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Today’s guest is David Friedman of Santa Clara University. Our discussion centers around his upcoming book, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, which you can read in draft form at his website.

David became interested in this topic when he became interested in the decentralized legal system of saga-period Iceland. This interest has since expanded into a full book covering everything from Imperial Chinese Law to the customary legal system of Somaliland in northern Somalia. We discuss some of these chapters, with a focus on Somalian, Jewish, Icelandic, and 18th-century British law. We also discuss some of the major themes of the book, such as feud law and embedded or polylegal systems.

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discussions

  • What role (if any) should the gov’t play in the continued funding of cutting-edge scientific research? According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and  Development), approximately 10% of all R&D conducted globally is directly funded by governments, with approximately 60% done by private industry and 20% by educational institutions. Granted, this number probably doesn’t take into account indirect gov’t funding through tax subsidies and incentives. That 10% goes towards projects on the cutting edge of science, such as NASAs various space ventures and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (funded through the governments of the member states). Proponents of big gov’t science, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, have stated in the past that projects like these are unlikely to be privately funded due to their high risk, high cost, and lack of return on investment. Gov’t, claims Tyson, is required to make the initial step and take all the risk so that private firms can follow in its wake with a clear picture of the requirements of such endeavours. TAM 2011: Our Future in Space Would such high risk, high cost projects be possible without gov’t backing?

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  • Its completely ok to have an opinion. It actually is pretty important. But teachers shouldn’t teach their opinion as the truth. I have to face this behavior everyday at my school in switzerland. As a proud libertarian, i was very shocked as my teacher showed the anticapitalist, enviromentalist movie called “tomorrow”. There were no discussions about the problematic points the movie made. It was taught as the truth. The only truth. The tides turned, as i got to speak to a journalist, who was interviewing me about a political event, i went to. I described my problem and the whole thing got published. Of course it was shortened and the most important points were cut out, because they were probably to “aggressive” . But then (after the article appeared in the newspaper) the leftist/socialist behavior of my teacher disappeared, meaning we stopped watching “tomorrow” and about all the future controversial subject, we held debates with the whole class.   The main point of my little essay is, that we don’t have to make non-neutral-teaching illegal, but expose them with newspapers and television. In switzerland, this works perfectly.

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  • For the past few years, police departments have been on something of a power trip in the United States. Only citing the lesser-known instances that come to my mind, cops have assaulted autistic teenagers and murdered unarmed civilians, and were subsequently cleared of all charges and let back on the force. A zealous, dogmatic conservative “fanbase,” alongside a legal system that actively defends police from facing charges of murder, manslaughter, or assault, assures that these men and women never see justice for their actions. It’s awful what police are doing in society, but it’s even worse that they can get off scot-free for it. Of course, most of you already know this. So here’s my question: has any United States representative or senator proposed a bill designed to fight against unjust acquittals or introduce charges that are harder to to be overturned? As an agorist, I’m partially convinced that this has never happened and that anyone who gets elected for public office in this day and age is a vapid authoritarian, but a sliver of hope remains for me somewhere. Have any of you heard of such legislation on a federal level? If not, then what about on a state level?

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  • I would argue decentralized direct democracy with administrators of public will (as opposed to politicians) who would outsource the various public projects to the best providers from the free market.

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  • Does this list have anything else that could be added to it? The goal is to have a checklist that could be used to check any article on the topic. I would guess most people on this site are aware that arbitrarily raising the cost of labor isn’t the best way to help workers.

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