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What's the deal with Somalia?

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thetabularasa posted on Sun, Jul 15 2012 10:15 PM

Forgive my lack of knowledge concerning this matter, but why do many AnCap videos show others mockingly saying, "...then move to Somalia..."? Is there really anarchy in Somalia? I know it's filled with drugs, guns, gangs and so forth, but I'm just curious to get the full context. Can anyone explain?

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Jonathan M. F. Catalán:
For much of the late 90s and the first half of the first decade of the 21st century, warlords in Somalia were losing power and order was being established.  What has undermined these efforts, actually, is foreign pressure to put in place the TNG (Transitional National Government).  One of the pieces I read actually correlates an increase in fighting during an early move to back the TNG, and later you see the same correlation with the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia and then the AU occupation.  It has been the State which has caused chaos in Somalia, not the other way around.

Michael van Notten said much the same thing, didn't he? IIRC, he argued that the inter-tribal/clan warfare typically broke out when it looked like there was going to be a central government again. At that point, the different clans/tribes would start jockeying for favored positions. If you think about it, these clans/tribes could be considered primitive corporations - and at that point, it's revealed to be just a case of (more violent) special-interest wrangling.

From what I understand, this kind of tribal/clan rivalry has gone on in other areas where such organizations are still rather powerful, such as Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

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Mens Rea replied on Mon, Jul 16 2012 11:10 AM

Jonathan M. F. Catalán:
For much of the late 90s and the first half of the first decade of the 21st century, warlords in Somalia were losing power and order was being established.  What has undermined these efforts, actually, is foreign pressure to put in place the TNG (Transitional National Government).  One of the pieces I read actually correlates an increase in fighting during an early move to back the TNG, and later you see the same correlation with the Ethiopian occupation of Somalia and then the AU occupation.  It has been the State which has caused chaos in Somalia, not the other way around.

This article I read recently may be of interest to you. It claims that:

These figures from the UN World Food Programme show that food aid has increased in recent years, coinciding with a period of fighting between Islamists and forces loyal to the Somali government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12285365

 

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Clayton replied on Mon, Jul 16 2012 12:22 PM

[email protected] dumbasses ducking an empty RPG launcher... it's not like a gun where you can't easily tell if it's loaded or not, the grenade sticks out on the front if it's there! And the guy would have to blow himself up in order to shoot them 6 feet away! That's what drew the crowd, a bunch of white dumbasses dancing around ducking an empty launcher!

The cause of the instability is busybodies like this meddling and interfering in the affairs of people that they don't have the first inkling about as if they are the very depths of social and political wisdom.

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The focus on clans is heritage from I.M.  Lewis' work on the history of Somalia.  It has been argued that this is an inadequate methods of analyzing Somalian politics.  Warlords aren't the same as the clans, although warlords may belong to particular clans (just like TNG officials belong to clans).  But, it has been clan elders who vigorously push for the rule of law through a courts system.  Clan dynamics post-independence weren't the same as clan dynamics prior to the colonization.  This remains true today.  Also, warlords receive a large portion of their income from foreign governments and foreign NGOs.  Ethiopia is know to have funded warlords during the mid-2000s; the UN and other NGOs also indirectly fund drug trade ran by warlords.

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TheFinest:

Americans are pussies I swear to god

Who exactly are you referring to? I'm American and I'm no pussy.

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Clayton:

[email protected] dumbasses ducking an empty RPG launcher... it's not like a gun where you can't easily tell if it's loaded or not, the grenade sticks out on the front if it's there! And the guy would have to blow himself up in order to shoot them 6 feet away! That's what drew the crowd, a bunch of white dumbasses dancing around ducking an empty launcher!

The cause of the instability is busybodies like this meddling and interfering in the affairs of people that they don't have the first inkling about as if they are the very depths of social and political wisdom.

Clayton -

Evidently you haven't been around guns much. It's mainly for muscle memory. You're only supposed to point a gun at what you intend to shoot, whether a target down the range or a criminal trying to take your life. Otherwise it needs to either point up or down. I don't like having guns pointed at me, no matter if they are empty or loaded. People forget to dislodge rounds in the chamber all the time, so there is a method to it; plus you have to rely on the credibility of the individual holding the gun, which is not reliable.

