In Ancap society would there be prisions?

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In Ancap society would there be prisions?

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  • Michael Esch

    In an anarchist society would their be prisons? What would they look like? Who would fund them? Do you think the conditions would be better or worse?

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  • Properal

    Here is Robert P. Murphy’s ideas: Prisons in a free society?

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      Jorge Trucco

      Great speech. Anyway, all this is already perfectly explained in “The Market for Liberty” (1970). Exact same concept. Every place would be private in a free society, so a bad guy would have a hard time finding a place where to commit a crime. This is easy to understand.

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    Michael Esch

    That was fascinating! Thank you!

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    Dave Scotese

    There is a guy named David Barker (not Davi Barker) who used to do econ research for the Fed.  He wrote a book called “Free America” in which he describes the kinds of prison that Bob Murphy describes in Properal’s link.  Once you have committed a bad enough crime, you will prefer to live in a prison rather than being free, where you are vulnerable to all who seek revenge, and will likely be unable to find any help because of your crimes.

    They would be much better, but they would also guard against requiring that people commit horrible crimes in order to get into prison.  In Barker’s book, people would even sign up with a “prison” because they couldn’t find a real job.  Then they do slave labor or whatever until they’ve earned enough to make it on the outside.

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    autonomous

    It seems to me that prisons would be under a voluntary condition.  When convicted of a potentially imprisonable offence, the convicted person would be offered the choice of imprisonment (at his own expense, or with a condition of working off the expense of his imprisonment) or of banishment for the same period of time or a choice of death (at his own hands or at the hands of someone hired to carry out the punishment.  In the case of the choice of banishment, it would be accompanied by the stipulation that if the person should return to the community, he would be summarily imprisoned, or summarily executed.  Harsh?  Yes, but violations of persons or property are harsh, and the violation was done willfully, and with knowledge of the consequences.

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    Zeroth Position

    I don’t think there would be many prisons in the current sense. I expect to see a few forced labor camps where criminals can be made to perform restitution. The number of people imprisoned would be much lower because a free society considers far fewer things to be criminal than the current government does. The behaviors that remain criminal are more likely to get a criminal gunned down by one’s would-be victims as there would be no gun control laws, lowering the number of prisoners further.

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      autonomous

      Matthew, I agree that there would be fewer prisons.  I think, perhaps, there would be far fewer prisons as people learned to live autonomously.  It would be very difficult to initiate a society of autonomous individuals, though.  For, thus far, only a few have theorized that it would be advantageous to do so, thus no one has experience in living in that manner.  I tend to believe that it would be, but it is possible that I am only wishful thinking.  Human nature seems inclined to preferring to live at others’ expense.  Some people, indeed, seem to have that preference inborn in them.  It would be a huge leap of faith to throw off all outside restraint, particularly the “right” to resort to violence in self-defense.  Even to reserve authority to society to police recalcitrants seems to leave open the door to government.

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        Dave Scotese

        Hi autonomous,

        I’m curious what you mean by “the “right” to resort to violence in self-defense.”  I suppose that if I kill an attacker, I am using “violence” (though I have not violated the attacker in the sense of violating any right).  If that’s what you mean, skip that question because I get it.  What I don’t get is how this is throwing off outside restraint.  Do you mean that people need to make a huge leap of faith to use deadly force (or even non-lethal but pain-inducing force) to defend themselves?  I don’t really understand that, though I suppose it is a kind of “outside restraint” that many people get from being socialized and brainwashed to let themselves be violated and then run to the authorities afterwards.  It just doesn’t seem like much of a leap of faith to stop being so effete.

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        • autonomous

          It is a huge leap of faith to voluntarily forego the right to retribution, whether as an individual or as a society.  Nor is it being effete.

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        • Dave Scotese

          I think I understand.  I retain my right to retribution although I favor having no rulers and respecting property rights.  However, I do give up the right to use other people’s money to get retribution.

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        • autonomous

          I am not an Ghandi type of non-violence supporter, but a non-church Christian type.

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      Rick Rule

      Matthew

      I believe you have hit on a key, non theoretical point; you reduce crime by making fewer behaviors illegal!

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    starrychloe

    http://www.ruwart.com/restitution

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      Marsha Familaro Enright

      Thanks for the link. Lots of interesting ideas in that article. Would you know where to read about the studies on restitution, etc. which she cites? Thanks.

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    Wesley Bruce

    Most proposed solutions in the current anarchist and libertarian literature and the suggestions above have been tried and failed historically.

