Holt on January 03, 2011, 05:06:48 pm
That's one possibility. You could get a single giant corporation that takes over all the roles of government that it finds profitable, and discards the rest.

But it is unlikely to be the only way an AnCap society could turn out.

If you had asked about democracy in 1774, we would have had basicly 1 example, Switzerland. Pretty much the rest of the world had monarchies. And large numbers of the Swiss wanted monarchy and plotted for it. They were not a shining beacon showing the wonderful advantages of democracy.

But by 1974 there were lots of nations with at least democratic trappings, and the number of monarchs was very low. There were lots of dictators too, but they usually didn't succeed in passing their nations down to their sons. In 1776 a whole lot of people agreed that it was *right* for a ruler to die and be replaced by his closest living relative. Within 200 years that idea was dead in most of europe, asia, africa, and the western hemisphere.

Democracy hasn't in general produced utopias, but democracies are often more free than monarchies. And we have gone from one example to many.

It's easily possible that within 200 years from now we will have a large number of AnCap societies that vary in various ways. If we're around then we can discuss which of them we like better, and why. Today is a little soon to argue about which AnCap model is the only one that can exist.


One thing though.

The Constitutional Monarchies tend to score better in the UN human development index and have more robust freedom of speech and human rights laws in comparison to democracies though. Some democratic states rank among the most dangerous places on Earth.

As for how AnCap societies could work out at least you seem to accept the possibility a corp could replace the government.
After all some can argue we really are in an anarchist state and the only reason we think there's government is because these guys with big clubs have convinced us they are the government.

J Thomas on January 03, 2011, 05:52:49 pm

The Constitutional Monarchies tend to score better in the UN human development index and have more robust freedom of speech and human rights laws in comparison to democracies though. Some democratic states rank among the most dangerous places on Earth.

Sure. Democracy is not enough to guarantee a utopia. But it used to be, most people accepted monarchy as just the natural way of things. Many of them couldn't imagine that democracy might be better. Now very few people believe in divine right of kings, and when a nation has a coup and the new ruler declares himself president-for-life, people tend to grant him the authority his army gives him. They reserve the right to judge him, and if he gets too unpopular his army will melt away. It's a difference in general belief.

Quote
As for how AnCap societies could work out at least you seem to accept the possibility a corp could replace the government.
After all some can argue we really are in an anarchist state and the only reason we think there's government is because these guys with big clubs have convinced us they are the government.

If you give them legitimacy, if you say they are your government, then they are. If you do not agree that they are your government then they are guys with big clubs who can hurt you unless you go along.

jamesd on January 03, 2011, 06:15:44 pm
what stops them from doing it the US today?  Do you think police bother with such stuff when they will not even show up when you were burgled and you know who burgled you?  Do you think police will stop them when the SEC ignored Bernie Maddoff.  Do you think police will stop them when police ignored the Green River Killer?

In practice, what usually stops people from doing such things is reputation.

In the USA? Hmm perhaps not but the USA is generally a bad place to live anyways due to the crap in the food.
In Europe? Britain especially. You'd have the police on you inside a week and the animals would be carted off by the RSPCA to be rehomed, treated or put down as their individual cases dictated.

I observe that in Britain, someone who is a well known burglar can burgle, burgle an occupied home, get in a confrontation with the homeowner, and not go to jail, burgle the same home again, and get in another confrontation with the same home owner, and still not go to jail, which inclines me to doubt that British police are markedly more industrious than US police.

SandySandfort on January 03, 2011, 08:20:36 pm
The reality? Most certainly.Just replace the Chinese government with some giant corp.

You do realize that there can be no such thing as a corporation in an market anarchy, don't you? I.e., "an association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members."

There are other associations that act collectively, but they do not meet the legal definition of a corporation. So WTF are you talking about?

Holt, what market anarchist (anarcho-capitalist) literature have you read? Please be specific. What books, what authors? My working assumption is that the answer is zero, since you are so uneducated on the subject. Read a book, then come back with some intellectual ammunition and we can talk. Arguing with an ignoramus is a waste of my time.

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” Robert Heinlein

quadibloc on January 03, 2011, 08:20:51 pm
All I'm pointing out is that the Chinese market is not heavily regulated. Few if any standards laws or minimum wage laws or workers rights.
You want to see an AnCap workers life? Look in China.

So, let me see if I've got this, Sv DHolt. Repressive, totalitarian, statist China (oh, excuse me, the Workers' Paradise), is the role model for market anarchy? Is this January Fools' Day and nobody told me?  ::)
Well, it's true that the People's Republic of China is hardly an anarchy. But while it professes Communism, an ideology originated by demagogues who stirred up the poor against the rich, right now, the conditions of workers in China's factories remind us (although they're not as bad as) those of workers in Britain at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Laissez-faire capitalism. Classical liberalism.

