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Anarcho-Capitalist Law and Order

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resist272727 Posted: Thu, Aug 5 2010 12:32 PM

Another question about law in anarcho-capitalism:

How would free market prison sentencing be kept in check?  How would such sentencing avoid corruption in face of a large profit?

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There would most likely be much fewer prisons, as prisons are a very costly way of sentencing. Financial compensation or capital punishment will be much more likely. The prison-industrial complex will disappear due to lack of government to pick up the bill and force it unto the general public.

Edit: And the financial & capital punishments will be kept in check with market competition in private defense agencies and courts. The rule of law will reflect the will of the people, but minus the "vote and I promise you all your wishes for free" aspect of democracy.

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Bob Murphy's Chaos Theory addresses this topic very well.

"I'm not a fan of Murray Rothbard." -- David D. Friedman

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Chapter Ten of The Market for Liberty (pdf) also addresses this question.

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DD5 replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 4:04 PM

" How would such sentencing avoid corruption in face of a large profit?"

Why does profit (large or small) give potential rise to corruption?  

Seems like a much more urgent question for you to ponder upon before going on to free market prisons.

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C replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 4:21 PM

I would not take Chaos Theory to heart.  I believe it is full of holes.  You cannot insure yourself against the chance you will commit a crime.  A crime is within your ability to control.  If you take that part of the equation out, the rest of the framework in Chaos Theory falls apart.

As to the question, I believe there would be jails.  Would they be used less frequently, yes (no drug laws etc), but not as little as Consultant suggests.  If someone commits murder, they will still go to jail.  

How would the system be kept in check?  Profit and Loss.  If a paying customer wins a criminal case and the guilty party is sentenced to jail, but goes free because of corruption, people will stop buying from that jail/court/defense agency etc.  

Of course, it has also been pointed out that the victim would be free to negotiate a settlement with the criminal even after the sentencing.  So if a person is sentenced to 10 years and jail, he might say to the victim, "I'll give you $500k to let me go free".  The victim might some back and say "I'll reduce your sentence to 3 years for $100k".  All of which would be perfectly acceptable.

Of course most criminals are poor and would not be in a position to negotiate with the victim, so they would serve the full sentence.  

 

  At least he wasn't a Keynesian!

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Being able to pay your way out of a sentence makes for a shaky legal system.And I dare call it that since the rich have no incentive to follow the NAP.

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AF replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 5:41 PM

Being able to pay your way out of a sentence makes for a shaky legal system.

How so? Isn't the whole point of justice that the victim is compensated?

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In civil cases. In criminal cases it is to ensure the offender gets punished for whatever action he commited.

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Joe replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 6:06 PM

in anarcho-capitalism, all cases are civil.  There is not state to commit a crime against.  Read up on the history of this.  It used to be that the victim was compensated, and then the King wanted a piece of the action, and started taking bigger and bigger slices of the pie.

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Yep, the "civil" penalty is in the form of ostracization and exclusion.

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C replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 6:18 PM

> Being able to pay your way out of a sentence makes for a shaky legal system.And I dare call it that since the rich have no incentive to follow the NAP.

 

I assume your talking about my statement above that victims and criminals could negotiate a settlement.  The thing your missing here is that the negotiation will take into consideration the criminal's wealth.  If a criminal has a net worth of say $50 million and is sentenced to life in prison, it would probably take close to the entire $50 mil to negotiate his release.  And that is only IF the victim was willing to negotiate.  

  At least he wasn't a Keynesian!

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MaikU replied on Thu, Aug 5 2010 6:38 PM

pentahedron:

In civil cases. In criminal cases it is to ensure the offender gets punished for whatever action he commited.

 

ha, and what that teaches the offender? The whole idea of "punishment" is a revenge (it's very like a religion in itself). People who advocate it want revenge, not justice or anything more. Punishment (when I say punishment I mean locking people in cages, or just shooting them dead) is the crucial point why there are SOOO many "criminals" in a first place. We ourselves teach them violence by acting violently.

The only punishment I personaly would advocate is ostracism and getting the restitution (depends on the crime though).

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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AJ replied on Fri, Aug 6 2010 10:15 AM

@OP: There is an essay called The Depoliticization of Law that lays this concern to rest. From the abstract:

Although law is rarely grounded in consent, this does not imply that
law necessarily gives some individuals command over others. Law
can arise through a process of evolution. When this is the case, those
subject to law are indeed bound, but not by the will of any particular
human beings. Although this depoliticized law is inherently coercive, it
is not inherently a vehicle for domination.
Although law is rarely grounded in consent, this doenot imply that
law necessarily gives some individuals command over others. Law
can arise through a process of evolution. When this is the case, those
subject to law are indeed bound, but not by the will of any particular
human beings. Although this depoliticized law is inherently coercive, it
is not inherently a vehicle for domination.Although law is rarely grounded in consent, this does not imply that
law necessarily gives some individuals command over others. Law
can arise through a process of evolution. When this is the case, those
subject to law are indeed bound, but not by the will of any particular
human beings. Although this depoliticized law is inherently coercive, it
is not inherently a vehicle for domination.
http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/TIL.PDF
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I have a question. How would property rights interfer with an investigation for example: search warrants?

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Clayton replied on Mon, Aug 9 2010 12:06 AM

Punishment is a complex and problematic area in libertarian legal theory. Punishment is ultimately a form of retaliation. If you accept the thesis Bastiat puts forth in his tract The Law (did Bastiat get this idea from someone else, like Locke?), that the rights of a group cannot exceed the rights of each individual within the group and if you accept that punishment is, at least for certain actions, a justifiable response, then you have to come full circle to the proposition that individual retaliation is also justifiable. Most moral systems reject individual retaliation as immoral. This makes the emergence of a legal system that recognizes individual retaliation problematic.