    • Shunning people just turns them into a looter and vandal. Or they find a weak granny to strong arm. It almost always becomes racial with the shunned group either being or becoming a new racial minority.
    • Exiling people fails badly when the number of exiles reaches the threshold that allows them to form an army or sign up to a state that promises to return ‘their land’ to them. Greece fell twice that way. Rome once.
    • Exiling people, making them stateless is also illegal under international law. Its a key part of sharia law. The apostate is unprotected by the law and may be robbed, raped and murdered without prosecution.
    • Also how do you do exile without borders? You also have a big problem if no country will take your criminal exile. Legally and historically jails are just internal exile.
    • Voluntary jails are a meaningless non sequitur. The two things are definitionally opposites. Without force no one would stay in a jail. Walls alone do not make a prison. It also means that some rich criminals can essentially buy something that is a fake jail. Some criminal networks have been run from inside a prison.
    • Getting reparation, damages or in the context or the bible, 2 for 1 redemption, [buying your way off death row] does not work if the person has no job skills. Most low income repeat criminals see working for another person to be unacceptable. Most of the most violent criminals destroy their own property irregularly in and out of jail. There is often nothing to take.
    • Such financial only proposals allow a very rich offender to continue offending indefinitely. It puts the millionaire above the law and the billionaire above all kings.
    • This solution is essentially the same as judicial forfeiture or asset forfeiture with fewer safeguards.
    • Some if freed after paying damages will kill witnesses and others. In one third world case a person that paid a fortune in civil damages murdered his own lawyer and the plaintive and two others.
    • Workhouse, labour camps and other institutions like all turn into the worst kinds of death camps when the money runs out. There is no such thing as a productive slave. If you read the literature written by the Nazis in the 1920’s you find all the same ideas discussed. Workhouses generally failed to actually work but they were not as bad as the socialist writer Charles Dickens depicted. Charles’ father almost died in a debtors prison. They were great socialist factories but produced little else.
    • Legalising everything just can not work particularly in the context of rape, murderous psychopaths, robbery with violence, fraud and even criminal negligence (something that includes most so called victimless crimes).
    • Dueling has been proposed by some but we all know that a gunslinging thug would be a much better shot that the productive few in society that have better things to do than practice shooting.

    All law is ultimately based on the force of armes: the sword and guns [and perhaps some time in the near future scary little drones]. Without some coercion enforcing contracts we don’t even have contract law. Powerful people would rewrite the contracts with ease.

    Historically any enforcement rested with families and clan but this is also problematic. If the nearest relative brings a prosecution then wiping out the family or enslaving them all puts you above the law. The state formed to counter this, its something bigger than the clan wars. So big it can not be wiped out.

    Its possible to envision a system where crime is privately controlled in the free market but you would still have jail and executions. It is even possible to see how it could be done without taxes. But in a society with no gun laws and everyone and his granny armed you can’t expect the guards at a prison to disarm or shoot to kill.

    P.S. Just yesterday a courtroom in Turkey was stormed by armed marxists and they took a senior prosecutor hostage eventually killing him. The legal system is as armed as much for its own defence as anything else.

     

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      Zeroth Position

      To deal with your bullet points:
      1,2,6,9. These issues can be resolved by exterminating said criminals on contact when they try to attack.
      3. That is precisely the point of exiling people.
      4. Private property is demarcated by borders. All property in a free society is private.
      5,8,11. True, which is probably why I have not seen this proposed.
      7. Sounds like the current way of the world.
      10. Workhouses in a free society would not be funded in the same ways as workhouses under statism, and we can expect their operation to be different as their goals are different.
      12. Nothing is wrong with dueling as long as everyone involved agrees to be part of the proceeding.

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        Wesley Bruce

        The biggest problem with the self defence arguments and dueling is that not everyone knows what’s going on. Bill attacks Jim but someone only sees Jims counter attack and shoots Jim thinking he’s the aggressor. There are hundreds of cases throughout history and law. And statism is not a perfect defence. However a law system that defines and confines a criminal is preferable to everyone staining the street and their shops with blood of people that may or may not be criminals. The real problem is identification of offenders, That’s something courts and jails have done well historically.

         

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        • autonomous

          Wesley, under anarchy (no ruler) there can be no laws. For laws assume 1) a law giver–a ruler, and 2) a law enforcer–again a ruler. I see the biggest problem with self-defense, it makes self the law-giver and the law-defender; it makes self a ruler.  And it stains both self and the streets with blood.

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        • Wesley Bruce

          Sorry Autonomous you’re in the wrong parallel universe for that. lol. In other words you’re dead right! There are always laws and leaders. The names change but they are always there. I’m a minarchist. However the names are changing in very interesting ways. Most bitcoin code is on things like github, does that make github the new parliament and its programmers and software users the new lawgivers?

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        • Youliy Ninov

          ” under anarchy (no ruler) there can be no laws.”

          On the contrary.  There is no problem having laws under anarchy.

          ” For laws assume 1) a law giver–a ruler, and 2) a law enforcer–again a ruler.”

