such a constraint appears likely to have interfered with the achievement of Allied victory in World War II, it is untenable. An Allied defeat in World War II would have been equivalent to the total extermination of the human race, on the grounds that it is morally indecent to take the attitude that "oh, I'm not Jewish, so it doesn't really matter".

Thus, World War II is useful as a limiting case which allows us to test ideas which tend in the direction of pacifism for their plausibility.

No, your fantasies about WWII are not a good limiting case. You might as well make up your fantasies from scratch.

Imagine for example that the USA had managed to build 500 nukes quickly, and we nuked the 500 largest cities in Germany to win the war. We would have argued afterward as you just did that if we had done something else we would have lost the war and therefore it was justified, because whatever we do is justified if it saves the Jews.

There's no limit to the fantasies you can construct if you want to justify something. Like, say that the US military realizes that we lack the troops to occupy Iran, but occupying Iran is utterly necessary if we want to keep them from getting nukes. And so the strategy they come up with involves dropping nerve gas on Iranian population centers, killing say 50 million people and reducing the occupation problem to a manageable level. Afterward you would argue that it was necessary because otherwise Iran would inevitably get nukes, and would inevitably nuke Israel, and Israel would inevitably nuke them back resulting in even more Iranian casualties. So we can't say it's wrong to drop nerve gas on cities full of civilians, because if we hadn't done it we would have inevitably lost the war and Israel would inevitably be damaged or destroyed.

This is a general-purpose argument. For any disgusting military tactic which does not itself destroy the USA, you can make up a situation where the USA would lose a war unless we use it. Then point out that the alternative to using the disgusting tactic is that the bad guys would win and the good guys would lose. Since it's "morally indecent" for the good guys to lose, whatever war crime is at issue must be OK.

But of course it is not OK for bad guys to use any effective technique since it is "morally indecent" for them to win.

Your argument boils down to simple chauvinism, to jingoism. It is worthless.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 27, 2010, 12:14:48 am
Imagine for example that the USA had managed to build 500 nukes quickly, and we nuked the 500 largest cities in Germany to win the war. We would have argued afterward as you just did that if we had done something else we would have lost the war and therefore it was justified, because whatever we do is justified if it saves the Jews.

Screw the Jews.  It would be justified because it would have saved us and saved the lives of a lot of US troops.

That Japan surrendered after the second nuke was a tossup.  If the coup had succeeded, they would not have surrendered.  In which case we would have fried Japan from one end to the other, and been fully justified in doing so.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on November 27, 2010, 12:20:00 am
Claiming that the world would have been destroyed if the US had not "won" WW II is one of the more asinine pieces of counterfactual idiocy to clutter the landscape.

The reality is that the atom bomb made the world safe for Chairman Mao and Josef Stalin - two of the most bloodthirsty individuals on the earth, who slaughtered far more people than Hitler did. Their blood be on your hands, you freaking win-at-any-cost lunatics.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 27, 2010, 03:28:47 pm
The reality is that the atom bomb made the world safe for Chairman Mao and Josef Stalin - two of the most bloodthirsty individuals on the earth, who slaughtered far more people than Hitler did. Their blood be on your hands, you freaking win-at-any-cost lunatics.
That's only because Josef Stalin managed to get his hands on the atom bomb.

Using atomic bombs on Germany, say, after it invaded the Sudetenland, would have saved the lives of innocent people in Czechoslovakia, in addition to Poland and France and so on. The people of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, and so on were not to blame for Hitler's decision to commit aggression. They therefore were under no obligation, none whatsoever, to endure one single casualty as the result of the decision of the German government to attack them.

They had every right to just push a button and make the whole problem go away if they could.

It would be nice if that button would summon angels who would just take all the Nazis away, and any German soldier who tried to use a weapon in aggression. In the real world, though, we often have to settle for less.

Ultimately, the safety of the German people is the responsibility of the German government. Other people will first take care of their own safety before trying to feed the Germans at their own expense, say, if their crops failed. Just as a bad harvest in Germany doesn't create an obligation on the part of the rest of the world to, at their own cost, feed the German people - even though we might think it nice of them if they did pitch in - so a bad government in Germany doesn't create an obligation on the part of the rest of the world to endure getting shot at in order to reduce German civilian casualties.

Basically, no one gets to get away with making a nuisance of himself. If peaceful people see soldiers with guns coming to their village to disturb them, they have the right both to stop those soldiers - and make sure there are no more coming from wherever it is they came from.

In order to eliminate any possibility that Germany could send any more soldiers marching outside its borders to shoot at people, and to do it from a distance so as not to expose a single one of your own people to enemy fire, it is probably going to be necessary to use clumsy means. But if we aren't obligated to feed the hungry at our own expense, why are we obligated to put our lives at risk to make things easier on the victims of a bad government?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 27, 2010, 08:24:11 pm
Imagine for example that the USA had managed to build 500 nukes quickly, and we nuked the 500 largest cities in Germany to win the war. We would have argued afterward as you just did that if we had done something else we would have lost the war and therefore it was justified, because whatever we do is justified if it saves the Jews.

Screw the Jews.  It would be justified because it would have saved us and saved the lives of a lot of US troops.

I don't think Quadibloc would be willing to screw the Jews. He appeared to consider saving the jews a primary justification to win WWII.

How many US troops would it have saved? As it was, we lost about 150,000 troops total in the european theater. Throw in another 2000 in africa/middle-east? Here is an admittedly flawed argument which still has some truth to it -- the germans sent 3/4 of their troops to the eastern front, because that was the bigger threat. If the western forces had looked weaker, Germany would have sent more troops to the east and fewer troops west. They timed it so that both armies would meet near Berlin, and it would have happened that way except we delayed to let the Russians get their first, as part of our diplomacy with them.

If we had looked too weak the germans would have tried to push us into the sea -- as in fact they did try. But failing that, we would have advanced about the same rate even if we had fewer men available to become casualties. The germans were losing a two-front war and balancing their forces to fall back at the correct rate on both fronts. Though they did not admit they were doing so, of course.

If we had agreed to a separate peace, we could have taken Germany with essentially zero casualties. We would probably have had to make some concessions -- reduced war crimes trials, survival of the german high command, etc. But we weren't willing to double-cross our good ally the USSR.

Bomb 500 german cities to save 150,000 troops? Well, but we would not estimate 150,000. We'd estimate we'd lose millions. Maybe 3 million. Maybe 5 million. It's easy to get counterfactual estimates.


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That Japan surrendered after the second nuke was a tossup.  If the coup had succeeded, they would not have surrendered.

Could the coup have "succeeded"?  What would it mean for it to succeed? I claim there was no way in hell that could have succeeded, but it could have delayed a surrender for perhaps a few weeks while they got things sorted out. How many more cities would we bomb in the meantime? I dunno. How many more bombs did we have? I did a quick search and got some hints there might have been one more bomb or maybe none. We definitely didn't have U235 for another of that kind. I don't know whether we had another plutonium bomb or not.

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In which case we would have fried Japan from one end to the other, and been fully justified in doing so.

Japan was very useful to us during the cold war. I am not much interested in what JamesD considers a moral justification. He and I tend to disagree about that, and anyway it's a personal thing -- moral justifications for nations turn into just things for citizens to argue about. But in terms of what's useful -- it's hard to say whether dropping 2 bombs on Japan was useful to us. Maybe so. We had the chance to scare Stalin, and lost the chance to use it as a secret weapon. But I'm clear that dropping 500 nukes on Japan would not have been useful even if they did not surrender immediately.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on November 27, 2010, 09:22:05 pm
So apparently, you are giving up on your claim that there are pacifists on this Forum.

In practice, people only claim to be pacifists in relation to wars.  If someone opposes all collective violence on the basis that it is collective, he is a pacifist, just as much as if he opposed all collective violence on the basis that it is violent.

Jamesd's definition of "pacifism" is akin to those whose definition of "isolationism" excludes those who are willing and even eager to trade with outsiders, but not send military forces in to subjugate them; it suits his own ends as the expense of accuracy and reality.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 28, 2010, 01:43:02 pm
those whose definition of "isolationism" excludes those who are willing and even eager to trade with outsiders, but not send military forces in to subjugate them;
That sounds like the definition of "isolationism" one finds in a dictionary; it has nothing to do with trade, but with the willingness to stand by and watch as peaceful nations not guilty of aggression are subjugated by aggressors for no reason.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on November 28, 2010, 06:28:11 pm
Claiming that the world would have been destroyed if the US had not "won" WW II is one of the more asinine pieces of counterfactual idiocy to clutter the landscape.

Hitler not only intended to eradicate the Jews, but also the French.

The Japanese had a similar plan for Australians.

Not the end of the world I suppose, except for Australians, but a world dominated by such powers, it might well be the end of the world.  When they acquired nukes, one would rule all, or the world would be destroyed.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on November 29, 2010, 08:13:46 am
I'm properly astounded by the last panel of today's comic. It almost appears that two of the miscreants will actually make an honest effort to take advantage of the chance provided them, by the way they're looking at each other.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Oneil on November 30, 2010, 03:43:03 am
Speaking of Atomic Bombs and in particular the usage mentioned against Japan in WWII. 

I am a Proud American, and as one I have the right to openly disagree and discuss any decisions made by my government with no fear of a midnight knock on my door.  So, some will see little value in my saying this on this topic.

I have always thought using the atomic bombs where a horrible mistake.  Now if you take a moment and realize that in the 1940's they did not have any concept of just how heinous and not just limited to "Local" area the effects of using even a few atomic weapons actually was.  How many years did various nations continue with above ground testing, using "Volunteers" marched into the exposure zones before they realized the stupidity of it.

If we could rewind time, and provide the decision makers with better information I would like to think they would never have dropped those Atomic Bombs on Japan. 

In the end, I think continued mass horror of fire bombing Japan would have ended the war with no invasion.

So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: macsnafu on November 30, 2010, 11:24:43 am
I have always thought using the atomic bombs where a horrible mistake.  Now if you take a moment and realize that in the 1940's they did not have any concept of just how heinous and not just limited to "Local" area the effects of using even a few atomic weapons actually was.  How many years did various nations continue with above ground testing, using "Volunteers" marched into the exposure zones before they realized the stupidity of it.

When I think about it, I have to agree.  Even if they didn't know the full effect that an atomic bomb would have, dropping it upon civilians and not military targets is just plain wrong.  That makes President Harry Truman a war criminal for ordering the bombs to be dropped.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on November 30, 2010, 12:11:07 pm

If we could rewind time, and provide the decision makers with better information I would like to think they would never have dropped those Atomic Bombs on Japan.

I would like to think that too. Certainly Truman lacked information. As Vice President he lacked a need-to-know and so they sprung it on him suddenly after he was the boss. But of course your guess is a countefactual, it didn't happen and so we have no way to find out how hard it would have been to make it happen.

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In the end, I think continued mass horror of fire bombing Japan would have ended the war with no invasion.

I expect you're right. For that matter, the blockade might have been enough. The army in China lacked supplies. The women and old men in Japan lacked food and coal. They plain couldn't keep it going much longer. More counterfactuals, of course.

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So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock

Well, but think about it. Imagine that we could have done that, and that we did it. Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would. They would point out that without the bombing we would have lost the whole invasion force, millions of men. We would have invaded at D-Day, and we would have marched east, and as we spread out and our supply lines got longer, while the german lines got shorter, suddenly the germans would counter-attack. They would get behind our lines and cut them up. They would race to our ports and landing areas and take those, and the whole thing would be lost.

They would point out that if we had waited, the Germans would have killed everybody in the concentration camps. We could not have saved any of them.

And suppose we had somehow survived the Battle of the Bulge, after Hitler was gone we would have up to 90 divisions facing five times as many Russian divisions. Could we have held back the Russians? Could we fight an adequate rear-guard action so that many of our troops could be evacuated back to Britain?

