macsnafu on December 09, 2010, 08:49:54 am
So, we have a new story plot--instead of getting a job, Morris is trying to make a living by gambling.  Being a society based on NAP, gambling isn't against the law.  But if Morris is cheating, then that will cause a problem, and perhaps be a violation of his "parole".  I also wonder about how they would deal with compulsive gamblers.  Again, it's not illegal, so I suppose family and friends would intervene and try to help.  There might even be a group or organization like Gamblers Anonymous to help people.
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

SandySandfort on December 09, 2010, 10:38:38 am
So, we have a new story plot--instead of getting a job, Morris is trying to make a living by gambling.  Being a society based on NAP, gambling isn't against the law.  But if Morris is cheating, then that will cause a problem, and perhaps be a violation of his "parole". 

No it wouldn't. His cheating is absolutely none of the business of the parties to the arbitration. However, that doesn't mean the cheated players would just roll over. "Cheating" is what most libertarians would (incorrectly) call "fraud." It's actually "fraudulent inducement," but in either case, NAP/ZAP treats it like the initiation of force. (If you want to know why, read the literature). Of course, the cheated gamblers would have a cause of action and a right to self-defense.

I also wonder about how they would deal with compulsive gamblers.  Again, it's not illegal, so I suppose family and friends would intervene and try to help.  There might even be a group or organization like Gamblers Anonymous to help people.

I don't know who "they" are in your example, but families and friends certainly could (non-aggressively) intervene and try to persuade the gambler to modify his behavior. So you have the right idea about dealing with these sorts of problems. 

quadibloc on December 10, 2010, 12:27:49 am
No it wouldn't. His cheating is absolutely none of the business of the parties to the arbitration. However, that doesn't mean the cheated players would just roll over. "Cheating" is what most libertarians would (incorrectly) call "fraud." It's actually "fraudulent inducement," but in either case, NAP/ZAP treats it like the initiation of force. (If you want to know why, read the literature). Of course, the cheated gamblers would have a cause of action and a right to self-defense.
Yes, I agree with all of this except the first part.

Because the cheated gamblers have "a cause of action and a right to self-defense", their exercise of those rights will compromise Morris' ability to repay the claims against him by the parties to the earlier arbitration.

That doesn't mean that Merry has any right to limit or interfere with the rights fo the cheated gamblers - I'm not trying to argue that, which would of course be a clearly nonsensical position.

Given the way an AnCap society works, unlike the (theoretical, not practical) case in a state society, the cheated gamblers, on the other hand, can't sue Merry - and, for that matter, Bert and Ernie - for being negligent in pursuing their claims against Morris, and thus letting a known dishonest individual wander around at large without adequate supervision. (In state societies, though, we can't sue judges for turning dangerous criminals loose because of some error in police procedure either.)

It was Merry's choice to trust the three miscreants without ankle bracelets. And, thus, it isn't unfair to her that Morris will now have to pay off his debt to his most recent victims first before he can resume repaying his debt to her. But because she is subjected to that inconvenience... it was legitimately her business whether he was earning the money to pay his debt to her and to live in an honest manner, or in one that was doomed to failure. His cheating may be "absolutely no business" of hers after the fact, which I think is what you meant, but it was very much her business before the fact.

So after he finishes repaying his latest debt, he will also find, I would think, that he has incurred, in effect, an additional debt to Merry - and she will seek authorization to impose appropriate conditions to enforce its repayment. This assumes he doesn't do something stupid which will require the cheated gamblers to exercise their rights of self-defense - which is a rather shaky assumption at this point.

SandySandfort on December 10, 2010, 06:43:03 am
More unsupported assumptions.

Yes, I agree with all of this except the first part.

Because the cheated gamblers have "a cause of action and a right to self-defense", their exercise of those rights will compromise Morris' ability to repay the claims against him by the parties to the earlier arbitration.

You seem to assume the new liability would take precedents over the previous liability. What is the basis of your assumption?

Given the way an AnCap society works, unlike the (theoretical, not practical) case in a state society, the cheated gamblers, on the other hand, can't sue Merry - and, for that matter, Bert and Ernie - for being negligent in pursuing their claims against Morris, and thus letting a known dishonest individual wander around at large without adequate supervision.

Now this is a curious assumption. (Actually, just goofy.) Even if Bert and Ernie had liability for, "letting a known dishonest individual" wander around at large without adequate supervision" that is not the case here. The three stooges were not found guilty of a status crime (i.e., being a drug addict or being a rapist). The result of the arbitration was that they had to pay the plaintiffs for damages and other expenses they caused them, not for being "known dishonest individuals."

