National Defence in Anarcho-capitalist societies - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The 'no government' movement.
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#13896581
The issue came up in a number of threads in other forums.

I will kick the topic off by mentioning a classification of means for providing protection against external aggression, as enumerated by Roderick Long in the highly-recommended Anarchy and Law collection.

He suggests looking at four potential means:
1. Profit-based corporations providing defence to paying clients. Such solutions are often offered by libertarian thinkers, and most often criticized based on free-rider or public-good concerns. In my opinion, such solutions can work very well in defending single-owner, high-value targets such as industrial installations or major banking centres (where gold and silver are actually stored). When a given geographical location is not single-owner, but is very high-value and is either owned by a small number of organizations, or where defence is motivated by a small number of actors, for-profit defence can still work. For example, the down-town of a major metropolitan could be insured to a high amount by a handful of major insurance corporations. Those could work together to provide military defence, thereby reducing risk and, with it, their potential liability.

2. Charity-based solutions. The UK has spent significant resources defending the Falkland Islands from threats by Argentine. The UK is a democracy, and, presumably (and probably supported by polls), most British voters don't mind having their tax payments diverted in part toward providing such defence. Similarly, Americans broadly feel good (whether justifiably or not) about providing military support out of their tax dollars to a variety of countries around the world. There is no reason to expect people will change their priorities just because they are no longer compelled to make those payments personally. In other words, people may well contribute funds towards the defence of others.

Charity could come both from within the free society, and from without it.

3. Self-help violent defence. A free society is likely to be much better armed, as any gun-control laws could only be local and rational. Further, a free society is likely to be much more prosperous and wealthy. A free society living under the shadow of a foreign threat would have its members divert more of their income towards acquiring defensive measures. It is easy to see individuals armed not just with automatic weapons but also with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. Who knows what a competitive market in high-end personal weapons might come up with. Invading a region with low concentration of attractive targets (as most residential and farming areas are), but with well-equipped and highly-motivated local population could be a very bad idea indeed.

Such self-help could easily be organized in a bottom-up militia structure, as has been the case, for example, during the American Revolutionary War.

4. Non-violent defence. Much has been written about the value and power of non-violent defence against state aggression. Even under Nazi occupation, non-violent methods were used by the citizens of several countries (Denmark, Norway) to successfully protect and evacuate their Jewish populations. Contrast that with the abysmal failure of governments to provide similar defence.


To those four means, one must add the peaceful and cooperative nature of a free society - one naturally engaged in trade and population exchange with its neighbours.

The combination of low-threat and diverse defence mechanisms should be contrasted against the decidedly mixed records of governments in providing for the defence of their subject. The free society could easily come ahead in any such comparison.
#13896637
I've actually talked about this on Freesteader, and the argument seems to revolve around culture where militaries are a circular phenomenon. The more property violations permitted, the shorter time preference people have to enlist/acquire materiel.

The base time preference depends on the amount of emotional paranoia a society contains, so in order to completely eliminate the demand for defense...

...people need art?

This might seem odd, but relieving emotional paranoia requires artistic expression, so if people can construct socio-economic circumstances around craftsmanship rather than raw industry, the need for military force should disappear on its own.

I understand, now, the real reason why Marx believed capitalism and imperialism go hand in hand as well - Marx hated math.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_l ... ete_labour

Yea, it's really just that simple.

Marx believed abstract labor quantified the value of commodities into universal exchangeable units. In turn, the quality of commodities became forgotten as people economized production.

In competing for surplus value to maximize time, people become willing to endure suffering, and they become more tolerant of suffering in others. He even admits that Protestantism is the ideal religion for tolerating suffering.

Over the long run, this results in crime and wars as people become increasingly tolerant of imperfect exchange and association.

What Marx neglects is how abstract labor is the key for concretely unimpressive physiques assimilating into society. This neglect happens despite his admission that entrepreneurship rose in the feudal 14th century due to alienated people from the existing labor-intense mode of production...

...so yea. In short, military force is needed because the artistically awkward alienate the mathematically inclined. In turn, the mathematically inclined economize production, and the artistically awkward become even more awkward, eventually diving into crazed violence.

If the artistically awkward just EXPRESSED themselves instead (and shared expression with the mathematically inclined), none of this would ever happen.
#13898009
Eran wrote:2. Charity-based solutions. The UK has spent significant resources defending the Falkland Islands from threats by Argentine. The UK is a democracy, and, presumably (and probably supported by polls), most British voters don't mind having their tax payments diverted in part toward providing such defence. Similarly, Americans broadly feel good (whether justifiably or not) about providing military support out of their tax dollars to a variety of countries around the world. There is no reason to expect people will change their priorities just because they are no longer compelled to make those payments personally. In other words, people may well contribute funds towards the defence of others.

