Re: Anarcho Capitalism

Tony Hollick (
Sun, 19 Apr 98 09:06 BST-1

John K. Clark wrote:

> >I was remembering Acton's dictum about all power tending to corrupt;
> >and absolute power tending to corrupt absolutely.

> Then why do you support by far the largest concentration of power, the state.

I dont' support 'by far the largest concentration of power, the
State.' I work unceasingly to find ways to reduce and fragment
that power, and to have the State (or State-like entities)
oppressing people as little as possible, while working to enhance
their freedom. In Democratic Agorism, Representatives in the
(fully marketized, note) Agora Assembly need not elect a leader,
and may pass no laws at at all unless a clear majority of
Electors want otherwise. Even then, laws have to get past the
Constitution and _juries_. It's damnably hard if not impossible
to 'concentrate power' in such circumstances.

And I'm not unsympathetic to the anarchist project (an Eric Frank
Russell fan writes) _if_ anarchist theoreticians can come up with
proven viable ways of organizing a society which optimizes
individual liberty, and is _reversible_ as and when it goes wrong.

> You may not like Microsoft

'Microsoft' is an 'artificial person.' I don't like the way
MS-DOS was ripped-off from Gary Kildall's brilliant CP/M (oddly,
I had a fully disassembled and commented copy of disassembld CP/M
source code early on at that time. It could have been me! ).

IBM at that time wanted a crippled version of CP/M for their
crippled 'Personal Computer' (absurd overpriced Intel 8085-based
thing) -- they didn't want personal computing to succeeed,
remember, partly for economic reasons (to preserve mini and
mainframe sales) and partly for social and political reasons.

The Microsoft empire is founded on that looted, sad and dishonest
MS-DOS thing; the difference being, that Kildall and Digital
Research knew how to create reliable, compact fast operating
systems, and transport them to other platforms. I'm using
CPM/68K and GEM right here and now on an Atari Falcon, and I
won't be changing any time soon.

I also enjoy reading the indicators for the Feds' (or others')
sporadic if clumsy efforts to access my Hard Drive and files
while I'm online. Whereas a Microsoft system opens the backdoors
invisibly for them, so the Feds can pluck your PGP keys straight
off the keyrings... <shudder>...

> but it never put millions of people into ovens, only nations do that.

As we have discussed, the Nazi Labour Camps program is an early
version of 'Workfare' -- putting the 'idle' to work, for the good
of society, natch. Every time a bureacrat dreamed up a new public
works project, they rounded up more prisoners. And they rented
prisoners out to private businesses as cheap labour, which created
an inexhaustable demand for more prisoners. Killing them all was
Mueller's contribution to hitting the Nazis' war production.

> >If you fondly imagine that the USA's economic system rewards hard
> >work

>Hard word is irrelevant, it's not rewarded nor should it be.

A crucial concession. Thank you.

> It's smart work that's rewarded.

How many examples do you need, to concede the falsehood of _that_
proposition also?

The market doesn't 'reward' _anything_, except if you call people
impersonally following abstract price signals a matter for

> >ask yourself why, in the US, there is a near-perfect _inverse ratio
> >between how arduous and unpleasant the work is, and how much you get
> >paid for doing it.

> I don't believe there is such a ratio. An off shore oil worker, a boxer,
> an ironworker, a bridge rigger, even a coal miner are all very dangerous jobs,
> many think they're unpleasant too, yet they're well paid.

I said 'near-perfect', not 'perfect.' How much does a toilet
cleaner, say, earn in your locality?

> If you define an anarcho capitalist as somebody who engages in anarcho
> capitalistic actions then that particular creature is as mythical as a
> unicorn, states do not allow people to be anarcho capitalists, yet.

It's not that States do not allow people to be anarcho-capitalist
(look at the New York kid who can't even pull down minimum wage
dealing dope on the street); in James Buchanan's apt phrase, 'we
never get out of anarchy.' Since the prevailing social controls
in an anarcho-capitalist society (if such a beast were even
possible) are totally arbitrary, and can be _anything_ it's hard
to know what the complaint is.

If you view States as strata title landholding companies, as landowners
they're entitled under _anarcho-capitalism_ to set whatever rules
of social conduct they damn well please. You don't like it?
So move.

> Just having such opinions does not seem to be detrimental to ones economic
> health, I have a dollar or two.

>:-} Pleased to hear it -- I fight to preserve rare and
endangered species.

> >Randians would advise talented people to make as _little_ as
> >possible, so as to withold resources from the looter State.

> I'm not a Randian. I finely got around to reading "Atlas Shrugged" about
> 2 months ago so. It was nice.

I had a business and a dollar or three when first I read 'atlas
Shrugged' in 1972 or 1973. My older brother said: "Here's a good
book about railroads." >:-}

I'd be genuinely interested in learning how you adjust to Rand's
injunction to minimize your output. I had real heartbreak
wrestling with the issue.

> >it is within our power to save the lives of children in Ethiopia

> Yes.

> >we simply choose _not to_,

> Yes.

Don't you see _any_ moral problem here? Is human life worthless
to you?

> I'm not going to do that, or anything close to it, I very much doubt you
> are either. The human species is only capable of a finite amount of altruism,

I spend time and effort working on enhanced small-scale market
systems which they can make use of directly and locally.

> that's why communism didn't work

I don't think 'communism' (whatever that may be) can possibly work
(the 'economic calculation' argument of Mises etc.). The average
Russian seems to be worse off under Crony-Capitalism now than under
Gorby's regime -- life expectancy back to Stalin-era levels.

> Instead of whining about something you're never going to change, try
> finding a system that can turn the selfishness that everybody has into
> a virtue.

Bernard Mandeville -- "The Fable of the Bees"!!

Been there. Done that. Got the T-Shirt!

> If Bill Gates is only moderately clever and you're more than that then
> outsmart him in the marketplace and send 50 billion dollars to Ethiopia.

If I could offer a free operating system better than Windoze (and I
can) I could never get it onto the market on any large scale. The US
state would simply act to block it. A global Windoze monopoly is too
useful to them, for reasons already given here. There is no 'free
market' in strategic commodities.

> >can control the entire society by owning key resources.

> Is it better for one leader to controls everything?

Democratic Agorism does not require a 'leader.' Horizontal
reticular systems don't. Vertical ('Capitalist') systems do.
You seem unable to understand the distinction.

> Tony, near as I can tell your main complaint against Anarcho Capitalism
> is that it's not as good as a nation state where the leaders always do
> exactly what Tony Hollick wants, perhaps so, but that's not really the
> choice we face now is it.

Truly, John, not so. I worked for years trying to find ways to make
anarchism work. I never found a way, is all.

My standard 'toolkit' is Rawlsian:

[1] The Original Position (choosing a system 'from scratch');

[2] The 'Veil of Ignorance' (choosing a system without knowing one's
own characteristics within the system, so that you accept _any_
position you find yourself in within the society you choose, whatever
your personal attributes of strength, intelligence etc.)

All this you find in John Rawls, 'A Theory of Justice.'

Probably the easiest lead-in is Robert Nozick's 'Anarchy, State and
Utopia', an immensely readable book which covers the field from
'state-of-nature' through anarchy to minimal states.

/ /\ \

Tony Hollick, LightSmith (LA-Agora Conference) (Agora Home Page, Rainbow Bridge Foundation) (NorthWest Coalition Against Malicious Harrassment)

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