It was Merry's choice to trust the three miscreants without ankle bracelets. And, thus, it isn't unfair to her that Morris will now have to pay off his debt to his most recent victims first before he can resume repaying his debt to her.

See, there's that first assumption again. Why should the new victims get to jump the queue? Where did that assumption come from?

And while we are at it, let's clear up another assumption that you and one or two others have made. You keep saying that Merry is owed money, as though that were it. Yes, they owe her for the room and board she advanced them, but the primary debt is owe Bert, Ernie, Reggie and the ship rental company. Your assumption is that because Merry posted a bond, she was assuming those debts. Nope, her only liability was the amount of her bond she posted and nowhere was that bond said to be equal to the whole of the debts. If the bad guys take a hike, she and the plaintiffs take a bath. To bad, so sad.

But because she is subjected to that inconvenience... it was legitimately her business whether he was earning the money to pay his debt to her and to live in an honest manner, or in one that was doomed to failure. His cheating may be "absolutely no business" of hers after the fact, which I think is what you meant, but it was very much her business before the fact.

The assumption having failed, the dependent conclusion also fails.

J Thomas on December 10, 2010, 08:02:48 am
Yes, I agree with all of this except the first part.

Because the cheated gamblers have "a cause of action and a right to self-defense", their exercise of those rights will compromise Morris' ability to repay the claims against him by the parties to the earlier arbitration.

You seem to assume the new liability would take precedents over the previous liability. What is the basis of your assumption?

It looks to me like that could go any of several ways, and Quadribloc is claiming that they way he proposes is better than the others. That's open to inspection and opinion. Whether it goes that way in your story is of course up to you.

Here's a possible argument in his favor: The original plaintiffs had the opportunity to make it far less likely that their debtors would commit new crimes. They chose to let them do so. Why NOT let their new victims have the first payments?

Here's something that could happen with one of the alternatives:

Bob is a sneak-thief, and he's good enough at it that he can usually clear 10 grams of gold a day over expenses. But every now and then he gets caught. You caught him, and the arbitrator has awarded you triple damages. Bob can work that off in a secure facility at 1 gram per day, and he will pay your debt in 1000 days. Or you can let him go free and he can pay you off at 10 grams a day. But he gets caught again, so he will have to work a second hundred days after he pays you off to pay off the next guy. Poor Bob on his treadmill, stealing and stealing and somebody else gets the profits.... Then he gets killed and his latest official victims don't get their money back -- nor do of course any of the victims who didn't catch him.

If each new victim got paid back first, you would be more likely to take the certain income than the one which might be indefinitely postponed. To me that looks like a good thing.

It definitely isn't the only way the laws might be set up, but I can see an advantage to it.

bjdotson on December 10, 2010, 12:18:30 pm
The original basis for tort law was to make you whole again. I would imagine that in a restitution based society, "Triple damages" would not be done. The result of arbitration would be to cover your losses; not to be punitive.

quadibloc on December 10, 2010, 12:47:45 pm
Yes, they owe her for the room and board she advanced them, but the primary debt is owe Bert, Ernie, Reggie and the ship rental company. Your assumption is that because Merry posted a bond, she was assuming those debts.
I missed that detail; it is reasonable that Bert, Ernie, and the ship rental company might have found a bond acceptable that only covered the costs of rounding up the three stooges again times the probability that they would wander off.

This just complicates who is involved; now, it isn't just Merry for setting up the scheme, but the others for accepting it, who are affected.

See, there's that first assumption again. Why should the new victims get to jump the queue? Where did that assumption come from?
Well, that assumption comes from my initial thinking.

Even if Bert and Ernie had liability for, "letting a known dishonest individual" wander around at large without adequate supervision" that is not the case here. The three stooges were not found guilty of a status crime (i.e., being a drug addict or being a rapist). The result of the arbitration was that they had to pay the plaintiffs for damages and other expenses they caused them, not for being "known dishonest individuals."
I'm not surprised that an AnCap society doesn't believe in "status crimes".

Even our own state society has branded as unconstitutional - for example, in a court decision in British Columbia a few years ago - a law that would let the police round up all the drug addicts and eliminate the drug problem by putting them all in rehabilitation programs where they can't use drugs any more and won't be let out until they don't want them any more.

My assumption is, therefore, that even if an AnCap society doesn't believe in status crimes, it's still true that... status conditions... exist. And whether it's the society as a whole, or Bert and Ernie as plaintiffs, it's possible to be negligent in failing to take these status conditions into account.

