Can anarcho-capitalism work?

Anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (b) states do not employ aggression. Since both (a) and (b) are clearly false those of us who are against aggression must by force of logic be against the State.

The excuse that always comes up by State Worshipers is that “free-market anarchy just can’t work”. Millions of words have been written demonstrating that it can work and that is has worked in the past. So how would it “work”? Much like the semi-capitalist societies we have seen all around us except with no coercive monopolies of any kind. Most services currently provided by State have been done better in the past when they were done voluntarily or when they were provided by the market. Note that “the market” is just shorthand for voluntary cooperation among individuals usually through trading goods and services but sometimes by gift of goods or services. The goods or services that most people have not seen provided privately, and usually have enormous conceptual trouble believing can be provided by the market, are courts, police, and defense against military invasion.

David Fiedman wrote at length about a private justice justice system of competing courts and police:

Imagine a society with no government. Individuals purchase law enforcement from private firms. Each such firm faces possible conflicts with other firms. Private policemen working for the enforcement agency that I employ may track down the burglar who stole my property only to discover, when they try to arrest him, that he too employs an enforcement agency.

There are three ways in which such conflicts might be dealt with. The most obvious and least likely is direct violence-a mini-war between my agency, attempting to arrest the burglar, and his agency attempting to defend him from arrest. A somewhat more plausible scenario is negotiation. Since warfare is expensive, agencies might include in the contracts they offer their customers a provision under which they are not obliged to defend customers against legitimate punishment for their actual crimes. When a conflict occurred, it would then be up to the two agencies to determine whether the accused customer of one would or would not be deemed guilty and turned over to the other.

A still more attractive and more likely solution is advance contracting between the agencies. Under this scenario, any two agencies that faced a significant probability of such clashes would agree on an arbitration agency to settle them-a private court. Implicit or explicit in their agreement would be the legal rules under which such disputes were to be settled.

Under these circumstances, both law enforcement and law are private goods produced on a private market. Law enforcement is produced by enforcement agencies and sold directly to their customers. Law is produced by arbitration agencies and sold to the enforcement agencies, who resell it to their customers as one characteristic of the bundle of services they provide.” – David Friedman, Law as a Private Good

There have been many others who have written about private law and private defense. Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book, The Myth of National Defense ($2.99 for the Kindle edition), is one of the great books to read on the subject of private defense.

The main objection to market anarchism has always been domestic and foreign defense. We have handled those objections to anarcho-capitalism, the rest of their objecting is mere quibbling.

The above was written mainly for the small government conservatives that clutter up my timeline in Twitter with continual tweets that “we need us some damn government!”. No, we don’t and just because your limited vision can not allow you to release your need for a ruler to abuse you does not mean that such is really needed.


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