After we won the war using 500 nukes, it would seem obvious that we could not have won any other way. Suppose that we had only 3 bombs. We drop them on Berlin and two other cities and it would not be decisive; Germany would keep fighting and would put US POWs in each of their remaining cities.

More counterfactuals. More claims about what must have inevitably happened if we had not done what we did. And a lot of americans would believe those claims to the point that they would argue as long as you liked any time the topic came up.

I'm not sure it would be like that, but doesn't it seem plausible? It's lucky we did not have 500 nukes then or we would be testing my claims. Those people would be arguing that it was 100% necessary to use those nukes and that when you claim there could have been another way, you don't know how wrong  you are.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: ShireSilver on December 01, 2010, 05:56:03 am
After we won the war using 500 nukes, it would seem obvious that we could not have won any other way.

I just want to point out that the same thing can be said for dropping hundreds of tons of conventional bombs on cities. It seems obvious (to most people) that we wouldn't have won the war if we didn't send hundreds of planes over large cities, firebombing some in ways that were pretty much as destructive and horrifying as using nukes.

I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on December 01, 2010, 05:56:51 am
So, to see someone say something like "What if you had irradiated Germany and all points downwind for the half-life of the fissile material of 500 Atomic Bombs..."   Leaves me in udder shock
Well, but think about it. Imagine that we could have done that, and that we did it. Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would. They would point out that without the bombing we would have lost the whole invasion force, millions of men. We would have invaded at D-Day,
A great many people died on D-Day in the invasion force, even if enough survived to continue the attack.

They would point out that if we had waited, the Germans would have killed everybody in the concentration camps. We could not have saved any of them.
While there were a few survivors of the concentration camps, most of the killing took place late in the war. Had Germany been defeated a year earlier, hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million or more, lives could have been saved.

Thus, rather than your examples showing how ridiculous it was to argue that we should have used atomic bombs before D-Day, it shows that this would have saved many lives. And, of course, before D-Day, it wasn't absolutely certain World War II would have resulted in an Allied victory. That's already enough reason to hit them with everything we've got.

And, of course, had that happened before Hitler invaded Russia, as a nice bonus the Allies would have been occupying Russia as well as Germany - so Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungary would have been free after the war ended, just like France and Holland and Belgium and Norway.

Now, you are right that the civilian populations of countries under dictatorship are still people, so they shouldn't really be off the moral radar - but given the horrific consequences of dictatorship, and the immense human costs if it spreads, I really don't see that there is an alternative.

I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.
Then Germany shouldn't have sunk the Lusitania, and it shouldn't have promised Mexico a chunk of the United States.

Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Suppressing aggression is precisely what is required for free markets to function, isn't it?

Also, had nukes been dropped on Germany before Lenin arrived in Russia in that sealed train, before the Mensheviks were overthrown... we could have ended up living in a world in which Russia, starting from Alexander Kerensky, and China, starting from Sun Yat-Sen, became thriving democracies and close friends of the United States.

Germany in World War I was very destructive. American intervention helped promote the survival of many of the civilized nations of Europe, such as France; how can that possibly be considered dispensable?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: ShireSilver on December 01, 2010, 06:17:25 am
I like the idea that if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved in WWI, there wouldn't have been a WWII. I think that is the better scenario.

Then Germany shouldn't have sunk the Lusitania, and it shouldn't have promised Mexico a chunk of the United States.

Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Suppressing aggression is precisely what is required for free markets to function, isn't it?

Germany in World War I was very destructive. American intervention helped promote the survival of many of the civilized nations of Europe, such as France; how can that possibly be considered dispensable?

What did sinking a known British warship have to do with Americans? The Lusitania had been registered and reported as an armed merchant cruiser, under the control of the Royal Navy. From the perspective of a sub commander, who likely didn't have up to date information anyway, it was a valid target.

And the Great War had become pretty much a stalemate, with no side clearly winning. That changed when the U.S. entered. So the situation changed from one where all sides were getting fatigued and possibly ready to end the war with a mutually acceptable agreement to one where one side demanded total and humiliating surrender. In great part it was the overwhelmingly punitive demands of the winners that allowed Hitler to rise to power.

And as far as the Somali pirates go, they don't seem to be attacking armed ships, only the ones that are defenseless. In an an-cap world, the pirates would be far fewer and probably only survive at all by their attacks being inside jobs.

Yes, a free market requires the suppression of aggression, but the best suppressor of aggression is the free market itself. Free people defending themselves can do a far better job of it than governments can.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 01, 2010, 12:33:32 pm
Wouldn't apologists for it then argue that it was the only possible course of action? Of course they would.

Thus, rather than your examples showing how ridiculous it was to argue that we should have used atomic bombs before D-Day, it shows that this would have saved many lives. And, of course, before D-Day, it wasn't absolutely certain World War II would have resulted in an Allied victory. That's already enough reason to hit them with everything we've got.

I rest my case.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on December 01, 2010, 03:37:44 pm
Somalian pirates are attacking ships belonging to companies in Japan and other major world nations with impunity these days, even taking Europeans hostage. This is the sort of thing that happens when the industrialized democracies, for one reason or another (specifically the Cold War and its legacy) do not make it abundantly clear that you do not mess around with their citizens if you know what's good for you.

Before 1920, every merchant ship had some light artillery, and a big bunch of light arms in the captain's locker.  If today every merchant ship had similar, the Somali pirates would be dead or out of business.

What we are seeing is not that past governments were better at defending their subjects, but that government stops people from defending themselves, then fails to defend them.

Right now, the most pressing threat is that from Islam.  After nine-eleven, I set to reading a bit of history, and found that this was in fact the most common failure mode - that by and large, Muslims succeeded in subjugating people disarmed, but not defended, by their governments.

There were three big and important successes in state to state warfare between Islam and Christendom - Charles the hammer, King Sobieski, and the Holy League, and one could argue that lacking those great victories, we would all be subject to Islam today - but that was three victories in thirteen hundred years.  Most of the real successes, such as the reconquest of Spain, primarily relied on small scale warfare by non state, ministate, and quasi state groups, with the heavy lifting done by settlers, settler militias, mercenaries, state sponsored pirates, and state sponsored brigands.

The greatest success in the war with Islam was Charles the Great, and what made him great was not creating a desert between Dar al Islam and Christendom by conventional state to state warfare, but sponsoring private smaller scale warfare:  He franchised the brand name of the Holy Roman Empire out to private adventurers, much as Al Quaeda franchises its brand name.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Plane on December 01, 2010, 07:40:29 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?



        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

         Hog farms on the moon a century in the future are less mechanised than the hog farms of the US  are at present?

         The unskilled labor of a farm worker will pay off the value of a spaceship or was the damage to the spaceship relitively minor?

          Poorly skilled criminals have always been able to cause havoc or damage of far more value than they were able to repay with unskilled labor, I don't know how this would change in a society even more dependant on highly skilled labor than the present or the past.

          If a criminal caused destruction far in excess of his earning power over any reasonable expectation for his lifespan , should his indenturement become generational?

 


           This leads me to wonder what a man hour of unskilled labor is going to be worth in the future , are robots and automatic equipment going to be hard to obtain in space? Will there be an intrinsic worth to a human being doing a task that a robot could have done? Will robots be more expensive for some reason I haven't imagined?

   Menial labor is already obsolite in some applications, how is good honest but less skilled labor going to valued in our future?



Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 01, 2010, 08:30:46 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

         Hog farms on the moon a century in the future are less mechanised than the hog farms of the US  are at present?

I don't know. Pigs is pigs. Maybe people like "organic" pigs, so robot swineherds are out.

         The unskilled labor of a farm worker will pay off the value of a spaceship or was the damage to the spaceship relitively minor?

The ship was trashed, but there wasn't much damage. In any case, humans rendering personal services are very highly paid. As I am sure you are aware, the richer a society is, the rarer are people being servants or doing menial labor. An upcoming arc will touch on this phenomenon.

          Poorly skilled criminals have always been able to cause havoc or damage of far more value than they were able to repay with unskilled labor, I don't know how this would change in a society even more dependant on highly skilled labor than the present or the past.

Who said these criminals were poorly skilled? Again, re-examine your premises about economics in a very rich society. Example: I have a maid who comes in once a week. I could no more afford that service in the US than to fly to the moon. In Panama, I can. The richer the society, the more expensive people are, no matter what they are doing.

          If a criminal caused destruction far in excess of his earning power over any reasonable expectation for his lifespan , should his indenturement become generational?
 
Of course not. That would be deeply immoral. I am shocked anyone would ask such a question. The cornerstones of Belter society are individualism, free market anarchism and the Zero Aggression Principle. And if you are wondering what happens if the working off the debt dies before he has finished, it's simple. The person to whom the debt is owned is SOL (shit out of luck). Tough. Life is not only not fair, it cannot even be made fair. "Fairer" is about the best you can hope for.

           This leads me to wonder what a man hour of unskilled labor is going to be worth in the future , are robots and automatic equipment going to be hard to obtain in space? Will there be an intrinsic worth to a human being doing a task that a robot could have done? Will robots be more expensive for some reason I haven't imagined?

   Menial labor is already obsolite in some applications, how is good honest but less skilled labor going to valued in our future?

¿Quien sabe? I am not a time traveler from the future. (Though I am a time traveler from the past. I have traveled 64 years into the future. Things are really different than in my time.) I just write stories that I think made some sense, given some presumptions. Change the presumptions, change the logical future.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 01, 2010, 10:29:18 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you? If you don't subscribe to ZAP you might hope to take him out back around the barn and apply some pesuasion.

What's your likely result from suing him? Well, you get to make it publicly known that he's still in debt. If you don't, he gets free of his obligation when you do, and people might trust him the same way they'd trust you. So you at least keep that from happening. Also if you sue him, you/re stating publicly that he isn't your good friend any more. That could help your reputation some.

There could be indirect advantages to suing him. But the direct advantage looks unlikely. He didn't pay off the debt you paid off for him. What's the chance he'll pay off yours?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: terry_freeman on December 01, 2010, 11:16:52 pm
Why might person A work off person B's debt, B being a fellow felon in the same crime?

It is an error to think that the behavior of B toward "all of society" is the same as the behavior of B toward more closely coupled people; it can fairly be assumed that people who choose to jointly engage in a felony have some trust of each other.

You have heard of "prisoner's dilemma", right? In the real world, social norms among bands of thieves make snitching rare. Their judicial methods might not exactly adhere to ZAP, but they do enforce the "don't snitch" rule.

In a hypothetical future AnCap society, it is likely that bands of thieves will also develop "don't slack off when repaying debt" norms. Exceptions will exist - as Sandy said, not only is life unfair, you can't make it fair - so let's accept what we can work with.

I don't know if the debt will be "joint and several" or will be apportioned equally in law; if it is joint and several, then anti-slacking norms will evolve fairly quickly. The extrajudicial enforcement methods may involve a certain amount of "take him out to the woodshed" methodology.





Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on December 02, 2010, 12:56:54 am
Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you? If you don't subscribe to ZAP you might hope to take him out back around the barn and apply some pesuasion.
I don't see that ZAP comes into it. If you get to sue him, that means that persuasion, applied through the society's normal means of arbitration, at least, is not aggression. So, since Merry's methods didn't work on him, this time it's ankle bracelets.

Of course not. That would be deeply immoral. I am shocked anyone would ask such a question. The cornerstones of Belter society are individualism, free market anarchism and the Zero Aggression Principle. And if you are wondering what happens if the working off the debt dies before he has finished, it's simple. The person to whom the debt is owned is SOL (shit out of luck). Tough. Life is not only not fair, it cannot even be made fair. "Fairer" is about the best you can hope for.
Even I agree that servitude for the descendants of criminals is immoral. (I might make exceptions when it comes to big crimes like wars of aggression that I despair of dealing with in a non-collective manner, but not for obvious individual crimes.)

It is true that in an otherwise wealthy society under Belter-like circumstances, human labor, even when unskilled, will be valuable.

