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 can anarcho-capitalism begin, and how can it protect itself against superior force?

rated by 0 users
This post has 32 Replies | 6 Followers

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima Posted: Wed, Aug 4 2010 11:43 AM

We have never seen Rothbardian (or Friedmanian for that matter) anarcho-capitalism in the world before now. Why is that?

In the past, agricultural societies were especially vulnerable to predation. The earliest states formed as people voluntarily sought protection against this predation. States, such as the Roman Empire, were the most successful at advancing culture and civilization. Therefore, in the past, anarcho-capitalism wasn't viable, since it never made a significant dent and was not able to survive in a world surrounded by aggressive states and barbarians.

In the first half of the 20th century, and this is just a hunchism on my part, but I believe that if the USA had already been anarcho-capitalist and without nuclear weapons, it would not have been able to withstand the pressure of three aggressive totalitarian regimes: Nazi Germany, the USSR, and the PRC. They would have been able to bully the US (or, since this is an anarcho-capitalist society, the territory formerly known as the US) around.

At one point can anarcho-capitalism finally emerge and stand on its own, practically speaking? It is one thing to acknowledge it as most economically efficient system and as the most moral system for humans, but the universe respects power, not morals. How can anarcho-capitalism acquire the necessary power to defend itself against external predation and threats in today's world?

One flaw I find with the PDA superior efficiency argument is that if it were true, states would never have formed in the first place. Obviously, something else is missing from that argument. Is the formation of a state inevitable to protect against superior force? It looks like that way when we analyze the past. Let's discuss.

P.S. I'll reply later with my own response to this question, but I want to discuss, first :)

  • | Post Points: 155
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 304
Points 4,860

One of the theories I'm thinking about is how the development from the state probably has a lot to do with the (absolute and maybe also relative) development of military and communications technology. Both first allow for more efficient state control but their proliferation ultimately provides opportunity for ancap. The downside is that if we fail a totalitarian regime based on Western high tech can be the most cruel and hopeless situation ever known to mankind.

The older I get, the less I know.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,592
Points 63,685
Sieben replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 1:24 PM

Ultima:
In the first half of the 20th century, and this is just a hunchism on my part, but I believe that if the USA had already been anarcho-capitalist and without nuclear weapons, it would not have been able to withstand the pressure of three aggressive totalitarian regimes: Nazi Germany, the USSR, and the PRC. They would have been able to bully the US (or, since this is an anarcho-capitalist society, the territory formerly known as the US) around.
Why do you think Statist-USA has better defensive capabilities than ancap-USA?

Ultima:
How can anarcho-capitalism acquire the necessary power to defend itself against external predation and threats in today's world?
There is a wealth of literature on the private production of defense. Search mises.org for something along those lines.

Ultima:
One flaw I find with the PDA superior efficiency argument is that if it were true, states would never have formed in the first place. Obviously, something else is missing from that argument. Is the formation of a state inevitable to protect against superior force? It looks like that way when we analyze the past. Let's discuss.
I'm inclined to agree that agricultural socieites are particularly vulnerable to statism. Practically every modern government is residual from agricultural days... all the "developed" nations are at least. Reasoning empirically would be fine if there were several thousand years of static post industrial statism, but we only really have 150-years of non agricultural statism, and the technology for mass communication has really only been around for the last 30-40 years. Thats less than one generation.

Banned
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 1:50 PM

Why do you think Statist-USA has better defensive capabilities than ancap-USA?

For the same reasons that statist-agricultural society had better defensive capabilities than ancap-agriculture society (well, anarchic, not ancap). A large imbalance of power. 

There is a wealth of literature on the private production of defense. Search mises.org for something along those lines.

I know there is. I'm not satisfied because it is mostly conjecture on what would happen were we already in an ancap society, which we are not.

...and the technology for mass communication has really only been around for the last 30-40 years. Thats less than one generation.

I think this might be part of the key, but technology can conversely give even more power to the statists if abused.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 280
Points 5,590
Zavoi replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 2:07 PM

Ultima:
How can anarcho-capitalism acquire the necessary power to defend itself against external predation and threats in today's world?

It's not that there's going to be a concentrated anarcho-capitalist stronghold somewhere that builds up so much military force that it can go wage jihad against the statist oppressors. More likely, I think, is that it will come about as a thinly-spread underground economy ("agora") that eventually grows so pervasive that it is prohibitively expensive to tax or regulate it, and eventually the state dies by attrition. "What if they put on a government, and nobody came?"