As for the "white dumbasses" comment, is that opposed to the black dumbasses in the video who are pointing guns at others?

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It'd be nice to have an actual libertarian journalist in Somalia instead of more BBC documentaries talking about how free people can buy guns with their own money if they want.

.....

Now that'd be a "The Point" campaign I'd back up.  Just need to find a libertarian journalist.

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in regards to the video, at least they are pretty friendly in somalia.

 

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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Here's a short response to a recent Foreign Policy piece by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson on statelessness: Law without the State.

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Autolykos:
Another purpose is to implicitly argue that anarcho-capitalists are hypocrites - if they prefer living under no government to living under a government, regardless of the standard of living, then they'd logically move to where there's no government. However, this is typically a strawman argument, as most anarcho-capitalists do take the standard of living into account.

So many great points by Autolykos, however I think his second it the strongest.

On a broader note, most everybody, regardless of any political or religious ideology they may subscribe to, agrees on the desired end: achieving the highest standard of living possible on this Earth. It is the means by which we can achieve this goal that is debated. Ergo, it would make sense for anyone, Ancaps included, to want to live in the country he feels has the highest standard of living. Now, standard of living is a VERY subjective valuation, and it varies from person to person (which is why anarchy would be great - you are free to develop the society you see fit to live in). However, there are some measurements routinely used to gauge standard of living that a great majority of people agree are useful when measuring such a thing as standard of living. These include access to healthcare, access to clean drinking water, availability of new technologies, cost of living, and private property rights.

That being said, even these figures are somewhat subjective, and the methods by which they are calculated are also often debated among professionals of varying kinds. The last measurement I mentioned, the strength of private property rights, can also be perceived as either totally bad or totally good depending on who you talk to. A dedicated communist, for instance, will tell you that private property is a totally bad thing, whereas an AnCap will tell you it is a totally good thing. This illustrates an important lesson: anytime you are presented with a ranked list of standard of living, always look at the study's methods of measurement to make sure they conform to your conception of what the measurement should be measuring. If you take these studies at face value, you could be loosing out on very relevant and valuable information.

Ok, so moving on, it is true that AnCaps believe that the existence of a government is one of the largest, if not the largest, contributing factors to the detriment of a people living within the boundaries of a nation's lands and laws. Thus, AnCaps believe that the existence of the state will, on net, be to a country's detriment when measuring standard of living. However, many other factors contribute to standard of living. These include a given society's access to plentiful and varied resources, a society's available food items which directly influence nutrition quality; a factor integral to the relative productivity of one people over another.

Also effecting standard of living would be the general culture of the people living in the society. If the vast majority of a society holds a strict religious ritual that 5 hour naps be taken every day in the middle of the work day, then that economy will probably suffer for it, regardless of whether or not a state exists. If the people of that society value the nap more than the productivity they have lost because of it, then this is not a problem because they are making that choice and accepting the consequences thereof. This again stresses the importance of anarchy over the state. 

In a free society, the majority are free to take naps. You, being an industrious entrepreneur, may prefer to work during those 5 hours to get a leg up over your competitors, or you may not. The only thing the state is capable of doing in this situation is creating an opportunity for your competitors to lobby the government to create a law forcing the naps on everybody so that you loose your competitive advantage and they still get their nap. To add insult to injury, you now also have to pay a fee for this little kick in the nuts; this fee is called taxes. Pretty raw deal, huh? 

What is most important to understand about this is that in the framework of a state, society is viewed as a singular entity. This necessarily means that the majority rule will likely be THE rule. Conversely, a free society has no boundaries. You are a citizen of Earth, so to speak, and everyone is viewed as their own sovereign individual. This characteristic is the ingredient that makes it possible for you to look down your nose at the nappers and keep working if you damn well please. In a state, you are a mere cog in the machine, and if on the whole that machine feels you are counterproductive to its desired ends (the nap) then you are a defective part and must be "repaired" (punished or regulated), or if you are really contemptuous to the machine, you must be replaced entirely (death). So you see that each individual is there own micro-economy in a sense. What I mean by that is, in the free society, should the majority choose to nap and the economy of that people is adversely effected because of the nap, it does not necessarily follow that the nap must adversely effect you. On the contrary, you can make it to your advantage by doing as I mentioned and working during your competitors' sleepy time. The existence of a state can only mire this wonderful quality. 