Where the prospects of repaying a debt incurred through criminality are dim, though, I could see a society that at least largely subscribes to the ZAP taking the attitude that if it isn't aggression, it isn't wrong, and doing things that might shock some people nowadays. You've caused more damage than you can ever repay? Fine, we'll see how much you're worth as transplant organs.

A prosperous, healthy society, though - rather than a crowded one where labor is cheap - is likely to be inclined more towards forgiveness than vindictiveness. So I don't think it's inaccurate or unfairly favoring AnCap for you to choose not to portray a bloody-minded version of AnCap.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 02, 2010, 09:01:48 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you?

Nothing, but the purpose of the exercise is to make the victim whole, or as whole as possible. What happens after that is your tough luck if you were a part of the criminal conspiracy. You picked your co-conspirators, so live with your choice.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 04, 2010, 02:22:29 am

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you?

Nothing, but the purpose of the exercise is to make the victim whole, or as whole as possible. What happens after that is your tough luck if you were a part of the criminal conspiracy. You picked your co-conspirators, so live with your choice.

Fair enough.

I guess one result of suing him is you make it clear that he is still in debt, that his debt is not paid off. That could be useful information for people who might otherwise trust him too much.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 04, 2010, 06:39:50 am
I guess one result of suing him is you make it clear that he is still in debt, that his debt is not paid off. That could be useful information for people who might otherwise trust him too much.

Bingo.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Oneil on December 07, 2010, 04:45:06 am
How do you think the AnCap outpost will deal with a "Card Shark"?   Card Sharks can only survive in a large group of gamblers that have constant new faces, or they themselves keep moving. 

Speaking of the future and shocking possibilities, how long until you expect criminal reform and medical treatment to merge?   Medical alterations or therapy to "Correct" criminal behavior. 



My shock at 500 Atom Bombs had more to do with adding to the stupidity of raising the earths natural background radiation. 
Of course anyone not concerned with such things is welcome to free housing and quiet neighborhoods in Pripyat Ukraine.


I'm not sure it would be like that, but doesn't it seem plausible? It's lucky we did not have 500 nukes then or we would be testing my claims. Those people would be arguing that it was 100% necessary to use those nukes and that when you claim there could have been another way, you don't know how wrong  you are.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: illusion38108 on December 07, 2010, 05:18:31 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 07, 2010, 08:30:36 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?

Some people will not do business with you at all. Others will deal with you, but charge you more or only deal with you on a cash basis. Of course, there will be some bleeding hearts (i.e., modern "liberals) who do not believe people should be held accountable for their acts. ("It was society's fault," "we all killed Kennedy," etc.). They will give the deadbeats preferential treatment. Fortunately, this is a self-limiting problem.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 09:39:35 am
How do you think the AnCap outpost will deal with a "Card Shark"?   Card Sharks can only survive in a large group of gamblers that have constant new faces, or they themselves keep moving.  

For a gambler to support himself at the same standard of living as the people he wins from, if he gambles with n people he needs to win on average 1/n of their income. To do that on a long-term basis, they have to not mind losing 1/n of their income to him regularly. Since they have a limited amount of spare time they can spend enjoying losing that money, that's unlikely. So he wins money from people who think they can beat him, and when they learn they can't then they stop playing with him.

Also he has the problem he might play against somebody with a computer chip embedded in their head, who can run a million bayesian simulations on each hand. He'd have trouble winning on the odds then. He would eventually get caught cheating.

Maybe there's some other way. He might find a quick scam that gives people enough pleasure they don't mind paying for it.


Quote
My shock at 500 Atom Bombs had more to do with adding to the stupidity of raising the earths natural background radiation.  
Of course anyone not concerned with such things is welcome to free housing and quiet neighborhoods in Pripyat Ukraine.

Sure. But look how many above-ground nuclear tests have been carried out since then. Around 520, not counting secret ones that never got announced. We decided the fallout wasn't as important as more testing, until after a long time scientists persuaded the public it was probably important. It was sheer luck that we didn't have a strong anti-science movement then.

"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all. There's no scientific consensus on it, the people who say scientists agree are liars. You say worldwide cancer rates are going up? They were going up before the background radiation levels went up, and they kept going up in years when there was no above-ground testing. That proves it has natural causes, not radiation. It's all a hoax to make us stop the nuclear tests which are vital to US security and national survival."

Despite whatever real results came, we would have lots of apologists saying that dropping 500 nukes on Germany was the only thing that could have worked. Note Quadriblock arguing that it would have been best, even when we know what happened without it.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 09:47:08 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?

Lots of people would sell to you, for cash.

If you persuade a potential employer that you would get results, he might trust you to do the work and then he pays you. The story might make a difference too. He might believe that the particular person you didn't pay was not like him, and the more you establish a long-term relationship where you keep your word with him, the more he'll trust that. In the meantime, you can work at a discount -- he doesn't have to pay you as much because fewer people want you.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 07, 2010, 11:35:14 am
"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all..."

There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation. Decide for yourself. Google:

     radiation hormesis
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on December 07, 2010, 01:14:07 pm
Radiation hormesis -- thank you, Sandy!!  I'm a radiation-safety ("health physics") tech; we're almost not allowed to even breathe the word "hormesis" anywhere near "radiation".  But you are so right -- the data, good data, are there.  As in any field, however, the renowned "peer review" process has its dark side, in that if your research contradicts "what everybody knows", it may never get the chance to prove how good or well done it is.

In addition to the data, there is this more or less philosophical point:  radioactives "decay" ultimately to a stable isotope, yes?

Therefore (barring new material from nearby novas) the background radiation levels, planetside, are falling.  Yes?  (Yes, I know there are cosmogenic radioactives being created here all the time; cite me something that suggests they are increasing, and I'll consider them; meantime, all the primordial radioactives that Earth started with are decaying, for a net loss of background radiation.)

Therefore current life is adapted to slightly higher background radiation than it currently finds itself in; indeed, it must have originated in a notably higher background field.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 04:44:44 pm
"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all..."

There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation. Decide for yourself. Google:

     radiation hormesis

I'm familiar with this idea. The first time I ran into it was when I did a high school science fair project, I irradiated jack beans with x-rays and looked at their growth. I expected to find them growing slower and less with increasing dosage, but what happened was they grew faster, the ones I gave the most x-rays grew the fastest. My doses were far too small. So I did a quick second study, I irradiated larger samples of beans with far more x-rays and looked at how many had slowed germination, since germination was about all I had time for at that point. The beans which got the most radiation germinated fastest. I suggested this might be used by businesses which grow beansprouts.

Two years before another student did a similar study with planaria. He cut flatworms in half and irradiated them, and looked at how long it took them to grow new halves. He found that small amounts of gamma rays made them grow faster, though larger amounts slowed their growth or killed them.

This sort of effect is often seen. And there are similar effects of other sorts. Like, in some circumstances being infected with tuberculosis improves resistance to other diseases.

So should we conclude that low levels of ionizing radiation are healthy?

Here's an alternate possibility. Imagine that your body has a fixed amount of some resource. Perhaps the cells in your immune system have a limited number of cell generations they can go through before you die, and so you can do a limited amount of clonal selection. You arrange a long life by slowing those things down when they aren't needed. When you get sick your body uses the amount of that resource needed to recover -- somehow predicting, failing when it isn't enough and the sickness persists and requires more of the resource, failing in the other direction when it uses more than is needed.

Then anything which causes that resource to be used quicker could make you feel good in the short run, balanced out by a shorter lifespan.

This could be true of ginseng, for example. It could poison you in ways that cause you to expend that resource faster and so you feel better in the short run.

It could be argued that my model is overcomplicated and there isn't enough solid data to support it. On the other hand, consider the simpler model -- it assumes that a wide variety of species have evolved in a way that leaves them less healthy unless they get exposed to much more ionising radiation than they can usually get. Presumably this is because of things that are poorly regulated, that are only turned on with the radiation although each individual would be better off if they were turned on more without radiation. I say this is not a plausible model.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on December 07, 2010, 05:25:49 pm
Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation.
Extrapolation is indeed a poor guide to predicting phenomena. Arthur C. Clarke provided a short table of the history of the increase in speed in transportation in his Profiles of the Future... which indicated a trend line that would have us travelling faster than light in a few decades.

In general, though, scientists are skeptical of any prediction unless the phenomenon being predicted results from a mechanism they can understand.

Thus, the argument over the Copernican system didn't get settled until Newton came up with the inverse-square law of gravity, by means of which the solar system made sense as an ordinary mechanical system - provided the Earth went around the Sun, and not vice versa.

It wasn't possible for scientists at first to accept that rocks could fall from the sky... until it was realized that there were rocks in the sky.

And Wegener's theory of continental drift languished until people knew more about the interior of the Earth, so that the theory of plate tectonics became possible - Brazil might fit nicely into Africa, but the response stays at "That's nice" until it becomes apparent that the solid rock of the Earth's crust really does sit on a molten mantle soft enough to allow continents to move.

There is evidence of radiation hormesis, but we don't really know how or why it should happen. And it seems as if every little bit of radiation exposure carries with it a small probability of chromosome damage, with its attendant consequences. So the mechanism behind extrapolating radiation exposure risks downwards is understood - the probability of a cell getting radiation damage of a sort that would turn it into the starting point for a cancer does scale linearly with radiation exposure. That stimulating the body's defense mechanisms every now and then seems to more than make up for that... do you want to bet your life on something we don't really understand?

Also, susceptibility to cancer is affected by genetics. Some people have immune systems that are good at getting rid of cancer cells - and others don't. So, it could be that the "no safe level" model does work for some people, a subgroup of the people most likely to get cancer anyways.

Maybe a little radiation is good for you. But it will be hard to put much faith in that until we know why it is.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 07:12:47 pm

In addition to the data, there is this more or less philosophical point:  radioactives "decay" ultimately to a stable isotope, yes?

Therefore (barring new material from nearby novas) the background radiation levels, planetside, are falling.  Yes?  (Yes, I know there are cosmogenic radioactives being created here all the time; cite me something that suggests they are increasing, and I'll consider them; meantime, all the primordial radioactives that Earth started with are decaying, for a net loss of background radiation.)

Therefore current life is adapted to slightly higher background radiation than it currently finds itself in; indeed, it must have originated in a notably higher background field.

This is a question where we must reason from inadequate data or from no data. I am very good at that kind of thing.

So first, you're right. In the absence of any radioactivity coming in from outside, or any new radioactive materials produced fresh, the radioactivity must diminish over time. As time goes on, the background is increasingly dominated by the longest-halflife isotope. Everything else dwindles away, leaving only that isotope and its daughters which tend to have a faster half-life.

Should we then assume that in the past the background radioactivity has gradually and slowly diminished, and that's all that happened? Well, no.

First, there's some evidence for periodic extinction events. The last time I looked there was so little data that there were multiple candidates for the period, so it was pretty weak data. But one of the wild guesses was that the period was the same as the time that Sol travels one time around the galaxy. And they hypothesized that there might be some radiation source which did not revolve with the galaxy, and every time we get close to it we get dosed. That would give us a big dose of radiation once in a long while, and the species that happened by accident to be ready for that would survive better than others.

There could be periodic or aperiodic bursts of radiation with a shorter average time. Like, once every so often humanity might develop the technology to make nuclear weapons and then bomb ourselves back to the stone age. The net long-run effect would be to reduce the radioactivity faster, as long-lived isotopes fissioned. But in the short run the background count would get kind of spiky.

Reversals of the earth's magnetic field might result in radiation spikes, or might not. The data is weak.

If bursts of ionising radiation happen frequently, like every 10,000 years or so, then it would be more important to have defenses that work well when that happens, than to have those same defenses make a small improvement in survival at other times. Individuals with defects in regulation of those defenses would tend to die in the hot time, and they would only start evolving toward new regulation in between times.

