Re: Justice and Punishment

Alejandro Dubrovsky (
Sat, 4 Apr 1998 04:54:24 +1000 (GMT+1000)

On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, Dan Fabulich wrote:

> At 04:28 AM 4/3/98 +1000, you wrote:
> >
> >first of all, he wouldn't have to spend all his money. He earns more per
> >unit time than those 10000000 Indians combined, so he would just have to
> >spend a couple of months until the indians run out of funds.
> This is untrue. They may well run out of reserve capital, but so long as
> their health and safety is in jeopardy, they will constantly be working to
> preserve themselves; they can never be stripped of their human captial
> unless killed. At best, Bill Gates would keep on spending his money on
> this FOREVER.

If their human capital is worth almost nothing to the market (as it is, or
otherwise their income would be higher), it is also worth nothing to their

> Also, don't forget that most of his income comes from wise investment
> strategies, not just from the software sales. If he's spending a major
> portion of his revenues on surpressing the populace, he will be severely
> cutting into the growth of his income. This decrease in growth would
> cumulate over the years, eventually costing him far more than surpressing
> the people ever would have been worth to him. If he continues to persist
> anyway, you can be sure that his reserves would dwindle down to nothing
> over time.
not really, it just means that his growth wouldn't grow, but it does not
mean that his growth would decline. He could just keep a stable state and
spend all his profits on his whims.

> And best of all, Bill Gates, being a wise investor if nothing else, KNOWS
> this, and therefore would NEVER try such a thing: he'd much rather invest
> in something that will actually pay for itself in the long run than throw
> money at such a stupid plan.
So, again we are trusting the powerful to be wise, just like in a
dictatorship, monarchy, democracy, or any other form of centralised

> >Second of
> >all, even if someone did have to spend all his money (say a lesser god,
> >like rupert murdoch or ted turner), that is still way too much power to
> >give to one person. Most of the psychotic dictators around the world
> >didn't get anywhere near that figure (arguably only three ever made it
> >there, counting side effects and other stuff)
> Perhaps I should have made this clearer... if Gates *were* to spend all his
> money, he'd be crushed by his competitors in no time flat. And while Gates
> is picking up the pieces of his squandered fortune, the indians will be
> hiring a PPA to protect them from people like him in the future.
the indians will not be hiring anyone cos they will be dead. And as i
showed before, Gates could do this with just using his profits. (And if
you don't like the numbers, change the 10000000 indians for 1 million
indians, the actual number is inconsequential to the argument as long as
that number reaches Shocking Proportions (tm))

> >That is if your PPA lets you decide where your money is
> >going to go.
> If it doesn't, YOU DISOBEY THEM, with the support of the other PPA, who
> profits by helping you do so. That's part of the point of this whole system.
I addressed this in my previous answer to your mail. The profit to your
current PPA is greater than the potential profit to the other PPA, etc...

> >I think the analogy with the nation state is pretty useful.
> >you could fund another nation, (a la cubans in the US), but only if that
> >other nation is more powerful than your current one.
> The problem with this analogy is that you're still thinking in terms of
> nations, where you have to stage an overthrow (ie win a war) in order to
> live under a new form of government.
> In the instance of PPAs, on the other hand, even tyrannical ones, we're
> presuming that they're actually trying to do a cost-benefit analysis with
> respect to what they're doing. A tyrannical PPA will not simply throw
> itself at all other PPAs indiscriminately if its customers decide to look
> elsewhere. That would be economic suicide. It's simply not worth it to
> pursue a "stay with us or suffer the consequences" policy when you're
> competing with other PPAs, because war is expensive. An agressive PPA
> simply can't compete with a peaceful non-interventionist one; the agressive
> PPA would eventually go out of business, no matter HOW power-hungry they were.
I don't see this at all. War is expensive for both sides. Your PPA
doesn't have to fight anyone if no other PPA tries to "rescue you". And
no other PPA will try because they know that your PPA gets a higher profit
from you than they would (since that is the point of your rescue,
otherwise they would try, and probably succeed, but this means that they
would get more out of you than your current PPA). Analogies with
nation-states ad infinitum.

> It comes down to this: it's worth more to me not to be oppressed than it
> is worth to others to oppress me. No one can maintain for long a policy of
> spending money on things which aren't worthwhile to them; such fools will
> always go out of business in the long run, so long as other competitors
> exist to take up the slack.
read right above

> >And that does not
> >guarantee that your new PPA won't do the same thing, even though it
> >might not be to the same degree (again, a la cubans in
> >the US).
> True, you don't have guarantees. What guarantees do you have now of the
> same thing? As John Clark pointed out, what's stopping the US armed forces
> from turning this whole land into a military dictatorship?
Depends what you mean on "this whole land". If you mean the US, i would
say they get a very nice forced profit from you, and almost complete
autonomy from any civil law. this is probably more profitable for them
than forcing a military dictatorship (they are tricky things to run, very
personnel-intensive, and probably not worth the trouble).

> I agree with Clark that anarcho-capitalism will not guarantee freedom,
> (nothing will,) but rather that it is the political structure most likely
> to uphold it.
Depends on your idea of freedom. I don't see it as something only
quantitavely rather than qualitatively different from the current state.
Alejandro Dubrovsky