Re: Justice and Punishment

Dan Fabulich (
Sun, 05 Apr 1998 00:12:34 -0500


den Otter wrote:
>The same thing(s) that have stopped them in the past, like the fact that most
>soldiers will refuse to kill their own people, including their family and

So then why couldn't a PPA remain stable on the same principle?

>Yes, my system would have a military, but this would not be the only armed
>force in the empire. There would have to be several, to provide the necessary

Do you mean to say that your military would be explicitly set up to fight
against itself if it decided to get uppity?

>We have minimum wage because if you would go much lower people would be
>starving. At a certain point, not more than a couple of decades away,
>and robots will be better and cheaper at just about *any* low-wage human job.
>Only an idiot would still hire people then.

Or a person who couldn't afford their own robot. New localized economies
can and do form for this very reason.

>Indeed, automation can make prizes drop, but if stuff gets so cheap you can
>sell it for virtually nothing, then why not give it away for free all the

It's not that cheap yet; and much of the important stuff never will be
until we perfect immortality.

>Besides, a lot of people would otherwise simply have to beg to get even
>those couple of bucks in a highly automated world, because virtually no-one
>would want unreliable and inefficient people working for them if they can get
>a cheap, trustworthy and super-efficient robot.

This, of course, imagines that the marginal cost of captial will plummet
and the marginal revenue product of capital will skyrocket to such a degree
that the demand for labor will bottom out. Fortunately for us, a demand
shock like this is unlikely in the near future. Thankfully (or
frustratingly, depending on your point of view), whenever we make some
small advancement in productivity or technology, people want more and more
from it, which means more and more people have to be employed (yes,
employed; even if it's only to program the robots).

So long as people keep wanting more and more stuff, more and more people
will be needed in the economy.

>By the number of screw-ups he makes (how many people that were deemed
>"OK" by him turned out to be inadequate ?)

Gee, in that case, in order to cover my butt, I'd better just say that
EVERYBODY I profile is inadequate. "I've never been wrong about this sort
of thing! Who, him? He was cured in asylum."

>Anyone who wants can spy back, and expose them.

Expose, schmexpose. I'm talking about a full scale publicly known military
coup here. What are you going to do, TELL everybody that the military is
taking over? Presumably, if the military is worth a damn, everyone will
already know.

>It depends on the "good will" of fewer people.

The danger of depending on the good will of fewer people means that it also
requires fewer people to screw it up royally. If there are a few bad
apples in a-c, they can be checked. If those few bad apples are the
dictators of a government, they can't.

>You mean caused by corruption and such, the backing of malafide companies
>in return for bribes? This problem would be greatly reduced by strict
>Also, putting techophiles in office (at least at positions where it
counts) should
>prevent the "disappearance" (into the vaults of some company or the gov
>of breaktrough inventions.

While bribery has been part of the problem, another part of the problem was
companies who would publicly lobby for tax breaks, tarrifs, and other
handouts from the government, and would get them, because either the public
or Congress actually believed that they would be a good for the economy.
There's little you can do about this outside of switching to a system like
a-c. The leaders can always be fooled, even under surveillance.

>Sure, but if you like it, it probably wasn't crap in the first place. I meant
>*real* crap, like food so full of conservatives that you'll develop cancer
>over time, or a television set with lousy sound etc.

Do you buy a lot of things you would prefer not to have?

>I don't think an initially smooth transition gaurantees anything. At a
>certain point a lot of governments and dictators and who knows
>what else will see the power they had for so long slip through their
>fingers. I'll be damned if not at least some of them would opt for
>very desperate measures to turn the tide...

This is just as likely as the US military turning against its own people.

>> >or that many, possibly all, would quickly degenerate into a
>> >flock of hardworking, meek/scared sheep ruled by an elite of enforcers.
>> Maybe, if they like it like that ...
>They may not really like it, but looking through history that appears to be
>the way things sooner or later turn out.

And by the very same logic, why won't the same thing happen to your

>Initially, maybe. But enforcement groups of any kind are traditionally very
>territorial (like gangs, who have their own city blocks) and I see no reason
>why PPAs would be any different.

The same reason why the military hasn't taken over the country.

>If you want to offer solid security to
>your customers, than you must be in firm control of the place they live

Who says? What if you're in peaceful negotiation with a dozen other PPAs,
covering the same area? None of whom want to attack each other, because
they'd just lose money in the process...

>The US military don't give a damn about such stuff. And if you want to leave
>the US, that's *fine*. It's getting in that's the problem (well,
>Like I said, your military has a pretty good track record when it comes to
>(attempted) coups.

You're right, it doesn't care about that. And you're right, they do have
an excellent track record. So why would the PPAs care more than the US
military, who has so much more to gain by doing so? Why is a PPA more
likely to turn tyrannical than the US Military?

>Greater size usually means greater stability. To give an example,
>fight all the time, while big governments only fight sporadically, and
since the
>advent of nukes the major ones even don't fight at all.

Street gangs tend to be impoverished. They also aren't even sort of
participating in a PPA system. This comparison isn't valid.

>Also, their conscience
>(that of the regular soldier) is stopping them from turning on their own

So why wouldn't the conscience of a PPA stop THEM from turning tyrannical
on their own people?

>In my system you could add to that mutual surveillance (the people spy back,
>and, for what it's worth, they have guns).

I see no reason why a PPA couldn't, if it wanted to, start up a company
where all of its employees are under 24-hour surveillance, in order to
better guarantee security. And for what it's worth, people under a PPA
could have guns, too.

>In a more advanced stage of automation
>the key to avoid tirrany is spreading control over the enforcer robots over
>institutions (that are unlike PPs part of the same system, more like
>systems in one body than seperate bodies).

Care to explain this in more detail?

>Because this system has proven itself, and anarcho-capitalism has (to my
>knowledge) yet to give a working example. If it is so great or natural, then
>why don't we see it all over?

I never said it was natural, I just said it was better. And before the US,
democracy wasn't seen all over, either. And arguably, the current system
under which the military doesn't turn tyrannical (despite the fact that it
could, quite easily,) is evidence that PPAs could be made to do the same
thing; even better, because people would be able to choose between
overlapping militaries in case one went bad.

>The law, backed by lots of FBI, CIA, police etc guys who don't agree (they
>don't have to like you but they sure want to screw those military guys).

Isn't this competing protection agencies, in this case? If so, why
couldn't they do the same thing privately?

>Besides, you don't usually get in debt with the military, but with some
>other government wing or a private organization or person. In the worst
>case, you'll go to jail. Now try the same stunt with the mafia-PPA and
>you'll wish you were in jail...In your system we'd see a lot more mob-style
>justice, and a lot less jail cells I suspect.

There's no more reason why this should happen under A-C (less, in fact)
than it should happen right now. The military could do this, but it
doesn't. Why couldn't PPAs be bound by a similar ethical code?

>Apparently the system is doing fine even without hew laws. I sure don't see
>any coup d'etats in the USA...And yes, a system of checks and balances
>could reduce any such risk even further (in fact, that's pretty much what
>you have with all your special branches, secret services, police forces etc.)
>It seems to work OK.

It works OK because lots of people, from the top down, are opposed to
turning tyrannical on their own people. Why wouldn't the same hold true
for a PPA?

>[how the hell did we get here anyway, all I wanted was fair justice >:-/ ]

Fortunately, I want the same thing.

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