What can we conclude about the level of radioactivity when life was first evolving? Not much. Though it makes sense it was high if life evolved fresh on earth soon after earth cooled enough to have liquid water, and if the radioactivity was spread uniformly through the earth.

Could life today be poorly evolved to live in as low a background rate as exists today? Possibly. It depends.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on December 07, 2010, 07:33:27 pm
There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year! They oughta have 'em, too.  ;-)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 08:14:56 pm

There is evidence of radiation hormesis, but we don't really know how or why it should happen. And it seems as if every little bit of radiation exposure carries with it a small probability of chromosome damage, with its attendant consequences. So the mechanism behind extrapolating radiation exposure risks downwards is understood - the probability of a cell getting radiation damage of a sort that would turn it into the starting point for a cancer does scale linearly with radiation exposure. That stimulating the body's defense mechanisms every now and then seems to more than make up for that... do you want to bet your life on something we don't really understand?

You brought up one of the arguments. Radiation damage appears to scale linearly, and if you extrapolate the line down to zero on the y axis, it isn't at zero on the x axis. So if we assume it's linear then there ought to be a threshold with no damage.

But what if it isn't linear? What if it's, say, quadratic? Get out along the arm of a parabola and it will take a lot of data to tell it isn't straight. There are a lot of functions like that. A logistic curve for one. There's a section near the middle that's nearly straight, and a section at the front and bottom that's nearly straight, and one near the top and right. When you get a whole lot of radiation, more doesn't make much difference. Dead is dead.

We have genetic repair mechanisms that fix lots of DNA damage, but they don't get it all and sometimes they misrepair things. Isn't it reasonable that it might not be linear with dose but more like some sort of gamma function? The sum of lots of exponentials?

To me it's plausible that rather than a threshold where below that there is no damage, there might be more like half a threshold. Likely you could model it as two linear functions, with the one near zero having a slower slope, and you wouldn't be far off -- farthest off where they meet. But I don't have the data. I'm making up something that looks plausible to me from the limited data I have seen.

I would much rather we do experiments on all this, than increase the background radiation everywhere in the hope that it won't be bad. If you're against doing anything about global warming on the idea that it would be disruptive to do anything significant and it isn't proven that it would help, that same argument goes about a thousand times as much against spreading radioactivity.

Nuclear war (and even nuclear accident) is disruptive. And it isn't at all proven that fallout is good for you in the long run.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 07, 2010, 09:45:38 pm
Nuclear war (and even nuclear accident) is disruptive. And it isn't at all proven that fallout is good for you in the long run.

Actually, it is. You don't need to speculate. Read the literature hormesis. Especially the studies about the improved health, in the Goldie Locks zones around ground zero for the nukes dropped on Japan.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on December 07, 2010, 11:52:34 pm
My shock at 500 Atom Bombs had more to do with adding to the stupidity of raising the earths natural background radiation. 
Of course anyone not concerned with such things is welcome to free housing and quiet neighborhoods in Pripyat Ukraine.

Lots of people live, illegally, near the Chernobyl reactor.  The government tries to force them out, and sometimes succeeds, but they keep sneaking back.  Life flourishes in and around the reactor.

To live in the vicinity of Chernobyl is treated the way witch finders treat those who doubt the existence of witches.

Here is a description of the Chernobyl cooling ponds: (http://scotteurope2009.travellerspoint.com/10/)
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I saw that he was carrying the big loaves in his arms. "Follow me," he said as he led us to a railroad bridge near the reactor building which spanned a section of the Chernobyl nuclear facility cooling pond. We carefully stepped from tie to tie on the bridge until we were out in the middle. Our guide then broke off and handed us each large fistfuls of the bread. "Watch this," he said, and he tossed a piece as big as his hand down into the water. We all watched as the bread splashed and floated about 20 feet below. Suddenly there was a boiling in the water and a huge mouth appeared from below, vacuuming the bread down like a grain of rice. The creature headed back for the bottom and we stared in disbelief as its long, dark body slid past. I could not believe it when the great fish's tail finally smacked the water's surface. "What the hell was that?" I gasped in horror. "Catfish," the guide replied, tossing in more giant chunks. "Catfish live here in the cooling pond. They have done well in the warm water from the plant, and the radiation does not seem to have affected them adversely. In fact, the conditions here   actually seem to favor them." My eyes were glued an epic battle below between three of the behemoths for more food. "How big are they?" I asked. "The catfish? Some here are maybe 3 meters. There used to be one here that was really big - huge. They have very large mouths, no?" My mind quickly did the math. 3 meters -   what was that, 8 feet? 9 feet! A little OVER 9 feet! And they do have very large mouths, yes. They looked like they could suck down a toilet. "Do they grow that big because of the radiation?" I asked. "No no, they grow to that size normally.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Plane on December 07, 2010, 11:53:23 pm
 
Posted on: Today at 07:33:27 PMPosted by: Apollo-Soyuz  
Insert Quote
Quote from: SandySandfort on Today at 11:35:14 AM
There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.


Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year! They oughta have 'em, too.  ;-)
...
...

If Hormesis might really stimulated by ionising radiation I have a suggestion for where to gather data on it.

Aircrews fly high enough in the atmosphere to doubble their exposure to Cosmic rays and they keep track of their hours of exposure.

If a reasearcher were to gather the employment records of a few thousand Jumbo Jet aircrew members and compare the hours of their exposure to their health records, a matrix of exposure time vs  helth effects could be made to show how much was beneficial and how much was too much to be beneficial.

I would expect a bell curve to appear if the hormesis effect is real.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 08, 2010, 01:58:05 am
Nuclear war (and even nuclear accident) is disruptive. And it isn't at all proven that fallout is good for you in the long run.

Actually, it is. You don't need to speculate. Read the literature hormesis. Especially the studies about the improved health, in the Goldie Locks zones around ground zero for the nukes dropped on Japan.

I did a quick search of the online literature, never getting to original sources.

I have a bias. I know that most research is done incorrectly and is usually deeply flawed. Usually when I study a research paper carefully I find important flaws. That's the baseline. When I see a result that agrees with what I already believe, I don't pay a whole lot of attention -- it isn't very interesting. I try not to let it influence me since it's probably wrong, but it does tend to have some influence. When I see a paper that I don't believe, I tend to look at it carefully and find the flaws.

I have not found the documents about the japanese victims. But I know ahead of time that this was not a double-blind study. There's a lot of room for Hawthorne effect here. The surviving Hiroshima victims got a whole lot of medical attention because of Hiroshima. Was there a control group which got the same attention, or did they just pick somebody to use as baseline? If the experimental group got medical attention that the control group did not, that gives lots of chances to detect problems early and treat them. Of course it also gives more diagnosed problems to report. But the special treatment afforded the victims could be enough to increase survival for the ones who were not too badly damaged.

I will regard the issue as unproven until I see that the research was flawless.

It is not plausible to me that radiation hormesis would improve health, reproduction, and longevity due to turning on repair systems etc, but natural selection did not result in repair systems etc which are always on, or at least on more often without radiation.

Consider the changes in north america over the last 30,000 years. A whole lot of evolving going on in a short time, geologically speaking. Was the background radiation count so much higher then? And most plants and animals haven't adapted? I can imagine ways that could happen. I wouldn't bet on them.

Far easier for me to believe that radiation hormesis is real, and there are trade-offs. it gives some good results and some bad ones, regarding health and longevity, and we'll find the bad ones with further research.

If it turns out that it's real and there are no bad effects then I will be very pleased, and will want to find out how it works. I'm not real hopeful, but I don't see it's been proven wrong yet.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on December 08, 2010, 09:03:00 am
Quote
Far easier for me to believe that radiation hormesis is real, and there are trade-offs.

There are.  In the exposure range 10R-70R, your risk of developing leukemia is slightly increased, and your risk of breast cancer is decreased.  I'm sorry I can't cite the study for you, but it was in one of the annual BEIR reports iirc.

I'm just an anonymous person on the internet, but fwiw:

Attending various American Nuclear Society conferences, and various Health Physics Society conferences, I have spoken to:

a) a researcher who described what he called the "mega-mouse" experiment, because it involved a million mice.  One control group; one kept in a very low background environment, which included food from which the 40K had been extracted; and 4 groups at progessively higher background levels.  According to my contact, the longest-lived mice were those in the 3x normal background group.

b) a researcher who worked with single-celled critters (chlorella? I forget the specific critter), who were kept in an extremely shielded environment and had their nutrient solution depleted in 40K, and run through several generations to reduce the 40K even further; he said his critters, under the microscope, were textbook-perfect in looks -- and extremely sluggish, barely moving, reproducing rarely if at all.

c) Dr. Bernard Cohen, who compared average home radon levels county by county across the US (~1600 counties), to the lung cancer mortality rates for those counties.  He found a negative correlation:  the higher the average home radon, the lower the mortality.  But wait, said his critics; that runs afoul of the "ecological fallacy"; maybe the counties with low lung cancer mortality had fewer smokers or a lower elderly population, or some such.  So Cohen reevaluated, accounting for something like 54 different socioeconomic variables that could impact lung cancer mortality.  The relationship remained negative.  His critics complained again, so he tried again, taking into account 112 soc-ec variables.  The relationship remained negative.  They complained a third time, and this was when I heard him speak, explaining the nearly 150 different possibly-confounding variables he's considered.   The relationship remains negative.  I do not "remediate" my own home for radon.

d) a Japanese researcher (I can find his info on request) working with terminal cancer patients; they only let him work with those declared terminal.  Instead of chemo, instead of targeted kill-the-tumor radiation, he exposed them to whole-body doses -- "low" doses of merely 7-10R -- twice a week for a few weeks.  He lost a few patients the first year, but fewer than the control group which was on the then chemo "gold standard"; lost a few more the next year, but again fewer than the chemo group lost.  I think he lost one or two more in the third year -- but 5 years out, all the control group had died, but 84% of his trial group was still alive and, at the time of his talk, 14 years later, were still alive.  He has a second similar study running, against the latest (or at least a more recent) chemo "gold standard".  If I ever develop cancer, I'm going to do my durndest to go this route.

The Naval Nuclear Shipyard Workers study is one I think you won't find; to the best of my knowledge, it never achieved publication.  I suggest you find an actual health physicist and take him out for a beer to get the story.  70,000+ workers, all doing much the same work (hence no "healthy laborer" confounding), except that some worked with radioactives and some did not; the ones doing the work for which they needed dosimetry had something like 70% less cancer mortality.

I appreciate that you can't know how well any of these were done.  And please don't think I am advocating nuking anywhere in order to raise the background radiation levels:  I might install some clever device in my home, if it were legal, but then I would have precise control over how much I raised my personal background, which global nuking does not allow.  Moreover, fallout is full of stuff that is chemically toxic -- bleaugh.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 08, 2010, 10:22:31 am
I might install some clever device in my home, if it were legal, but then I would have precise control over how much I raised my personal background, which global nuking does not allow.  Moreover, fallout is full of stuff that is chemically toxic -- bleaugh.

I have a science writer friend who buys old Fiesta Ware plates. The red-orange glazing was made with uranium oxide. It is radioactive. He puts plates in and around his seat at his home work station. You can pick up old Fiesta Ware at second-hand stores. flea markets and garage sales. You should buy a radiation detection device so as to monitor and regulate your daily gamma intake.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on December 08, 2010, 11:40:08 am
According to my contact, the longest-lived mice were those in the 3x normal background group.
OK, if we take this as accurate, then the turnover point for radiation hormesis is too low for this to have much relevance to space colonization.

The NRC fact sheet on radiation (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/bio-effects-radiation.html) notes that the "linear no-threshold" model is used as a conservative rule for estimating radiation risks, and that, in fact, the people in Denver, Colorado don't show a higher rate of cancer than people living at sea level. As this is a highly conservative source, it doesn't say that there are any health benefits to living there - I suppose the improved rates of exercise from increased access to skiing would mask the effect in any case.