          And what happens when the laws are created by private property holders (not the state itself) ? Why are they supposed to be bad or wrong in the first place? Private property owners have every right to create and impose any laws they deem neccesary.

           

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        • autonomous

          A property owner may create a law for himself, for he is is own ruler.  However, how can he create a law that applies to another without thus becoming a ruler over another?

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        • Youliy Ninov

          A property owner can create laws which are valid on his piece of land. He has every right to do so. And everybody who decides/chooses to live/reside/work/etc. on his land has to abide by the laws. However: nobody is forced to live under these laws because nobody is forced to stay there. Everybody is free to leave the land in question, but if he chooses to be on this land, he must follow the laws.

          An example: I and several other land owners agree to implement a common set of laws on our jont piece of land, stating that guns are not allowed. So, if you step on our land and carry a gun we will arrest you and probably put you in jail. However, nobody forces you to enter our land and nobody stops you from leaving it. You are free to carry guns elsewhere.

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        • Properal

          A property owner that is not a sovereign has the right to evict. A property owner that is not a sovereign has no special rights different than anyone else.  May an individual that is not a property owner, us force to  stop someone that is harming or threatening someone else? Why not?  May they arrest people arbitrarily. No.  Same for the property owner.  The property owner may evict people arbitrarily though.  If a property owner were to imprison someone for not following rules on his land instead of just evicting them he would risk being charged with a crime, unless he has the power to be a sovereign and refuse arbitration with all others.  Then he is not just a property owner he acting as a state.

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        • Properal

          The real problem is identification of offenders, That’s something courts and jails have done well historically.

          State courts and jails have not done well identifying offenders historically. Contemporary estimates contend that perhaps as many as 7,500 persons arrested for crimes are wrongfully convicted annually in the United States.

          Wrongful Conviction in the American Judicial Process: History, Scope, and Analysis By Joshua A. Jones

           

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        • autonomous

          Thank you for that clarification.  If you don’t mind, I will make every attempt to avoid your property.

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        • Wesley Bruce

          Properal Its not uncommon for mall cops and private security to detain people, offenders, until the police arrive. I know of no country where this is not so but there are some companies that have an ‘observe and report’ policy. Though that a joke in the industry. If you don’t detain the thief then you’re wasting your time and losing everything he can carry. Also if in an anarchist society you have no one to hand them over too and no secure detention facility then each man becomes the jailer. Indefinite detention, historically, was often due to neither party having the funds to go to court.

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        • Wesley Bruce

          7500 wrongful convictions out of how many total convictions? Over what time frame? The article is long on numbers but low on percentages. Its under 1% in the western world. If libertarianism is to succeed it must be under 0.5 % counting all classes: wrongful arrest, jail time pending trial, innocent in jail, People killed in self defence mistakes, people killed in crossfire.

          If our solution is not better than the state it fails and many of the proposals I have seen from libertarians would take these number way above 7500 a year. Justice is hard.

           

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        • Properal

          @Wesley Bruce I was not claiming people should not detain criminals.  I was trying to claim that property owners (unless they have some immunity like a state) can’t just make arbitrary rules and dole out punishments. Like imprisoning people for contraband In other words property owners can’t act as criminals just because they are on their own property, unless they have the power like states to refuse to pay restitution to their victims. I would expect there to be secure detention facilities as in the Murphy lecture I linked to.

          On wrongful convictions I was pointing out there is a low bar to on being better than the state.

          Wrongful arrests, excessive jail time pending trial, innocent in jail, people killed in self defense mistakes, and people killed in cross fire would cost the perpetrators in restitution and the protection firms that are contracted to indemnify victims. So their would be incentives to reduce this.  Unlike the state system that is largely immune from taking responsibility for mistakes.

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        • Youliy Ninov

          autonomous,

          “If you don’t mind, I will make every attempt to avoid your property.”

          That is the whole point, actually. Because you have free will you can choose a jurisdiction (society) which conforms to your preferences. And becuase of the last, I , as a land owner can not just arbitrarily write laws. If the laws I postulate are not acceptable to the people, or at least to a sufficiently big group of people I will not be able to use my land properly. And the reason is that I need people on it to produce. So, I as a land owner will have to adjust the laws I issue according to the market preferences.

          In the particular case I mentioned (anti-guns legislation) I can assure you that there will be almost always a sufficiently big group of people who will share my views and want to live under this particular law.  At least in Europe from where I am, guns are not glorified as seems to be the case in the US.

          I am not sure whether you noticed that in the above case not property rights have been violated. Nobody has the right to tell me how I should use my land, becuase it is mine. If somebody is on the opposite opinion then he is against the private property rights.