You may ask, "how can you, on one hand, say the economy of a people is adversely affected by the nap and, on the other, say there are no boundaries and everyone is their own micro-economy? Wouldn't that mean that there really are defined and separate economies?"

To answer your question: yes and no. Yes, because geography defines economies to some degree for you. The resources available to you from the land you live on, to placement of your landmass relative to other landmasses being separated by bodies of water all play a role in this natural separation between economies. However, I answer no to your question in the sense that in a free society, there are theoretically no legally defined barriers between one economy and another. 

However, another reality you must face is that while your society may be free, many others may, and probably will, not be, and you are forced to deal with this reality. In this sense though, the differing nation-states' economies we know of today live in a state of anarchy with each other. If the world were stateless, imagine those relationships being reduced to microscopic levels and in the billions instead of the several hundred we see today.

The other idea that must be understood is that we can never escape the peaceful actions of others that may indirectly adversely effect us. You may be able to work those five hours during which everyone else you know is napping, and it is at this point that you must accept the pros as well as the cons of freedom. Just as your competitors cannot prevent you from working, you cannot prevent your suppliers or your customers from napping. This is what I meant when I said that a culture of nappers will probably be detrimental to a given economy. In this case, it is detrimental to your economy, even if you aren't the one sleeping on the job. 

However, technology is making many hindrances like these irrelevant. If your society must nap 5 hours every work day, the internet, the telephone, and the computer are all means by which to reach other customers during that time who may be on the other end of the globe. These technologies have also made the problem of geography a thing of the past for many service industries. Even time itself, while still a valuable and scarce resource, has in many senses become an antiquated issue.          

So, while the existence of a state is widely regarded among AnCaps to be highly counterproductive to a good standard of living, it is not the only factor. Almost anybody, including most AnCaps, will tell you that the U.S. far surpasses Somalia in the area of standard of living, which is, at the end of the day, the only standard that really matters. It is either out of ignorance of the AnCap philosophy or through sheer disingenuousness and intellectually dishonesty that one would charge that we should move to Somalia if we don't believe in the existence of the state. For one, Somalia is not an anarchy, at least not in the AnCap sense of the word. But even if it was, as of right now, things are better here in the U.S. in spite, and not because of, a government.

What is important is to look to the future. Sure, right now it's better here in the good ol' US of A, but what are the trends? Right now nly matters right now. Past performance is no indicator of future performance. Sound logic, however, never changes. To quote Mises, "the criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it.." So, where are we headed: toward the better or the worst? Where is Somalia headed: toward the better or the worst? I leave that question up to you to answer.   

"If men are not angels, then who shall run the state?" 

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Clayton replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 12:00 PM

As for the "white dumbasses" comment, is that opposed to the black dumbasses in the video who are pointing guns at others?

When in Rome, buddy. Especially if Rome happens to be Mogadishu. These guys were idiots. If they didn't know how to keep their composure when dealing with unusual circumstances without drawing raucous crowds in a foreign land where they stick out like sore thumbs to begin with, they should never have gone in the first place. That's the same principle of safety on which "always treat a firearm as if it's loaded" is based on.

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After watching this video, despite the peacefullness of Somaliland I think Mogadishu is a muh more interesting place.

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I'm sure a lot of folks have read this before, but just in case.

 

 http://www.peterleeson.com/better_off_stateless.pdf

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Marko replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 7:52 AM

It wasn't a gun. It was a rocket launcher without a rocket. In other words it was a tube. They were ducking a piece of tube. And they ran away when children gathered to laugh at the dumasses. They were in no danger whatsover neither from the metal tube pointed at them, nor from the people who gathered.
 

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Thanks, Jonathan and TheFinest, added more resources to the list. Let me know if there is more!

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