Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

How to make the pin stand?

This post has 155 Replies | 5 Followers

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,360
Points 43,785
z1235 Posted: Fri, Nov 27 2009 4:48 PM

I read that many here have gone the minarchy -> anarchy route . How exactly did you do the jump -- and preferably, without the crutches of objective morality and ethics?  I have enjoyed reading many threads and participated in some -- experiences which I've found profoundly enjoyable and thought-provoking. Below are some thought's I've had after spending a month on this forum that are blocking any such leap for me right now:

 

Realization of NAP is Utopian:

NAP is really NIAP (No INITIAL Aggression Principle), as aggression in response to a perceived threat (or to aggresion) is presumably OK. The problem with implementation of this principle lays with the non-existence of an objectively-founded definition for a "threat" or "initiation of violence". By definition, a threat is in the eye of the threatened. If one FEELS threatened then, IN FACT, they are. Different agents perceive threats differently hence will react to them differently. Who is the "initial" aggressor if agent A felt that agent B looked at him "wrongly" (especially following the screaming contest they had the day before when B actually said: "I'll kill you!") making agent A feel threatened, thus justifying agent A smacking agent B in the face, upon which agent B felt perfectly justified to pull out his gun and shoot agent A in the face? Wasn't A's aggression justified as a response to a perceived threat? Wasn't B's aggression justified in response to A's aggresion? When a vicious feedback cycle like this develops, the damage done by repeated waves of "justified" aggression in response to equally "justified" aggression outshadows whatever minor factors contributed to the initiation of the whirlwind. With every new wave, the damage, thus the stakes, get higher making stronger aggression in response even more justified than the wave before. This makes NAP's implementation in reality extremely difficult (if not impossible), even in groups of sentient agents perfectly aware of the benefits of peace vs war. This "sensitivity to initial conditions" (from Complexity Theory) is what makes absolute freedom (liberty) under NAP utopian. 

 

Structures grow/exist/sustain by SOME limitation of constituent's degrees of freedom:

Our bodies are systems of atoms bound by physical forces into a dynamic structure that is able to function day after day. Atoms with smaller amounts of forces limiting their freedom build less complex and less functional structures -- atoms in a pot of water, or atoms in a baloon. Absolutely free atoms in space amount to a bunch of atoms in space and not much else. Buildings are erected by LIMITING the degrees of freedom that each atom, molecule, piece of wood/metal is allowed to have. Without these constraints to their freedom, the building simply falls apart and is a building no more. Sustainable marriages limit the freedoms of each spouse and provide a stable and predictable environment for children's prosperity. Sustainable corporations (as social structures) are hierarchies and not anarchies, for a very strong reason. There's a CEO, with people answering to him/her, who in return are above others that answer to them. Each agent in this hierarchy voluntarily agrees to suspension of some freedom for the sake of a functioning hierarchy that ultimately rewards everyone in the structure with profits after a good execution. A corporation in which everyone is allowed to do whatever they see fit (even while respecting NAP) is not going to last one week. 

 

Homesteading is arbitrary:

In relation to the write-up above about NAP. Determination of "initiation" of aggression or a "threat" is also closely connected with claims to property. If every agent is justified in using violence to "protect" their property then conflicting claims to property inevitably lead to aggression that is "justified" by both sides of the argument. In the Life Boat thread I used an example where an invented Klingon-Sharia law of homesteading (spitting or urinating on items as DNA-based homesteading) competes with Rothbard's "mixing your labor" . There's nothing unique (or objective) about ANY approach to homesteading. So who rightfully owns a property with which agent A has "mixed his labor" and which agent B has "spat or urinated on"? Who is the "initial" aggressor if each applies violence to defend their fully justifiable claim to the same property? 

 

Defense/enforcement:

Self-interest and free-market forces would inevitably lead to turf-wars between private defense agencies (PDAs) -- or goons with guns. One morning -- after a night of gunshots and explosions -- a person knocks on your door informing you that your PDA is now "gone" and offering you a new "protection" contract with the only game in town -- "an offer you can't refuse" (voluntarily, of course). If you refuse though, you see your window shattered by a rock tomorrow. I guess, I better sign. 

 

Gates/Buffett/etc.: 

Why don't most productive/successful/rich agents in society (that I know of and that I have met) prefer anarcho-capitalism? Could one honestly say that they are ignorant about human nature/action and about societal systems that encourage prosperity?

 

Mises vs. Rothbard:

I'm reading concurrently both Human Action and Ethics of Liberty. I am left with the impression that Mises is the mental giant in this comparison. While I admired Rothbard in his Case Against the Fed, I couldn't help concluding that he should have stuck to economics only. Why couldn't Mises go the full length to anarcho-capitalism?

 

Third-world examples:

Many examples have been given about (almost state-less) communities organizing beneficial structures on their own. How many of those people would NOT apply for a citizenship lottery slot offered by Sweden or USA?

 

To summarize my concerns about sustainabilty of (otherwise very admirable and desirable concept of) anarcho-capitalizm (vs minarchism) I will provide the following analogy:

Theoretically, balancing a pin vertically on the surface of a dinner table is fairly easy and logical: One only needs to place the pin EXACTLY parallel to the forces of gravity so that they pull the pin STRAIGHT down and without ANY sideways components. On paper it looks perfect, but I have yet to see a pin standing for longer than one second before falling flat on the table. This is the "sensitivity to initial conditions" that I refered to above. It characterizes every complex system of acting/moving agents. The more productive and vibrant the system, the closer it is to the chaotic edge of sustainability. The ONLY thing that would make this "standing needle" system sustainable is limiting the system's degrees of freedom in some way. For example, placing the pin in a pot of honey. At the minimum, in this "freedom-limited" system the pin would stand longer before it falls. I see anarchy as a needle trying to "stand" on the table unsupported -- sensitivity to initial conditions inevitably pulling it down on the table. Minarchy: needle standing in a pot of honey. Communism/fascism/dictatorship: needle in a block of ice/concrete. 