           

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        • Youliy Ninov

          Properal,

          “If a property owner were to imprison someone for not following rules on his land instead of just evicting them he would risk being charged with a crime”

          If you charge this property owner with a crime somehow, then you would agress against his private property rights. But these private property rights are exactly what you were supposed to uphold.

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        • Properal

          Do you think a property owner may dole out capital punishment for breaking a rule set on their own property? For example:

          Death penalty for wearing hats on my property!

          I am defending property rights. A property owner that punishes a person on their property is trespassing on that persons body.  Each individual has a property right in their own body.  If the person being punished disagrees with the punishment they have a right to appeal to a respected independent third party for arbitration, to settle the dispute. They they are unable to then we are not talking about a typical property owner that has equivalent legal standing as everyone else. We are talking about someone with immunity like a sovereign.

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        • Dave Scotese

          but someone only sees Jims counter attack and shoots Jim thinking he’s the aggressor.

          The someone is an aggressor.  If you undertake defense, you must identify with the victim (be the victim, or hired by the victim), and every bit of physical force you use against whom you perceive as an aggressor is a risk because your information is not perfect.  Self-defense is your responsibility, and ensuring that you are actually defending property and not attacking another’s property is also your responsibility.

          If, by “the state” you mean groups of people who actually defend people against aggressors, then your “state” sounds great.  The states we have generally only pretend to have such defense as a goal.  That is not the core of the problem, however.  The core of the problem is two-fold: A) The masses find it acceptable that the states we have use violence to accomplish their goals, and B) The states we have steal from us (taxation).  Even if they used the revenue for good purposes, they are still making those good purposes dependent upon theft.  That putrefies the actions of the state.

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        • Dave Scotese

          There are always laws and leaders. The names change but they are always there.

          Leaders, yes, and that’s great.  But only rulers make laws.  Anarchy will have many leaders but no rulers.  For me, a ruler is someone whose punishment I accept as justified because of laws the ruler enforces.  I therefore have no rulers because the acceptance of such punishment is slavery and also an abdication of personal responsibility.  Every individual has the responsibility to create and follow his own laws (called his “conscience”).  Leaders are different from rulers, and they DO NOT make laws.  Rather, they make suggestions.  They are the true authorities, recognized by their followers as people who have the wisdom required to provide good advice.  They do not punish those who disagree or refuse to follow their suggestions.  When we accept any kind of punishment from such an authority, we pervert that authority into a horror.  Respect for useful knowledge and experience is replaced by fear, and that is a travesty.

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        • Youliy Ninov

          Properal,

          “A property owner that punishes a person on their property is trespassing on that persons body. ”

          Is this so? So, you would be OK if somebody comes to your home, stays there and refuses to leave? According to you, you would be “tresspassing on his body” and so, you have no right to throw him out. Is this what you want?

          The real problem is not that your person wearing a hat is on my property. The problem is that he is breaking my private property rights. He is agressing against me. Since this land/property is not his he has no rights to determine ANYTHING about it. He has had the option to avoid my land, but he has chosen otherwise. And I have the right to punish him as I see fit. That is what it means for private property rights to be absolute.

          What you want is that private property rights not to be absolute. Rothbard wants the same (but does not say it explicitly). The person wearing a hat denies the private property owner the same rights he claims to have himself. That is the problem.

          What you are actually worried is the disporporional punishement you suggest (death). I can assure you that the free market would take care of the last. Most people would disagree with this private property owner view and would just isolate him. They will just avoid his property, refuse to  trade with him, etc. Such situations would be rare (but possible) and would be taken care of in an agression-free way. And the reason will be that people would not accept them. As I mentioned in the post to “autonomous” laws can not be written in isolation from the other people for the simple reason that one need them.

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    Marsha Familaro Enright

    Wesley, thanks for adding a plentitude of historical detail to this discussion. Something you said reminded me of a fundamental problem I’ve thought about with the proposal for a market in force/defense agencies: wouldn’t that devolve into crony capitalism? I.e. those with money could buy whatever “law” they wanted?

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      Youliy Ninov

      “I.e. those with money could buy whatever “law” they wanted?”

      It is very likely, but even if this does not happen, there would still be “equal” and “more equal” people. And the reason is that freedom will be bought. However in a market economy one gets as much as one has paid for, so those with less money will be less “equal”. In general: in anarcho-capitalism there will not be and there could not be a common standard for freedom.

      Another problem is that one does not buy police protection because one is eager to use police services, but because if one does not do it, he would suffer the consequences. So, one is forced to buy protection. However a market in  which one of the sides is forced (initiated violence) to buy/sell is not a free market.