Given my sanguinary interpretation of common law, it should come as no surprise that I assume that the default penalty for force or fraud is that the responsible party becomes the property of the wronged party. Subject to protections against sexual assault, and against being cut up for transplant organs... if doing so is not required to satisfy the debt.

Thus, I see Morris as Bert and Ernie's Rottweiler that they chose to let wander around without a leash.

On the other hand, through Lawrence and Kinko, you have shown that people who do wrong things can redeem themselves, and thus offenders should be recognized and treated as human beings, even if they have a debt to repay. I applaud the sentiment, but I despair of being able to afford to fully put it into practice. But it certainly does help if, as is the case in the Belt, there's plenty of honest work available.

mellyrn on December 10, 2010, 01:37:21 pm
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I applaud the sentiment, but I despair of being able to afford to fully put it into practice.


Emphasis added.  That's the desire for certainty again.  There are no guarantees, period.  Restraining the "rottweiler" (Morris) gets you the illusion of additional safety, even as it creates more uncertainty by turning the Kinkos and Lawrences into rottweilers themselves, out of sheer resentment.  Even if they "deserved" to be treated like dangerous dogs, they'd still resent it, and unless they're positive saints or suddenly enlightened, they're going to act out of that resentment.  And if you're going to argue that knowing the "unreliable" "status" of one of our 3 stooges makes the knower responsible for later problems, you must accept responsibility for treating someone in a way you know generates resentment & its attendant hostility.

You can't tell the Lawrences & Kinkos from the Morrises until you take the chance.  Not taking the chance implies that you think the Morris outcome is the more probable.  You will thus generate the very outcome you don't want, by "resenting" the Ks and Ls into becoming the Ms they weren't.

I'll take the risk of trusting someone for a variety of reasons:

a) I know people, personally, who behave trustworthily in response to being trusted, and, if mistrusted initially, will post-facto oblige by becoming untrustworthy; sort of, "I done the time, might as well do the crime" sort of thinking;

b) taking the chance doesn't create the abovementioned resentment & subsequent problems, but rather invites cooperation;

c) having come to terms with my inherent insecurity, I prefer in myself the friendliness of trusting (which doesn't have to be blind, btw), so if I'm betrayed, I get to die (worst-case) being the kind of person I like, rather than someone I don't like.

The State promises a level of safety it cannot provide.  What percent of ex-cons are better people than they were before prison? 

jamesd on December 10, 2010, 07:22:45 pm
The original basis for tort law was to make you whole again. I would imagine that in a restitution based society, "Triple damages" would not be done. The result of arbitration would be to cover your losses; not to be punitive.

That does not work for crimes:  If a burglar only has to pay back what he steals when he gets caught stealing, he is going to go on stealing.  Where someone has been wrongfully harmed, to make him whole, requires vengeance.

The rule in Athens before the rule of kings, was that if you caught someone burgling, you could kill him, or hold him prisoner and demand whatever his friends and relatives would pay in return for his life.  The rule in saga period iceland was a little gentler, but still pretty harsh.  You were supposed to sue the offender, on the spot execution only being acceptable for grave offenses such as arson or burglary of an occupied dwelling, and you could not hold the offender hostage for payment.  The offender would be fined. If he failed to pay up, you would go back to the court to have him declared outlaw.  If an outlaw, then you, or anyone else, can kill him without consequences.


mellyrn on December 11, 2010, 07:09:14 am
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Where someone has been wrongfully harmed, to make him whole, requires vengeance.

The burglar upon whom vengeance is wreaked says to himself, "My goodness, I've been wrong" and becomes a nonburglaring person?

Or, the burglar upon whom vengeance is wreaked becomes a more careful burglar?

Your vengeance, no matter how extreme, is nothing more than "hazards of the course" to a burglar, exactly analogous to ice chasms to the Himalayan climber, or micrometeorites to the traveling Belter.  Notice how effective either chasm or meteorite is or will be in stopping either the climber or the space traveler?  Rage how you will against the criminal, you are nothing more than a meteorite to him.

There are alternatives, but I am daunted by the magnitude of the task of conveying them to you.  If you are sincerely interested (and not merely vested in preserving your "vengeance" model come what may), you could start by investigating "pattern interrupts".
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 08:02:59 am by mellyrn »

J Thomas on December 11, 2010, 08:07:58 am
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Where someone has been wrongfully harmed, to make him whole, requires vengeance.

The burglar upon whom vengeance is wreaked says to himself, "My goodness, I've been wrong" and becomes a nonburglaring person?