I am surprised you still don't see the huge change in priorities required for this alternative method of financing to work. You're actually claiming the opposite. It's really weird to hear that if people don't change their priorities, they will donate to programs that are now tax supported. It should be rather obvious that it doesn't make sense from the observation that even people who think an army in some country is underfunded, and would support an increase in army funding (or public education, or many other programs), do not donate for the cause to cover the difference.

Let me provide a simple example to explain why that is. I like NASA. Suppose that every $1,000,000 in NASA budget provides me with $1 of entertainment value (I like watching people floating in space).

First, consider a tax for NASA programs. Suppose 10 million people (including me) are taxed $1000 each towards NASA budget. That's $10 billion of NASA budget, providing $10,000 of value to me. So cost to me is $1000, benefit is $10,000. That works out for me. I like that. So, I "don't mind having my tax payments diverted" towards NASA.

Now, my priorities will not change, but assume NASA is no longer tax funded. Instead, they are begging for donation. Your argument is: since I liked the tax, and my priorities have not changed, I should be willing to donate $1000 towards NASA. Right? Wrong!

A $1000 donation would cost me $1000, but the additional benefit to me, with NASA budget being increased by mere $1000 by my donation, would now only be $0.001. So in this case I do not donate.
#13898097
lucky,
You repeatedly assume people make rational calculations of the sort you just illustrated. Look at the world around you. It is FULL of examples showing that people, in fact, act differently.

Why do you insist, then, on sticking with manifestly unrealistic assumptions about how humans make decisions?

If your assumptions held, we wouldn't see revolutions in the mid-east. We wouldn't see anybody bothering to vote. We wouldn't see any donations to charity. But we do see all of those. The obvious conclusion is that your assumptions are faulty.
#14108373
The biggest factor of defense for a non-statist society is the fact that there is no statist military. Does that sound odd? It shouldn't.

When country A invades country B, it does so in reference to a cost benefit analysis. When Hitler invaded France, his generals had a good idea of what kind of a force France had, as well as key structures/locations to take over. Take Paris and you now control the tax structure of the people, and the country is yours.

When you don't have a government, you have no way to determine what you're up against or how to take it over. It's nearly impossible to come up with a cost/benefit and without a centralized government to take over, it's extremely difficult to subdue the people even if you think you can manage to defeat whatever force is arrayed against you. It's like trying to take over a farm with the cattle already in place vs trying to take over an untamed jungle.

When England invaded anarchist Ireland it took them 400 years to take them over, and that was without an Irish military. The reason it was so difficult is for the reasons stated above.

Now suppose the English were invading with the possibility that some of those Irish clans had nuclear weapons. That's right, the invasion never even happens.
#14109968
That's an excellent point.

It is still possible that an invasion will be made by mistake - the US probably underestimated the cost of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is easy to see a traditionalist statist government underestimating the defence capabilities of an anarchist society.

Clearly, non-anarchist members of this forum do.
#14110141
Eran wrote:He suggests looking at four potential means:
1. Profit-based corporations providing defence to paying clients. Such solutions are often offered by libertarian thinkers, and most often criticized based on free-rider or public-good concerns. In my opinion, such solutions can work very well in defending single-owner, high-value targets such as industrial installations or major banking centres (where gold and silver are actually stored). When a given geographical location is not single-owner, but is very high-value and is either owned by a small number of organizations, or where defence is motivated by a small number of actors, for-profit defence can still work. For example, the down-town of a major metropolitan could be insured to a high amount by a handful of major insurance corporations. Those could work together to provide military defence, thereby reducing risk and, with it, their potential liability.


Would corporations even exist? I mean, you Austrians, as well as Marxists, Monetarians, and nearly everyone from mainstream and alt-econ theories, have pointed out FRB needs to be replaced with 100%. What about such things as limited liability or artificial personhood in an AnCap society?
#14110173
Limited liability would not exist, corporate personhood would only exist for things like lawsuits since all the owner are equally liable anditsbimply much easier and efficient tomsue the one entity rather than 5000 shareholders.
#14110638
You've got it backwards, mike.

Corporate Personhood would not exist in a voluntaryist world because such a world would recognise that personhood and rights start and end with the individual human being.