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      Properal

       

      (8) The Rich Will Rule

      Another worry is that the rich would rule. After all, won’t justice just go to the highest bidder in that case, if you turn legal services into an economic good? That’s a common objection. Interestingly, it’s a particularly common objection among Randians, who suddenly become very concerned about the poor impoverished masses. But under which system are the rich more powerful? Under the current system or under anarchy? Certainly, you’ve always got some sort of advantage if you’re rich. It’s good to be rich. You’re always in a better position to bribe people if you’re rich than if you’re not; that’s true. But, under the current system, the power of the rich is magnified. Suppose that I’m an evil rich person, and I want to get the government to do something-or-other that costs a million dollars. Do I have to bribe some bureaucrat a million dollars to get it done? No, because I’m not asking him to do it with his own money. Obviously, if I were asking him to do it with his own money, I couldn’t get him to spend a million dollars by bribing him any less than a million. It would have to be at least a million dollars and one cent. But people who control tax money that they don’t themselves personally own, and therefore can’t do whatever they want with, the bureaucrat can’t just pocket the million and go home (although it can get surprisingly close to that). All I have to do is bribe him a few thousand, and he can direct this million dollars in tax money to my favorite project or whatever, and thus the power of my bribe money is multiplied.

      Whereas, if you were the head of some private protection agency and I’m trying to get you to do something that costs a million dollars, I’d have to bribe you more than a million. So, the power of the rich is actually less under this system. And, of course, any court that got the reputation of discriminating in favor of millionaires against poor people would also presumably have the reputation of discriminating for billionaires against millionaires. So, the millionaires would not want to deal with it all of the time. They’d only want to deal with it when they’re dealing with people poorer, not people richer. The reputation effects – I don’t think this would be too popular an outfit.

      Worries about poor victims who can’t afford legal services, or victims who die without heirs (again, the Randians are very worried about victims dying without heirs) – in the case of poor victims, you can do what they did in Medieval Iceland. You’re too poor to purchase legal services, but still, if someone has harmed you, you have a claim to compensation from that person. You can sell that claim, part of the claim or all of the claim, to someone else. Actually, it’s kind of like hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis. You can sell to someone who is in a position to enforce your claim. Or, if you die without heirs, in a sense, one of the goods you left behind was your claim to compensation, and that can be homesteaded.

      Excerpt from Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections by Roderick T. Long

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        Dave Scotese

        Thanks for the Roderick Long excerpt.  I am afraid sometimes we have to settle for what appears to be ineffective in order to stand by our principles.  Would any one of us opt for a system of taxation to pay for a solution because we think it will work better (or even work at all) relative to what we can achieve with 100% respect for property rights?  I don’t think so.

        Anarchy allows us to try things that haven’t been tried before without fearing man-made law.  Ownership turns out to be a visceral fact of human nature, not so much a man-made law.  Property rights are natural.  It’s why wolves and dogs pee on stuff.  I feel it’s best not to violate property rights, which means no taxation, which means it doesn’t matter if something tax-funded can solve a problem that can’t be solved any other way.  It just doesn’t matter; we can’t (morally, ethically, or practically) do it because of the long term effects of taxation.

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        • Jorge Trucco

          I think your conclusions are right, Dave.

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        Youliy Ninov

        I read what you have listed, including its conclusion, namely:

        “So, the power of the rich is actually LESS under this system. ”

        If you notice, the word “less” stays there, not the words “is the same as that of any other person” or “is equal to the one of the others” or something else. In general the autor (R.T. Long) and I are in agreement, i.e. there would still be “equal” and “more equal” people with respect to their basic rights.

        The real title must have been:

        (8) The Rich Will Rule again, but less

         

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      Wesley Bruce

      Don’t think that will be an impossible problem to deal with. And in some jurisdictions the rich can buy themselves out of trouble very easily.

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    Marsha Familaro Enright

    Fascinating that you say there won’t be a common standard for freedom. I guess everything, every idea and value, is up for grabs in this scenario.

    One is forced to buy protection by the criminals – their use of force makes you need to protect yourself in defense. However, what you say implies there can never be such a thing as a free market because there will always be the need of self-defense.

    Perhaps the idea of “free market” you’re using needs to be examined?

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      Youliy Ninov

      ” However, what you say implies there can never be such a thing as a free market because there will always be the need of self-defense.”

      It does not actually. All it implies is that some of the presuppositions leading to this conclusion are wrong. Your logic goes like this:

      1. Defense of the private property is necessary – correct

      2. Therefore, we need to pay for it – also correct

      3. There are only to ways to pay, namely thorough taxes (minarchism) or through private insurance/private payment for police services (anarcho-capitalism). However in both cases the private property owners pay. – WRONG

      4. And since payment can not be avoided, then there is no way to achieve a free market. – Wrong as a consequence of Nr.3

      Nr. 3 is called a false dilemma. Only two options are provided and one is told that these are all the options one can choose from. For me this sounds like: “Would you choose to be hanged or shot?”