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 2:16 PM

It's not that there's going to be a concentrated anarcho-capitalist stronghold somewhere that builds up so much military force that it can go wage jihad against the statist oppressors. More likely, I think, is that it will come about as a thinly-spread underground economy ("agora") that eventually grows so pervasive that it is prohibitively expensive to tax or regulate it, and eventually the state dies by attrition. "What if they put on a government, and nobody came?"

This is an interesting point. I also agree that any anarcho-capitalistic world order should come about by voluntary means and the focus should be on defense, not offense.

Given that we still live, eat, and breathe in the real world, how could we reduce the amount of funds flowing into the state's coffers? It is not easy to switch states, either, given the cultural and language barriers, as well as the world of work visas. Even if you do, some states, such as the US, will continue to tax you, wherever in the world you may be.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 2,966
Points 53,250
DD5 replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 2:40 PM

"but I believe that if the USA had already been anarcho-capitalist and without nuclear weapons, it would not have been able to withstand the pressure of three aggressive totalitarian regimes: Nazi Germany, the USSR, and the PRC."

In your imaginary scenario, how would NAZI Germany for example pose a direct threat to Ancap USA?

How would it achieve any strategic military goal without the existence of a US central government and military to conquer and subdue?  There is no strategic central command that is responsible for such vital things as water, infrastructure, defense, courts, etc...... that the German Army could just defeat ,subdue and become in charge.  Consider for example how Nazi Germany was able to take control of Poland or France.

Consider that you may have it exactly backwards.  Any attempt by a foreign government to take control of an ancap society with no central authority is futile.  It's sort of like trying to bring down the internet by attacking individual computers or routers.  you can do local damage but you can't bring the whole thing down.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 2:47 PM

In your imaginary scenario, how would NAZI Germany for example pose a direct threat to Ancap USA?

I don't know... how did the USA pose a threat to the Sioux? How were any of those agricultural societies threatened in the past by those who preyed on them?

How would it achieve any strategic military goal without the existence of a US central government and military to conquer and subdue?  There is no strategic central command that is responsible for such vital things as water, infrastructure, defense, courts, etc...... that the German Army could just defeat ,subdue and become in charge.  Consider for example how Nazi Germany was able to take control of Poland or France.

Consider that you may have it exactly backwards.  Any attempt by a foreign government to take control of an ancap society with no central authority is futile.  It's sort of like trying to bring down the internet by attacking individual computers or routers.  you can do local damage but you can't bring the whole thing down.

Well, this didn't stop states from conquering non-state regions in the past. There has to be more to it than this; if this answer was sufficient, then states shouldn't have formed in the first place, nor should they have continued to grow ever more powerful, as they have.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 2,966
Points 53,250
DD5 replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:07 PM

"I don't know... how did the USA pose a threat to the Sioux? How were any of those agricultural societies threatened in the past by those who preyed on them?"

The Sioux were an Ancap society?  NO!  You established this yourself in the OP.  But interesting you bring up American Indians for they are the only ones that actually have some autonomy outside the system.

 

"Well, this didn't stop states from conquering non-state regions in the past."

First, non-state according to conventional definitions doesn't automatically constitute a free society. 

Second, I didn't say it was impossible to inflict damage or even to subdue an ancap society.  I pointed out that there are actually many practical obstacles that actually make the ancap society more resilient against any threat of foreign invasion relative to the State.

The mere possibility that exists for this to be a problem cannot possibly be used as a valid critic of the ancap society.  States are by far, much more vulnerable to foreign attacks for 2 main reasons:

1.  As already pointed out above, the nature of a centralized organization is far more vulnerable to takeover or collapse.  The computer network analogy I think is appropriate.

2.  Only the political system inherent in any State fosters the conditions and give rise to perverse incentives that make war almost inevitable from time to time.   When the beneficiaries of war can externalize the costs of war on others, then well... you do the math.  This gives rise to nationalistic ideology that only further exacerbates the problem.  There would be far less of a reason for Nazi Germany to invade ancap USA absent of any US foreign entanglements and imperialistic foreign policies.

The above 2 reasons precede any talk about what various free market solutions there could be to some potential foreign threat.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:30 PM

The Sioux were an Ancap society?  NO!  You established this yourself in the OP.  But interesting you bring up American Indians for they are the only ones that actually have some autonomy outside the system.

