RE: POL: Extropianism and Politics

Billy Brown (
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 11:42:35 -0600

Here's a question for all of our local anarcho-capitalist types: What keeps an anarchist society from slowly sliding towards despotism?

The problem I see is that you still have groups of men with guns (the PPAs). There is no law except what some PPA chooses to provide. IMO, this situation has lots of perverse incentives. A few examples:

  1. Why should the PPAs allow themselves to be legally accountable for anything? They need a facade of moral rectitude to attract customers, but the reality is another matter.
  2. There is nothing to stop PPAs from colluding to fix the market. If the two biggest providers in Houston decide to team up, kick out the competition by force, and divide the market, my only recourse is to leave. If they do it all at once the public relations fallout may be fatal, but the same thing could happen gradually over the course of decades.
  3. PPAs will frequently be faced with other situations where they can stack the economic deck in their favor with a little judicious use of force. What keeps them from doing it? Worse, what keeps them from starting out small, and getting steadily worse as time goes on?

To sum up my concern, it seems to me that a PPA system amounts to creating a market for intelligently applied violence. A PPA that can get away with shooting its competitors (or defecting customers) has a strong competitive advantage over one that can't. If this is true, we should expect a few generations of competition to produce the kind of nimble, competent, hyper-deadly special ops forces that currently exist only in cyberpunk SF. Instead of a clumsy, stupid, inefficient police state we get a smart, efficient, effective Yakuza. Is this really an improvement?

Billy Brown, MCSE+I