      Anyway, there is a third option, namely that the people who have caused the problem, i.e. the criminals pay. The last is an ethically clean solution. We keep responsible the perpetrator for what he has done and do not burden his potential victims. So, in effect the criminals would have to pay for their capture by the police, for being sued and for their stay in jail. The last guarantees that the society would not pay. By the way the last suggestion makes the private property rights absolute.

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    Jorge Trucco

    If the aggressor were unable to find or hold a job because employers were unwilling to risk hiring him, he might have to seek employment from a company which made a practice of accepting untrustworthy workers at lower than market wages. (In an economy of full employment, some companies would be motivated to adopt such a practice in order to reach new sources of labor. Although the price of their product would remain close to that of their competitors, as prices are determined by supply and demand, the wages they paid would necessarily be lower to compensate for the extra risk involved in hiring employees of dubious character.)

    If the facts indicated that the aggressor was of an untrustworthy and/or violent nature, he would have to work off his debt while under some degree of confinement. The confinement would be provided by rectification companies—firms specializing in this field, who would maintain debtors workhouses (use of the term “prison” is avoided here because of the connotations of value-destruction attached to it). The labor of the men confined would be furnished to any companies seeking assured sources of labor, either by locating the debtors workhouses adjacent to their plants or by transporting the debtors to work each day. The debtors would work on jobs for wages, just as would ordinary employees, but the largest part of their earnings would be used to make reparations payments, with most of the rest going for their room and board, maintenance of the premises, guards, etc. To insure against refusal to work, the reparations payment would be deducted from each pay before room and board costs, so that if a man refused to work he would not eat, or at most would eat only a very minimal diet.

    There would be varying degrees of confinement to fit various cases. Many debtors workhouses might provide a very minimum amount of security, such as do a few present-day prison farms where inmates are told, “There are no fences to keep you here; however, if you run away, when you are caught you will not be allowed to come back here but will be sent to a regular prison instead.” Such workhouses would give the debtor a weekly allowance out of his pay, with opportunities to buy small luxuries or, perhaps, to rent a better room. Weekend passes to visit family and friends, and even more extended vacations, might be arranged for those who had proved themselves sufficiently trustworthy.

    Other workhouses would provide facilities of greater security, ranging up to a maximum security for individuals who had proved themselves extremely violent and dangerous. A man whose actions had forced his confinement in such a workhouse would find himself at a disadvantage in several ways. He would find he had less liberty, less luxuries, limited job opportunities, and a longer period of confinement because, with more of his earnings spent on guards and security facilities, it would take him longer to pay off his debt.

    Since there will be cases of mental imbalance even in the most rational of cultures, it is probably that there will be an occasional individual who will refuse to work and to rehabilitate himself, regardless of the penalties and incentives built into the system. Such an individual would be acting in a self-destructive manner and could properly be classified as insane. Obviously, neither the rectification company, the defense service that brought him to justice, nor the insurance company or other creditor has any obligation to go to the expense of supporting him (as victims are forced through taxation to do today). Nor would they wish to turn him loose to cause further destruction. And if they allowed him to die, they would cut off all hope of recouping the financial loss he had caused. What, then, could they do?

    One solution that suggests itself is to sell his services as a subject of study by medical and psychiatric doctors who are doing research on the causes and cures of insanity. This should provide enough money to pay for his upkeep, while at the same time advancing psychological knowledge and ultimately offering hope of help for this aggressor and his fellow sufferers. If such an arrangement were made, it would be in the interests of all concerned to see that the aggressor received no ill treatment. In a rational culture, severe mental illness would be much rarer than it is in ours, and the medical-psychiatric team would not wish to damage such a valuable specimen. The rectification company in charge of the aggressor would be even more eager to protect him from harm, since no arbitration agency could afford the reputation of sending aggressors to a debtors workhouse where there was ill treatment of the inmates.

    This free-market system of debtors workhouses would have numerous practical advantages over the Dark Ages barbarity of the present governmental prison system. These advantages are a necessary consequence of the fact that the system would be run for profit—from the standpoint of both the insurance companies and the rectification companies operating the workhouses. In a laissez-faire economy, it is impossible to make consistent profits over a long-range period unless one acts with maximum rationality, which means: with maximum honesty and fairness.

    A practical example of this principle can be seen in the results of the insurance company’s desire to recoup its loss quickly. Because it would be in the insurance company’s interest to have the aggressor’s reparations instalments as large as possible, it would have him confined to no greater degree than his own actions made necessary, since closer confinement means greater expense, which means less money left for reparations payments. Thus, it would be the aggressor himself who would determine, by his character and his past and present behavior, the amount of freedom he would lose while repaying his debt and, to a certain degree, the length of time it would take him to pay it. Furthermore, at any time during his confinement, should the aggressor-debtor show himself to be a good enough risk, the insurance company would find it in their interest to gradually decrease his confinement—an excellent incentive to rational behavior.