The question being: Acknowledging the benefits of BOTH liberty AND sustainability/prosperity, what's the minimum freedom/liberty -- at this stage of human evolutionary development -- that each agent MUST give up for sustainability and prosperity of the social structures in which he/she participates? How much MINIMAL "goo" (limitation of liberty) does the pin need to stay straight? 

Z.

 

  • | Post Points: 110
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 573
Points 9,410
David Z replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 7:02 PM

z1235:
I read that many here have gone the minarchy -> anarchy route . How exactly did you do the jump -- and preferably, without the crutches of objective morality and ethics?

I connected the dots. The State's M.O. is evil. Anything procured through those means is tainted, then. 

Additionally, the economic understanding that the State itself is a "common good" and thus, subject to the tragedy of commons.  Ironically, it is commons-based economic arguments that are popular justifications for the State  (e.g., who will build the roads? or who will provide for police?, etc).

============================

David Z

"The issue is always the same, the government or the market.  There is no third solution."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

z1235:
NAP is really NIAP (No INITIAL Aggression Principle), as aggression in response to a perceived threat (or to aggresion) is presumably OK. The problem with implementation of this principle lays with the non-existence of an objectively-founded definition for a "threat" or "initiation of violence". By definition, a threat is in the eye of the threatened. If one FEELS threatened then, IN FACT, they are.
Intersubjectively, no. Someone, yes, could claim that someone looked at him or her wrong. Well that's clearly no justification for, say, murder. There must be some overt act, not just a look. Rational agents as we are, we've come to realize that "He looked at me funny" just doesn't hold up.

 

z1235:
Our bodies are systems of atoms bound by physical forces into a dynamic structure that is able to function day after day. Atoms with smaller amounts of forces limiting their freedom build less complex and less functional structures -- atoms in a pot of water, or atoms in a baloon. Absolutely free atoms in space amount to a bunch of atoms in space and not much else
Be careful not to conflate freedom with liberty. We have the freedom to go out and kill people; we do not have the liberty to do so. And no one is claiming "absolute freedom", so I'd really make sure that I wasn't committing a strawman, were I you.  .


z1235:
In relation to the write-up above about NAP. Determination of "initiation" of aggression or a "threat" is also closely connected with claims to property. If every agent is justified in using violence to "protect" their property then conflicting claims to property inevitably lead to aggression that is "justified" by both sides of the argument.
Only if you believe in moral relativism/moral nihilism. The fact is that doing something to improve or demarcate via purposeful labor provides the justification. We do it with our own bodies, and the extension for things we improve via our bodies is a logical one.

 

z1235:
Self-interest and free-market forces would inevitably lead to turf-wars between private defense agencies (PDAs) -- or goons with guns.
Yes, we've heard this line of buncombe before. You should do some more research.

 

z1235:
Why don't most productive/successful/rich agents in society (that I know of and that I have met) prefer anarcho-capitalism? Could one honestly say that they are ignorant about human nature/action and about societal systems that encourage prosperity?
Argument from perceived authority is a fallacy.

 

z1235:
I'm reading concurrently both Human Action and Ethics of Liberty. I am left with the impression that Mises is the mental giant in this comparison. While I admired Rothbard in his Case Against the Fed, I couldn't help concluding that he should have stuck to economics only. Why couldn't Mises go the full length to anarcho-capitalism?
He wasn't ready, perhaps.

 

z1235:
Many examples have been given about (almost state-less) communities organizing beneficial structures on their own. How many of those people would NOT apply for a citizenship lottery slot offered by Sweden or USA?
I fail to see a point in your question.

 

z1235:
To summarize my concerns about sustainabilty of (otherwise very admirable and desirable concept of) anarcho-capitalizm (vs minarchism) I will provide the following analogy:

Theoretically, balancing a pin vertically on the surface of a dinner table is fairly easy and logical: One only needs to place the pin EXACTLY parallel to the forces of gravity so that they pull the pin STRAIGHT down and without ANY sideways components. On paper it looks perfect, but I have yet to see a pin standing for longer than one second before falling flat on the table.

Ah, the old "It looks good on paper, but will never work in practice" line. Praxeology, being the logic of human action, does actually work. In practice. Because we're living proof of it.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 4,532
Points 84,495
Stranger replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 9:05 PM

Let me ask you this question. Why would the people who live right next door to you be more reliable than people with whom you share closer bonds, such as family members, friends, business partners, cultural associates, but who live spread out all over the world, when it comes time to provide for your protection and security?