Fiesta Ware, however, is a widely sought-after collectable - and IIRC, it isn't radioactive enough to worry about, as long as you don't do silly things with it. (Although I'm not sure what would constitute "silly", as I don't recall the details well enough.)
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 08, 2010, 02:29:18 pm
Quote
Far easier for me to believe that radiation hormesis is real, and there are trade-offs.

There are.  In the exposure range 10R-70R, your risk of developing leukemia is slightly increased, and your risk of breast cancer is decreased.  I'm sorry I can't cite the study for you, but it was in one of the annual BEIR reports iirc.

What about lifespan?

Quote
Attending various American Nuclear Society conferences, and various Health Physics Society conferences, I have spoken to:

a) a researcher who described what he called the "mega-mouse" experiment, because it involved a million mice.  One control group; one kept in a very low background environment, which included food from which the 40K had been extracted; and 4 groups at progessively higher background levels.  According to my contact, the longest-lived mice were those in the 3x normal background group.

This ought to go without saying, but if you want to cmpare against a group with the radioactive potassium removed, you need to remove the radioactive potassium from all of them and then add it back to the others. It doesn't go without saying because often such obvious steps are ignored.

Quote
b) a researcher who worked with single-celled critters (chlorella? I forget the specific critter), who were kept in an extremely shielded environment and had their nutrient solution depleted in 40K, and run through several generations to reduce the 40K even further; he said his critters, under the microscope, were textbook-perfect in looks -- and extremely sluggish, barely moving, reproducing rarely if at all.

Same thing, did they deplete the radioactive potassium from the controls and then add it back? (It probably wasn't chlorella if they ran through a few generations.)

It doesn't make sense that the cells would depend on low levels of radioactivity to survive. More likely, they would have one or more essential enzymes that depend on the isotope that happens to be radioactive, and the other isotopes don't work as well. Or maybe the things they did to deplete the nutrient solution in radioactive potassium introduced some poison.

Quote
c) Dr. Bernard Cohen, who compared average home radon levels county by county across the US (~1600 counties), to the lung cancer mortality rates for those counties.  He found a negative correlation:  the higher the average home radon, the lower the mortality.  But wait, said his critics; that runs afoul of the "ecological fallacy"; maybe the counties with low lung cancer mortality had fewer smokers or a lower elderly population, or some such.  So Cohen reevaluated, accounting for something like 54 different socioeconomic variables that could impact lung cancer mortality.  The relationship remained negative.  His critics complained again, so he tried again, taking into account 112 soc-ec variables.  The relationship remained negative.  They complained a third time, and this was when I heard him speak, explaining the nearly 150 different possibly-confounding variables he's considered.   The relationship remains negative.  I do not "remediate" my own home for radon.

That's a very suggestive result! But why compare only for lung cancer? Why not compare all cancer rates too, and general mortality? I guess the theory is that you get radon daughters floating in the air and they get trapped by lungs, and they stay in the lungs to make lung cancer. But isn't it plausible they might get washed out of the lungs and swallowed? or transported out of the lungs in the blood or lymph? Did they extrapolate from people who breathed enough radon-air to actually measure where it went?

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d) a Japanese researcher (I can find his info on request) working with terminal cancer patients; they only let him work with those declared terminal.  Instead of chemo, instead of targeted kill-the-tumor radiation, he exposed them to whole-body doses -- "low" doses of merely 7-10R -- twice a week for a few weeks.  He lost a few patients the first year, but fewer than the control group which was on the then chemo "gold standard"; lost a few more the next year, but again fewer than the chemo group lost.  I think he lost one or two more in the third year -- but 5 years out, all the control group had died, but 84% of his trial group was still alive and, at the time of his talk, 14 years later, were still alive.  He has a second similar study running, against the latest (or at least a more recent) chemo "gold standard".  If I ever develop cancer, I'm going to do my durndest to go this route.

That's highly suggestive too. I'd hate it to turn out that the standard chemo kills people, and that a homeopathic radiation dose was the closest they could come to an actual control group. Ouch. That would suck. Just imagine, if the standard treatment killed 5/6 of the patients in 5 years, who otherwise would not have died at all. But it would be unethical to deny treatment to patients who "need" it, just to see how long it takes them to die....

But if we discount that possibility it looks very plausible that radiation hormesis could be important in reality. Maybe there was some other variable that was important, but the radiation is the only candidate we know about.

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The Naval Nuclear Shipyard Workers study is one I think you won't find; to the best of my knowledge, it never achieved publication.

It got repeated a whole lot in the quick search I did. I hate it when urban legends get quoted as central claims.

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I suggest you find an actual health physicist and take him out for a beer to get the story.  70,000+ workers, all doing much the same work (hence no "healthy laborer" confounding), except that some worked with radioactives and some did not; the ones doing the work for which they needed dosimetry had something like 70% less cancer mortality.

That sounds suggestive. But the study was nowhere near double-blind. The shipyard workers who were dealing with radioactivity mostly knew it, and the ones who were exposed and didn't know quite likely got assigned to control and no experiment. The ones who dealt with hot stuff may have had their health monitored more closely. (And I don't know whether that would have given them better treatment, or more false positives.) They might have changed their behavior some if they took the risk seriously. But those are yes-buts, not gotchas. It sounds suggestive. Too bad it didn't get published.

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I appreciate that you can't know how well any of these were done.  And please don't think I am advocating nuking anywhere in order to raise the background radiation levels:  I might install some clever device in my home, if it were legal, but then I would have precise control over how much I raised my personal background, which global nuking does not allow.  Moreover, fallout is full of stuff that is chemically toxic -- bleaugh.

Yes. It was Quadribloc who said that if we had had the nukes, we should have thoroughly nuked Germany in WWII even though he wouldn't depend on radiation hormesis.

If this is true it will have tremendous implications. We can mostly stop worrying about nuclear accidents. And nuclear war would be far more acceptable. Israel could nuke Lebanon and not worry about the fallout. I tend to be suspicious of unexpected results that don't quite make sense, that say exactly what a lot of people want to hear. But my suspicion is nothing like a proof that the unexpected result is wrong.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on December 08, 2010, 03:09:22 pm
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Fiesta Ware, however, is a widely sought-after collectable - and IIRC, it isn't radioactive enough to worry about, as long as you don't do silly things with it. (Although I'm not sure what would constitute "silly", as I don't recall the details well enough.)

DO NOT EAT OR DRINK FROM IT.  You know how lead-based glaze can leach lead into your food or drink?  Uranium does that, too, and it's considerably more toxic than lead; in fact, in terms of how it's handled, its chemical toxicity is the more limiting factor, not its radioactivity.

It's true that the dishes are not "radioactive enough to worry about" -- and a good orange Fiestaware plate  pegs the radiation survey meters I use at work.

Heck, you can buy salt substitute at the grocery store, KCl, and if I found a spoonful of it at work and didn't know what it was, I'd have to dispose of it as radwaste, because it does register above background on those same survey meters.

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Quote from: mellyrn on Today at 09:03:00 AM
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Far easier for me to believe that radiation hormesis is real, and there are trade-offs.

There are.  In the exposure range 10R-70R, your risk of developing leukemia is slightly increased, and your risk of breast cancer is decreased.  I'm sorry I can't cite the study for you, but it was in one of the annual BEIR reports iirc.

What about lifespan?

Wasn't addressed; the article was not discussing hormesis at all.  BEIR tends not to go there.

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Same thing, did they deplete the radioactive potassium from the controls and then add it back?

My guy didn't say anything about his controls; his remarks concerned only the appearance & behavior of the low-bkg critters -- so beautiful, but so dead-alive.

Just because a cell is so much water, the most common radiogenic is peroxide.  Peroxide is of course deadly in quantity (hence my mom pouring it on cuts & scrapes), but maybe there is some minimum amount needful for proper functioning.  That's the definition of hormesis, and we observe that many things follow that pattern:  ingesting enough water/vitaminA/salt will kill you, as will too little.

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why compare only for lung cancer?

I imagine it was because the offishul claim is that radon is second only to smoking when it comes to lung cancer.  Uranium miners do have elevated levels of lung cancer, compared to other miners.

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Maybe there was some other variable that was important, but the radiation is the only candidate we know about.

I do wish that principle were more broadly applied.  Proponents of vaccination, for example, cite the dropoff in disease following the introduction of a vaccination program -- totally ignoring that the bringers of vaccination programs tend to bring improvements in hygiene and nutrition, as well.  Talk about confounding factors.

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[Naval Shipyard Workers] got repeated a whole lot in the quick search I did.

Oh, good!  Having got an earful of it @ work, I'd never bothered to see what made it onto the 'net.  The time frame, btw, in case it wasn't clear in your quick search, would have been 1950's-60's-70's; safe handling practices and general attitudes were still evolving.  And the rad workers may have had their health monitored more closely, but iirc the figure was for cancer incidence, not mortality.

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We can mostly stop worrying about nuclear accidents. And nuclear war would be far more acceptable. Israel could nuke Lebanon and not worry about the fallout.

I think the prevailing wind is wrong for Israel to worry about it anyway.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: wdg3rd on December 08, 2010, 04:50:06 pm
Should I develop any sort of cancer, I will definitely refuse chemotherapy.  It's a cure more painful and deadly than the disease.  I've known a few folks who died of chemotherapy (she who would have been my mother-in-law comes to mind) and a few friends who were HIV "positive" who died of AZT poisoning.  I'd rather just discontinue the disulfiram, wait the couple of months for it to get out of my system, and kill myself naturally.  Probably while carrying a couple of chunks of pitchblende in my pockets.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 08, 2010, 10:10:50 pm
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Same thing, did they deplete the radioactive potassium from the controls and then add it back?

My guy didn't say anything about his controls; his remarks concerned only the appearance & behavior of the low-bkg critters -- so beautiful, but so dead-alive.

Just because a cell is so much water, the most common radiogenic is peroxide.

Tritium? No, you must mean free radicals. One of the major results of ionising radiation which then disrupts chemical bonds.

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Peroxide is of course deadly in quantity (hence my mom pouring it on cuts & scrapes), but maybe there is some minimum amount needful for proper functioning.  That's the definition of hormesis, and we observe that many things follow that pattern:  ingesting enough water/vitaminA/salt will kill you, as will too little.

Peroxide is a by-product of oxidative phosphorylation, which is the main energy-producing route in animals and a major one in plants. The last I heard, there were organelles in each eucaryotic cell whose main function was supposed to be to scavenge peroxide. That sounds implausible to me now that I think about it, which I never did before. Perhaps some other function has been found and this is another by-product. There might be some minimum amount of peroxide needed for cells that grow only anaerobicly but I doubt it's a problem for anything else.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peroxisome
I was right. Peroxisomes do all sorts of things with peroxides, ad getting rid of excess peroxide is probably a side effect. It's like if you had a welding shop that had a lot of fire extinguishers, and an unobservant observer thought the place was for putting out fires. Science marches on and I miss a whole lot of it.

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why compare only for lung cancer?

I imagine it was because the offishul claim is that radon is second only to smoking when it comes to lung cancer.  Uranium miners do have elevated levels of lung cancer, compared to other miners.

That makes sense. And it's plausible that the miners' lung cancer would be due to radon daughters rather than radioactive dust. Thought that's something that would deserve evidence too.

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Maybe there was some other variable that was important, but the radiation is the only candidate we know about.

I do wish that principle were more broadly applied.  Proponents of vaccination, for example, cite the dropoff in disease following the introduction of a vaccination program -- totally ignoring that the bringers of vaccination programs tend to bring improvements in hygiene and nutrition, as well.  Talk about confounding factors.

Often the other factors don't change suddenly. Sometimes it would be possible to compare the last few years before a new vaccine is introduced against the first few years afterward. But there's lots of ways to do statistics wrong.

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[Naval Shipyard Workers] got repeated a whole lot in the quick search I did.

