Re: Anarcho-Capitalism Stability
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 17:55:37 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 2/25/97 9:57:23 PM, Robin Hanson wrote:

>We start with large states as we have now . . . .

>Then we imagine shrinking these territorial entities, ending perhaps
>with urban towers or planned suburbs.

Shirking? Granted, we have yet to flesh out the transition from a statist to
a polycentric legal order, but I would not assume that statists will entirely
rue the change. Rather, they may, given the proper incentives, cede power
gracefully. See the "buy outs" of ex-Soviet Communist Party members, or US
Federal Judges retiring early for the more lucrative practice of ADR.
Needless to say, I regard crafting effective (if not necessarily
Pareto-optimal) exits to a polycentric society as a *very* important and
interesting topic.

>Each entity is likely still a
>"state" in the sense of holding a monopoly on local "force", i.e.,
>fighting professionals who patrol and are ready to respond to calls
>for help.

Careful here. Recall that enforcement in one geographic area can come from
different legal systems at different levels. Again, the
far-from-perfect-but-not-entirely-rotten US legal system provides good
examples: fed and state cops patrolling the same highways; bounty hunters
crossing the country; the SPA busting software pirates everywhere--even

>But ease of moving between entities and of creating new
>such entities keeps entities competitive and hence accountable, by
>switching attention from voting with "voice" to voting with "feet".

And--importantly!--voting with money! I may well pay more for a coop that
has increased its police force. I may well pay more for an ISP that promises
me infection-free access, backed by bond.

>And the change in scale switches the legal focus to law regarding
>interactions between citizens of differing entities, rather than
>between citizens of the same entity.

Maybe. But some communities will undoubtedly turn inward and primarily
adjudicate their own struggles. Cf. how States currently evince different
levels of interest in foreign policy.

>Given this picture, I see two contrary stability concerns:

Right. I like your framing the problem with two extrema: the Devil and the
Deep Blue Sea.

T.0. Morrow