Comment: Minarchists have trouble with anarcho-capitalism...

(See in situ)


Minarchists have trouble with anarcho-capitalism...

...because the anarcho-capitalists have not, in my opinion, adequately or correctly explained how a stateless society would/could/must function. People sense a problem somewhere in the logic of the polycentric legal order (which manifests in the much-hated "what if the DROs fought..." type arguments), but neither the critics of anarcho-capitalism nor the anarcho-capitalists themselves can properly articulate this problem in order to solve it. In a nutshell, the problem is this. Every anarcho-capitalist, from Molinari to Rothbard and beyond, has taken the normal economic argument in favor of competition and against monopoly and applied it unchanged to dispute resolution. What they fail to realize is that dispute resolution is a special case, unlike all other industries in a crucial respect. It necessarily involves violence - not all disputes can be resolved through mutually voluntary arbitration. It is conceivable to have a polycentric legal system which does not involve aggression, but not one which does not involve violence. A free market is usually considered by ancaps to be a market sans aggression, but they fail to notice that there is no functional difference between violence and aggression: only an ethical difference. Economic law does not rest on ethics, it rests on factual happenings. The economic arguments about monopoly and competition (on the basis of which ancaps claim that competitive markets for dispute resolution services are possible) rest on an assumption of free markets - but there cannot be a free market in dispute resolution services, since dispute resolution necessarily involves violence, and if violence is a factor in competition between firms in a market, that is not free competition, that is not a free market. To fully explain this problem, what is needed is a praxeology of involuntary interaction.

I could elaborate significantly, and am working on an essay on this topic (which I'll post if I ever finish it), but this is enough for the moment.

P.S. I'm an ancap myself, but I do not believe that a competitive market of DROs is possible - for the stated reason (basically, violence is inherent to the business, and so there cannot be free competition between DROs in the same way as between, for example, shoe companies). I think monopoly in dispute resolution is inevitable. However, I also think that it is possible for this monopoly to be non-aggression: i.e. not a state. In short, one government handling dispute resolution, but a voluntary government.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."