Libertarian or "Dynamic" socialism (fixed)

John K Clark (
Wed, 8 Jan 1997 10:06:54 -0800 (PST)


NOTE: I hope long time readers of this list will forgive me for fighting the
same old battle that has been fought so often in the past, it seems to
be necessary from time to time, but you will probably not find much new
in this post and might want to skip it.

On Tue, 7 Jan 1997 Richard Brodie <> Wrote:

>any proposal to "eliminate governments completely" is silly
>on the face of it.

Then perhaps you should dig a little deeper than the surface face of a thing.
It's not like we don't have an example of Anarchy working beautifully, just
look at the Internet.

>True, your own vote is worth little. But the memes you
>spread to influence others' votes are potentially much more

Yes, but how fast my memes spread is a function of how infectious they are,
not how true they are. Memes that are false can spread very rapidly, even if
they're harmful, look at the meme that if die in battle trying to expand the
one true religion I will go straight to heaven. However, let's forget about
all that and assume my meme is as good as you could expect it to be and I am
eloquent enough to convince others of its value. All I have done is
influenced them to vote for one politician and his grab bag of promises over

Even if we make the ridiculous assumption that all politicians are honest and
have boiling water IQ's they could never do as good a job as the free market,
because they are lacking a vital ingredient, price information. The true
price of an object is determined by an enormous number of variables and is
much too complicated to be calculated from first principles, but the market
will tell you what the price should be, no trouble at all.

>your conclusion that the people will then revolt at some
>point is unsupported.

I don't expect an armed revolt against modern democratic governments, nothing
as dramatic as that, rather the black market will keep getting stronger and
governments weaker until they become irrelevant. Personally I think this is a
good thing, but In the long run discussing the flaws or merits of it is
academic, I don't think we have a choice. Like it or not a change to
Anarcho-capitalism is inevitable . Not because somebody's rhetoric convinces
people of it's benefits, and certainly not because politicians change the law,
but because of technology. Modern communication, cryptography and untraceable
digital cash will make it increasingly difficult to collect taxes.

My confidence comes from the power of exponential growth. In general, if I
increase the complexity of my encryption algorithm so that it takes me twice
as long to encrypt it, I have made it not twice, but billions of times more
difficult for an attacker to break it. The government has access to more
powerful computers than I do, but not that much more powerful. There is just
no getting around it, recent developments in mathematics and communication
have tipped the balance away from the tax collector and in favor of the
tax evader.

Governments will undoubtedly draft many new laws to try to protect themselves
but making rules is easy, enforcing them is not. I admit that if government
gets to pick what form of digital cash and encryption we must use then the
Crypto Singularity will not happen, but they've already tried to do something
like that with the Clipper chip and the suppression of PGP and both have
flopped big time. Short of dismantling the internet and confiscating all home
computers it's impossible to dictate what form of encryption or digital cash
you must use. When people are given a choice between one form of cash you pay
tax on and another that you don't it won't take them long to make a decision.

Regardless of the rules, you can't collect the tax if you can't find the
money. Even the traditional standby of "tax by inflation" would not work as
people would just switch to a competing currency (untraceable of course) that
suited their needs better. The tribute that could still be extracted, like
property taxes and building permits, would have to be increased to
astronomic levels and collected with a heavy hand, a tax revolt will follow. Without money government will grind to a

>Who would enforce it? The government?

It's not clear to me what "it" refers to, I think you mean law and order and
justice. Well, no system can guarantee justice to everybody all the time but
you'd have the greatest chance of finding it in Anarcho-capitalism. In a
dictatorship one man's whim can lead to hell on earth, I don't see how 40
million Germans could have murdered 6 million Jews in a Anarcho-capitalistic
world. Things aren't much better in a Democracy, 51% can decide to kill the
other 49% , nothing even close to that is possible in Anarchy, even

Consider what would happen if law and law enforcement were driven by market
forces. In general, the desire not to be killed is much stronger than the
desire to kill a stranger, even a Jewish stranger. Jews would be willing to
pay as much as necessary, up to and including their entire net worth not to
be killed. I doubt if even the most rabid anti Semite would go much beyond
2%. As a result the PPA (private protection agency) protecting Jews would be
much stronger than the one that wants to kill them. In Anarchy, for things
that are REALLY important to you ( like not getting killed) you have much
more influence than just one man one vote.

And it doesn't mean justice only for the rich. If a rich man's PPA makes
unreasonable demands (beatings, sidewalk justice, I insist on my mother
being the judge if I get into trouble) it's going to need one hell of a lot
of firepower to back it up. That kind of an army is expensive because of the
hardware needed and because of the very high wages it will need to pay its
employees for an extremely dangerous job. To pay for all this they will need
to charge their clients enormous fees severely limiting their customer base
and that means even higher charges. They could never get the upper hand
because the common man's PPA would be able to outspend a PPA that had
outrageous demands and was just for the super rich. A yacht cost a lot more
than a car yet the Ford motor Company is far richer than all the yacht
builders on the planet combined.

It won't be perfect, there will still be brutality, but you have to ask
yourself, brutal compared to what? States? Governments, those paragons of
charity and morality, those defenders of the weak and powerless, the source
of all virtue, have butchered hundreds of millions of people this century
alone, often their own citizens. We'd have to work very hard to break that

Please don't misunderstand me, as I said Capitalism is NOT the best
conceivable system, only the best possible one. Without the slightest doubt
the best system is one in which everybody does exactly what I want them to
do. For some reason I have had limited success convincing others of the
wisdom of this view.

The next best system would be a king who never made mistakes and who was
100 times smarter than Einstein and 100 times kinder that Mother Theresa.
The trouble is, although every tinhorn dictator or politician on the planet
claims to have these wonderful attributes, none have proven to actually
posses them. Despite thousands of examples over hundreds of years of venal,
self serving, stupid, behavior by those who want to rule us, people still
expect politicians to know what the right thing is and then to actually do it.
They are ALWAYS disappointed and ALWAYS will be, yet they still believe that
if we just have one more election and get the right people in office
everything will be peachy.

Free market ideas are often unpopular among opinionated people (and I'm more
opinionated than most) because in their hart of harts they are certain
(and being certain is NOT the same as being correct) that they know exactly
how society should be run. Capitalism will not guarantee a society that you
or I would consider perfect, so it is rejected in favor of a mythical perfect
system. If an alternative to free markets is used then other strong willed
people will disagree with your view of perfection and the result is conflict
and even war. A classic example of perfection being the enemy of the good.

The central problem is that any interference with the Free Market means there
must be a judge, but who judges the judge? Who judges the judge of the judge?
Who judges...

>Human society is a meme pool.

Yes, but remember there is FAR more to a society than government.

>If you dissolve all the existing structures

Who would want to do that?! It would mean going back to the stone age,
or worse.

>even if it were possible

Only by killing every human on earth.

>new structures would soon arise and self-organize.

Exactly my point, new and better structures will arise to perform the things
government does now.

John K Clark

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