Posts Tagged ‘Anarchy’


June 12, 2010

The free market and socialism are not totally incompatible. It’s true that a free market cannot exist legally under a socialist government. That’s what they call a black market. However, socialist countries usually do have a black market and probably would soon collapse without it. This is because socialist bureaucrats do a really dismal job of trying to achieve what the free market does so well; the assignment of the available labor, materials, and capital to efficiently satisfy the wants of consumers. That’s what economics is all about.

What I say about socialism applies equally to all of its variants: communism, socialism, fascism, the welfare state, and others. The differences between them are more a matter of degree than of principle.

Socialism can exist within a free market. The oldest form of commune, the family, has always been an essential tool of survival. Communes of any size can exist legally within a free market system, provided only that membership in the commune is voluntary. However, the larger a commune becomes the less efficient and the more dictatorial it becomes. Only strong bonds of family, tradition, or religion can hold it together.

A commune within a free market system soon reveals its inefficiency by its poverty in contrast with the prosperity of the people in the free market. This strains the bonds binding the commune together, and hastens its eventual collapse.

The solution for socialism is to completely isolate the commune from the outside world. Thus after WW2, the Russian empire (The USSR) proceeded to block all contact with the rest of the world. Winston Churchill put it aptly, “An iron curtain has fallen across Europe”.

All Russian soldiers who had contacted Europeans during the war, even if only in combat, were sent off to labor camps in Siberia, quarantined there until they had been decontaminated of any possible negative thoughts about communism. For decades the Soviet leaders tried to hide from their people their poverty in contrast with the prosperity of the rest of the Western world. Now the USSR has collapsed and Russia has adopted what might best be described as a “corporate welfare state”.

Meanwhile, the USA has become an ever-expanding welfare state with politicians buying votes, and gaining campaign contributions, by granting privilege and power to assorted special interest groups. Why do we so easily sell our votes? Do voters realize that they are being bought? Do they care?

Do they all believe that somehow each of them can get more out of the pot than they put in? (That’s impossible). Those who do get more out than they put in are parasites. The rest of us are their victims. This is theft, not a free market exchange, where each party profits by the exchange.

Government budget bills are always loaded with amendments submitted by congressmen to allot some money for some project which will benefit the people of their particular congressional districts. This is called the “Pork Barrel”. This is how your congressman tries to buy your votes. He has no trouble getting his amendment inserted in the budget bill. It’s an unwritten agreement among all congressmen; “you vote for my bit and I’ll vote for yours”.

I suspect that most of the public goes to the polls uninformed, except for the sound bites repeated over and over on TV, and paid for by campaign contributions from the corporate and special interest groups. If we are that careless about our votes, perhaps we deserve to be taxed for the benefit of these parasites.

The men who produced our Constitution imagined informed voters electing wise, public spirited men to represent them in Congress. What we got instead must have shocked them. How do you remove such corruption from government? Power is what creates corruption. Is it possible to create a government without power? Free market anarchy is the only answer I can see. If you can think of something better, please add your comment to this blog.


June 10, 2010

Just what is a nation? Is it the piece of land within some borders? Is it the people living therein? Or is it only the citizens therein? Is it the government of those people? What does citizenship mean?

I’m asking you to think from outside the box of the system we were all born into, and try to bring some insight into something so ingrained that we never really question it: the nature and purpose of government. I know that anarchy sounds scary, but anarchy is simply the absence of government. Thinking about anarchy could be a very powerful tool to understand government, and perhaps improve it.

From my perspective, government has always been an institution of power which enables some of us to use the rest of us, and to use the land, to their own benefit. A democracy or a republic is government which permits us some degree of choice of which bandits will “protect” us, just as the local mafia “protects” us. Democracy obliges politicians to offer us something in return for our votes. Usually we elect the ablest liars.

Conquest may clarify the relationship between people, land, and government. When we won the war with Mexico, the USA acquired what now comprises California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. The inhabitants came with the land, and became Americans. They had no choice in the matter. So do the people own their land or does the land own the people? It seems from this example that the government owns both the land and the people. Wars are fought between governments to determine which government shall own the disputed land and people therein.

Do we really own the land we buy? I believe not. If government can tax us for “owning” the land, then the government really owns the land and we are paying rent to the government for the privilege of using it. When we “buy” the land we are really just paying the former “owner” for the transfer of the privilege of renting it from the government.

Who really owns the land becomes even more apparent when the government uses the power of eminent domain to take the property from you, compensating you with whatever amount it considers fair. That’s generous of government, since it really owns that land already, and you are just renting it. Government is just terminating your lease.

