Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Is the Market?

One reason why anarchists and minarchists are arguing at cross-purposes is the failure to understand what the (free) market is and how it works. Let me explain. 

What is a market? A market is a place where people exchange goods and services. 

What is free? Free means free from initiatory force. 

What then is a free market? A free market is a place where people exchange goods and services voluntarily. 

The state claims a coercive monopoly on the provision of certain goods, i.e., defense and justice. The state claims only it is qualified to provide them. 

Anarchists hold that the market will provide these goods better, cheaper, and more humanely, like it provides all other goods in that fashion. Minarchists claim that for a free market to exist, it needs to be created and protected by a preexisting limited government, but they cannot explain how such a limited government could come into or remain in existence. 

This apparent contradiction is best explained in a model. Let's assume there's a world that contains three individuals: Alice, Benito, and Carl. 

The three of them go to the market to trade. Alice is more intelligent than Benito and Carl. Therefore, her products are more advanced and more valuable to every one of them. 

Because she is more intelligent, Alice has made a pistol for her self-defense. Benito and Carl have only slingshots, as they don't know how to build anything more advanced. 

Now, the archist argument is that that market is not free, because Alice has got a gun, but the other two haven't. Alice can force the other two to trade on terms that they would not agree to if they were on equal terms in firepower. Therefore, archists claim that the three of them have to set up a government, which will somehow administer the gun, i.e. the use of force, objectively. 

Yet, governments do not exist independently of individuals. Governments consist of individuals. 

So in our market, Alice, Benito, and Carl establish a government and have a democratic vote on whom to use the gun against. I bet you can imagine what happens next. 

Right, Benito and Carl gang up on Alice and vote to point the gun at her and expropriate her superior products from her, so they get for free what they could barely have afforded in a hypothetically truly free market, where no one can threaten to use force against their trading partners. 

This is precisely what has happened in our world. The minarchist solution is to plead with Benito and Carl for one of them to side with Alice. 

They promise Benito and Carl that if they let Alice go with her tools now, she will come back with even more and better products, and everyone will be better off. But Benito and Carl only care about free stuff now. 

Then the minarchists explain to Benito and Carl that it is immoral to steal Alice's stuff, even if they steal by way of democratic government. But Benito and Carl only care about free stuff now. 

Besides, they have rationalized their crimes, so that they can go on looting, but still face themselves in a mirror. Benito makes himself believe that democratic government is holy and can do whatever it wants. Carl makes himself believe that Alice didn't really create her goods, but just found them somewhere, so she doesn't really have a right to them. 

So in the real world you only have two options: Alice keeps her gun and makes the rules for everyone, or Benito and Carl vote on what rules to make and enforce at the point of the gun they could never have created. The market cannot and should not be free as in "Everyone has the same firepower" or "No one should be able to threaten the use of force against trading partners." The market can only be free in terms and to the extent of "Everyone gets to keep the guns he can manufacture to defend himself with." This way, the most intelligent have the most firepower, and initiatory force and injustice is thus minimized as much as humanly possible. 

Sure, it's not ideal to have the intelligent and productive make all the rules, for to be intelligent and productive does not necessarily mean to be moral and just. But it sure beats the current situation, where the stupid and unproductive gang up into a majority and force their superstitions on their betters and loot from them. 

For a representative government to work, the majority would have to be intelligent and productive, instead of stupid and unproductive. Given that it isn't, there are only two ways to establish civilization on this planet. 

Either you adopt Anarcho-Capitalism straight, where the rules are made by corporations, where the richer shareholders have more votes. Or you have to go back to "anarchy light," i.e. the system the Founding Fathers established, with census suffrage, where the rich got more votes than the poor, so the latter could not outvote the former to loot from them. ("Anarchy light" because it attempted to replicate the results of Anarcho-Capitalism without fully going there, without recognizing individual sovereignty.) 

But if you go that far, you may just as well go the whole nine yards to Anarcho-Capitalism. But then, you can bury your head in the sand like the minarchists and hope that someday some miracle will happen and establish a market where no one has more firepower than anyone else. 

The funny thing is that the minarchists (or at least the objectivists) are vociferously opposed to a world government. I.e., they abhor the state of nature among individuals, but they are adamant that the state of nature be preserved among nations. 

But in logic, if it is wrong for individuals to live by the law of the strongest (which means the most intelligent, as conflicts are no longer decided by bare fists and brute muscle), then it is wrong for nations, too. So if you want a government to rule individuals, you have to want a world government to rule nation states. 

What we have right now between nations is the Alice, Benito, and Carl state of nature described in the beginning. Alice, the US, the most rational — or rather the least irrational — nation, rules as she sees fit, and Benito and Carl, or the socialist slave states of Europe and the theocratic states of Islam, want to disarm her via the UN. 

Which means that archists, minarchists, and objectivists have no argument on their side but the status quo. We need world anarchy, or the world government will democratically vote to disarm the US and annihilate Israel. But we cannot have individual anarchy, because it's never been fully tried and is scary. The archists are afraid of change and can only resort to "discussions" along the lines of "La, la, la, I'm not listening to this." 

Prove me wrong and try to prove me wrong. If you can. Otherwise I hope those government boots you're licking at least taste good. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Bankruptcy of Minarchy

For a declaration of bankruptcy of minarchism, look no further than this blog post in one objectivist gazette by the name of The Objective Standard.