Simply by the fact that they live close to you, you can trust them? Because that is the entire principle of a democratic state.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 9:11 PM

z1235:
Realization of NAP is Utopian

I think the obsession with the NAP is a relic of old libertarian minarchism. We cannot in one breath reject central planning and monopoly, and in the next breath "ordain" the NAP or somehow "require" all to follow it. (In any case, full realization of the NAP would be a strawman of the anarchist position.)

z1235:
Structures grow/exist/sustain by SOME limitation of constituent's degrees of freedom

This part shows a lack of understanding of the theory. Study a little more and this should come clear.

z1235:
Homesteading is arbitrary

The objectivizing of Lockean homesteading is arbitrary, yes. However, I think the obsession with homesteading is a relic of old libertarian minarchism. We cannot in one breath reject central planning and monopoly, and in the next breath "ordain" any specific principle of homesteading or somehow "require" all to follow it.

z1235:

Defense/enforcement:

Self-interest and free-market forces would inevitably lead to turf-wars between private defense agencies (PDAs) -- or goons with guns.

Read a little more. Also, the articles in my sig.

z1235:

Gates/Buffett/etc.: 

Why don't most productive/successful/rich agents in society (that I know of and that I have met) prefer anarcho-capitalism? Could one honestly say that they are ignorant about human nature/action and about societal systems that encourage prosperity?

Absolutely they are ignorant: how would they find out? The "top" schools in the world don't teach Austrian economics. Besides, they got rich primarily by being shrewd businessmen, which is a far narrower category of knowledge. Moreover, even if they learned the answers, there are good reasons for keeping quiet about it.

z1235:

Mises vs. Rothbard:

Mises seems to technically be a panarchist, not strictly a minarchist.

z1235:

Third-world examples:

Many examples have been given about (almost state-less) communities organizing beneficial structures on their own. How many of those people would NOT apply for a citizenship lottery slot offered by Sweden or USA?

Apples to oranges. The exigent examples of "almost-stateless" societies are so far from anarchy as to be useless to look at. For a more complete answer, see this.

z1235:
For example, placing the pin in a pot of honey. At the minimum, in this "freedom-limited" system the pin would stand longer before it falls. I see anarchy as a needle trying to "stand" on the table unsupported -- sensitivity to initial conditions inevitably pulling it down on the table. Minarchy: needle standing in a pot of honey. Communism/fascism/dictatorship: needle in a block of ice/concrete. 

There may be a point here somewhere: the idea that a State is so slow and gridlocked that it cannot do much harm. Except that history seems to refute this. However, you could perhaps develop an argument along these lines. Still, if you're going to base the argument on chaos theory you'll need to look at the details of how societies and incentive structures actually work. Just saying that minarchy is like honey is not enough. You'd have to elucidate why, and before that even why the needle analogy is valid. Basically, I think you're thinking in vague generalities and would benefit from the articles I linked to above.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 752
Points 16,735
Sage replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 9:37 PM

z1235:
How exactly did you do the jump

Roderick Long's seminar on "The Foundations of Libertarian Ethics" had a huge impact on me. Definitely required listening.

z1235:
(No INITIAL Aggression Principle)

Aggression is usually defined as initiatory coercion. So NAP is fine.

z1235:
Why don't most productive/successful/rich agents in society (that I know of and that I have met) prefer anarcho-capitalism?

Haven't you read Adam Smith? Capitalists are often the enemies of capitalism.

z1235:
Many examples have been given about (almost state-less) communities organizing beneficial structures on their own. How many of those people would NOT apply for a citizenship lottery slot offered by Sweden or USA?

Do you know how comparative analysis works? Stateless societies should be judged by comparing them with states of comparable economic and cultural development.

On the difficulty of implementing/applying NAP and homesteading: this is a problem for any moral principle, so unless you're promoting moral nihilism, I don't see this as a big problem.

 

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 10:20 PM

z1235:

Realization of NAP is Utopian:

NAP is really NIAP (No INITIAL Aggression Principle), as aggression in response to a perceived threat (or to aggresion) is presumably OK. The problem with implementation of this principle lays with the non-existence of an objectively-founded definition for a "threat" or "initiation of violence". By definition, a threat is in the eye of the threatened. If one FEELS threatened then, IN FACT, they are. Different agents perceive threats differently hence will react to them differently.

Who is the "initial" aggressor if agent A felt that agent B looked at him "wrongly" (especially following the screaming contest they had the day before when B actually said: "I'll kill you!") making agent A feel threatened, thus justifying agent A smacking agent B in the face, upon which agent B felt perfectly justified to pull out his gun and shoot agent A in the face?

A wasn't justified in smacking B in the face, the threat wasn't imminent. The response was not proportional either, but you'd know that if you've read TEOL. You said you had, so I guess you forgot.

Whose property did it occur on? I ask because it would seem sane, if that person was really a threat, to get them to leave your property, and not have a potential 'killer' in the same household.

z1235:
Wasn't A's aggression justified as a response to a perceived threat?

Was the threat imminent? No.

z1235:
Wasn't B's aggression justified in response to A's aggresion?

Justified in self defense, from a smack in the face. Also justified in punishment, but must be proportional.

z1235:
When a vicious feedback cycle like this develops
It's called abuse, and it's time to leave the relationship. Alternatively, it could also be construed as slavery? Something that would exist in a minarchist society, eventually anyway.

Are you comparing the family / relationships to the state? Makes sense, but you can always leave you family. Not the same with the state.

z1235:
This makes NAP's implementation in reality extremely difficult (if not impossible), even in groups of sentient agents perfectly aware of the benefits of peace vs war. This "sensitivity to initial conditions" (from Complexity Theory) is what makes absolute freedom (liberty) under NAP utopian. 

Except it doesn't. This may help;

Self-ownership and Conflict-avoidance

Without property rights, there is always the possibility of conflict over contestable (scarce) resources. By assigning an owner to each resource, legal systems make possible conflict-free use of resources, by establishing visible boundaries that nonowners can avoid. Libertarianism does not endorse just any property assignment rule, however.[13] It favors self-ownership over other-ownership (slavery).