Thus, the agents of statism who want to prevent the AnCap message from being heard, don't exactly have to exert themselves to hold up the conditions of workers in China as a bogeyman to the working class in America, to tell them that this is what their government is protecting them from, and those protections are what AnCap would strip away.

In Britain at the time of the Industrial Revolution, though, the government did a lot to protect the rich against the poor at the expense of the poor. In Blackstone's Commentaries, while you will find stuff about the right of the people to bear arms, you will also find an observation that the normal status of an employee is that of a servant, who cannot leave his job at will any more than a soldier could quit the military at will (and the other state of affairs would be unfair to the men in the military). This is one example of why neither Britain then, nor China now, is really anything like an AnCap society.

Even so, while the argument may be dishonest scaremongering, people trying to persuade the masses that AnCap is good for them should... flesh out... just how a real free market would indeed not lead to the inequalities in market power between employers and the employed which, in the history we know, were only remedied when labor union thuggery became legalized. (Will labor unions exist under AnCap, although without the ability to enforce picket lines? What government interference played a major role in tilting the game in favor of employers?)

Given that the bad old days seem to be as recent as the Great Depression, if Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath wasn't left-wing propaganda so far from the truth as to be science fiction, that the laboring masses "know in their bones" that Big Business is out to exploit them the first chance it gets is a fact, even if they're under an out-of-date misconception - and so this is a point that needs very careful attention in the AnCap argument. Not handwaving - for example, economies of scale are a real natural phenomenon, and not a result of government paperwork requirements.

You do realize that there can be no such thing as a corporation in an market anarchy, don't you? I.e., "an association of individuals, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence independent of the existences of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members."
Now that's an interesting point.

I had not thought of that in connection with the discussions here, but of course you're right.

Britain, in the context of its maritime rivalry with Holland, and as the result of such things as the South Sea Bubble, brought in laws that let people organize themselves collectively to create large business enterprises - and gain personal immunity from the debts those large business enterprises might run up.

This was naked government initiation of force against creditors.

It was done so that Britain would have the world's biggest shipyards so as to be militarily superior to other countries. And we have joint-stock corporations to the present day because our military-industrial complex has proven to be a handy thing to have when dealing with Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia.

This may partially answer my question of how AnCap is supposed to prevent businesses from growing too large. There won't be a shield that protects stockholders, giving them anonymity (S. A. stands for Societé Anonyme, of course), if they own part of a company that's too big for them to fully participate in supervising. But then big companies could grow by selling bonds instead of stock... although that obligates them to pay the bonds back on time; presumably bonds that are "really" stock but bonds in name only would be prevented on some basis (are you sure there's no government if you've got laws this complicated?)...
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 08:30:03 pm by quadibloc »

Holt on January 03, 2011, 08:58:30 pm
Sure. Democracy is not enough to guarantee a utopia. But it used to be, most people accepted monarchy as just the natural way of things. Many of them couldn't imagine that democracy might be better. Now very few people believe in divine right of kings, and when a nation has a coup and the new ruler declares himself president-for-life, people tend to grant him the authority his army gives him. They reserve the right to judge him, and if he gets too unpopular his army will melt away. It's a difference in general belief.

In the case of a constitutional monarchy it seems to be more the monarchy acts as a check against the democratic element, while the democratic element gives the monarch little reason to enter into politics. Like Hegel pointed out the system came about as a natural result of those countries flitting between two polar opposites and finding neither worked and instead met the middle ground. Trying to get the best of democracy combined with the best of tyranny/monarchy/autocracy/whatever you want to call it.


If you give them legitimacy, if you say they are your government, then they are. If you do not agree that they are your government then they are guys with big clubs who can hurt you unless you go along.


Isn't that government is at the very core?
Everyone started out like that. All it takes is one or two generations being raised under it and they'll accept it as normal. Two or three generations and they'll probably support it.

SandySandfort on January 03, 2011, 10:47:43 pm
...the conditions of workers in China's factories remind us (although they're not as bad as) those of workers in Britain at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Laissez-faire capitalism. Classical liberalism.
...
In Britain at the time of the Industrial Revolution, though, the government did a lot to protect the rich against the poor at the expense of the poor.

Where to begin... "Laissez-faire" capitalism or the government protecting the rich? Sorry, quad, you contradict yourself; you cannot have it both ways. Which is it?

The reason that workers today, have it better than they did in the past is because of progress, the largest part of which was because of the Industrial Revolution. Workers streaming in from the countryside were doing so, because it improved their lives, or why else would they have done so? Nobody put a gun to their heads.

In Blackstone's Commentaries, while you will find stuff about the right of the people to bear arms, you will also find an observation that the normal status of an employee is that of a servant...