But assuming that there emerged a legal system that recognized individual retaliation, then organized retaliation would simply be an extension of the right of individual retaliation. In other words, just as you can hire others to defend you - in a natural order society - so you could hire others to help you exact lawful retaliation (punishment). Imprisonment is an incredibly expensive form of punishment. I doubt that people would be willing to pay for imprisonment if they themselves had to bear the costs of exacting punishment. It is only our socialized legal system that makes imprisonment possible.

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C replied on Mon, Aug 9 2010 4:43 AM

"I have a question. How would property rights interfer with an investigation for example: search warrants?"

There is certainly the possibility that this could be handled through contracts.  For example, when  you sign up with your defense agency you might sign a contract that states something like....in exchange for allowing search warrants to be executed against you and your property...you will be allowed to execute search warrants against other customers of this defense agency should you need to do so.  Would people sign such a contract?  Maybe. I think I would probably sign considering my chance of receiving justice is greatly increased if I (as a plaintiff or defendant) have search warrants at my disposal.  Would I be willing to exchange some of my liberty (allow trespassing, etc.) to get such an ability....I think I would.  

 

"Imprisonment is an incredibly expensive form of punishment. I doubt that people would be willing to pay for imprisonment if they themselves had to bear the costs of exacting punishment. It is only our socialized legal system that makes imprisonment possible"

I disagree with this analysis.  Remember, most people will be paying for legal services through risk pooling (ie: insurance).  Saying people wont pay for it because it is too expensive is like saying people wont pay for heart surgery because it is too expensive.  If you pool your risk of being the victim of a crime with other people, it becomes much more affordable.  Say for example, the average jail stay costs $100k and you have a 1% chance of being the victim of a crime in a given year (these are very rough estimates).  Then your annual payment would be $1,000 (excluding other legal costs).  This translates into $83 a month.  Would you be willing to pay $83 a month to make sure justice is done on your behalf? I would. 

  At least he wasn't a Keynesian!

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Joe replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 4:13 PM

I think there are a couple of differing ideas out there on the role of jails/prisons.  Generally, I think libertarians would reject the role of them as punishment for crime.  Having a criminal sit in a cage, doesn't do anything productive to the victim.

So I can sort of see a role for firms to ensure payment and that could involve a prison or probation/halfway house sort of system depending on how much of a flight risk the person was and what their ability was to pay what they owed.  A person with an already poor reputation and little wealth, has very little to lose, and it might be necessary to keep close eye on a person like that .  But keeping such a close eye, can come at a serious cost (depending on how controlling you want to be) This is why slavery is not as economical as free labor.   Don't really have any idea how that whole aspect will play out in the market.

 

Then there is the notion of locking someone up in order to keep them from hurting people.  The idea that someone is just too dangerous to be out in the wild.  Not sure prison is necessary for these people either.  Someone who repeatedly commits egregiously violent acts against other humans will likely not be supported by any insurance/PDA/DRO and could just be taken out back and shot.

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C replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 4:29 PM

I think some people on this forum tend to confuse restitution and punishment.  Victims of crimes have a right to both.  If a woman was the victim of a rape, she is entitle to restitution (compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.) AND punishment of the criminal.  In other words, the criminal would still have to work to compensate the victim, but that is in addition to punishment.  Do you think victims of violent crimes would be happy just letting the criminal off on some sort of working probation as punishment?  I don't.

For that matter, has anyone here been the victim of the crime?  Granted, I wasn't the victim of a violent crime, but my car was stolen by some inner city thug and dumped in the Delaware river.  I was so mad.  I certainly wouldn't have been OK with him just getting a probation of some sort.  

And just a side note, the extent that the government run police helped me was to say  "We'll call you if we hear anything".  Great!  WTF am I paying thousands of dollars a year in taxes for?

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You cannot insure yourself against the chance you will commit a crime.  A crime is within your ability to control.  If you take that part of the equation out, the rest of the framework in Chaos Theory falls apart.

The Insurance company would demand you comply with their regulations in order reduce the risk of you committing a crime. If you refuse to comply, they won't insure you, and people won't voluntarily associate with you. One of those regulations could be to go to a jail house which they deem secure enough for you to keep you from committing a crime if they deem you sufficiently high enough risk to commit a crime.

For that matter, has anyone here been the victim of the crime?  Granted, I wasn't the victim of a violent crime, but my car was stolen by some inner city thug and dumped in the Delaware river.  I was so mad.  I certainly wouldn't have been OK with him just getting a probation of some sort. 

Exactly. He'd not only have to pay you to restore/replace your car, but also pay you enough money to not dump his car in the river.

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C replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 4:42 PM

Exactly. He'd not only have to pay you to restore/replace your car, but also pay you enough money to not dump his car in the river.

Yes, but if I refused the deal I would still be in my right to dump his car in the river, or exact some equivalent amount of punishment like 10 days in jail, say.  Just as long as my retaliation was proportional.  

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 6:57 PM

resist272727:
Another question about law in anarcho-capitalism:

How would free market prison sentencing be kept in check?  How would such sentencing avoid corruption in face of a large profit?

I don't think there would be prisons, although of course it depends on how you define "prison".  Instead, I think there would be locations where people could work off damages that they have been deemed liable for.  Once those damages are paid in full (plus interest), their "sentence" would be over.

 

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Eric080 replied on Wed, Aug 11 2010 9:29 PM

@Joe, I guess the issue here could be people's view of the death penalty.  Of course, I think when people do things that are so egregious and when you have iron-clad proof that they are guilty, offing them makes perfect sense in my opinion.

"And it may be said with strict accuracy, that the taste a man may show for absolute government bears an exact ratio to the contempt he may profess for his countrymen." - de Tocqueville
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