Many of my fellow libertarian bloggers take Libertarianism to the measures of a stateless society. In principle, I am an anarchist. But after calling into Stefan Molyneux’s show a few times to discuss basic anarchist ideals I have decided that in practicality, anarchy would fail.
There is an ideal that believes in a stateless society that there would be multiple competing legal-system firms to include one’s self in voluntarily. This type of legal system would just flat-out be a failure. I’m not sure how popular this idea is, but conflicting opinions would simply exclude themselves from certain laws that would perhaps prevent rape or murder.
This agorist theory does include free market dispute resolutions, which I think if privatized on too large of a scale would be disastrous. Having private courts be in determination of law and its practice could be detrimental to the freedom of the people and the true freedom of markets. It could turn into the situation that the Federal Reserve has always been, which would use the force given to it by the government as a private entity to keep corporations evil. It wouldn’t be as big a scheme as the Fed, though, considering it wouldn’t mess with our money supply. But it would be much easier for other businesses to lobby to the court-system, giving a ton of profit to the executives without actually giving fair hearing to the people who bring a claim to courts. Government must provide a strong court system, and it must be expanded to be able to handle many claims at once. With this system, lawsuits would be a more frequent occurrence simply because it would be easier for one party to hold another party liable for either a small issue or a larger issue.
I do, however, hold some principles of privatized Dispute Resolution, which includes privatized police. A privatized police force is practical and allowable, though the explanation for such a thing is for another post.
A privatized military (also existing in an anarcho-capitalist society) on the other hand would be a nightmare. This is because the military would then be upheld by shareholders looking for a profit. To start, I think the idea of a profit-seeking business in the market of murder is completely immoral. At shareholders’ meetings, the company could be voted to gain profit by attacking the oil kingdoms and becoming very active around the world. Though, and here is where the second problem is found, where would the incentive be for any soldiers to take part in this? During “peace time”, soldiers will be payed to sit around and do nothing; when combat comes around, there is no patriotism or nationalism and pride to motivate the soldiers to stay and fight. That’s a necessary trait regarding military, and without it, you’ll have a hard time finding any willing people. The whole thing would be a mess, and if you did happen to make it work, it would be pretty bad ethically.
Even if one country became an anarchist society, every other country won’t follow suit, and they’ll blame the entire region for mishaps and atrocities caused by this private military. This is then a liability issue for the company which would a) become so rich they buy their ways out or b) scapegoat someone else or c) use their military to defend their money-conquest. Now even though I recognize the need for a government to provide a military, the military’s job should be at a minimum with a defense budget that would require zero income tax or corporate tax. The function of this military is purely defense. If we are attacked, we attack back. If we are invaded, we defend. And that’s it.
As for laws for people to follow, I believe only in laws that protect a direct victim. This means rape, murder, and any crime dealing with aggression. These would be the only laws people would need to follow. The privatized police force would be of use here in carrying out their duties. All other “crimes”, deemed crimes by current law, could be solved in a court or totally forgotten when the laws are abandoned.
Moving on to economics briefly. Liability is a wonderful word used to begin an explanation/justification for Austrian economics; disputes would be resolved with cases in courts, whether it is just a claim against a person or a case with need of a lawyer in response to a business’ behavior. The government would not regulate business or support the person claiming a business has liability, but simply give a hearing for the prosecutor and make a decision. It’s just one simple way an industry would have to keep honest as well as at a modest size; keeping liability costs lost in court low is a good thing for business, so it would be in their best interest not to screw with consumers.
I do fervently believe in a free-market. This means entirely free with zero regulations on business practices because I believe, as many libertarians do, that consumers can and will regulate the economy more effectively than government. But in an anarchist society, a business could lie about their revenues, outputs, costs, stock information, etc. I believe the only reason a business must be regulated is for a business to be totally honest in their accounting and finance reports. Giving the consumers enough information so that the free-market can regulate itself is what is needed. Corporations would then be transparent but still allowed to practice whatever they want. The argument of liability, costs for businesses, etc. would not work if the businesses had the ability to lie to the public.
As a note on my debate style: I largely take the utilitarian approach to arguing for free-markets, rather than using the Non-Aggression Principle as an argument. Logicallypositive describes the situation with the NAP the best, stating that it’s usually used as an axiom and as a fact rather than a personal worldview, which is what it is.
So where do anarchists and I differ in summation?
- I advocate for a state-run defensive military, not allowed to go beyond its means other than direct defense. The budget should be low enough for funding to come only from a small sales tax. In a booming capitalistic economy, it would cover more than the military budget.
- I advocate for a state-run court system that could take many hearings a day, from small-claims to class-action lawsuits. These lawsuits would be a key-role in consumers and employees regulating the economy. Class-action lawsuits are more effective than government-supported unions which are completely immoral (also for another post). The courts may be state-run but the actual process would be a free-market process.
- The only laws on people would be those to protect people from aggression: murder, rape, etc. All other laws abolished. If there is an issue, let the courts settle it. This would eliminate jails in the country to a much smaller number (they would still exist in my ideal society, as I oppose capital punishment).
- The only regulation would be to make businesses disclose information to allow for a consumer-regulated economy.
Four very small roles of government all upheld by a small sales tax. With a complete removal of public-sector regulation, the negative effects of a mixed economy would be removed (because it would no longer exist!) Of course, with the State around, it could always come back and allow businesses to become corrupt again. This is why, by principle, I am an anarchist. We’d need government reform to prevent this from happening. Though, this would be tricky to do without also removing any voice of the people, which is imperative to society to keep around. Freedom in all parts of life is what will drive us forward, not regulation.
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