"Servant" is a legal word of art. It does not mean "slave."

... who cannot leave his job at will...

That is purest bullshit. Absent some contractual obligation to the contrary, employees certainly could leave their jobs at will under British law. Put up or shut up. Citation, please.

P.S. Société Anonyme is also a word of art. It just means "limited company" and has nothing to do with anonymity.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 10:56:26 pm by SandySandfort »

J Thomas on January 03, 2011, 11:42:56 pm

Workers streaming in from the countryside were doing so, because it improved their lives, or why else would they have done so? Nobody put a gun to their heads.

This is misleading, although it could often also have been true.

After WWII we had a lot of new mechanized agriculture in the US south. As a result we had far less need for sharecroppers. Where did the surplus sharecroppers take their families? Into Yankee cities, where they created a gigantic social problem that led to Welfare as a temporary fix. It improved their lives compared to being jobless and landless in the south, but....

Similarly I've read that british textile mills needed wool, and so lots of british farms got converted to sheep pastures which required much less hand-tool farmwork. So the excess farmers went to the cities to look for work, which improved their lives compared to the countryside where there was nothing at all for them.

You could be right that they were better off compared to their lives before the changes. Though the mortality rate in cities was far higher etc. But their previous lives were forever lost, whether they were better or worse. They had no choice but to look for whatever urban opportunities they could, and it is no evidence that they were better off than before.

quadibloc on January 04, 2011, 02:07:34 am
That is purest bullshit. Absent some contractual obligation to the contrary, employees certainly could leave their jobs at will under British law. Put up or shut up. Citation, please.
Having actually read this, I can point you here.

"3. A THIRD species of servants are laborers, who are only hired by the day or the week, and do not live intra moenia , as part of the family; concerning whom the statute so often cited (Statute 5 Elizabeth c. 4) has made many very good regulations; 1. Directing that all persons who have no visible effects may be compelled to work: 2. Defining how long they must continue at work in summer and winter: 3. Punishing such as leave or desert their work: 4. Empowering the justices at sessions, or the sheriff of the county, to settle their wages: and 5. Inflicting penalties on such as either give, or exact, more wages than are so settled."

It, however, will take a bit longer to find the specific section I recalled which compared the situation of laborers under the law to that of soldiers and sailors, noting that it would be inappropriate to have the latter as the only group of people bound to their work, since it is not in 1.13 or in 1.1, where I expected to find it.

SandySandfort on January 04, 2011, 06:06:35 am
"3. A THIRD species of servants are laborers, who are only hired by the day or the week...

Nice try. At least you are getting in the spirit of things. However, obviously it is not the laborers who could not leave their jobs.

... concerning whom the statute so often cited (Statute 5 Elizabeth c. 4) has made many very good regulations; 1. Directing that all persons who have no visible effects may be compelled to work: 2. Defining how long they must continue at work in summer and winter: 3. Punishing such as leave or desert their work: 4. Empowering the justices at sessions, or the sheriff of the county, to settle their wages: and 5. Inflicting penalties on such as either give, or exact, more wages than are so settled."

So, your original thesis (the Industrial Revolution was laissez-faire capitalism) is defeated by your own evidence. Quod erat demonstrandum.


quadibloc on January 04, 2011, 11:18:47 am
So, your original thesis (the Industrial Revolution was laissez-faire capitalism) is defeated by your own evidence. Quod erat demonstrandum.
I should probably have stated my thesis more clearly.

Whether or not the Industrial Revolution was laissez-faire capitalism in fact is not my point. My point is that it is reputed to be an example of such - and, therefore, it has sullied the reputation of laissez-faire capitalism in people's minds. Perhaps, as you note, quite unfairly.

My point is that the features of AnCap that will give workers the ability to negotiate with employers from a stronger position than in historic periods where employers were free from the kind of government regulation we have now... are not obvious to most people, and will need to be pointed out (specifically, and repeatedly) when one tries to make the case for AnCap to the general public.

terry_freeman on January 04, 2011, 11:22:40 am
What stops them? Reputation. Wherever you are, reputation matters more than regulation. You delude yourself if you believe otherwise. China has one billion people, give or take a few. There are certainly bound to be examples of shoddy goods somewhere, which can trigger all sorts of statist moaning and whining.

However, to call China an "unregulated anarchy" is to engage in blatant falsehood. Perhaps, if I were a statist, I would sue you for the propagation of falsehood. Instead, I'll be content to note that your reputation just took a hit, thanks to your own sorry actions.

A more likely explanation is that a politically-connected vendor wishes to find a way to put "unregulated" competitors out of business, by means of stronger politically-motivated "regulations" which are really a thinly-disguised way to put barriers in front of competitors. This explanation fits history better than the laughable theory about Communist China being an anarchist utopia.


geekWithA.45 on January 05, 2011, 07:33:47 am
So what stops this?