It depends. An incompetent burglar might figure out he doesn't want to do that, almost regardless of the punishment. He does something, he gets caught, people don't like it and they don't like him. He tried it and it didn't work.

A competent burglar gets away with it most of the time. He gets proud of his skill and he figures if he's good enough he can get away with it all the time. Every now and then he gets caught and he considers it a freak accident. He has no other way to make money that's nearly as efficient. So it's likely he rationalizes out reasons why he deserves his profits. Really no different than bankers or lawyers, except for the social stigma and the chance he'll get caught.

He can turn moral from the goodness of his heart.

Or if the punishment is severe enough, he might make an economic calculation. "Hmm. I get caught about once a year, and then I get incarcerated for a year. So my profits are only half what it looks like they are because I can only work about half the time." Prison is an occupational hazard. He can take a poll of the other burglars in prison and figure that on average they last about 6 months and he's twice as good as they are. (He can also compare how they got caught and think about ways to do better.) It takes repeated cycles for him to estimate the cycle length. The more uncertainty in the process, the longer it takes him to tell how profitable his business is. And of course over the years he gets set in his ways and more resistant to taking an entry-level job.

In general it's hard for people to learn from freak accidents. Look how many people chose to rebuild in New Orleans. And a lot of criminals think of getting caught by the police as a freak accident.

So I think the size of the punishment is not nearly as important as the likelihood of getting caught. The more likely it is that burglars get caught, the more social stigma they might get from repeated prosecution etc.

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Or, the burglar upon whom vengeance is wreaked becomes a more careful burglar?

I would hope so! At the least.

jamesd on December 11, 2010, 01:11:46 pm
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Where someone has been wrongfully harmed, to make him whole, requires vengeance.

The burglar upon whom vengeance is wreaked says to himself, "My goodness, I've been wrong" and becomes a nonburglaring person?

This has been demonstrated to work, given sufficiently dramatic vengeance.  Recidivism is extremely rare after a Singaporean caning.  I personally have observed dramatic change in behavior after I beat the crap out of an offender.


quadibloc on December 11, 2010, 01:19:57 pm
Your vengeance, no matter how extreme, is nothing more than "hazards of the course" to a burglar,
Even restitution includes "vengeance" in the sense that the thief's profit is usually less than the damage he does to his victim. He might break doors on the way in, and he is likely to sell stolen articles at less than their replacement cost.

If it weren't for that, getting caught occasionally, and having to pay back what was stolen, wouldn't be enough to make stealing unprofitable. Whatever approach is taken to theft, that much, at least, does have to be achieved - but restitution without vengeance may be sufficient for that for the reasons noted above.

Scott on December 12, 2010, 01:27:22 pm
A restitution-based system would include not only returning what was stolen, and compensation for damages incurred in the burglary, but compensating the victim for the effort used in tracking down and apprehending the burglar, possibly paying one's advocate for her or his services, and certainly paying the judge. These charges could easily amount to, effectively, "treble damages."

Although, in most cases what would likely happen in simple burglary situations is that the insurance company would pay for losses and not likely make an effort to track down a burglar unless a string of burglaries -- and resultant claims -- make it worthwhile.

Of course, if Ceres has a "castle doctrine," which seems likely, a burglar also has to figure risk of getting shot and killed in the course of the burglary. We know already that they do this, because so-called "hot" burglaries (where the victims are at home) occur far less frequently in areas of high gun-ownership rates than they do in areas of low gun-ownership rates.

Finally, a recidivist in a place like the Belt faces the prospect of social shunning. A one-time offender may be forgiven but a repeat offender may find no one willing to trade or give him anything. And in the Belt, that could be fatal.

jamesd on December 12, 2010, 02:34:39 pm
Thus, I see Morris as Bert and Ernie's Rottweiler that they chose to let wander around without a leash.

In Saga period Iceland, it was quite uncommon for offenders to become enslaved or indentured.  Rather, when you committed an offense you could not pay for, the offended person frequently killed you.

Sometimes the offended person went to court first, thereby giving the offender a chance to get the hell out.  If he pursued this legalistic path, the offender would be fined, and being unable to pay, would be outlawed, and, being outlawed, could be killed out of hand by anyone - though by this time the offender was usually no longer in Iceland.

Sometimes the offended person just killed the offender out of hand, and then went to court.  The court might order him to pay restitution to the relatives of the offender, depending on the severity of the offense.

My expectation is that at anarchic society would have a swifter way with impecunious criminals, that was a lot closer to saga period Iceland than the society depicted in this story.