The libertarian seeks property assignment rules because he values or accepts various grundnorms such as justice, peace, prosperity, cooperation, conflict-avoidance, and civilization.[14] The libertarian view is that self-ownership is the only property assignment rule compatible with these grundorms; it is implied by them.

As Professor Hoppe has shown, the assignment of ownership to a given resource must not be random, arbitrary, particularistic, or biased, if it is actually to be a property norm that can serve the function of conflict-avoidance.[15] Property title has to be assigned to one of competing claimants based on "the existence of an objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between owner and the" resource claimed.[16] In the case of one's own body, it is the unique relationship between a person and his body — his direct and immediate control over his body, and the fact that, at least in some sense, a body is a given person and vice versa — that constitutes the objective link sufficient to give that person a claim to his body superior to typical third party claimants.

Moreover, any outsider who claims another's body cannot deny this objective link and its special status, since the outsider also necessarily presupposes this in his own case. This is so because, in seeking dominion over the other and in asserting ownership over the other's body, he has to presuppose his own ownership of his body. In so doing, the outsider demonstrates that he does place a certain significance on this link, even as (at the same time) he disregards the significance of the other's link to his own body.[17]

Libertarianism recognizes that only the self-ownership rule is universalizable and compatible with the goals of peace, cooperation, and conflict-avoidance. We recognize that each person is prima facie the owner of his own body because, by virtue of his unique link to and connection with his own body — his direct and immediate control over it — he has a better claim to it than anyone else.

z1235:

Structures grow/exist/sustain by SOME limitation of constituent's degrees of freedom:

Our bodies are systems of atoms bound by physical forces into a dynamic structure that is able to function day after day. Atoms with smaller amounts of forces limiting their freedom build less complex and less functional structures -- atoms in a pot of water, or atoms in a baloon. Absolutely free atoms in space amount to a bunch of atoms in space and not much else. Buildings are erected by LIMITING the degrees of freedom that each atom, molecule, piece of wood/metal is allowed to have. Without these constraints to their freedom, the building simply falls apart and is a building no more.

False analogy. Conflicting Natural sciences with social sciences. Individuals are not atoms.

What are these axioms with which the economist can so confidently begin? They are the
existence, the nature, and the implications of human action. Individual human beings exist.
Moreover, they do not simply “move,” as do unmotivated atoms or molecules; they act, that is,
they have goals and they make choices of means to attain their goals.

...

Praxeology, as well as the sound aspects of the other social
sciences, rests on methodological individualism, on the fact that only
individua ls feel, value, think, and act. Individualism has always been
charged by its critics—and always incorrectly—with the assumption that
each individual is a hermetically sealed "atom," cut off from, and
uninfluenced by, other persons.

...

  We have seen that Crusoe, as in the case of any man, has freedom of will, freedom to choose the course of his life and his actions. Some critics have charged that this freedom is illusory because man is bound by natural laws. This, however, is a misrepresentation—one of the many examples of the persistent modem confusion between freedom and power. Man is free to adopt values and to choose his actions; but this does not at all mean that he may violate natural laws with impunity—that he may, for example, leap oceans at a single bound. In short, when we say that “man is not ‘free’ to leap the ocean,” we are really discussing not his lack of freedom but his lack of power to cross the ocean, given the laws of his nature and of the nature of the world. Crusoe’s freedom to adopt ideas, to choose his ends, is inviolable and inalienable; on the other hand, man, not being omnipotent as well as not being omniscient, always finds his power limited for doing all the things that he would like to do. In short, his power is necessarily limited by natural laws, but not his freedom of will. To put the case another way it is patently absurd to define the “freedom” of an entity as its power to perform an act impossible for its nature![7]

z1235:

Homesteading is arbitrary:

In relation to the write-up above about NAP. Determination of "initiation" of aggression or a "threat" is also closely connected with claims to property. If every agent is justified in using violence to "protect" their property then conflicting claims to property inevitably lead to aggression that is "justified" by both sides of the argument. In the Life Boat thread I used an example where an invented Klingon-Sharia law of homesteading (spitting or urinating on items as DNA-based homesteading) competes with Rothbard's "mixing your labor" . There's nothing unique (or objective) about ANY approach to homesteading. So who rightfully owns a property with which agent A has "mixed his labor" and which agent B has "spat or urinated on"? Who is the "initial" aggressor if each applies violence to defend their fully justifiable claim to the same property? 

This may address your concerns;

"As noted, you have to have many abilities or acts to homestead a thing--you have to think, create, innovate, judge, move, emborder, transform. Yeah, but you don't own these things you do; you own the thing you homestead because by your actions you emborder it and therefore set up an objective indicator that you have now possessed it; as the first possessor, you have the best claim to it. This nowhere assumes you own your labor; this assumption is not needed. Labor-ownership is both unnecessary and insufficient. It's unnecessary because you don't need to "own" your labor to show that some thing you labored on is owned by you--you are the first user of the thing regardless of whether you own your labor. And it's insufficient because there is no reason to assume that you are not just throwing your labor away, if you do own it--if you spit in the ocean you lose your spit, you don't homestead the ocean." - Kinsella

z1235:
Sustainable marriages limit the freedoms of each spouse and provide a stable and predictable environment for children's prosperity... There's a CEO, with people answering to him/her, who in return are above others that answer to them. Each agent in this hierarchy voluntarily agrees to suspension of some freedom for the sake of a functioning hierarchy that ultimately rewards everyone in the structure with profits after a good execution.