Right, the Sioux were not capitalist at all, and yes, native americans have greater autonomy within the current USA. However, would 1940s era USA be industrialized to the degree to withstand 3 totalitarian opponents, especially without nuclear arms? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. That's why I called it a hunchism. What I do know is that as you go further back the sliding scale toward agricultural societies, you see even less of an adequate defence against statist societies. Therefore, my question still stands: At what point can an ancap society form and be viable?

"Well, this didn't stop states from conquering non-state regions in the past."

First, non-state according to conventional definitions doesn't automatically constitute a free society. 

Second, I didn't say it was impossible to inflict damage or even to subdue an ancap society.  I pointed out that there are actually many practical obstacles that actually make the ancap society more resilient against any threat of foreign invasion relative to the State.

Perhaps, but still conjecture. I am not saying that because statism has been a successful predator in the past that anarcho-cap can never arise. Don't assume I believe that ancap can never happen because it hasn't happened in the past, because I don't believe in that myself. I do want to discuss what needs to be different this time around so that it can survive and flourish. Therefore, what I am asking is what conditions are required in order for it to arise and successfully fend off predation in a world full of established states? It hasn't happened in the past, so what needs to change in order for it to happen, today?

The mere possibility that exists for this to be a problem cannot possibly be used as a valid critic of the ancap society.  States are by far, much more vulnerable to foreign attacks for 2 main reasons:

1.  As already pointed out above, the nature of a centralized organization is far more vulnerable to takeover or collapse.  The computer network analogy I think is appropriate.

I'm more interested in discussing how an-cap can arise in our world than in needlessly criticizing the idea. The real world will be the proof. Nonetheless, I don't see point 1 as being an adequate explanation of the entire story. If it was, then states would have had a much more difficult time building and consolidating power. 

Only the political system inherent in any State fosters the conditions and give rise to perverse incentives that make war almost inevitable from time to time.   When the beneficiaries of war can externalize the costs of war on others, then well... you do the math.  This gives rise to nationalistic ideology that only further exacerbates the problem.  There would be far less of a reason for Nazi Germany to invade ancap USA absent of any US foreign entanglements and imperialistic foreign policies.

Agreed as far as externalizing costs of war goes. Perhaps Nazi Germany would not have been too interested in invading USA land, but I bet you that they would have been interested in occupying the area where Poland sits, whether they had become ancap or not. So, disagreed that it necessarily follows that states will be less or not interested in occupying non-state land.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 659
Points 13,305
Gero replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:32 PM

“We have never seen Rothbardian (or Friedmanian for that matter) anarcho-capitalism in the world before now. Why is that?”

I speculate the origin of the state is tied to the origin of religion. Religion provided explanation and was used to justify authority. I speculate bad ideas easily became dominant with the state’s creation. Its existence eventually made it considered normal, a part of life, although the reason it allegedly needed to exist was never logically proven. Even in the 21st century, U.S. presidents place their hands on the bible when promising to adhere to the U.S. constitution.

“The earliest states formed as people voluntarily sought protection against this predation.”

Governments are not voluntary organizations, therefore people could not agree to voluntarily join them.

“Therefore, in the past, anarcho-capitalism wasn't viable, since it never made a significant dent and was not able to survive in a world surrounded by aggressive states and barbarians.”

This reasoning is anything that did not occur in the past could not have occurred in the past.

“In the first half of the 20th century, and this is just a hunchism on my part, but I believe that if the USA had already been anarcho-capitalist and without nuclear weapons”

If the U.S. was anarcho-capitalistic, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War may not have occurred. Even during those events resolving them could have been done anarcho-capitalistically. For a longer explanation view Chapter 6 in Viception.

“How can anarcho-capitalism acquire the necessary power to defend itself against external predation and threats in today's world?”

Government does not guarantee safety. Governments can lose wars. Governments can kill their own citizens. The technology for defense is the same with or without government. Under anarcho-capitalism, defense is for that purpose: defense, not offense.

“One flaw I find with the PDA superior efficiency argument is that if it were true, states would never have formed in the first place.”

If FexEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) were more efficient, then the United States Postal Service (USPS) would “never have formed in the first place.” Wrong.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:44 PM

I speculate the origin of the state is tied to the origin of religion. Religion provided explanation and was used to justify authority. I speculate bad ideas easily became dominant with the state’s creation. Its existence eventually made it considered normal, a part of life, although the reason it allegedly needed to exist was never logically proven. Even in the 21st century, U.S. presidents place their hands on the bible when promising to adhere to the U.S. constitution.

