Justice and Punishment

Dan Fabulich (daniel.fabulich@yale.edu)
Sat, 04 Apr 1998 15:28:36 -0500


People seem so convinced that anarcho-capitalism will collapse into nation
states. There's no checks on the powers of PPAs, except other PPAs.
What's to stop them?

And I ask you again, what's to stop the US military from doing EXACTLY THE

den Otter, your state has a military, yes? What's going to stop it from
squishing your exquisite statecraft, cutting out the electronic
surveillance (at least on themselves) and surpressing the masses?

den Otter wrote:
>Furthermore, all
>the people you mentioned (and then some) will be out of a job in a couple
>of decades bedause machines can do it a lot better & cheaper, and unless
>you either want to shoot them or let them become a very desperate and
>layer of society, you will need some kind of welfare to support them. (the
>free food etc. handouts I mentioned in another thread come into play here).
>Release these people into anarcho-capitalism and they'll likely become
>the loyal supporters of the first would-be dictator that happens to come
>along with promises of a better life.

Widespread unemployment takes place because wages don't adjust down, even
when the demand for labor falls. Minimum wage laws are responsible in
part; labor regulations also play a major role. Moreover, keep in mind
that these very same improvements in technology will also make the goods
themselves much cheaper, allowing people to accept lower paying jobs and
still get food on the table.

>Checks and balances, so several teams of profilers who's salary depends
>on the results of their work (actually, this is something that would apply
to *all*
>government employees -- pretty radical, eh). do the testing. So a good
>gets wealthy, while a bad one sees a reduction in payment followed by "the
boot" if
>the bad results continue. Judges, cops, clerks etc. -- the same. Just like
in a
>normal company. This would take on bureaucratic inefficiency at its root.

Uhm... how do you measure the quality of a psychological profiler? And
more importantly, why wouldn't the politicians/military add your
surveilance-bureaucracy-reducing regulations to the round circular file and
oppress the people as they see fit? How is this more secure than

>Also, sometimes good products are suppressed
>because they threaten the position of some big powerful company
>that happens to operate in the same niche. Only a powerful state
>can put these things right, thus achieving a higher level of progress
>and product quality for the consumer to enjoy.

I challenge you to provide even one example of such "market failures" which
was not CAUSED by a powerful state.

>> When I "vote" in the economy by making a purchase I am sure to get it, I
>> always win.

>Unless you buy crap of course.

You think it's crap; but if I like it, then I win.

>I'm quite sure your PPAs would either
>be a minority from the start (the rest being totalitarian clans,
citystates and
>full- blown countries)

Not if it takes place through a slow period of privitization.

>or that many, possibly all, would quickly degenerate into a
>flock of hardworking, meek/scared sheep ruled by an elite of enforcers.

Maybe, if they like it like that ...

>because many people are insecure, uneducated and vulnerable to any slick
>talker or bully with a gun.

... but just in case, there are OTHER PPAs to choose from (with their own
slick talkers) who will offer emancipation from the bullies. Why wouldn't
people choose that if they could? Even the advocates of freedom have slick

>In *theory* you might move from a region if you don't
>like the resident PPA, but in reality it may proof too difficult/dangerous.

You misunderstand how PPAs would work. PPAs wouldn't have their own
regions exclusively; their regions would overlap with many other available
PPAs. You wouldn't even have to leave your house to switch PPAs, just pick
up a telephone and make a deal. Sure, perhaps your current PPA could try
to stop you... but so could the US military. So could the military in your
own imagined government. What's stopping them? How is this more secure
than a competitive system?

>Imagine Microsoft as a PPA for ex,
>providing mediocre yet somehow "appealing" services and taking out
>left and right by any means necessary. Such a PPA would become more like
>a nation state with every takeover or alliance it achieved.

So what? The US military has the means and the incentives to do exactly
that; they wouldn't even have to be slow about it, because there is no
competing military in the US to stop them. So why is this so much more
secure than anarcho-capitalism?

>*If* you're indeed in a position to do so. I can well image that many
folks would
>have debts with their PPA, just like with the mob/state etc.No way that you
>will leave in one piece, and even if so what other PPA would dare/want to
>accept you in this state...unless you make even more debts and become
>in fact a slave.

And how is this different from your system? If I've got a debt with the US
military and it decides not to let me out of the country alive, what's
stopping it from doing exactly the same thing?

>PPAs and other anarcho-capitalist
>goodies may be great in *theory*, but are in fact ivory tower productions
>don't take human nature into account and will thus fail as have many before

I'd say the idea that you could check the power of the military simply by
designing a new system of laws is the ivory tower production.

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin wrote:
>A perfect social or political system, in all systems I have examined,
>requires perfect people in some quantity -- dictatorship being the
>best in this regard because it requires the fewest perfect people,
>and anarchy among the worst because it requires that the overwhelming
>majority -- possibly everyone -- be perfect. In this part of the
>world, perfect people are a rather scarce item, and what I read in
>the newspapers doesn't tell me that this is a strictly local

If the people running some of the PPAs are stupid or of low quality, those
of high quality will be at a competitive advantage to them, and thus will
more likely thrive over the stupid PPAs.

There is, of course, little hope for anyone if EVERYONE is stupid. But the
advantage of the market is that it rewards ingenuity, intelligence and
creativity, and thus is more likely to maximize extropy than, say, a
dictator, who may or may not be intelligent at all, and for whom there is
no mechanism for ensuring competence.

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