No freedom is being suspended. The persons free will has not been violated. They have volunteered and there has been a transfer in property titles (contract).

z1235:
Sustainable corporations (as social structures) are hierarchies and not anarchies, for a very strong reason.

No-one here is an anarcho-syndicalist. No-one is against voluntary hierarchies, only involuntary ones. So this somewhat amounts to a strawman.

z1235:
A corporation in which everyone is allowed to do whatever they see fit (even while respecting NAP) is not going to last one week. 

Really? These guys seem to be making millions.

z1235:

Defense/enforcement:

Self-interest and free-market forces would inevitably lead to turf-wars between private defense agencies (PDAs) -- or goons with guns. One morning -- after a night of gunshots and explosions -- a person knocks on your door informing you that your PDA is now "gone" and offering you a new "protection" contract with the only game in town -- "an offer you can't refuse" (voluntarily, of course). If you refuse though, you see your window shattered by a rock tomorrow. I guess, I better sign.

Except that it is not in the self interest of the market forces to fight and go to war, since it is unproductive, destructive and very, very, very costly.

z1235:

Gates/Buffett/etc.: 

Why don't most productive/successful/rich agents in society (that I know of and that I have met) prefer anarcho-capitalism? Could one honestly say that they are ignorant about human nature/action and about societal systems that encourage prosperity?

Because capitalists and industrialists are powerful special interest groups that often attempt to gain benefits by co-opting the state and politicians.

They are individuals who are following their self interest, which happens to be - by trying to make money with the help of a violent institution.

It could be said "capitalists, hate competition".

"The steady decline in the underpinnings of our civilization began in the late nineteenth century, and accelerated during the World Wars I and II and the 1930s. The decline consisted of an accelerating retreat back from the Revolution, and of a shift back to the old order of mercantilism, statism, and international war. In England, the laissez-faire capitalism of Price and Priestly, of the Radicals and of Cobden and Bright and the Manchester school, was replaced by a Tory statism driving toward aggressive Empire and war against other imperial powers. In the United States the story was the same, as businessmen increasingly turned to the government to impose cartels, monopolies, subsidies, and special privileges." - Capitalism versus Statism

Warren Buffet, Government Propagandist by Karen De Coster

z1235:
Mises vs. Rothbard:

I'm reading concurrently both Human Action and Ethics of Liberty. I am left with the impression that Mises is the mental giant in this comparison. While I admired Rothbard in his Case Against the Fed, I couldn't help concluding that he should have stuck to economics only. Why couldn't Mises go the full length to anarcho-capitalism?

You are comparing apples to oranges. You're comparing Austrian Economics vs. Libertarianism. You know they are different right? The latter is normative and deals with political philosophy, it asks the one question - what should be law? Whilst the former is explanatory about economic phenomena, and what will happen with certain policies.

Because he was a utilitarian? He didn't read Gustav Molinari's Production of Security?

I'm not sure what the point of this is..

z1235:
Theoretically, balancing a pin vertically on the surface of a dinner table is fairly easy and logical: One only needs to place the pin EXACTLY parallel to the forces of gravity so that they pull the pin STRAIGHT down and without ANY sideways components. On paper it looks perfect, but I have yet to see a pin standing for longer than one second before falling flat on the table. This is the "sensitivity to initial conditions" that I refered to above. It characterizes every complex system of acting/moving agents. The more productive and vibrant the system, the closer it is to the chaotic edge of sustainability. The ONLY thing that would make this "standing needle" system sustainable is limiting the system's degrees of freedom in some way. For example, placing the pin in a pot of honey. At the minimum, in this "freedom-limited" system the pin would stand longer before it falls. I see anarchy as a needle trying to "stand" on the table unsupported -- sensitivity to initial conditions inevitably pulling it down on the table. Minarchy: needle standing in a pot of honey. Communism/fascism/dictatorship: needle in a block of ice/concrete.

Another false analogy. Can you instead explain your opposition logically and with arguments?

Why is anarcho-capitalism not "sustainable"? What is "sustainable"?

How on earth is minarchism "sustainable"? The state has never remained limited in the history of the world. To consider as such is completely utopian.

Individuals in power don't follow their self interest?

z1235:

The question being: Acknowledging the benefits of BOTH liberty AND sustainability/prosperity, what's the minimum freedom/liberty -- at this stage of human evolutionary development -- that each agent MUST give up for sustainability and prosperity of the social structures in which he/she participates? How much MINIMAL "goo" (limitation of liberty) does the pin need to stay straight? 

Benefits of "sustainability" / prosperity - arise out of Liberty. Minimize liberty and you minimize those. Now why on earth would you want to do that?

Civilization arises out of the division of labour and private property rights. The more of these you have, the greater civilization. Hoppe adds money, as a third requirement.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 60
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 10:33 PM

I agree with the OP, I just can't see how, given what I see as human nature (rational and neither good  nor evil) how a private military system would lead to anything other than a few people with lots of mercs and a lot of people without any protection (or at least very little).  This common goods market failure is one of the main reasons I'm not a full anarcho-capitalist.  I would, however, consider myself a minarchist to the extent that I think the goal with all public policy should be to minimize the federal government's involvement in people's lives.  I don't see monopolies as being a valid market failure (it's more often a consequence of government intervention, not absence of regulation, imo), I don't see information asymmetry as being a market failure the government can handle and I don't see externalities as being something that the government can adequately deal with.  Common goods, however, is still a sticking point for me.  But it's probably a moot point because let's be honest: the military isn't getting privatized anytime soon.  In my opinion, it makes more sense to fight the healthcare takeover and the cap and trade legislation first, worry about everything else later.