This is one possibility to explain the state's dominance in the past. Most states today are secular, but show no interest in relinquishing their authority.

“The earliest states formed as people voluntarily sought protection against this predation.”

Governments are not voluntary organizations, therefore people could not agree to voluntarily join them.

A government can be voluntary or involuntary. Our ancestors lived in voluntary governments known as tribes.

Government does not guarantee safety. Governments can lose wars. Governments can kill their own citizens. The technology for defense is the same with or without government. Under anarcho-capitalism, defense is for that purpose: defense, not offense.

Government can also kill ancap citizens by branding them as terrorists, pedophiles, druglords, etc.... what is needed for ancap to grow and prosper? We currently live in a world of statism. We can fantasize about our ideal ancap world all we want, but that is not our reality in this universe.

If FexEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) were more efficient, then the United States Postal Service (USPS) would “never have formed in the first place.” Wrong.

FexEx and UPS are allowed to exist not because the USPS allows them to exist, but because the US government allows them to exist. I don't doubt that PDAs can be more efficient in a resource allocation sense, but as I said before, that's not all there is to it. That argument does not explain how ancap society can be born, survive, and flourish in a world where predation exists.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:53 PM

If the U.S. was anarcho-capitalistic, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War may not have occurred. Even during those events resolving them could have been done anarcho-capitalistically. For a longer explanation view Chapter 6 inViception.

I just read through Viception, and I found it interesting, though rather loose. Chapter 6 was probably my favorite chapter of the lot.  I found the protaganist's willingness to execute those who stood in his way rather offputting, as I just didn't feel any emotional or logical connection to justify those actions. Blowing off the head of a guy who loses a fight, even for a friend? Well, goes to show what even ancaps will do for power ;)

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 659
Points 13,305
Gero replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:56 PM

“Most states today are secular, but show no interest in relinquishing their authority.”

Governments have existed for centuries. They are considered normal. People are unaware that they are unnecessary and any arguably necessary function they serve can be privately provided.

“A government can be voluntary or involuntary.”

We have different government definitions. I am using the one in Viception: Government is a coercive legal and tax monopolist.

“Our ancestors lived in voluntary governments known as tribes.”

Voluntary association for survival is different, to me, than government by the definition I mentioned.

“Government can also kill ancap citizens . . . what is needed for ancap to grow and prosper?”

As long as anarcho-capitalists are an insufficiently armed minority, they can be killed. Anarcho-capitalism will grow in popularity when more people are convinced it is a better idea.

“That argument does not explain how ancap society can be born, survive, and flourish in a world where predation exists.”

Near the beginning of humanity’s inception, the human population was concentrated and smaller. I do not know if there was a battle of ideas then. The dominant idea was government. As people spread over time, the government idea came with them. Government does things people consider important. Anarcho-capitalism will grow in popularity when more people are convinced it is a better idea.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 2,966
Points 53,250
DD5 replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 4:02 PM

"If it was, then states would have had a much more difficult time building and consolidating power. "

Wait a minute.  You are conflating two different threats.  External and internal.  States cannot form or at least maintain their legitimacy without some degree of public support.  When you are are asking about threats from outside, we must, by definition, assume that the potential threat enjoys no legitimacy by the vast public.  Under such a condition, then all that I said I think is valid.  If however the formation of the State gains legitimacy, then that is a different matter, but then the threat is not external but internal.  It is the public who demands a State and not some Nazi Germany trying to impose it.  

 

"but I bet you that they would have been interested in occupying the area where Poland sits, whether they had become ancap or not. So, disagreed that it necessarily follows that states will be less or not interested in occupying non-state land."

The occupation of Poland was practically achieved without firing a shot (maybe just a few shots).

Now I would like for you to do a mental exercise and try to see if the Nazis could have achieved the same level of success if there had been no Polish central government to surrender and hand over power to just a selected few German generals who already had at their disposal a central bureaucracy intact that they could just order from above.  So while ancap Poland may still have been under threat, it's hard to see how and why ancap Poland would have been more vulnerable then Statist Poland.  It seems to be the other way around.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,592
Points 63,685
Sieben replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 4:07 PM

Ultima:
For the same reasons that statist-agricultural society had better defensive capabilities than ancap-agriculture society (well, anarchic, not ancap). A large imbalance of power.
Agricultural societies have organizational problems. The hampered market has already organized firms with more economic power than most countries...

