Re: Anarcho-Capitalism Stability

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 24 Feb 1997 13:55:04 -0800 (PST)

> 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".

The other protection agencies. If some agency doesn't pull its own
weight on national defense, the other agencies refuse to sign contracts
of cooperation with it, refuse to arbitrate disputes with it, and it
loses its ability to protect, and therefore its market. Why belong to
a protection agency that is at war with your neighbors'? You want to
hire the one that has a history of peaceful resolutions.

In the end, it all comes down to force. You, and I, and every other
individual are personally responsible for our own lives and our own
safety. Nothing magical will ever change that. The best we can do is
to create systems that minimize the cost of that defense in terms of
money and in terms of lives. But we can never ignore it, or pretend
that some "system" will make it go away. Force of arms is necessary
for self-protection. The question is, do we grant that force to a
single monopoly organization, or do we decentralize control of it, and
foster competition?

> >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.

I repeat: Predation is a more expensive strategy than cooperation. This
is a direct assertion of meaningful content, and I continue to believe
that it is true, and that is has real concrete consequences. If the
fact that it "sounds like a slogan" in your ears (whatever that means)
makes you disbelieve it, that's not my problem.

Your concrete scenario is this: why couldn't a protection agency try to
manipulate the others into providing their services to it at no cost?
I repeat my answer: because theft has costs that trade does not. It has
a direct cost in lack of ability to trade with others because of lack of
trust. It has a direct cost in the willingness of others to use force
against you. In short-run, low-risk situations like robbing a strange
house while the owner is away, it may be profitable; you'll never see
the owner again, you might not get caught, and you might successfully
fence the goods. But in a public protection agency? There's no way a
public entity can get away with dishonest trade for long without an
unaccountable monopoly government backing it up.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>