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

bloomj31:
I agree with the OP, I just can't see how, given what I see as human nature (rational and neither good  nor evil) how a private military system would lead to anything other than a few people with lots of mercs and a lot of people without any protection (or at least very little).
Personal incredulity fallacy.

bloomj31:
This common goods market failure
There's no such thing.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 10:52 PM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

Personal incredulity fallacy.

I'll believe it when I see it.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 11:16 PM

bloomj31:

Knight_of_BAAWA:

Personal incredulity fallacy.

I'll believe it when I see it.

First make sure you've seen an eye doctor. Not a witch doctor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

By the way, what was your old account name? Has anything changed?

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 11:30 PM

Conza88:

First make sure you've seen an eye doctor. Not a witch doctor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

By the way, what was your old account name? Has anything changed?

I think it was JB31.  Are you asking if I'm an anarchist?  If so, no I'm still not.

The thing about the argument from ignorance thing is that no one on this forum has any idea what would happen if the US military were to be privatized.  What we know is what our personal philosophies tells us would happen.  Which makes sense.  Obviously, this requires an experiment.  However, the risks involved in said experiment would be so great that it is unlikely to ever happen, at least not in this country.  So from a policy perspective, privatization of the military is a dead issue.  However, from a philosophical perspective, if being an anarchist would mean that I would have to believe privatization of the military would be a good idea, then I'm not likely to become an anarchist anytime soon.

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 12:06 AM

How is the military not already private? Voting?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 12:16 AM

bloomj31:
Obviously, this requires an experiment. 

Except it doesn't.

Praxeology as the method of the Social Sciences by Murray Rothbard

Praxeologists share the contention of the impossibility of empirical testing with other critics of
positivism, such as the institutionalists, who for this reason abandon economic theory altogether
and confine themselves to purely empirical or institutional economic reportage. But the
praxeologist does not despair; he turns instead to another methodology that can yield a correct
body of economic theory. This methodology begins with the conviction that while the economist,
unlike the physicist, cannot test his hypotheses in controlled experiments, he is, in another sense,
in a better position than the physicist. For while the physicist is certain of his empirical laws but
tentative and uncertain of his explanatory generalizations, the economist is in the opposite
position. He begins, not with detailed, quantitative, empirical regularities, but with broad
explanatory generalizations. These fundamental premises he knows with certainty; they have the
status of apodictic axioms, on which he can build deductively with confidence. Beginning with
the certain knowledge of the basic explanatory axiom A, he deduces the implications of A:
B, C, and D. From these he deduces further implications, and so on. If he knows that A is true,
and if A implies B, C, and D, then he knows with certainty that B, C, and D are true as well. The
positivist, looking through the blinders imposed by his notion of physics, finds it impossible to
understand how a science can possibly begin with the explanatory axioms and work downward
to the more concrete empirical laws. He therefore dismisses the praxeological approach
as “mythical” and “apriorist.”

bloomj31:
privatization of the military

I disagree with this characterization. An example of the military being privatized / outsourced would be Blackwater. This is not what is meant, as Blackwater is a subsidiary of the state. 

What is advocated is de-socialization, de-statism, decentralization. Standing armies are pretty expensive...

bloomj31:
I'm not likely to become an anarchist anytime soon.

Is this because you want to be part of the rulers, who govern over the ruled?

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 573
Points 9,410
David Z replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 1:08 AM

bloomj31:
Common goods, however, is still a sticking point for me.  But it's probably a moot point because let's be honest: the military isn't getting privatized anytime soon. 

In anarcho-topia, there is no military whatsoever. 

bloomj31:
how a private military system would lead to anything other than a few people with lots of mercs and a lot of people without any protection (or at least very little).

For instance, how are these admittedly "few" people, paying for all the mercenaries?  What's the source of their incomes

bloomj31:
In my opinion, it makes more sense to fight the healthcare takeover and the cap and trade legislation first
?

Agreed. The military usually disbands as soon as paychecks disappear.

============================

David Z

"The issue is always the same, the government or the market.  There is no third solution."

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 573
Points 9,410
David Z replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 1:12 AM

bloomj31:
, if being an anarchist would mean that I would have to believe privatization of the military would be a good idea, then I'm not likely to become an anarchist anytime soon.

Let me dispel your fears: anarchists are typically pacifists, who believe (variously) that a free market based on "private property" or an economic system based on "ownership by possession" and the abolition of usury would eliminate the need for offensive military forces, therefore none are likely to be found.

============================

David Z

"The issue is always the same, the government or the market.  There is no third solution."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:00 AM

David Z:

Let me dispel your fears: anarchists are typically pacifists, who believe (variously) that a free market based on "private property" or an economic system based on "ownership by possession" and the abolition of usury would eliminate the need for offensive military forces, therefore none are likely to be found.

I have no problem with anarchists, I think they're very principled people who seem to try to live by a very noble philosophy.  However, what they often seem to forget is that not everyone is so noble.  Machiavelli said that those who do good will eventually be ruined by those who do not.  This is what I see as being the problem with a privatization of the military here in the US.  And to answer your question earlier "where will these people get the money to do this?"  There are a lot of very wealthy people today....I think there's something like a thousand billionaires...who could definitely buy quite a bit of protection in a very short time if they were allowed to.  It's not a question, in my mind, of where they'll get the money, but just a question of which of these people will decide that power equals right. 