And modern statism persists because of ideology. In agricultural socities it could persist by force alone. This is another fundamental difference.

Ultima:
I know there is. I'm not satisfied because it is mostly conjecture on what would happen were we already in an ancap society, which we are not.
So you want transitional material...?

Ultima:
I think this might be part of the key, but technology can conversely give even more power to the statists if abused.
The way everything has gone so far is to make information much much easier to get. So basically everyone can observe everyone, and we observe that common people are basically following the NAP while statists are not. Its a huge ideological threat to them.

But in principle, technology could go the other way. Like what if they somehow got us all to wear shock-collars all at once.  It just hasn't gotten this way so far. I don't think it CAN get this way because as soon as the state starts thinking about it everybody knows. They oppose it, and then the state can't do it. Our leaders are on less stable ground than everyone thinks.

Banned
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Wed, Aug 4 2010 7:04 PM

@OP: Aren't you essentially asking whether an argument for anarchy is an argument for global anarchy?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,209
Points 35,645
Merlin replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 1:51 AM

 

The greatest, greatest invention ever. That's what a PDA needs.

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 8:22 AM

Governments have existed for centuries. They are considered normal. People are unaware that they are unnecessary and any arguably necessary function they serve can be privately provided.

Not just unaware, they are in disbelief. Didn't you know that the private sector is full of greedy bastards?

We have different government definitions. I am using the one in Viception: Government is a coercive legal and tax monopolist.

That's what I call a state. Governments themselves can be voluntary. An-cap society will have lots of different layers of government, but they will all be voluntary (at least, they all should be if we are to call the society an-cap).

As long as anarcho-capitalists are an insufficiently armed minority, they can be killed. Anarcho-capitalism will grow in popularity when more people are convinced it is a better idea.

Agreed.

Near the beginning of humanity’s inception, the human population was concentrated and smaller. I do not know if there was a battle of ideas then. The dominant idea was government. As people spread over time, the government idea came with them. Government does things people consider important. Anarcho-capitalism will grow in popularity when more people are convinced it is a better idea.

Indeed, instead of a parasite-host relationship, it is more like a symbiotic relationship. Government might be an overall drag, but many people personally and individually benefit from the power of a state. I would also argue that in older times before knowledge of capitalism, division of labour, etc... those who refused to join the state would be very easily overrun, especially if they were settled agricultural societies. The state was the most effective military and economic force throughout all of history. Maybe that will change in the future with new knowledge and ideas; I hope it does. I'm sure things are much better today than they would be in 1950s USSR, but things can always get even better.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 8:32 AM

Wait a minute.  You are conflating two different threats.  External and internal.  States cannot form or at least maintain their legitimacy without some degree of public support.  When you are are asking about threats from outside, we must, by definition, assume that the potential threat enjoys no legitimacy by the vast public.  Under such a condition, then all that I said I think is valid.  If however the formation of the State gains legitimacy, then that is a different matter, but then the threat is not external but internal.  It is the public who demands a State and not some Nazi Germany trying to impose it.  

Indeed, states have power because people demand it. People demand that houses be available to all, that the rich should share their wealth with the poor, that everyone has the right to a retirement, unemployment insurance, free healthcare, free education, etc... after all, the politicians exist to serve the people, and capitalists are only looking out for themselves, right? Who is the first person that anyone in the US cries to first? Their local representative. For a so-called liberty loving nation, the citizens sure love to use the long arm of government when it's to their advantage. Get as many benefits as you can, and get someone else to pay for it... right?

So while ancap Poland may still have been under threat, it's hard to see how and why ancap Poland would have been more vulnerable then Statist Poland.  It seems to be the other way around.

Well first, what does ancap Poland mean to you? Merely being anarchic isn't enough, as we saw with the native americans. We are assuming that the country had otherwise the same amount of firepower, will to fight, etc... as statist Poland, or are we assuming that this is a very rich and powerful Poland?

I agree that it would have been harder to administer, but only the important cities and strategic points are important, anyways. You also have to remember that the militaries in WW2 didn't mess around. They didn't hesitate to shell and bomb entire villages if they resisted. It's not like Iraq or Afghanistan today where soldier's hands are tied due to media coverage and modern rules of engagement. Destroying entire cities was OK, too, just look at Tokyo, Dresden, Hiroshima... I don't think Poland would have been much trouble for the Nazis, ancap or no, but I concede the point that being ancap would make it harder to control than if you could just take over an existing chain of command.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 8:39 AM

Agricultural societies have organizational problems. The hampered market has already organized firms with more economic power than most countries...