Income tax implies government ownership of people, and of what they produce. I have had the personal experience of having to file income tax returns for 2 different countries every year for several years.

From 1979 to 2000, I was resident in Scotland. Then I returned to the USA. I retained my US citizenship throughout that period, but was officially resident in Britain. During all that time, I had to file income tax returns for both countries.

The USA and Britain have a tax treaty agreement. The country of residence (Britain) at the time of the tax has first claim on my income. The country of my citizenship (The USA) has a second claim. If the American tax calculated on my whole income for the year exceeds whatever I have paid to Britain, I owe the USA the difference.

From this I deduce that, as a US citizen, the US owns me, and while I’m resident in Britain, the US shares that ownership of me with Britain.

Absolute proof that government owns us is the conscription of soldiers in time of war. The USA used conscription in the Civil War, WW1, and WW2.

So here’s my analysis; a nation is a territory with set borders. The land and the people therein are the property of the government. Wars are simply struggles between governments to secure ownership of the land and people.

A Libertarian/Anarchist Approach

As a libertarian, and a tentative anarchist, I find the power of government to be the big problem. With government, the government is sovereign and we are its servants. In the free market, the consumer is sovereign. He chooses those who serve him.

To view government from an anarchist or libertarian perspective, lets assume that government is here to provide some essential services for us, its citizens. How could we get the benefit of these services, but avoid the coercive monopoly of government?

Let’s see how a free market approach could provide these services. The free market prohibits coercion, and that eliminates monopoly. Suppose we have competing governments competing to provide us with their services. Such governments could offer services paid for by fee per service, or by subscription. You choose the government that offers the best value for money.

If you are disappointed with your choice, you can shop for a better deal from another government. Or you might get one service from one government and another service from some other government. There would be no room for politics, just competition. Competing governments would have to be efficient and honest to get and keep customers/subscribers/citizens. Government would be your servant, not your master.

The term “government” would hardly be appropriate in such a situation. “Service Provider” might better describe the new role of government.

Anarchist proposals are similar to this but they tend to designate these servants as insurance companies. Individual companies might specialize in one service such as education or roadways. Some might provide groups of related services such as police, courts & prisons. An insurance company might insure your life, safety, & property in conjunction with providing home security measures and police services. A free market in the services that governments provide would give us many choices. Competition would assure value for money. Wasteful bureaucracies would disappear.

Under competing governments, you and I might subscribe to different governments. In any transaction between us, we should agree in advance which government shall be given authority in case of a dispute. The Anarchists have this sort of problem worked out in some detail. Such arrangements would probably give us arbitration courts independent of the other services of government. The free market always produces solutions to problems with variations to suit everyone. I suggest you read “Chaos Theory”, by Robert P Murphy, ($8 from Mises Bookstore)


May 10, 2010

Experiments in Anarchy
Libertarians and Anarchists have dandy ideas about ways we can live without government. I doubt that many people will take them or their ideas seriously until these ideas have been tried and proved workable. So I propose an experiment to test their theories.
How to start? The first need is a place to conduct this experiment, a place free from the control of any government. I wouldn’t suggest a revolution or a war of conquest. So someone with money should buy some land, free and clear of any government control or taxation. It should be big enough to build a small economy, preferably with some ocean frontage to permit free trade with the outside world. Then sell off parcels of land, free of any external control.
I can see only one precondition necessary to assure freedom for all. A strip of land around each parcel should be left as common property to allow an access route from any parcel to any other parcel. This commons, of course, would need some sort of government, representing all landowners, to assure free access, and to lease out the common land to one or more corporations to install and maintain streets and highways.
Some anarchists believe that streets and highways, too, should be privately owned. That could be another experiment.
Now proceed with your experiments. See what works and what doesn’t.

