Is An Anarcho-Capitalist Society Practicable?

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Is An Anarcho-Capitalist Society Practicable?

Post by MisesRevived »

I wrote an article on Sunday defending the Anarcho-Capitalist position from the common objection of people pointing to Somalia as an illustration of that the system wouldn't work: ... 76f0130055

I found that the objection is largely ignorant of the history of Somalia, but that it can still serve some lessons about Anarchism - albeit in a different, and in some cases also opposite ways than those who utter it would expect. Namely, that (1) if the power and involvement of the State are larger prior to its collapse, the incentives will be bigger to get oneself and one's faction to fill out that "power vacuum" to attain the power over others that the State previously had; (2) people are quite able to adjust to take care of many public goods in the private sector; (3) judging point 1 antithetically, if the powers of the State are instead smaller before its collapse or dismantling, those incentives will be smaller and the system will be more stable than from the results in point 1.

In point 3 lies a suggested route to potentially get to a reasonable Anarcho-Capitalist system of societal organization through first getting to Minarchism. Minarchists and Anarcho-Capitalists can thus cooperate to achieve freedom "by getting down to the night-watchman state. At that point, we’ll decide whether or not to dismantle it."

I myself, as of yet, am a Minarchist and not an Anarcho-Capitalist. I agree with reducing the powers of the State down to the three functions Jacob Hornberger suggests are its only appropriate ones: “(1) to punish people who initiate force against others, such as murderers, robbers, rapists, thieves, burglars, and the like; (2) to provide a judiciary for people to resolve disputes; and (3) to defend the nation in the event of a foreign invasion.” I'm open to the suggestion of possibly making taxation voluntary (that is, having all government programs being funded through crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe), but a question I have for convinced Anarcho-Capitalists is: How could these three functions be solved privately and competitively?

Both point 1 and 2 concern courts.
Without courts, there would be no protection of private property and no punishment for those who harm his fellows, which in theory would lead to a "the strongest survive" system. With competitive courts, they would at least have some different laws, if not entirely different systems like the British Common Law and the Sharia Law. Would not competitive courts be regional on just a more decentralized level? Could different courts possibly judge people in the same area? Hans Hermann-Hoppe suggests that those in different religious groups can be judged based on the rules of their respective religions. This sounds plausible but it would have to be based on some sort of register where people register in the courts they want to be judged by. But what would happen to those who refuse to register? What about those who dislike all the available courts? And most importantly - active criminals would be hesitant to register. What about converts? In Islamic countries practicing Sharia law, there are strict rules against apostates from Islam, going so far as to the death penalty. If a couple registers their children into their preferred court, and the children later want to convert, what would happen if the court has explicit rules against conversion as such? Further objections can be thought out from here, but this seems like a good starting point for a discussion about private and competitive courts.

Point 3 concerns the military.
An armed and trained population could become a challenge for potential invaders to overcome, but one could argue that if there is a united front going up against individual citizens, the invaders could get through by picking them off one by one. Thus a united front may be said to be needed. How would such a front be established if not through the State (without the draft)? I'm not saying it's impossible, but I would like to see some suggestions of how it could be done.
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