    Because both the insurance companies and the rectification companies would want to run their businesses profitably, it would be in their interest to have debtors be as productive as possible. In an industrialized society, a laborer’s productivity depends not on his muscles but on his mind, his skills. So the debtor would be allowed to work in an area as close to the field of his aptitudes as possible and encouraged to develop further productive skills by on-the-job training, night school courses, etc. All this would help prepare him for a productive and honest life once his debt was paid. Thus, the application of free-market principles to the problem of aggression provides a built-in rehabilitation system. This is in sharp contrast to government-run prisons, which are little more than “schools for crime,” where young first offenders are caged with hardened criminals and there is no incentive or opportunity for rehabilitation.

    A system of monetary repayment for acts of aggression would remove a great deal of the “profit” incentive for aggressors. A thief would know that if he were caught he would have to part with all his loot (and probably quite a bit of his own money, too). He could never just stash the booty, wait out a five year prison term, and come out a rich man.

    The insurance company’s desire for speedy repayment would be the aggressor-debtor’s best guarantee against mistreatment. Earning power depends on productivity, and productivity depends on the use of the mind. But a man who is physically mistreated or mentally abused will be unwilling and even unable to use his mind effectively. A mistreated man is good for little more than brute physical labor—a situation of prohibitively low productivity.

    Another strong guarantee of good treatment for the aggressor-debtor is that, in a laissez-faire society, every man would be fully responsible for his own actions. No guard in a debtors workhouse could beat a debtor and get away with it. The mistreated debtor could complain to a defense service agent or to the insurance company to whom he was making reparations. If he could prove his assertion of mistreatment, the guilty guard would soon find himself paying a debt to his former prisoner. Furthermore, the guard’s employers would never dare to support their guard if the debtor had a good case, because if they knowingly permitted the guard’s sadism the debtor could bring charges against them, too.

    A guard in a government prison can treat the prisoners as less than animals and never be brought to account for it, because he is protected by his status as part of the policing arm of the government. But a guard in a debtors workhouse couldn’t hide behind the skirts of the rectification company which employed him, the way the prison guard hides behind the skirts of the government. The debtors workhouse guard would be recognized as an individual, responsible for his own actions. If he mistreated a debtor in his custody, he would be held personally responsible, and he couldn’t wriggle out of it by putting the blame on “the system.”

    A free-market system of dealing with aggression would operate with a maximum of justice precisely because it was based on the principle of self-interest. The entirety of a man’s self-interest consists of rational thought and action and the rewards of such behavior; the irrational is never in man’s self-interest. As long as a man is behaving rationally, he cannot intentionally harm any other non-coercive person. One of the reasons for the success of a laissez-faire society is that the free-market system impels men to act in their own rational self-interest to the extent that they wish to successfully paricipate in it. It thus rewards honesty and justice and penalizes dishonesty and the initiation of force. This principle would work just as well if the market were free to deal with the problem of aggression as it does when the market deals with the supply of food or the building of computers

    (Excerpt from “The market for Liberty”)

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      Wesley Bruce

      I know of several states that have tried to implement this and I know of very few successes. Often repeated escapes drive security up and I becomes a normal prison. Most damages bulls are equal to several lifetimes worth of unskilled labour and skilled labour affords too many escape opportunities. It fails to deal with the biggest problem of prisoners on prisoner aggression, rape etc. The bulk of the cost of prisons is to stop that. Some third world prisons have given up trying to prevent that. The strong eat and the weak starve.

      Vandalism in prison farms and factory spaces is the norm not the exception. As I said often even if there is no racial division between prisoner and the rest of society one is created in such a system. The prisoners create their own ‘race’. “cases of mental imbalance” is well over 50 % and experimenting on prisoners has a very bad history particularly where the researches think they have a cure but their being conned by the prisoners. In several cases this has lead to a cured psycopath or pedeophile being released only to kill again, or kill for the first time in the latter case. This problem is hard.

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    Jorge Trucco

    There would probably not be “prisons” as we know them.

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    Táborszki Bálint

    In my current novel I am working with the voluntaryist prison idea in a science fiction world. First of all, if someone commits a crime, just like the way we know about criminals now, they go up to the web and are shared among the citizens. A database of criminals basically, with proof of their crimes of course. If there is a murderer for example, the owners of the private roads, shops, malls, houses, everything can choose to close their doors to this criminal, and since it is their property, they have the right to use force in order to remove aforementioned criminal. As the word spreads, owners either bann them or face the wrath of consumer’s wallets turning to the competitor who offers safety in their property, free of murderers. From that they are basically on a slippery slope down to social hell, being unable to eat, or even becoming homeless. What I wrote is a statist society with high surveillance and a vast amount of laws to offer home to those who were removed from the free world in exchange of their personal freedom, and they will be kept in line by force if necessary, which is written in contract. This is one idea, but I think the method to remove the dangerous criminals is to make the society basically unlivable and a hell to them, so the worst option to a free human being will be their best choice to survive.