Look to the USA for an example. Folks offering "statist animal protection laws", as their answer are directed to collect their dunce caps and sit in the corner.

While examples of abuse worthy of prosecution by such laws certainly exist, by and far the primary thing that *prevents* that sort of abuse is a small collection of interlocking factors, all of which are consistent with minarchy or arbitrated ancap, and the most powerful of which are driven by the market and consumer.

1) Sufficient prosperity and market valuation of pet health that supports a widespread and robust veterinary medicine establishment.  This provides standards of pet health and enough veterinarians (and competition) such that no single vet will corner the market, or risk their reputation signing off on sick pets.  It also provides the consumer with their choice of source of professional opinion in the evaluation of their purchases.

2) Contingent sales: general purpose regulation of the "fair, open, level playing field" sort provides for a period of inspection, during which the goods can be independently evaluated by a veterinarian.

3) The market value of reputation, and the means of communicating experiences affecting reputation

4) A system of documenting the goods: any dog you buy comes with lots of papers, tracing its origins, medical treatments, and so forth. Reputable pet shops have veterinarians on call who evaluate and care for the goods, and whose reputations thus become entwined with the shop.

5) When all else fails, a method of redress. If you buy a pet from a dealer that asserts, and therefore warrants the pet to be healthy, and it is not, you have a fraud case.

6) An educated consumer, who knows better than to buy from dealers who make no representation as to the quality of their goods.

J Thomas on January 05, 2011, 09:09:13 am

While examples of abuse worthy of prosecution by such laws certainly exist, by and far the primary thing that *prevents* that sort of abuse is a small collection of interlocking factors, all of which are consistent with minarchy or arbitrated ancap, and the most powerful of which are driven by the market and consumer.

Such things are in fact not prevented in the USA.

So for example, before I met her in person my wife bought a kitten. She bought it from a San Francisco street person who sold kittens. There was nothing particularly legal about the transaction. The cost was probably $20, although I'm reasonably sure he could have been talked down to $10.

After she met me she wanted me to have a cat and I agreed, so we went back to the street vendor. But we could not find him. Perhaps it was my clothing, or my polished shoes, or my eyeshades. Everybody we met seemed to think I was an undercover cop or something. Various street people talked about how this guy kept lots of pregnant cats in cages and mistreated them, and how terrible it was. But nobody would tell us how to contact him.

The SPCA would sell me a neutered cat for $150, guaranteed to be in good health, after a background check to make sure I would be a responsible owner. Similarly for other official sources. It was ridiculous.

When we moved to the DC area the situation was similar. There were barrels of dead cats that had been gassed because they could not find homes and the authorities were not willing to let them fend for themselves. But to buy a cat from the pound I had to pay $200 and get an extensive background check. They would inspect my home to make sure it was suitable for a pet. They would check my credit rating to make sure I could afford a cat. They would check whether I had ever been accused of mistreating a pet. They wanted me to promise I would not let my cat go outdoors, and I could get in trouble if I did not keep up the inoculations and required veterinary fees.

It looked like I could foster a cat much easier. See, they had people who kept cats who would otherwise be killed, hoping to find an owner. Those people had more cats than they could easily take care of, and they eagerly looked for volunteers to join them. They were so overburdened that they didn't require background checks etc for recruits. But I would have had to go to meetings....

Then one night my wife came home with a kitten. She found it in a pet store. It was dirty because it had been kept in a dirty cage. It had been the smallest kitten in the cage so it was left there when the other cats were all sold. It looked like it might be sick. She paid $150 for it, but they threw in a couple of gift cards for stuff we could buy at their overpriced store. It had not had any vaccinations etc. I said, "This does not look like a good store to me. They don't look like reputable businessmen." She said, "She was in a dirty cage! They were mistreating her! I had to get her away from them!" I looked them up online. There were various horror stories about them. They did various things that sounded bad to me, but the thing that most of the complainants thought was most horrible was that they sold cats. Since there are more cats than anybody can find homes for, it was considered disgraceful that they would sell cats and compete with the county pound and the SPCA etc.

When we put out food for it, the kitten would hiss and growl and try to fight if anybody got close. It took a few weeks before it got the idea it didn't have to fight for food. The eye infection cleared up right away and so did everything else. But if that kitten had died I doubt it would have kept my wife from rescuing another kitten from that store, if they had another kitten.

They had a workable sales method. They made it look like their pets were hostages that the new owners could ransom. Sales were brisk. I doubt that their reputation bothered them.

macsnafu on January 05, 2011, 09:23:41 am


Such things are in fact not prevented in the USA.


So, in short, you're saying that U.S. laws on animal treatment don't work?
;-)
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