Re: Anarcho-Capitalism Stability
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 12:41:17 -0500 (EST) (Robin Hanson) writes:

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

>TOO LITTLE COORDINATION -- These diverse entities may suffer severe
>free rider problems regarding "public" goods such as national defense.
>Hopefully donations, social pressure, and the self-interest of large
>entities would be enough to get by. But if coordination comes by
>refusing to do business with entities that won't contribute, that may
>be enough coordination to create the next problem:

National defense is a valid issue for an anarchical society. City-state
cultures, which create an environment similar in many ways to that of a
hypothetical anarchy, do have problems with national defense. To be fair,
the problems are not overwhelming - the city-state cultures of ancient
Greece, Renaissance Italy, and early modern Germany fell to foreign conquest;
but they all lasted a long time, and more conventional states get conquered

I'm not aware of any other externalities that city-state systems, and by
extension a more modern polycentric anarchy, don't handle. Past ones have
dealt with some really thorny ones like water rights and maritime law.

>TOO MUCH COORDINATION -- In some times and places, such small local
>monopolies of force seem to have agreed to leave each other alone to
>prey on their "citizens". Coordination may allow them to punish
>deviant entities which treat their people nicely and take in refugees.
>We need to better understand why this happens so we can work to
>prevent it.

This is why I think democratic city government plus an armed populace is a
good way to handle basic personal security. When the community provides its
own protection, predatory government is rare. Modern police forces are both
accountable to their communites and lack the force to control the entire
population; this is an ideal situation for watching the watchmen. You could
probably figure out ways for commercial security organization to be
well-controlled, but why bother?