The Tax-Free Society

May 8, 2010

The Tax-Free Society
This is something that Libertarians consider seriously, and it deserves our serious consideration. The Anarchists propose to eliminate taxes, eliminate government and privatize all government functions. Libertarians propose to eliminate most of these functions, leaving a bare minimum of government. Of course these services incur costs and need financial support, but that would be paid, voluntarily, to one of competing corporations, by monthly subscription or fees per service. In many cases an insurance company might provide several of these services.
The immediate objection will be this: some people can’t afford to pay for these services. Must they then live without the safety and justice these services provide? I have 4 answers for that
First, charity is the only chance of survival for people who are really unable to provide for themselves. They must accept what charity, freely given, will provide for them. Any effort to force people to support others is a return to the welfare state and a violation of their freedom. It is in fact serfdom. My perception is that people are very charitable and in a tax free society the truly needy would be pretty well provided for.
Second, people who have very limited means can economically provide many of these services for themselves. With a burglar alarm system, a gun, and the ability to use it, you can protect your life, property, and family, and carry on guerrilla warfare (the most effective kind) against an invading army.
Third, we have the impression that the poor now don’t pay taxes. They do, and the sales tax, property tax, and stealth tax burden them more painfully than people who are better off. The welfare state is mostly a mirage, a trick with smoke and mirrors. A competitive system to provide them with the services they want would serve them better at much lower cost than the wasteful political system which serves us poorly at great cost.
Fourth, If you feel that you couldn’t afford to pay for those services, stop and think. Who do you think is paying for them now? You are, through your taxes. You’re also supporting a huge bureaucracy. A bureaucrat has very little incentive to give you good service. He has a secure job with good pay, lush fringe benefits and retirement pension, all because he has no competition.
You may believe that you pay in more than what you get out of the system (and that’s true for most of us). If that’s OK with you, then that’s a fine charitable attitude. But, honestly, if the tax were voluntary, would you contribute as much as you’re now paying?
Perhaps you would stop to consider that you’re contributing to things you don’t approve of. Private, voluntary charity gives you the option to choose which causes to support, an how much to contribute.. Private, competing service providers would give you the option to get only the services you want, and to select providers that give you the best value for cost.
Now consider all the people who pay their taxes unwillingly, because taxation is compulsory. Do you approve of serfdom?
On the other hand, you may believe that you pay less than what you get out of the system. You’re probably wrong, because you aren’t conscious of the stealth taxes and the taxes that you pay indirectly, such as the property tax on the home you rent, and corporate taxes which are passed on to you in the price of the goods and services you buy from them.
Nevertheless, supposing that you really profit from the welfare state, how do you feel about the fact that you live partly on money taken forcibly from others? Do you feel better about that than you would feel about being supported by voluntary charity? The government tries hard to convince you that you are entitled to these things. If so, who is obligated to provide your “entitlements”? The government doesn’t have the means, other than what it takes coercively from taxpayers.
So here we go. Here are suggestions of the ways we could provide essential services without taxes in a system of anarchy (no Government) with free market solutions:
We have private police systems now. They serve us well. Without the corrupting protection of the political system, and the spur of competition, they must serve efficiently, respect our rights, and minimize violence. They could be financed by subscription, by fees per service, or through an insurance company which insures your security. Such police would not be obliged to protect non-payers.
The libertarians have some very interesting ideas here. Courts, and judges, would be private competitive organizations, paid a fee for their services. They would apply common law, which is well established and serves us well in civil lawsuits. They would mostly arbitrate between 2 parties. The parties would choose the court, and if they couldn’t agree on that, their 2 choices of courts would choose another court to settle the suit. The sentences would mainly consist of fines, with the “guilty” party paying court costs and reparation to the victim, NOT to the state.
We now have privately operated prisons. Although they work for the government, they have proven more effective, safe, and efficient than government owned prisons.
The libertarians, however, prefer a system in which the criminal lives outside of prison, works to provide for his necessities and pay off his fine, and is prevented from “disappearing” by technical means such as a radio beacon or other surveillance, under the control of a private organization which guarantees his detention and behavior. He would be a slave until he pays his debt to his victim.
Private armies can be on call or created quickly by private competing organizations, strictly for self defense. An anarchic society wouldn’t be a desirable target for invasion, for there’s no government that they can take control of, and each resident would have to be conquered individually. For defense we wouldn’t need nuclear missiles or bombers. The armies could be financed by subscription or by the job, or through an insurance company which insures your security. Such armies would not be obliged to protect non-payers. Each member of society, in an emergency, could voluntarily serve as a guerrilla fighter to defend self, family, and property.
All schools at all levels would be private competitive organizations. Costs would be paid by students, their families, or voluntary endowments. Scholarships are already a popular form of charity.
Many Libertarians want this to involve private ownership of all streets and roads, paid for by tolls as with our present toll roads. I differ on this. I think that the ownership of a strip of land completely surrounding my land, (as the streets do) is an absolute monopoly which could make me virtually the slave of the owner of that land. The only solution I can see would involve severe limitations of the ownership of that land which would assure me of reasonable access to the rest of the world. Perhaps roads would be built on the fringes of my property and yours, under lease with the stipulation that we shall have reasonable access to this road and the connecting system of roads.