And modern statism persists because of ideology. In agricultural socities it could persist by force alone. This is another fundamental difference.

This is a good point. Statism persists due to ideology and inertia, and the free market is a relatively new concept. Today's technology also makes the distribution of information significantly easier than in the past, thus empowering decentralization. Agricultural societies and native americans did not have the benefit of any of these ideas or technologies, and at least in the native american's case, nor did they want it.

So you want transitional material...?
I want to know what you think. I'm interested in the discussion, though sure, point me to transitional material as well, as long as it's not a whole book, cause that will take me a while to read ;)

The way everything has gone so far is to make information much much easier to get. So basically everyone can observe everyone, and we observe that common people are basically following the NAP while statists are not. Its a huge ideological threat to them.

People will follow the NAP so long as the benefits outweigh the costs. For many elements of private society, it does.

But in principle, technology could go the other way. Like what if they somehow got us all to wear shock-collars all at once.  It just hasn't gotten this way so far. I don't think it CAN get this way because as soon as the state starts thinking about it everybody knows. They oppose it, and then the state can't do it. Our leaders are on less stable ground than everyone thinks.

How about nanodust with little ears and eyes spread over every square meter of the country? That's 1984^2 for you. Keeping such a thing a secret might be a bit difficult, though, since humans are ever fallible. I somewhat agree with you here.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 8:41 AM

@OP: Aren't you essentially asking whether an argument for anarchy is an argument for global anarchy?

I'm not sure what you mean by that question. If point B is global anarchy, and point A is where we are today, then my question is about the path from A to B. Any step along the way that is an improvement over today is also a desirable point to be.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 8:43 AM

The greatest, greatest invention ever. That's what a PDA needs.

Except that NAP adherents all oppose this invention, right? And perhaps with good reason, as the chances of an accident go up as the power relationships increase exponentially... on the other hand, so long as states have this power, non-states lack a crucial bargaining chip.

Perhaps the ancaps will be inventive, and can find a better bargaining chip than nuclear MAD.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,592
Points 63,685
Sieben replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 9:05 AM

Ultima:
I want to know what you think. I'm interested in the discussion, though sure, point me to transitional material as well, as long as it's not a whole book, cause that will take me a while to read ;)
Yeah i won't even link you anything... there are a lot of ideas out there about how we *could* transition from statism to anarcho capitalism, but many of them are unlikely. For example, some propose that we divide government's junk into shares and distribute them to the public, where they will be bought up by entrepreneurs able to make the best use of the resources.

But that requires everyone to basically admit that the free market is the best thing ever. Even after the collapse of totalitarian communism people still believed in the effifacy of the state. All those countries basically now have right wing authoritarian governments that are basically more prudent versions of the previous regimes.

So, since it has been pointed out to me, it has become increasingly obvious. The market cannot be argued into existence. Markets will have to outcompete states. I don't think any state could persist very long if it were neighbored by a rock and roll ancap land. All their people would want to leave for it, and their protectionist efforts would lead to even greater impoverishment, making it even more obvious how bad statism is. Unfortunately, few states are neighbored by ancaplands, and most "good" states do not allow free immigration.

The seasteading institute is trying to get around this. They basically want to set up businesses and communities on the ocean, in international waters. They are trying to think of things that you can do on water that will be cheaper than on land. They have a built in advantage of no taxes/regulations. Its not something people are just talking about in books. The seasteading institute is very new and are developing business models as we speak. 

My personal opinion is that it would be best to fill seasteads with really poor people from war torn countries. It will be easier to get them to want to actually live at sea. If you have American workers commuting on/off shore you still pay american taxes...

I have this other idea that I'll be writing about eventually. I actually think its better than seasteading and wouldn't require as much time to work. I won't spill the beans just yet because its still in its infancy... we'll see.

Ultima:
How about nanodust with little ears and eyes spread over every square meter of the country? That's 1984^2 for you. Keeping such a thing a secret might be a bit difficult, though, since humans are ever fallible. I somewhat agree with you here.
I'm actually of the opinion that information doesn't really matter. At least more information doesn't matter. If the government wanted to arrest everyone here on mises.org I'm sure they could get 80% of the American citizens. They don't because it would be a giant PR disaster for them. People *can't* see the government as a bunch of warlords. If it does not collapse the whole thing, it will at least raise their costs of staying in business. Warlord government like Saudi Arabia/Iran/Kuwait have to bribe their middle - upper class citizens to keep them happy. In kuwait, its something like every year they give kuwaiti kids between $300-$600 on kuwaitday. Expensive stuff.