Oh, good!  Having got an earful of it @ work, I'd never bothered to see what made it onto the 'net.  The time frame, btw, in case it wasn't clear in your quick search, would have been 1950's-60's-70's; safe handling practices and general attitudes were still evolving.  And the rad workers may have had their health monitored more closely, but iirc the figure was for cancer incidence, not mortality.

Yes! So if they had more of their cancers diagnosed earlier, that would bias the results in the wrong direction to explain the result.

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We can mostly stop worrying about nuclear accidents. And nuclear war would be far more acceptable. Israel could nuke Lebanon and not worry about the fallout.

I think the prevailing wind is wrong for Israel to worry about it anyway.

Sure, but if they nuked somebody and the fallout drifted even to, say, Italy, they could say "Don't worry about it! We're doing you a favor!".And if they nuked Egypt or someplace where the wind gave them back their own fallout, they could tell that to their own people.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Oneil on December 09, 2010, 01:38:52 am
Here is my jab at defining "Silly" in relation to our Planet and Species overall Health.


Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 09, 2010, 07:15:34 am
Here is my jab at defining "Silly" in relation to our Planet and Species overall Health.

  • Overlooking other man made irritants such as processed foods, and the hodgepodge of radio, microwave, and magneticwave frequencies some are subjected to PLUS the Background Radiation in your formula that leads humanity to a "Children of Men" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206634/) type genetic nightmare.   

You're talking about such giant problems that I have to scale back the expectations some. I figure that everything but genetic damage will turn out OK in the long run. Say we have lots of problems in the short run, if we survive them at all then in a relatively few generations we can do OK.

We are close to being able to synthesize chromosomes from scratch. From there it's a simple matter of Somebody Else's Problem and we can clone anything we have a functional genome from. So every species we can catalog genomes for, does not have to be extinct.

Species tend to have a lot of problems when the population size gets down to 100 or so individuals. But if we had 10,000 different genomes for a species we'd probably be pretty much OK. make it 100,000 to be safe. And now we have the hard disk space to do that! About a million species, 100,000 individuals, that's only 100 billion genomes! (Assuming the procaryotes and protozoans can mostly take care of themselves, which they can. We'd probably want to sequence some that we know are important to specific higher plants, etc. Something to coexist with legumes, etc.)

So if we can maintain a technological civilization that can maintain the data and can clone genomes etc, we can restore the world provided we can create an environment those species can survive in.

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  • Pretending elevating overall Radiation Levels is as Harmless as dumping thousands of kilotons of Chlorofluorocarbon's into the atmosphere.

The radiation hormesis claim is that elevating overall radiation levels is far better than dumping chlorofluorocarbons. For a long time there were people who claimed that chlorofluorocarbons were harmless, that there was inadequate data to say otherwise, but they've mostly retreated to saying there's no data for Global Warming and given up on the chlorofluorocarbons. Now it's radiation good, chlorofluorocarbons bad.

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  • Acting as if "Fallout" from Nuclear Weapons will effect only a certain area.  Just as the fools think regulating carbon emissions of developed countries and allowing others freedom to make a spreading smog cloud visible from space solves anything.

Fallout is worst near the strike, and the lower in the atmosphere the detonation takes place the more that's true, right?

What would be a good AnCap position about allowing other nations to pollute or burn fossil fuels? If their actions will tend to kill you, they are committing aggression and it's morally OK to make them stop. But it looks to me like the whole concept is so fraught with problems for libertarians that it's far easier to just claim that it isn't really a problem so nobody needs to be regulated. Then we can all be free.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on December 09, 2010, 07:39:26 am
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And the rad workers may have had their health monitored more closely, but iirc the figure was for cancer incidence, not mortality.

Yes! So if they had more of their cancers diagnosed earlier, that would bias the results in the wrong direction to explain the result.

You lost me.  How does "observing the cancer earlier" relate to "seeing fewer cancers"?  You write so thoughtfully, I know I must be missing something here and have prepared a nice soft pad to thwack myself in the forehead when I get it.

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Tritium? No, you must mean free radicals. One of the major results of ionising radiation which then disrupts chemical bonds.

The only practical way to get tritium produced in a cell is if the radiation is specifically neutron bombardment.  The mind boggles at alphas doing it (I don't know that it's impossible, but it ain't common), and neither beta nor gamma radiation can.  And neutrons don't travel far in air.  "Ionizing" radiation means production of ions, so yes to the free radicals.


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There is evidence of radiation hormesis, but we don't really know how or why it should happen

Indeed we don't.  We don't, because we don't study it.  We don't study it because radiation hormesis is obviously "junk" science.  It's obviously junk because no one can say what the possible mechanism for it might be.... 

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: SandySandfort on December 09, 2010, 10:24:38 am
What would be a good AnCap position about allowing other nations to pollute or burn fossil fuels? If their actions will tend to kill you, they are committing aggression and it's morally OK to make them stop. But it looks to me like the whole concept is so fraught with problems for libertarians that it's far easier to just claim that it isn't really a problem so nobody needs to be regulated. Then we can all be free.

"Other" nations? You really have to kick the collectivist habit of thinking. AnCap societies, qua societies will do nothing. Individuals might. In any case, just because something is morally permitted, doesn't require that you do it.

Personally, if someone burns fossil fuels it's okay with me, unless they are polluting my air. If I thought it were serious enough,* I'd try at least a couple things before trying to stop them by direct force. YMMV

* If the damage is de minimis, I would probably do nothing. The best current example is smoking. If I went to a restaurant that permitted smoking, I'd either put up with it (it is irritating, but not dangerous to my health) or go someplace else. I anticipate you saying something silly like, "Yeah, but what if all the restaurants permitted smoking?" Well, that would be great! I would open a non-smoking restaurant and get all the non-smoker business. I'd make a mint.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 09, 2010, 11:01:04 am
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And the rad workers may have had their health monitored more closely, but iirc the figure was for cancer incidence, not mortality.

Yes! So if they had more of their cancers diagnosed earlier, that would bias the results in the wrong direction to explain the result.

You lost me.  How does "observing the cancer earlier" relate to "seeing fewer cancers"?  You write so thoughtfully, I know I must be missing something here and have prepared a nice soft pad to thwack myself in the forehead when I get it.

If the nuclear workers get more careful medical diagnosis and their cancers are diagnosed earlier, then at any given time they will seem to have more cancers. So that would bias the results to make radiation hormesis less likely to be observed even when it was present. Not make it look like it was there when it wasn't. So that is useless for my purpose which is to look for ways it could look true when it is false.

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There is evidence of radiation hormesis, but we don't really know how or why it should happen

Indeed we don't.  We don't, because we don't study it.  We don't study it because radiation hormesis is obviously "junk" science.  It's obviously junk because no one can say what the possible mechanism for it might be.... 

Yes. That kind of thing happens all the time. "Many things must be seen to be believed. Most things must be believed to be seen."

Here's my objection. It makes no sense to me that extra free radicals are useful. If they were, our cells could produce them easily. My natural thought is that radiation would cause changes to DNA, which triggers DNA repair mechanisms, and those mechanisms assist in disease resistance etc and so promote longevity. Or maybe not DNA repair, but something that assists in disease resistance etc. This fits common observation. Like, if you subject bacteria to something that turns on their DNA repair -- a little bit of radiation, or a harmless virus that injects single-strand DNA, etc -- and then later you give them a lot of radiation, they survive the big dose of radiation easier. Their DNA repair is already going. They don't have to wait to build the repair enzymes from DNA templates which might already be damaged etc.

But the bacteria don't keep those repair mechanisms going all the time. One reason is it makes them grow slower. Another is that some of them do mis-repair. When the DNA is damaged and you have no better way to fix it, a faulty repair is better than nothing. But you don't want it to misrepair healthy DNA. So the DNA repair is triggered by DNA damage.

Here we get mild radiation exposure, and the result is to turn something on that improves survival to better than baseline. And my natural thought is, why turn that off, ever?

Maybe it used to be, there was always enough radiation around to keep it turned on even though there was a mechanism which would have shut it off otherwise? When did the amount of background radiation sink low enough not to keep it turned on? If it was less than, say, 500 years ago there might not be time for natural selection to select it, and we would have a relative few who express it all the time. But if it was 50,000 years ago, we would mostly all have that mutation by now. And even worse for organisms with a shorter lifespan. They would spread the mutation quickly. But they have not.

Does it make sense that the background radiation levels would have dropped a lot in the last 500 years? 1000 years? 10,000 years? I don't think so.

There are loopholes. If the needed mutation was closely linked to something else that was more important, a mutation in the other gene could spread and wipe out the radiation resistance mutations. Then before they can show up and spread again, another competing mutation shows up and pushes them out. That happens, but I'd consider it a big coincidence if it happened repeatedly for this one hypothetical gene.

Maybe it's the radiation itself. Maybe a lot of cancers can be killed off with a tiny amount of radiation before they have grown enough to be diagnosed, and later they are harder to kill. That wouldn't explain resistance to other diseases, but something like it could happen. I think the numbers won't add up -- the dose per cell would be too low -- but that's a guess made before adding up the numbers. Maybe many cancers start out with a single cell that grows fast but is extremely sensitive to radiation, and with low background levels it grows enough that many of its descendents get mutations for radiation resistance. But with a little more radiation they are killed off before they can reproduce enough to get that lucky mutation.

That wouldn't have anything to do with low-level x-rays causing faster growth, but I can imagine the model working. So far that's the only workable one I see. There could be something I don't know about.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 09, 2010, 11:04:42 am
What would be a good AnCap position about allowing other nations to pollute or burn fossil fuels? If their actions will tend to kill you, they are committing aggression and it's morally OK to make them stop. But it looks to me like the whole concept is so fraught with problems for libertarians that it's far easier to just claim that it isn't really a problem so nobody needs to be regulated. Then we can all be free.

Personally, if someone burns fossil fuels it's okay with me, unless they are polluting my air. If I thought it were serious enough,* I'd try at least a couple things before trying to stop them by direct force. YMMV

* If the damage is de minimis, I would probably do nothing. The best current example is smoking. If I went to a restaurant that permitted smoking, I'd either put up with it (it is irritating, but not dangerous to my health) or go someplace else. I anticipate you saying something silly like, "Yeah, but what if all the restaurants permitted smoking?" Well, that would be great! I would open a non-smoking restaurant and get all the non-smoker business. I'd make a mint.

I think when there aren't too many humans this approach can work well.

Like, there's some evidence that the Sahara Desert is growing due to human herders. They feed their flocks off the scrub at the edge of the desert, and kill it off, and the desert expands. Put up a fence and keep them out of an area, and the plants grow back unti they tear down the fence.

It's natural to think about ways to keep the Sahara from growing. But I don't live anywhere near there. I can live someplace else and if they're making the desert get bigger it's their problem, nothing to do with me.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on December 09, 2010, 03:16:17 pm
I am no biologist, so am in no position even to speculate usefully about the mechanisms of radiation hormesis.  I only note that there's a lot of suggestive stuff.  One other point, not directly hormesis but possibly related:

You will find in the mainstream literature (old literature!) the curious effect of "fractionated" doses.  If I slap you with 25R, that's the threshold at which I can do medical tests that will show you've taken a rad-hit -- there will be slight but detectable changes to your blood cell populations.  But if I dose you with, say, 10R, and then several hours later dose you with 25R, I won't be able to find any evidence that you were irradiated, even though your total dose is well over that threshold of detection.  It's not just human; animal studies show this over and over.

As to rad-hormesis making nuclear war more "acceptable", I don't like that idea.  But I like the idea of lying about one's findings even less.  You weren't advocating hiding results that point to hormesis, were you?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: jamesd on December 09, 2010, 03:43:43 pm
Like, there's some evidence that the Sahara Desert is growing due to human herders. They feed their flocks off the scrub at the edge of the desert, and kill it off, and the desert expands. Put up a fence and keep them out of an area, and the plants grow back unti they tear down the fence.