Limited Liability, on the other hand, will always exist as a market option in a truly free world. However, it would not have the State shoring up its competitive weaknesses and would thus have to compete with other corporate structures on an equal footing. With its TRUE costs out in the open and borne only by its owners/investors instead of society at large, the Limited Liability Corporation will become MUCH rarer than it is now. But it will not disappear, nor should it, because it has a niche even in a completely free society.
#14110676
it's extremely difficult to subdue the people.

Historically, with city states, which seem to be the favoured state in anarcho-capitalist literature, a simple solution to this problem was to kill everything, "both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass", and resettle the land with your own people.


:)
Last edited by ingliz on 20 Nov 2012 12:34, edited 1 time in total.
#14110710
On the question of legal personhood, this is nothing but a convenience. In a libertarian society, it comes primarily in two contexts:
1. Contracts - since those are voluntary, there is no reason why an individual may not sign a contract with a corporation, provided only that the term of the contract are well-defined and enforceable. In this context, a corporation may well be a limited-liability one, making it less attractive as a potential debtor than a full-liability corporation. Having said that, the market may well find solutions that combine the attraction of investment in a limited liability corporation with the benefit of lending to a corporation with full liability. One example is insurance, whereby a corporation is limited liability, but provides additional assurance in the form of insurance policies covering non-payment of debt.

2. Liability stemming from criminal corporate action. Here, the strict libertarian position is that guilt is generally only attributed to individuals actually responsible (directly or indirectly) for the action. Thus for a corporate polluter we can fault the individual workers responsible for emitting the pollutant, and possibly managers giving the orders to pollute. It is harder to see shareholders being held liable. However, corporate employees of all levels would be greatly disinclined to find themselves personally responsible for the consequence of actions they took in the service of the corporation. A common practice, therefore, is likely to be for the corporation (directly or through an insurance company) to indemnify employees for liability incurred while performing their duties. This is similar to director-liability insurance widely used today.

Thus the corporation isn't directly liable as a person, but may be indirectly so liable via agreements indemnifying its employees and management.
#14112589
ingliz wrote:Historically, with city states, which seem to be the favoured state in anarcho-capitalist literature, a simple solution to this problem was to kill everything, "both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass", and resettle the land with your own people.


:)


Which means if you want to take over an anarchist area, you have to have an overwhelming force powerful enough to murder every man, woman, and child, knowing full well they'll probably all fight you. Otherwise it's just not feasible to even consider. I mentioned Ireland above...aside from taking 4 centuries, the british had to kill roughly 13% of the population to finally subdue them.
#14112700
Besides, what would be the point?

Wars between governments (and civil wars over who will become government) make sense - by just capturing the enemy's capital you obtain, in one fell swoop, control over all the riches that government has access to. (Not quite that simple if the population continues to resist, but fairly close if you consider, for example, Nazi takeover of Belgium or Norway).

If you kill everybody, you get access to the mineral riches, but not to the value of the workforce.
#14112724
I think the statement that ancap societies will be totally defenseless is easily refuted. Protection can indeed be provided on a forprofit , nonprofit or selfhelp basis and can exist on a local or regional level. So there will at least be some protection. The question whether this protection will be sufficient is not an important one. Clearly, in wars between two governments, one government must loose. I don't see many calls for abolishing Luxemburgh because it will not be able to withstand German invasion.
#14112859
If you kill everybody, you get access to the mineral riches

But, these were "resource wars".

Historically, city states were small, and densely populated, leading to the almost complete exploitation of available resources. And when pressure on the available resources reached a critical level, competition over land ensued.

They were not interested in adding to their population; too many people was their problem.


:)
#14113201
Eran wrote:Besides, what would be the point?

Wars between governments (and civil wars over who will become government) make sense - by just capturing the enemy's capital you obtain, in one fell swoop, control over all the riches that government has access to. (Not quite that simple if the population continues to resist, but fairly close if you consider, for example, Nazi takeover of Belgium or Norway).

If you kill everybody, you get access to the mineral riches, but not to the value of the workforce.


Another reason you need such an overwhelming power to make it feasible. You're going to have to stay in the area for the long haul and teach those people how to live under a state. It's more difficult to domesticate wild animals than to simply take over a farm with the sheep and cows already living in their pens.

I just wanted to point out, this entire discussion so far has assumed that statist militaries serve their publics. This has never, to my knowledge, been the case. The public has no protection from the military of their own government, their continued existence is entirely at the benevolence of their leaders. Viewed in the context of voluntary association, having a statist military is a de-facto state of oppression.
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