Re: Justice and Punishment

den Otter (
Sun, 5 Apr 1998 02:32:44 +0200

> From: Dan Fabulich <>

> 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

The same thing(s) that have stopped them in the past, like the fact that most
soldiers will refuse to kill their own people, including their family and friends

> 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?

Yes, my system would have a military, but this would not be the only armed
force in the empire. There would have to be several, to provide the necessary
balance. Advanced automation (within 10 years or so all tanks, planes etc.
will be automated, elliminating large portions of the less reliable human force)
adds to the security and control by the leaders (and the launching of heavy
stuff like nukes could still require co-operation of several offices or people to
prevent accidents). Messing with the robots has little use, 'cause they come
in badges with different programming and coding, so you can never reprogram
them all at once.

> 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
> dangerous
> >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.

We have minimum wage because if you would go much lower people would be
starving. At a certain point, not more than a couple of decades away, computers
and robots will be better and cheaper at just about *any* low-wage human job.
Only an idiot would still hire people then.

> 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.

Indeed, automation can make prizes drop, but if stuff gets so cheap you can
sell it for virtually nothing, then why not give it away for free all the same?
Besides, a lot of people would otherwise simply have to beg to get even
those couple of bucks in a highly automated world, because virtually no-one
would want unreliable and inefficient people working for them if they can get
a cheap, trustworthy and super-efficient robot.

> Uhm... how do you measure the quality of a psychological profiler?

By the number of screw-ups he makes (how many people that were deemed
"OK" by him turned out to be inadequate ?)

> 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?

Anyone who wants can spy back, and expose them.

>How is this more secure than
> anarcho-capitalism?

It depends on the "good will" of fewer people.

> >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.

You mean caused by corruption and such, the backing of malafide companies
in return for bribes? This problem would be greatly reduced by strict surveillance.
Also, putting techophiles in office (at least at positions where it counts) should
prevent the "disappearance" (into the vaults of some company or the gov itself)
of breaktrough inventions.

> >> 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.

Sure, but if you like it, it probably wasn't crap in the first place. I meant
*real* crap, like food so full of conservatives that you'll develop cancer
over time, or a television set with lousy sound etc.

> >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.

I don't think an initially smooth transition gaurantees anything. At a
certain point a lot of governments and dictators and who knows
what else will see the power they had for so long slip through their
fingers. I'll be damned if not at least some of them would opt for
very desperate measures to turn the tide...

> >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 ...

They may not really like it, but looking through history that appears to be
the way things sooner or later turn out.

> >Logical,
> >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?

Because of territorialism (and poverty), see below.

> >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.

Initially, maybe. But enforcement groups of any kind are traditionally very
territorial (like gangs, who have their own city blocks) and I see no reason
why PPAs would be any different. If you want to offer solid security to
your customers, than you must be in firm control of the place they live

>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.

The US military don't give a damn about such stuff. And if you want to leave
the US, that's *fine*. It's getting in that's the problem (well, theoretically
Like I said, your military has a pretty good track record when it comes to
(attempted) coups.

> So could the military in your
> own imagined government. What's stopping them? How is this more secure
> than a competitive system?

Greater size usually means greater stability. To give an example, streetgangs
fight all the time, while big governments only fight sporadically, and since the
advent of nukes the major ones even don't fight at all. Also, their conscience
(that of the regular soldier) is stopping them from turning on their own people.
In my system you could add to that mutual surveillance (the people spy back,
and, for what it's worth, they have guns). In a more advanced stage of automation
the key to avoid tirrany is spreading control over the enforcer robots over
institutions (that are unlike PPs part of the same system, more like different
systems in one body than seperate bodies).

> >Imagine Microsoft as a PPA for ex,
> >providing mediocre yet somehow "appealing" services and taking out
> competition
> >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?

Because this system has proven itself, and anarcho-capitalism has (to my
knowledge) yet to give a working example. If it is so great or natural, then
why don't we see it all over?

> >*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?

The law, backed by lots of FBI, CIA, police etc guys who don't agree (they
don't have to like you but they sure want to screw those military guys).
Besides, you don't usually get in debt with the military, but with some
other government wing or a private organization or person. In the worst
case, you'll go to jail. Now try the same stunt with the mafia-PPA and
you'll wish you were in jail...In your system we'd see a lot more mob-style
justice, and a lot less jail cells I suspect.

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

Apparently the system is doing fine even without hew laws. I sure don't see
any coup d'etats in the USA...And yes, a system of checks and balances
could reduce any such risk even further (in fact, that's pretty much what
you have with all your special branches, secret services, police forces etc.)
It seems to work OK.

[how the hell did we get here anyway, all I wanted was fair justice >:-/ ]