I also think that this requires an experiment because otherwise we make it a philosophical discussion rather than a political one.  And again, from a political standpoint, there's no way the military is going to be privatized anytime soon.  This nation is moving more and more left (healthcare bill, cap and trade, greater regulation of banks by government) so I think before I start worrying about the military being privatized, I'm going to worry about getting rid of the healthcare bill.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:01 AM

And Conza, if it can't be tested, it's unfalsifiable.  Therefore, it's irrelevant to me.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

So 2 + 2 is irrelevant to you? How do you live without maths?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,360
Points 43,785
z1235 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:06 AM

David Z:
I connected the dots. The State's M.O. is evil.

David, I don't do "evil". In the OP I stated that I can only make this leap without the usage of objective morality/ethics crutches.

Knight_of BAAWA:

My main point with the aggression example was not to present it as a case in need of legal analysis under NAP. My point was that small "misunderstandings" and biased justifications tend to grow into larger ones, by which point the initial and fuzzy "trespass" becomes buried by waves of larger "justified" responses. Some "goo" is needed to stop/slow the dynamics of this vicious cycle. It's a tremendous leap of faith (for me) to assume that self-interest and societal ostracism is "gooey" enough to slow these things down. 

As for freedom <> liberty. It wasn't my intention to "conflate freedom with liberty". I was speaking of systems with various DEGREES of freedom, and how sustainable structures are characterized by LIMITATION of such degrees. Individualism proposes that each (sentient, self-interested) person, IS in fact THE "atom" (the smallest indivisible fundamental agent) of every societal structure. Anarchism proposes that each agent LEFT ALONE (free: of the "liberty" kind) with his/her own forces of self-interest and morality will amount to enough societal "goo" to hold the structure together (sustainable, prosperous). To me, that's like saying that the pin OUGHT TO stay straight because the number of atoms in the air hitting it from all sides (self-interest, market forces, etc.) should be about equal at all times, providing the necessary balance. And yet, this very LOGICAL and REASONABLE "OUGHT" never remains an "IS" for more than a second. The moment 1,000,000,001 atoms hit it from the right while 1,000,000,000 hit it from the left, that's enough to push the pin all the way down to the left -- flat on the table. All anarchism arguments I've read so far arrive from some (logically derived) OUGHT to an IS without addressing complexity and this sensitivity to initial conditions that characterizes all complex structures. I think Mises and a lot of other (equally intelligent and liberty-oriented) people intuitively had/have this feeling, which is what prevents them from making the minarchy -> anarchy leap. 

On homesteading... To me, "mixing labor" is no more logical and/or natural basis for a property claim than urinating/spitting. "We do it with our own bodies, and the extension for things we improve mark via our bodies is a logical one."

On PDA turf-wars... The OUGHT = IS dream gets ever fuzzier here. Anarchists argue that wars/battles would be too costly, hence the free market would favor peace-loving agencies over the aggressive ones. ("So see, that's how the pin ought to stay straight without falling!") Well not if the initial investment (cost) of a war to eliminate a competitor over a prized turf would be outweighed by the BENEFIT of  becoming the single "protector" of such turf. Gangs and organized crime are explained away by anarchists as products of the state and it's legal apparatus: "They're there only because the state makes things illegal, providing black markets in which gangs can flourish." A bit of a logical stretch and wishful thinking, seems to me. If only by a division of labor argument, men with certain "talents" will always find it in their best self-interest to use these "talents" in ways that may not be agreeable to the people endowed with more productive talents. Gangs, organized crime, and turf-wars leading to shaky and violent power monopolies are signature phenomena in areas experiencing a power vacuum, or LACK of uniform law enforcement that is decisively stronger than any particular self-interested gang. This decisive power imbalance is the ONLY incentive powerful enough to dis-incentivise war/battle for each particular gang. If all gangs are fairly equal in power, then perhaps the cost/benefit favors peace (all atoms pushing the pin equally from all sides making it stay straight). But the moment one gang (for whatever reason) gains enough of an advantage over a competitor, the cost/benefit favors war and elimination of such competitor (the pin falls). I believe this is how states were initially formed. Thus, the only pins we see standing today are the ones suspended in liberty-limiting "goo" of some sort -- ranging from thick honey (USA) to concrete (North Korea). 

On Gates/Buffett/etc...  This was not only an argument from perceived authority. It was also a question of self-interest. Wouldn't the most productive, profitable, rich, successful agents in society have MOST to benefit from a state-less (thus tax-less) arrangement? Some have stated that the successful producers need the state because they bribe it and benefit from it in some way. But wait, how can the complaint be that the state is a mere thief and allocator of wealth from the producers to the non-producers, and at the same time that very same state is also there to somehow unjustly favor the successful producers? Which one is it, then? How can everybody unjustly benefit at the same time, and at whose expense? 

I belong to the producer group. In fact, during my relatively short stint in this country I have paid (in taxes) many lifetimes worth of avg bureaucrat's salaries. And I have not benefited from the state one bit. One pattern that I have noticed in conversations with friends and acquaintances is that the more admirable (to me) and successful a person is, the less they are bothered by the taxes that they are paying. They see them as just another item in their "Costs" column. A productive/dynamic mind is, by nature, not a complainer. If given lemons, he makes lemonade and sells it for profit. A productive mind is also not scared -- scared of losing, because he knows that even if everything gets taken away from him and he gets thrown out from a plane into a foreign land, he will stand again on his two feet and start building/producing again from scratch. It's people like these that are the engines of every prosperous society and I have yet to meet one of them that believes that anarcho-capitalism is the best way of fulfilling their potential. Actually, most of them share the very same concerns/doubts about its sustainability that I'm presenting here.