The solution to this problem is guns and barbed wire.

The problem is that in much of Africa, the cost of guns and barbed wire fencing is high relative to land, hence uneconomic to secure clear property rights.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on December 10, 2010, 09:06:35 am

You will find in the mainstream literature (old literature!) the curious effect of "fractionated" doses.  If I slap you with 25R, that's the threshold at which I can do medical tests that will show you've taken a rad-hit -- there will be slight but detectable changes to your blood cell populations.  But if I dose you with, say, 10R, and then several hours later dose you with 25R, I won't be able to find any evidence that you were irradiated, even though your total dose is well over that threshold of detection.  It's not just human; animal studies show this over and over.

Sure. You can see this with UV exposure for bacteria too, and lots of things. If you breathe around 1000 anthrax spores then you're likely to come down with antrax. If you breathe 10 spores a day then after a month or so you can get 1000 or more and be highly resistant.

Basicly you have defenses you can turn on, and they're normally off. Get a challenge dose and you turn on the defenses, and then when you get the bigger exposure the defenses are already on.

So why don't we leave those defenses on all the time? Presumably there's some disadvantage. For bacteria, UV light can kink the DNA at certain spots, and there are proteins which can unkink it. Bacteria that make lots of that protein grow slower because all the resources they put into them means they can't make as much that's immediately useful. Also, having those proteins checking the DNA probably slows down replication and transcription, and might even get in the way of other kinds ofd DNA repair. The anthrax is a special case, your immune system can respond to lots of new threats, but it takes time to make that response. You have a limited amount of flexibility available, and when it's used up it's gone. So you respond to an anthrax threat if it's present, but otherwise you don't waste your potential to defend against something else.

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As to rad-hormesis making nuclear war more "acceptable", I don't like that idea.  But I like the idea of lying about one's findings even less.  You weren't advocating hiding results that point to hormesis, were you?

No, I wasn't. Since I don't tend to think that way, I didn't consider that people who are opposed to nuclear war might tend to hide the truth to make nukes less acceptable.

I was thinking that various evil people might tend to go the opposite way, to exaggerate hormesis and spread misleading rumors etc, for their profit.

To the extent that it's true, we should live with that truth. It looks like a very hard topic to study effectively. A million mice are pretty expensive, but if you study cancer and use mutant mice that get cancers more often than usual, the very things that make them easier to study might make the results irrelevant to normal mice.

Epidemiological studies are suggestive but it's real real hard to control for confounding variables. Still, that's the obvious approach to take. We should get a study prepared and waiting on standby, and after the next small nuclear war we should immediately start to collect data about radiation hormesis etc.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Plane on January 01, 2011, 06:16:21 pm
Like, there's some evidence that the Sahara Desert is growing due to human herders. They feed their flocks off the scrub at the edge of the desert, and kill it off, and the desert expands. Put up a fence and keep them out of an area, and the plants grow back unti they tear down the fence.

The solution to this problem is guns and barbed wire.

The problem is that in much of Africa, the cost of guns and barbed wire fencing is high relative to land, hence uneconomic to secure clear property rights.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=0849350530


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yacouba_Sawadogo

http://africa-regreening.blogspot.com/2010/02/african-re-greening-in-washington.html


http://africa-regreening.blogspot.com/



I agree with you 50%.

This is actually a case in which government has been negative in impact and has interfered with someone who has been working on a doable  solution. This land can be worth something , but it needs educated landowners empowered to fend off desprate goat owners.

 Yacouba Sawadogo is a farmer who knows how to fertilise his soil with a small improvement on traditional means. If the government of Burkina Faso liked him better there would be many square miles more cropland that is now wastland but the government does better to confiscate this guys land and impoverish his family than to allow him to continue to create a plantation of orchards  in this dry land.

Pointing out corruption in an African government seems like pointing out the obvious , but the effect is only more stubtle in the USA, it isn't absent.

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Plane on January 01, 2011, 06:23:38 pm
http://www.asthmahookworm.com/


This thread reminds me of something elese I recently heard of.

There is a theroy that hookworms and other paracites have been the companions of human beings as long as there have been human beings. Our systems are well adapted to cope with these hitchhikers, so well that we miss them when we don't have them.

Can it be that our bodys are so well adapted to repairing radiation damage at a certain level that the absense of radiation releases the copeing mechanism to do mischeif?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on January 20, 2011, 12:19:14 pm
This land can be worth something , but it needs educated landowners empowered to fend off desprate goat owners.
In Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, part of the problem is that th farmers are Christians who live in the south, and the goat owners are Muslims who live in the north.

So far, the African governments in the region have adopted the strategy of forcing the Christian south to share, rather than building a big wall behind which all the Muslims can just go and starve. Presumably, they're trying to avoid a civil war.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on January 20, 2011, 01:38:38 pm


This land can be worth something , but it needs educated landowners empowered to fend off desprate goat owners.
In Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, part of the problem is that th farmers are Christians who live in the south, and the goat owners are Muslims who live in the north.

So far, the African governments in the region have adopted the strategy of forcing the Christian south to share, rather than building a big wall behind which all the Muslims can just go and starve. Presumably, they're trying to avoid a civil war.

Let me edit that for you  :):

Quote from: a "better" quadiblock
In Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, [...] the problem is [...] African governments [...].

Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on January 20, 2011, 09:31:49 pm


This land can be worth something , but it needs educated landowners empowered to fend off desprate goat owners.
In Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, part of the problem is that th farmers are Christians who live in the south, and the goat owners are Muslims who live in the north.

So far, the African governments in the region have adopted the strategy of forcing the Christian south to share, rather than building a big wall behind which all the Muslims can just go and starve. Presumably, they're trying to avoid a civil war.

Let me edit that for you  :):

Quote from: a "better" quadiblock
In Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast, [...] the problem is [...] African governments [...].

Let's imagine that a different way. Imagine there are no african governments. Then the problem is that sedentary AnCap farmers are trying to hold onto more land than they can defend from nomadic AnCap herders.

So, they take it to arbitration. One farmer versus 50 nomads. "This is my land. My fathers have cultivated it for 15 generations. We produce 50 bushels of sorghum per acre, and this is the proven best use for the land." "We need this land for our herds. The desert is encroaching and if we don't get land to replace what we have lost we will die. This man is trying to keep land that should be shared, and if he continues to threaten us when we do nothing more than walk across the land while our animals graze, we will kill him."

If the arbitrator rules against the nomads and they refuse to accept it and kill the farmer, they will get the reputation they already have. Then it's on to the next farmer.

I'm sure there are AnCap solutions. There are probably better AnCap solutions than to tell the nomads they ought to die and then hire a mobile mercenary army to kill off the nomads one herd at a time. But I don't see an obvious default solution.

It looks to me like you might decide who's right based on who can use the land more productively. But that takes a certain amount of knowledge and subjective judgement.

Or you might decide based on who would win in a fight. The guy who makes the most money off the land can afford the best weapons, so he has the better chance? But the side with the better mobility can concentrate forces the best. The most profitable approach may not be the one that produces the best military or the most defensible targets.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on January 21, 2011, 12:28:27 am
But I don't see an obvious default solution.
Oh, I do.

The nomads have suffered a misfortune; the weather has turned bad, and now their animals cannot graze as well.

This is a misfortune. It can be communicated to international aid agencies, which may choose to try to do something to help.

If the country has a government which collects taxes, then using some of them to at least provide these displaced people with the means of bare survival is a reasonable thing to do, in addition to what those taxes are mostly used for - an army to keep the government in power.

It may be that the local farmers will be moved by sympathy and pity to share some of their food with them, although, no doubt, they're not that rich either, and have little enough to spare.

If people, though, even to feed their starving children, pick up the sword as their means of living, then people who make their living by honest work, and yet lead a hard life with little but a minimum of food, clothing, and shelter, will not be inclined to make excuses for them, and I see little reason that the government - which should be their creature, working on their behalf; only such a government has any claim to existence - should seek to do so either.

A country like Sweden might decline to prosecute a poor woman for petty shoplifting to feed herself or her children; a country not so wealthy, however, can hardly turn a blind eye to armed robbery.

There should be a place for everyone to live. But if Nature does not yield enough places, what is most productive is if people can spend their time working instead of fighting.

Incidentally, agriculture is a more productive use of land than herding. Also, usually, displaced nomads do have the option even in a poor country of moving to shanty-towns around the capital and working in factories, or in mines, or joining the army.

Defending one's property - if one is putting it to productive use, and one's claim to it is legitimate - is an overhead cost that is not inherently just. The spoils do not belong to the victor; stealing does not change its character because it takes on an adventurous cast.

People can rebel against oppression. They cannot blame their neighbors for bad weather.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on January 21, 2011, 01:30:34 am
But I don't see an obvious default solution.
Oh, I do.

The nomads have suffered a misfortune; the weather has turned bad, and now their animals cannot graze as well.

This is a misfortune. It can be communicated to international aid agencies, which may choose to try to do something to help.

If the country has a government which collects taxes, then using some of them to at least provide these displaced people with the means of bare survival is a reasonable thing to do, in addition to what those taxes are mostly used for - an army to keep the government in power.

That's a government palliative.

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It may be that the local farmers will be moved by sympathy and pity to share some of their food with them, although, no doubt, they're not that rich either, and have little enough to spare.

That's another palliative.

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If people, though, even to feed their starving children, pick up the sword as their means of living, then people who make their living by honest work, and yet lead a hard life with little but a minimum of food, clothing, and shelter, will not be inclined to make excuses for them, and I see little reason that the government - which should be their creature, working on their behalf; only such a government has any claim to existence - should seek to do so either.

They think of the land as a common resource. Why should some farmer be allowed to fence them out, particularly when he can't out-fight them?

If it was the farmer enlarging his farm by fencing in some of their grazing land, would he still be right and them wrong?

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There should be a place for everyone to live. But if Nature does not yield enough places, what is most productive is if people can spend their time working instead of fighting.

Sure, and if that farmer will just peacefully let them cut down his fences and peacefully let them cross his land, grazing as they go, there's no need to fight. But he doesn't see it that way.

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Incidentally, agriculture is a more productive use of land than herding.

I share your prejudice about that. And I've heard rumors that herders who try to overgraze the land closest to the desert are making the Sahara get bigger. It could be true. The evidence for it is not nearly as clear as that for global warming, but it could easily be true. So, if the farmers try to fence off more of the herders' land, would that be a good thing? Probably they could produce more that way. Maybe they could even drive the desert back some, and then fence off even more land and produce even more!

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Also, usually, displaced nomads do have the option even in a poor country of moving to shanty-towns around the capital and working in factories, or in mines, or joining the army.

So do displaced farmers. I'm not actually arguing that muslim nomads ought to get priority over christian farmers who might make more productive use of the land. But does it look to you like for an AnCap arbitrator it ought to be an easy cut-and-dried decision? Does somebody get to keep stuff because his great-great-great-grandfather was the first to claim it? If the g5father stole it from somebody else? Should the one who promises to be more productive get it? The one who can defend it best?

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Defending one's property - if one is putting it to productive use, and one's claim to it is legitimate - is an overhead cost that is not inherently just. The spoils do not belong to the victor; stealing does not change its character because it takes on an adventurous cast.

I've heard various AnCap arguments about this point. One is that you shouldn't try to hold onto more than you can defend. Now here's an example that isn't way far from reality. Say it's 50 farmers, each on his own farm, and 50 nomads, each with his own camel. One farmer negotiates with 50 nomads for his farm. Then a second farmer negotiates with 50 (or possibly 49) nomads for his farm. Etc. How well can the farmers arrange mutual defense? The nomads have an advantage if they have camels and the farmers don't. It looks to me like a technical question, not a moral one. If you shouldn't try to keep more than you can defend, and how much you can defend depends on the details of what you're defending plus the details of available weapons and tactics and so on, then it looks to me like it's a total tossup what you can keep and what you can't.

