Solving World Problems: Warlords

From: Phil Osborn (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 21:54:56 MST

What other solutions?

Well, for starters, what about a universal social contract??? It would specify how disputes were to be peacefully resolved and would be binding upon all signatories relative to all other signatories. Such a contract, say - resting on binding arbitration, would be legal in most parts of the world, enforceable via the state court systems in a high percentage of cases - as in California. But the enforceability by state entities might hardly matter if your primary goal is to reduce risk barriers to common trade worldwide - especially in areas where the "legal" powers are more feared than the private bandits.

Using voluntary market mechanisms such as bonding, escrow, letters of credit, insurance, etc., to back it up, contractees could deal with each other in spite of what would be insurmountable risk barriers to non-signatories. I've been pushing this idea for some time, BTW. One of the examples that occurs to me every time I see one of these Ted Koppal type specials on the Congo or similar disaster cases, is that there is PLENTY of capital available in the world to deal with ALL these situations. But the various risk factors stand in the way of anyone reliably making a profit out of dealing with these unfortunate people.

Let's project a step beyond now to just one of the outcomes of the implementation of such a contract, even long before it had reached near universal acceptance: Think about that mother Koppal showed making a dollar a day - when lucky - portaging stuff on her back, freelance in the Congo - to feed about ten kids. And she was one of the fortunate ones. Anyone who will work that hard can work for my company!! And her kids are probably going to be good productive people too, if they get half a chance. So why can't I invest a thousand of my dollars in those kids? Why can't a mutual fund move in and find those kids and form Massachusetts trusts in their names to raise the capital for food, medicine and education - to be paid back as the value of their shares grow as they become adults????

>Adrian Tymes wrote:

>Market reform and capitalism have also been proposed, on the theory that the naural laws of commerce will induce the oppressors to reform as they see that, for instance, businesses prefer to invest where there are
stable (and enforced) laws, since this greatly reduces their potential risk (risk-averse, relatively-low-reward businesses seem to be dominant, though these all too often blind themselves to long-term risks in their desire to minimise short-term risks). While this has been used to limited success, for instance with China, it relies on there being an internal economy and a large enough labor force that business contacts
must go through more than a few people: bribing a few people is easy; bribing each of an army of bearaucrats is expensive.

So...what other solutions are there to this problem?

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