Banned
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 289
Points 9,530
Kenneth replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 10:02 AM

We have seen a Rothbardian social order before and its called non-state feudalism. It was the most libertarian social order mankind has ever had. State formation is due to the monopolistic tendencies of natural elites. The social contract between different defense agencies, over time, lose their voluntary aspect. This is necessary for the development of customary law, commercial integration, security, and therefore modern civilization. Primitive agricultural societies were not hierarchical but they were definitely statist in the sense that politics has far reach in everyday life, for example, children are assets used by the tribe. There is no concept of family in agricultural tribal societies because everybody belongs to the collective tribe, this is why they are primitive and could not defend themselves.

BTW, AnCap USA would perfectly be able to defend themselves. AnCap-like, self-directing guerilla fighers in Vietnam managed to give highly organized USA military a run for their money in the Vietnam war. The USA military today has such difficulty in the Middle East also because terrorist cells operate as self-directing, decentralized entities.

The only way we can achieve AnCap is through nullification, then secession, then further secession to the point of the individual himself.

A hypothetical AnCap society would be vastly superior to any state military force. The formation of a centralized government is inevitable due to historical patterns and the mechanics of human power relations, the formation of a state however is not.

I notice people here ask questions like this all the time. I want to recommend Hoppe's essay on "Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State". It really answers a lot of these inquiries. Also, check out mises media for Marco Bassani lectures. PFS speeches are very insightful for knowing about how culture and sociology fits into the picture, esp. the Q&A portion.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Tue, Aug 10 2010 9:07 AM

Markets will have to outcompete states. I don't think any state could persist very long if it were neighbored by a rock and roll ancap land.

The seasteading institute is trying to get around this. They basically want to set up businesses and communities on the ocean, in international waters. They are trying to think of things that you can do on water that will be cheaper than on land. They have a built in advantage of no taxes/regulations. Its not something people are just talking about in books. The seasteading institute is very new and are developing business models as we speak.

I am a big proponent of seasteading and charter cities, and I see this as one very valid and viable way to move toward less statism.

My personal opinion is that it would be best to fill seasteads with really poor people from war torn countries. It will be easier to get them to want to actually live at sea. If you have American workers commuting on/off shore you still pay american taxes...

Be careful... you don't want the public to think you're exploiting people, and give the navy a reason to invade your seasteads and scuttle them.

If the government wanted to arrest everyone here on mises.org I'm sure they could get 80% of the American citizens. They don't because it would be a giant PR disaster for them. People *can't* see the government as a bunch of warlords. If it does not collapse the whole thing, it will at least raise their costs of staying in business.

They could always paint certain as terrorists and rebels, but the point is quite valid. The more widespread the production and dissemination of information is, the more difficult it is for the state to fool most of the people, most of the time. Without that consent, their case becomes weaker and less valid.

I have this other idea that I'll be writing about eventually. I actually think its better than seasteading and wouldn't require as much time to work. I won't spill the beans just yet because its still in its infancy... we'll see.

I would really like to read about this someday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sieben.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 233
Points 5,345
Ultima replied on Tue, Aug 10 2010 9:13 AM

We have seen a Rothbardian social order before and its called non-state feudalism. It was the most libertarian social order mankind has ever had.

What is "non-state feudalism"? I would not want to see a return to serfdom. 

State formation is due to the monopolistic tendencies of natural elites. The social contract between different defense agencies, over time, lose their voluntary aspect.

Let's just hope that you're not undermining your own argument later in the post for Ancap with this quote here :)

There is no concept of family in agricultural tribal societies because everybody belongs to the collective tribe, this is why they are primitive and could not defend themselves.

Is this really how it was? I'm not an expert anthropologist, but I simply find your assertion that there was no concept of family pretty hard to believe.

BTW, AnCap USA would perfectly be able to defend themselves. AnCap-like, self-directing guerilla fighers in Vietnam managed to give highly organized USA military a run for their money in the Vietnam war. The USA military today has such difficulty in the Middle East also because terrorist cells operate as self-directing, decentralized entities.