The objective standard. What a claim.

You'd think if that's their objective standard, it's their best shot. Yet the claims I had to read in that post are patently illogical, the author doesn't seem to have read even the basics on anarchism, and that whole tempest in a tea post amounts to one big fur ball fight randroid vs. straw man, a trap set by knaves for fools that never heard about anarchy except as in "chaos."

"Events last week surrounding the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers were instructive regarding the contradiction that is anarchy."

On the contrary, as the pigs made a huge mess out of that manhunt, using excessive force against suspects who turned out to be innocent, and the case was solved by a civilian in the end, those events were in fact instructive regarding the contradiction that is the state.

"Anarchy, the absence of government, leaves political justice to the will of the general public."

Democracy leaves political justice to the will of the general public. Anarcho-Capitalism leaves it mostly to corporate professionals, but also to individuals, if they choose to accept the liability risks of taking the law into their own hands.

"Had there been no government… no law… how would these killers have been identified and apprehended? By individual citizens investigating and prowling around on their own?"

Not likely. That would be very inefficient. Capitalism leads to division of labor.

Also, that there are no governments in a free world does not mean that there is no law. In a free country, the law is made by corporations, by free, voluntarily cooperating individuals, just like everything else.

In our mixed economies, the state makes no bread, but that does not mean that there is no bread. In fact, thanks to corporate and individual bakers, we have more and better bread than the soviet slaves got from their state.

"By multiple private 'defense agencies,' … following their own favored practices regarding the use of force?"

Yes, law and security will be manufactured by private corporations, just like everything else. Why would any different practices regarding the use of force be a problem, assuming that they would not be standardized through a negotiated body of intercorporate law in the first place?

And why don't the obis have a problem with the fact that different governments follow different practices regarding their use of force, which have not been standardized by international law? By that logic, only a single world government would be permissible.

By they way, it's not like there aren't multiple agencies under government that get in each other's way. Only that they don't compete. So in that respect you already have the downsides of anarchy without the upsides.

"Over the course of that week, how many people were wrongly identified as 'suspects' by the police… Without… the rule of law and due process, how many innocent people would have been assaulted and possibly slain?"

Obviously, fewer than by the pigs that rampaged through Boston like Rambo. Who could the poor people of Boston call against the pigs raiding their homes? No one.

In Anarcho-Capitalism, any would-be pig has to be real careful not to "assault or slay" any innocent individual, as that pig would find itself at the receiving end of its victim's defense agency. The same is true for individual vigilantes. Defense agencies would try rogue security guards and vigilantes alike for murder if they ended up lynching the wrong person, so there is no additional incentive for lynch justice in Anarcho-Capitalism. In fact, there is less incentive for legalized lynching, as there finally will be someone you can call against the pigs.

Governments unjustly slay more innocent people than defense agencies would, precisely because democratic voting and the lack of competition permits the government to operate without reason or objectivity. Capitalist competition will lead to better standards of evidence than the ridiculously low standards the government uses and that get all those innocent people on death row right now.

"The hunt…  illustrates why the use of retaliatory force (outside of immediate self-defense) must be placed under objective control — that is, control of pre-established legal processes enacted by a government strictly limited to the protection of individual rights."

The eagerness with which governments aggress against the innocent accused is the one best argument against government. Government courts are little better than legalized lynch mobs, where you find little reason or objectivity.

And "outside of immediate self-defense"? Funny.

By the obi logic, self-defense would in fact have to be outlawed. If individuals are too nonobjective to mete out justice without harming the innocent, how can they be objective enough to defend themselves without harming the innocent? In a hypothetical obi land, the randroids would in fact have to stand, deliver, be raped, and be slaughtered rather than defend themselves, for fear of using "nonobjective" force.

And who exactly should or would pre-establish that strictly limited government? The people?

In other words, the majority? No one hates strict limits on government more than the majority does.

In democracy — or any other form of "one man, one vote" representative government the objectivists may prefer to egalitarian, direct democracy — it's the majority that elects the politicians. And it's the politicians that make the law according to the majority's wishes.

The majority does not intend to give up legalized looting. Nor does it intend to stop sacrificing liberties for sham security.

Only if the law is made by capitalist corporations in a free marketplace can things change for the better. In a corporation, the poor shareholders cannot gang up on the rich ones, as the latter get more votes, according to the number of their shares, which is, the size of their fortunes, which is, their productivity.

Anarcho-Capitalism rewards intelligence, merit, and productivity. Egalitarian government rewards mob rule.

In Anarcho-Capitalism, you're free to build a defense agency that does not sacrifice liberty for sham security, even though the majority may hate it. All it takes is enough customers, and wealthy enough customers, that vote for you with their wallets. With that money, you can fund your Navy, Air Force, and Army, strong enough to keep any rights-violating gangs and fascist nation states at bay.

The funny thing is, for all their harping on about governments' real and anarchists' hypothetical rights violations, the TOS obis committed a rights violation themselves in that post. The pic of Murray Rothbard they used is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Yet I can find no attribution in the post. There's just a link back to Wikipedia, but no attribution to the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

I don't think it's fair use, as the post is on anarchy, not on Rothbard. The post doesn't comment on or even mention Rothbard.