Apologies to the rest of the repliers. I first tried to respond to each individually, then I got carried away in my response to Knight while still trying to address other's points, and it became a bit messy in the end. I have to go now, and will try to reply to everyone later.

Z.

 

 

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:10 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

So 2 + 2 is irrelevant to you? How do you live without maths?

How is 2 + 2 = 4 not verifiable?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

Because there's no "2"--or any other number--ontologically out there.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:30 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

Because there's no "2"--or any other number--ontologically out there.

So you're saying that for me to be willing to apply intellectual theory to any part of my life I have to be open to applying all types of intellectual theory, even if they involve massive political paradigm shifts?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

Yeah.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:42 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

Yeah.

I see.  Something seems fishy about that but I can't quite put my finger on it.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

There's nothing fishy about it; you simply have to recognize that you can't use a positivist approach in the a priori sciences.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:47 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

There's nothing fishy about it; you simply have to recognize that you can't use a positivist approach in the a priori sciences.

Lol, so basically...even if we privatize the military and what I think will happen does happen it won't prove that I was right?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

The question you need to ask prior is: why would the military be privatized?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:54 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

The question you need to ask prior is: why would the military be privatized?

That's a very difficult question.  My immediate thought is "if it were decided that defense as a common good were no longer required or desired."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 4,532
Points 84,495
Stranger replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:54 AM

bloomj31:

Knight_of_BAAWA:

There's nothing fishy about it; you simply have to recognize that you can't use a positivist approach in the a priori sciences.

Lol, so basically...even if we privatize the military and what I think will happen does happen it won't prove that I was right?

You couldn't show a link between the two events without an a priori argument.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

bloomj31:
That's a very difficult question.  My immediate thought is "if it were decided that defense as a common good were no longer required or desired."
Required or desired by whom or what?

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 10:59 AM

Stranger:

You couldn't show a link between the two events without an a priori argument.

So I couldn't say: "Here's step one: military is privatized, here's step two: a few very wealthy individuals purchase the services of 100,000 troops and order them to attack a domestic location (let's say Atlanta because I'm from there) here's step three: we have no way of defending ourselves from this attack because there's no national military here's step four: the few wealthy individuals take over Atlanta and now we're thinking we should've kept the military around?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:00 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

bloomj31:
That's a very difficult question.  My immediate thought is "if it were decided that defense as a common good were no longer required or desired."
Required or desired by whom or what?

 

By the people of the US who vote in general elections.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

You could, but you're treating the military as borg drones. Further, you're treating the military as mercenaries. Justification is required.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,011
Points 47,070

 

bloomj31:
By the people of the US who vote in general elections
So they would approve an amendment?

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 4,532
Points 84,495
Stranger replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:07 AM

bloomj31:

Stranger:

You couldn't show a link between the two events without an a priori argument.

So I couldn't say: "Here's step one: military is privatized, here's step two: a few very wealthy individuals purchase the services of 100,000 troops and order them to attack a domestic location (let's say Atlanta because I'm from there) here's step three: we have no way of defending ourselves from this attack because there's no national military here's step four: the few wealthy individuals take over Atlanta and now we're thinking we should've kept the military around?

That is an a priori argument, not an observation of events, and a bad one at that. Why would wealthy individuals go to the enormous expense of raising an army of 100,000 troops to attack Atlanta? That is illogical and unhistorical.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:07 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

You could, but you're treating the military as borg drones. Further, you're treating the military as mercenaries. Justification is required.

They ARE drones, they take orders and don't ask questions.  They would be mercs under a private system.  Hell, that's the basically the definition of a mercenary: a soldier who fights for private gain.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:09 AM

Stranger:

That is an a priori argument, not an observation of events, and a bad one at that. Why would wealthy individuals go to the enormous expense of raising an army of 100,000 troops to attack Atlanta? That is illogical and unhistorical.

Ok, fine, somewhere other than Atlanta.  California, New York, I don't care.  Why?  For power.  It's not an observation yet.  But I'd bet dimes to dollars we'd see something like this if militaries were ever privatized to the extent anarchists want them to be.  Again, this is a stupid argument because...I mean it's just not gonna happen.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:10 AM

Knight_of_BAAWA:

So they would approve an amendment?

I guess so.  To be honest, I don't know exactly what the procedure would be for disbanding the military.  But maybe an amendment.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 4,532
Points 84,495
Stranger replied on Sat, Nov 28 2009 11:11 AM

bloomj31:

Stranger:

That is an a priori argument, not an observation of events, and a bad one at that. Why would wealthy individuals go to the enormous expense of raising an army of 100,000 troops to attack Atlanta? That is illogical and unhistorical.

Ok, fine, somewhere other than Atlanta.  California, New York, I don't care.  Why?  For power.  It's not an observation yet.  But I'd bet dimes to dollars we'd see something like this if militaries were ever privatized to the extent anarchists want them to be.  Again, this is a stupid argument because...I mean it's just not gonna happen.

 

Then this is neither an apriori argument nor a historicist argument, so why are you still complaining? You've admitted you know nothing about the facts.

  • | Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 4 (156 items) 1 2 3 4 Next > | RSS