Re: Anarcho-Capitalism Stability

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 24 Feb 1997 12:59:32 -0800 (PST)

I wrote:
> I assume that you'd need a large scale "state" to manage national
> defense. There would be serious free rider problems otherwise, and
> there seem to be strong economies of scale to military coordination.

Lee Daniel Crocker responded:
>It is likely that agencies would pool some of their resources for
>defense. That would be part of their cost of service. Free riders
>are likely to be a very small problem: first, because "going armadillo",
>i.e., not hiring a protection agency, leaves you vulnerable to all
>kinds of mischief.

The question is what prevents someone from starting a new PPL which
protects you from local crime, and makes the appropriate agreements
with other PPLs, but doesn't contribute to this defense "pool".

I also wrote:
> More severely, it might notice when no other law was patrolling the
> customer of a competing law, and make some "accidents" happen to those
> other customers. The competing law might know it would cost it more
> to compensate this with more monitoring, or retaliatory accidents, and
> so be persuaded to leave the area.

Lee responded:
>Predation is a more expensive strategy than cooperation. It makes more
>sense for agencies to contract with each other for arbitration than to
>risk going to war.

I describe a concrete scenario, and you respond with a slogan. Sure
predation is expensive, but the threat of predation can be cheap.

Robin D. Hanson