Re: Nozick's Minimalism

Michael S. Lorrey (
Sun, 20 Dec 1998 17:04:51 -0500

"Peter C. McCluskey" wrote:

> (Dan Fabulich) writes:
> >At that point, there is a great deal of incentive for everyone in a given
> >area to be operating under one and only one PPF. After all, I can think of
> >only two ways to resolve conflict between two PPFs: merging into one PPF,
> >(which, by definition, is what would happen if they agreed to mutual
> >arbitration,) or combat.
> If you look at how existing countries handle the existence of other
> countries (e.g. extradition treaties), you will see that there are more
> than two ways to resolve conflicts, and that there exist conditions under
> which the multiple governments are a stable phenomenon.
> The only remaining question is whether there is something important about
> geographic segregation of governments that is essential to this stable
> coexistence.

Well, we have competing layers of government here, with local, state and federal organizations which frequently trip over each other's jurisdictions, or even have competing jurisdictions. There does tend to be rivalry, which can be good at times and bad at others, but it does tend to make the rivals more responsive to the consumer.

Then there is the insurance industry. Much of what many socialist nations automatically assume to be natural government functions are administered by private insurance companies here. Monopolization tends to occur more frequently here only when aided by government tax, investment, and tort laws. A lack of such laws tends to increase competition here, since essentially anyone with money can become an insurance company. Insurance is basically a matter of formalized betting on life outcomes. Companies with sufficient assets and minimal potential liabilities can insure themselves. Individuals can also do this, or as Vernor Vinge has called it, to "go armadillo", in some jurisdictions, and do so at a profit. However many states here now have what are called "financial responsibility" laws, mainly to do with automotive insurance. Fortunately things here are pretty loose in New Hampshire. So long as you have not had a car accident exceeding x dollars in damage or cause x dollars in medical injuries to the other parties, or get stopped for driving DWI, you are not required by law to have insurance. Your bank can mandate that you insure your vehicle if you have financed the vehicle through them, but that is about it.

The tenets of libertarian and AC theory hold that more and more, and potentially all, functions currently in the government domain can be privatized in a competitive market of insurance policies, to the benefit of consumers. If we look at markets like automotive insurance, we see that those states where consolidation of providers occurs happens where laws benefit such conditions. Lack of regulation benefits competition.

Mike Lorrey