RE: POL: Anarchism vs Limited Government

Billy Brown (
Mon, 5 Apr 1999 15:23:24 -0500

Robin Hanson wrote:
> My proposal was designed to set aside your "it won't work" objections
> and see if a core of paternalism remained. Your concern that people
> won't choose to buy as much poverty insurance, police protection, or
> bills of rights as you think they aught seems exactly such a core of
> paternalism. Even when it seems workable, you don't want to let other
> folks make these choices for themselves.

My concern is not that people will voluntarily choose to forego these services, but rather that they will not be able to obtain them. You can only buy what someone is willing to sell.

Much of anarcho-capitalist theory rests on an implicit assumption that a market for law will work much like other markets, in that ordinary market forces will lead to companies offering whatever mix of services the public actually wants. I believe that what evidence we have, both historical and theoretical, does not support this theory. Instead, I expect that whatever private institutions are given the power to initiate the use of force will use this power to short-circuit market feedback to their own benefit.

Your proposal would address some of the problems with PPAs by ensuring that they do not simply band together and set up some kind of oligarchy. It did not address the more subtle ways that PPAs can use force to gain competitive advantages, or the other less obvious problems with such schemes. These problems are important, because they can easily lead to abuses just as bad as the government atrocities we are trying to avoid.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I