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      Wesley Bruce

      Táborszki Bálint How do you deal with anonymous trading, false identities, and stolen identities? To make such a thing work you would need a centralized identity system that the NSA and Big brother would love. A foolproof centralised identity system, what some call the mark of the beast, may be impossible and will be opposed by most libertarians. The trend via the web, bitcoin etc is towards anonymity.

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        Táborszki Bálint

        Why would I want to deal with anonymous trading? That is not a crime, nor it should be. If I have a couple plans of marijuana but my family would disapprove, I can choose to trade it anonymously so everyone will be pleased. Violence requires some sort of physical contact – the centralized identity sistem that is your self – and online anonymity will not change that. From that, if I have the photo of the perpetrator, he might have a name of course and an address. And I think that the trend towards anonymity is coming from the existence of state.

         

        Now I am writing a science fiction, so trading identities, memories or changing faces might be a possibility. I wrote this once:

        In front of Solaris, the square was full of people, talking, and laughing. While he talked to Ana, he shared his attention between the crowd and the school’s mission table. His eyes started to follow instinctively a man with black, long coat, gloves, sunglasses and with a limp. His assistant sent beacon nanodrones towards him. He overdressed the weather. The man was among the dozens of others, and when he walked past them, a woman stopped. She shivered, and was trapped in a memory loop for an instant. She was paralyzed. Her mind was being searched for memories to steal. When she regained control over her body, the man disappeared, and within seconds, a new mission appeared in the table to get back stolen memories. Solaris smiled when he saw the astronomical reward, accepted the mission and went after the thief.
        Memories in the society had market value, as long as they were authentic. Every memory had a quantumkey attached to it, which proved that it was not forged, but based on empirical experience. People bought and sold memories, narratives, sometimes even whole fates, and the memory merchants were swimming in the money when they found a rare memory from Earth. And there were those who didn’t accept the society’s rules, and through the hard work of days or weeks, they stole memories. Solaris’s target used a technology that was never seen before.

         

        And in it, the people have certaion kind of brain implants enhancing their cognitive functions. Now it might be a requirement in order for it to have market value to make it safe to such a degree.

         

         

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        • Wesley Bruce

          So how can you exclude the criminal if he can just change his name every day and re-offend? Photos are no good without a central global data base.

          Interesting fiction Idea.

          P.S. when your marijuana buyer goes psychotic or develops Dementia or something, expect a knock on the door from his family DRO.  You get the medical bill.  Anonymity is not perfect, yet, and with no taxation a libertarian system must retrieve the money from someone and you’re the only one in the chain of contracts with any remaining funds.  It may be an insurable risk though.

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        • Toni Sopocko

          SO many conversations all of a sudden where people come up with crazy hypothetical problems in a hypothetical anarchist world, and we’re supposed to come up with perfect answers.

          The world is imperfect.  The anarchistic world would also be imperfect.  My head is about to explode from the arguing!

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    Wesley Bruce

    Four ways to do prisons in Libertarian society.

    1. Crowdfund a low security prison or juvenile detention system. Some will pay particularly where relatives are in prison. Some activists will also pay. However many very dangerous criminals would not fit in such a system.
    2. The biblical system. Allow someone to buy the criminal off death row with the money going to damages and reparation. This is called redemption and the buyer is called the redeemer. The redeemer becomes fully responsible for the redeemed and may discipline and detain as required. If he re-offends the price goes up and the redeemer is also liable for some damages. In the bible children also faced the same penalties but the court paid the redemption price so the Juvenile delinquent was free to who ever thought they could sought him or her out.
    3. A high security prison colony in a remote location, internal exile with heavy surveillance, implanted tracking but very few jailers. The prisoners must grow their own food, seeds and information provided where crowdfunded permits. Let them create their own society or eat each other. This has figured in several science fictions. It is dystopian but fits the libertarian exile model.
    4. Cryogenesis. The technology for cryogenesis was almost perfected in the 1990’s before laws shutdown remaining research.  A dog was repeatedly frozen and revived without halm. This removes the criminal from society for a few decades until the technology advances to make some other solution possible. There will be costs to be funded Ideally via a trust. Again this is a science fiction solution but it must be considered.

    Just putting these on the table to be comprehensive. As you may expect I, as a christian, prefer number 2 however even the bible was very clear that this was slavery of the criminal offender.

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