Or maybe it's simply because the USA didn't nuke them or burn entire cities to the ground, roasting hundreds of thousands of people alive, like they did in WW2.

The only way we can achieve AnCap is through nullification, then secession, then further secession to the point of the individual himself.

That is a valid way, yes. I agree.

A hypothetical AnCap society would be vastly superior to any state military force. The formation of a centralized government is inevitable due to historical patterns and the mechanics of human power relations, the formation of a state however is not.

I'm not sure I see the difference. A centralized government cannot be voluntary if it encompasses all meaningful powers, including a monopoly of territory and force. We're just back to where we are today.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 111
Points 3,295
razerfish replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 11:32 PM

So would an Ancap society have to rely on an insurgency strategy of defense? Mobilization and attacking via anything resembling a modern army wouldn't be possible, right? And the ancap soldiers would be operating under their own directives and self-supplied? It's weird to think of warfare without the state. Like imagining how life forms would evolve on different planets. A real workout for the mind.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895

There is nothing to protect.  It's simple, really.  If you can get an Ancap system to begin with, you needn't worry about "invasion" because they won't be able to do anything when they get "there" and there is no "there" to "invade".  It isn't a war of gun again gun.  It's a war of wisdom against foolishness.  Ditto for PDA's becoming states.  In short, the question of how an Ancap system defends itself, more accurately, how people defend their selves,  is exactly the same as the question of how to get one to start with.

The concept of "invasion" in the context of war involves one state expanding its jurisdiction at the expense of the jurisdiction of another state.  Not applicable here.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,959
Points 55,095
Spideynw replied on Thu, Aug 12 2010 2:54 PM

Ultima:

We have never seen Rothbardian (or Friedmanian for that matter) anarcho-capitalism in the world before now. Why is that?

Because we have never had enough people in one location willing to disobey bad laws, which includes not paying taxes.  I have no fear that there will be some "superior force" wanting to hurt me.  Freedom does not invoke hostility.  Hostility invokes hostility.  The reason the people in the MIddle East hate America is because of American hostility.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 470
Points 7,025
Vitor replied on Thu, Aug 12 2010 3:41 PM

Just be sure that most citizens have a good rifle and ammo. Then any military force will think twice.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 468
Points 8,085
Wibee replied on Fri, Aug 13 2010 7:43 PM

An-caps would not survive. What people always negelct is the time domain.  It takes time for the infrastructure to build.  It's like starting from scratch an Ancap society in a game of civilization.  They would be eaten in seconds by an enemy state.  

All things being equal,ancaps would be on top.  But nothing is ever equal.  

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 289
Points 9,530
Kenneth replied on Sun, Aug 15 2010 7:32 AM

Feudalism does not necessarily mean serfdom. You have to recognize the situation was very different 800 years ago. At a time where might often meant right it is beneficial to put in place a strong leader that can defend your property. Hierarchical social structures were advantageous back then because of primitive markets( primitive monetary systems and such). Having a paternalistic relationship with your leader might be a good situation when you have very limited options and the alternative is fending off the beasts and barbarians on your own.

Regarding family, origins of the state and natural elites please consult these references.

http://fee.org/media/audio/family-and-the-great-society/

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/histn/histn048.htm

http://mises.org/etexts/intellectuals.asp

"Or maybe it's simply because the USA didn't nuke them or burn entire cities to the ground, roasting hundreds of thousands of people alive, like they did in WW2."

The capability of the US government to nuke cities to the ground is out of the question. The fact that the US government does NOT nuke cities to the ground because 1.) High chance of a revolution 2.) War profiteers will not profit or they are afraid of uncertainty. The problem with nuking is that it gives governments a bad image. And image is very important to the state.

"I'm not sure I see the difference. A centralized government cannot be voluntary if it encompasses all meaningful powers, including a monopoly of territory and force. We're just back to where we are today."

The problem with voluntarism is that it seems to imply that you can just get in and out of relationships any time you want and you have complete power. Well, for the same reasons that most people have a different  behavior when with their parents and when with their friends, civilization is not that simple. Customs will have to develop in order for their to be social cohesion and economic integration. From customs are polycentric legal systems generated. Sure, you are not 'forced' to be under the authority of a 'government', but expect consequences such as ostracism and economic exclusion. This is the line where 'voluntariness' and 'involuntariness' is blurred. Why? because most people are not libertarians. And even if they can become libertarians, they are definitely not Austrian economists.

Page 1 of 1 (33 items) | RSS