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People can rebel against oppression. They cannot blame their neighbors for bad weather.

You appear to be talking here about what the nomads ought to do. I'm interested in what an AnCap society ought to do about them. They refuse to give up their way of life to go live in a shantytown. They will use the land they believe should be shared, unless somebody applies sufficient coercion to stop them. As an AnCap nonfarmer, or an AnCap farmer who lives a long way away, should you mind your own business? Should you refuse to buy and sell to the particular nomads who are responsible for this? To all nomads? To all muslims? Should you take up arms and fight? If you fight well enough will somebody give you a reward?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on January 21, 2011, 07:38:38 am
I'm interested in what an AnCap society ought to do about them.
I don't quite know what the answer is; fortunately, in Africa, the farmers don't need to find that answer. Not that the governments they suffer under are usually much good.

My prejudice is simple. Victim selection should always be wrong. Even if it's an unarmed 83-year-old woman at 3 in the morning on a deserted street. Trying to steal by threats of violence - in the usual blatant way, rather than the subtle fashion of the taxman - ought to be as predictable in its consequences as jumping off a 1,000-foot cliff. You try that, you die before you get the chance to make a nuisance of yourself to any other person.

If, to achieve this, the peaceful and law-abiding residents of an area have to band together, and govern themselves - because they need the public good of security in a hurry, and trying to work out complicated solutions involving security guards and an arbitration system is a luxury for which they don't see the need - I am not going to say that some moral imperative forbids governments from being instituted among men.

Kim Jong-Il has kidnapped a Japanese actress to make use of her, and he is still at large. This is a problem. Because we want to teach our children not to yield to their impulses, but instead to pay attention in school, and respect the rights and property of others. If there is any exception in real life to the rule that people who are naughty never, ever, ever, ever get away with it, then there is always the chance that the temptation to defiance could remain present, and cause discipline problems.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on January 21, 2011, 08:24:15 am
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But does it look to you like for an AnCap arbitrator it ought to be an easy cut-and-dried decision?  [...]  I'm interested in what an AnCap society ought to do about them.

?  Is an easy cut-and-dried decision called for?

Arbitration -- it's not a matter of the two parties agreeing a priori to do whatever the arbitrator (or arbitration council) suggests; that's ripe for abuse (an arbitrator who accepts bribes will lose his rep, but for a large enough bribe, is he going to care?)

Rather, the arbitrator needs to find a solution that both parties are OK with.  He makes his suggestion, one party or the other raises objections, and it's back to the drawing board for another go, until both sides either like it or like it better than fighting.

Creativity is called for.  Creativity can't be laid down in law.  People with a low tolerance for uncertainty would rather have prefabbed solutions (even if the "solutions" solve nothing) than take the risk creativity requires -- and people who do take that risk will have much richer lives for it.  "A free society is a dangerous place to live", in far more ways than mere bodily risk.

If they asked me, I'd note the importance of crop rotation and leaving a field fallow at least once in a while.  Grazing on a field in its fallow phase -- by the time the field is ready for planting again, the manure left by the herds should have decomposed nicely.  It's possible that the farmers ought to pay the herders for the value of the manure; but it might be friendlier just to share in the rotation time.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on January 21, 2011, 10:09:22 am
Rather, the arbitrator needs to find a solution that both parties are OK with.  He makes his suggestion, one party or the other raises objections, and it's back to the drawing board for another go, until both sides either like it or like it better than fighting.
Not all situations are guaranteed to have a just and reasonable solution that meets that test.

Crop rotation is indeed a good idea, but I suspect we're likely to be dealing with a farming population that is just barely able to feed itself, and is either dependent on chemical fertilizers or is slowly destroying its land. Crop rotation would only work if the farmers could cut their calorie intake by a third.

It doesn't really answer the question to simply assume benign conditions compatible with AnCap. There's no law of nature that demands such favorable conditions must always be the case.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on January 21, 2011, 02:26:10 pm
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But does it look to you like for an AnCap arbitrator it ought to be an easy cut-and-dried decision?  [...]  I'm interested in what an AnCap society ought to do about them.

?  Is an easy cut-and-dried decision called for?

Arbitration -- it's not a matter of the two parties agreeing a priori to do whatever the arbitrator (or arbitration council) suggests; that's ripe for abuse (an arbitrator who accepts bribes will lose his rep, but for a large enough bribe, is he going to care?)

Good point.

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Rather, the arbitrator needs to find a solution that both parties are OK with.  He makes his suggestion, one party or the other raises objections, and it's back to the drawing board for another go, until both sides either like it or like it better than fighting.

Creativity is called for.  Creativity can't be laid down in law.

VERY good point.

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If they asked me, I'd note the importance of crop rotation and leaving a field fallow at least once in a while.  Grazing on a field in its fallow phase -- by the time the field is ready for planting again, the manure left by the herds should have decomposed nicely.  It's possible that the farmers ought to pay the herders for the value of the manure; but it might be friendlier just to share in the rotation time.

Interesting idea. It isn't at all a full solution, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

So rather than focus on who's right and who's wrong, who *deserves* to get things his way, you looked for ways for people to get along by helping each other. I don't know how hard it would be to make that a central part of AnCap tradition, but the better it's managed the better a society you're likely to have.

I'll go farther -- the better that tradition is established, the less trouble governments are likely to cause even when governments claim sovereignty.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on January 22, 2011, 08:17:57 am
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Not all situations are guaranteed to have a just and reasonable solution that meets that test.

I know.  My local Quaker Meeting has split over the issue of known child sex offenders, with some wanting to extend dignity & respect to all God's children, and some insisting that the KCSO always always always be accompanied by a non-KCSO adult member.  Quakers are normally very good at finding a third way; in this situation, that third way has not yet appeared.  And, normally when the third way doesn't show, one side or the other agrees to "withdraw" their objection so that the whole Meeting can "move forward".  That has also not happened, and it's not going to, as far as I can see.  The KCSO in question remains in limbo, rarely comes to Meeting, and sticks close to the friendlier adults when he does.

It seems to me that the solution here lies with the KCSO himself.  If he proposed always being supervised, the one side would be satisfied, and the other side would have to grant him the dignity of accepting his voluntary self-restriction.  If he does not have the creative wisdom & insight to see this himself, I don't know how to help him.

(I bring up Quakers because self-arbitration is what Quakers do.)

It's quite true that there is no guarantee of a good outcome.  I keep saying that AnCap isn't a good system for people who need guarantees and other assertions of safety and security.  Government makes promises of guarantees and security, but it can't deliver:  life isn't safe, and not even government can change that.

The Quaker Meeting above has been existing in this unresolved state of uncertainty for several years now.

As to the Africans in question, the farmers may indeed be sacrificing their future by spending their present (overfarming with chemicals, kind of thing).  Self-arbitration would require both sides to go extra-hungry for a while; if they turned to an outside arbitrator, however, that outsider might be able to ask his people and their neighbors for emergency donations, just a year's worth or a season's worth, to get the crop rotation started.  On second thought, even in self-arbitration the two sides could together appeal to outsiders for emergency help -- and I think they'd be more likely to get it if they showed how they were working together to solve rather than enforce.

No guarantees again.  Not anywhere.

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Interesting idea. It isn't at all a full solution, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Not at all a full solution.  The next steps are better taken by the former contestants themselves, I think.

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So rather than focus on who's right and who's wrong, who *deserves* to get things his way, you looked for ways for people to get along

Getting along, by definition, works.  I'm a little disturbed by the quality of surprise I perceive (or imagine) in your tone; is it really that strange?
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: J Thomas on January 22, 2011, 12:01:43 pm
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So rather than focus on who's right and who's wrong, who *deserves* to get things his way, you looked for ways for people to get along

Getting along, by definition, works.  I'm a little disturbed by the quality of surprise I perceive (or imagine) in your tone; is it really that strange?

The discussions I've heard about AnCap have tended to focus on how to coerce governments not to coerce people, how to enforce arbitrated decisions, where are the boundary lines between somebody else coercing you so it's OK to force them to stop versus you coercing them first, and what kind of guns are best. Also why free markets will work best if nobody does any planning or forethought except (secretly) for themselves alone.

So yes, I'm a little bit surprised to hear such a refreshing point of view in this context.

It ought to be implicit in all the discussions. And it might be. It just doesn't get explicit all that often.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: quadibloc on January 22, 2011, 04:00:28 pm
Getting along, by definition, works.  I'm a little disturbed by the quality of surprise I perceive (or imagine) in your tone; is it really that strange?
I've got nothing against people working harder to get along. Still, though, it doesn't always happen, and so it seems to me that if you forego the option of having a government, you're creating a situation where it had better always happen, because there's no plan B any more.

The trouble is, of course, when there is a government around, coercion tends to become the only game in town, and getting along not only isn't plan A any longer, it isn't even plan B. So part of the argument against government does make sense, even if the AnCap alternative seems to have scary loose ends.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: Plane on January 22, 2011, 08:35:56 pm
In the old fashioned Hearding society , cattle is wealth.

The Cattlemen and the sodbusters are fated to conflict because they face the tradedy of the commons , it isn't practical for a heardsman to own and defend a whole range , but he might make war on his compeditors just to reduce their success, as long as it remains a zero sum game that is a winning strategy.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on January 22, 2011, 09:19:03 pm
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how to enforce arbitrated decisions

Arbitrated decisions that both parties agree to are going to tend to be self-enforcing.  Recently, Pablo asked the brothers and Merry's clients if they agreed to his ruling.  Merry's 3 guys did agree, though evidently without fully understanding what they were agreeing to, which could be cause to renew arbitration; or, on having it explained, they could agree (and seemingly have agreed) to the decision anyway.

Morris skipped out.  In Fairbanks today, where this sort of thing is being tried as an alternative (rather than involving local police, the few thousands involved in the experiment come to arbitration), so far none of the ones found "guilty" and owing restitution have skipped out.  There, the penalty is:  if you don't deliver what you agreed in arbitration to deliver, you don't get to use the system yourself in the future; you are "out-law", outside the law.  Evidently that's incentive enough for all of them folks (to date).

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Also why free markets will work best if nobody does any planning or forethought except (secretly) for themselves alone.

Huh.  I don't see that in the discussions.

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It ought to be implicit in all the discussions. And it might be. It just doesn't get explicit all that often.

I thought it was implicit, on the aforementioned "self-enforcing if agreeable to all parties" concept.  Where there is no enforcement agency, all you have is the power to make the solution agreeable to all concerned.  I guess we should make it explicit more often.

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the AnCap alternative seems to have scary loose ends.

You got it.  And sounds like you're starting to get it that governmental tying up of those loose ends only makes the loose ends less visible.  Someone who is coerced into cooperating with you only looks like he's cooperating; he might secretly be spitting in your dinner.

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The Cattlemen and the sodbusters are fated to conflict

The past does not equal the future.  There are ways to share, and reasons to, as well.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: mellyrn on January 23, 2011, 01:13:26 pm
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I've got nothing against people working harder to get along.

I'm going to pick a minor nit.  I know what you meant, but I prefer better language, as being conducive to better thought:  I do have a great deal against people "working harder" to get along.  If it's hard work it's likely not to get done, and less if it's harder.  I prefer to make it easy to get along, to make getting along far and away the more attractive option.  Find ways that getting along saves face as well as wealth and effort, and those involved will flow like water into the channel cut for it.
Title: Re: so Merry posts bond... (thought experment)
Post by: myrkul999 on December 08, 2012, 03:52:08 pm
I'm still waiting to learn (perhaps I missed a response) who the real-life counterpart is to "Merry Petzger". I assume it's "Perry Metzger", but that's a name I'm unfamiliar with.
I think the real-world counterpart is this person (https://plus.google.com/u/0/116685507294337280246/), whom I ran across in a recent discussion. He does seem to be the type of person who would shout "You don't know how to run an anarchy!"