Re: Justice and Punishment

Alejandro Dubrovsky (
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 03:59:08 +1000 (GMT+1000)

On Tue, 31 Mar 1998, John K Clark wrote:

> Good laws are no different than anything else, if you want to maximize
> something make it a commodity and sell it on the free market. Nobody does
> that for law very much, that's why there are far more good cars than good
> laws. Privately produced law in a world without government would have
> Private Protection Agencies (PPA's) to back them up. Disputes among PPA's
> would be settled by an independent arbitrator agreed to by both parties
> BEFORE the disagreement happened. Something like that can exist today.
> When companies sign complicated contracts they sometimes also agree on who
> will arbitrate it if differences in interpretation happen. Nobody wants to
> get caught up in the slow, expensive court system run by governments.
> The arbitrator is paid by the case, and because he is picked by both sides,
> it's in his interest to be as just as possible. If he favored one side over
> another or made brutal or stupid decisions he would not be picked again and
> would need to look for a new line of work. Unlike present day judges and
> juries, justice would have a positive survival value for the arbitrator.
> All parties would have a reason to avoid violence if possible. The disputing
> parties would not want to turn their front yard into a war zone, and violence
> is expensive. The successful protection agencies would be more interested in
> making money than saving face. Most of the time this would work so I expect
> the total level of violence to be less than in the nation state system we
> have now, but I'm not such a utopian as to suggest it will drop to zero.
> Even when force is not used the implicit threat is always there, another good
> reason to be civilized.
> Please note that I'm not talking about justice only for the rich. If a rich
> man's PPA makes unreasonable demands (beatings, sidewalk justice, I insist on
> my mother being the judge if I get into trouble) it's going to need one hell
> of a lot of firepower to back it up. That kind of an army is expensive
> because of the hardware needed and because of the very high wages it will
> need to pay its employees for an extremely dangerous job. To pay for all this
> they will need to charge their clients enormous fees severely limiting their
> customer base and that means even higher charges. They could never get the
> upper hand, because the common man's PPA would be able to outspend a PPA that
> had outrageous demands and was just for the super rich. A yacht cost a lot
> more than a car, yet the Ford motor Company is far richer than all the yacht
> builders on the planet combined.
> No system can guarantee justice to everybody all the time but you'd have the
> greatest chance of finding it in Anarcho-capitalism. In a dictatorship one
> man's whim can lead to hell on earth, I don't see how 40 million Germans
> could have murdered 6 million Jews in a Anarcho-capitalistic world. Things
> aren't much better in a Democracy, 51% can decide to kill the other 49% ,
> nothing even close to that is possible in Anarchy, even theoretically.
> In general, the desire not to be killed is much stronger than the desire to
> kill a stranger, even a Jewish stranger. Jews would be willing to pay as
> much as necessary, up to and including their entire net worth not to be
> killed. I doubt if even the most rabid anti Semite would go much beyond 2%.
> As a result the PPA protecting Jews would be much stronger than the one that
> wants to kill them. In Anarchy, for things that are REALLY important to you
> (like not getting killed) you have much more influence than just one man one
> vote.
so a billionaire's whim would be much more powerful than any "standard"
indivual's greatest desire. What would stop someone like Bill Gates from
doing what he will with 10000000 Indians? Not to mention that most
people's wieldable money (spare money?) is much less than 2% of a rich
person's spare money. Also, what's the difference between a large PPA and
a standard nation state, in which you pay taxes to be protected?
What will protect you from your own PPA?
Alejandro Dubrovsky