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Author Topic: Property as micro-states  (Read 781 times)

memenode

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Property as micro-states
« on: April 19, 2008, 01:19 PM NHFT »

In my quest to rid myself of doubts against anarcho-capitalism and therefore strengthen my resolve to act in its fullest support I encountered a critique which essentially denies the "anti-statist" nature of anarcho-capitalism.

The argument goes like this. Since anarcho-capitalists support private property ownership of everything on Earth (and therefore totally deny "public" property) and also support the idea that property should be under 100% control of its owner (including the right to defense against trespassing) under anarcho-capitalism the state is not really abolished, it is merely shattered into a quantity of micro-states each with its own dictator.

For example, if someone owns a piece of land he has a right to total control over what happens on this land. So if someone was to step on it he would essentially have to obey his rules, his "law". Where it becomes really tricky is when property owned is a road. Obviously, the whole purpose of a road is to serve as a transit between properties, but road itself being a property you first have to have a permission from its owner to use it. Not only that, but you have to obey a certain set of rules arbitrarily set by the owner of the road if you want to drive or walk on it.

In other words, anarcho-capitalism basically makes everyone into a dictator over his own property, which is fine, as long as somebody else doesn't use that property, at which point that someone else's behavior is under full potential control of the property owner.

That said, here are some of the counter arguments I can think of. First, if someone owns a road he is unlikely to have more value by forbidding others from using it and therefore he "legalizes" passing through it. By the same token, he is unlikely to benefit should the rules of its use be overly oppressive. Unlike in case of government, it is in his interest to provide most value and comfort to the people using it because this way he ensures that people continue to use it and pay the toll fee (which too must be sufficiently low for people to continue using it).

BUT, this solely depends on his road business not being a monopoly, at least not a coercive one. This means that it must be sufficiently easy and justifiable for others to build roads of their own. Is it? How many competing roads could we really have before the given country becomes an inefficient web of underused roads? ;)

And as a side question, is it really worth calling anarcho-capitalists as "anarcho" considering that it actually just transforms statism into something else, essentially making individual = state with his/her property as his/her jurisdiction? Perhaps we should just call ourselves  Capitalist Voluntaryists . To me voluntarism seems like the best alternative term to "anarchism" overall. Isn't exactly voluntarism the common thread to all anarchists? Heck, even if it's not.. I say why not just drop "anarchism" with all of the mess and connotations associated and go with pure voluntaryism, in our case combined with capitalist (as we know voluntaryism can also be combined with socialism and communism as "free market" allows for such groups to form. :)

Thanks
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Property as micro-states
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 08:59 PM NHFT »

Quote from: 'gu3st'
The argument goes like this. Since anarcho-capitalists support private property ownership of everything on Earth (and therefore totally deny "public" property) and also support the idea that property should be under 100% control of its owner (including the right to defense against trespassing) under anarcho-capitalism the state is not really abolished, it is merely shattered into a quantity of micro-states each with its own dictator.

In some sense this is true. The problem is, in my opinion, that of definition and not function. Most people don't define "the state" as an agent of force and define "state" as the other half, the PR version - the order keeper. This is a wonderful thing for the State, actually, that people associate "state" with the wrong part than an anarchocapitalist.

The reason the term "voluntaryist" is in favor among liberty activists is because it doesn't describe a government that exists yet, but HOLD the possibility of this government. Voluntaryists wouldn't mind a government if people could freely choose not to interact with the government.

You and I consider force to be a basic part of government. No force = no government. To others, order = government. As I say, definition issue. You're not against government (per se), you're against force.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
So if someone was to step on it he would essentially have to obey his rules, his "law".

This is a confusion between the roles of government again. All law (by today's standards) require the use of force to keep them. In a free market, one can withdraw their consent of the rules by leaving. Since nobody is forced to do business with that person, his liberty isn't harmed by being barred from doing business there. This is actually the counter IMO to the "love it or leave it" principal, since in every established nation withdrawing your consent from the government leads to being deprived of liberty, therefore it isn't even then free from coersion.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
Where it becomes really tricky is when property owned is a road. Obviously, the whole purpose of a road is to serve as a transit between properties, but road itself being a property you first have to have a permission from its owner to use it.

False comparison. You have to "ask permission" in just about every nation in the form of licenses, registration and plates. To counter this to someone who brings it up "How is asking permission of "No Pot Hole Company" any more difficult than getting permission from "State of Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles"" ?

Quote from: 'gu3st'
you have to obey a certain set of rules arbitrarily set by the owner of the road if you want to drive or walk on it.

There are two issues here. The first is the belef that one specific way is correct. In the US, drivers travel on the right side of the road. In the UK, drivers travel on the left. The universe doesn't unravel. As long as people agree, driving is actually pretty simple. No matter what country you're in, there's pretty much universal agreement that "putting my car in the path of that car moving really fast" is a dumb decision. Even in the ABSENCE of rules, driving tends to work itself out.

The second issues is the "but he could make some "cluck like a chicken at every left turn" rule!" and that's true, he might. However, in a free market drivers will quickly choose to avoid clucking lanes since there will ALWAYS be the option to do so. Furthermore, enforcement of the clucking rule would require additional costs to the road owner AND the loss of customers kicked OFF the road for clucking violation. In short, it simply isn't in the interest for a road owner to create stupid rules, so for the most part "Don't put your vehicle in the path of that really fast oncoming vehicle" is sufficient.

If even after THAT arguement people are still like "But what if someone REALLY wants a clucking law?". Then you say "That's their choice. But is that choice REALLY any weirder than:

No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 P.M. - Little Rock Arkansas
Women may not drive in a house coat. - California State law
No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour. - California state law
Motor vehicles may not drive on city streets unless a man with a lantern is wallking ahead of it. - Redlands, California
No gorilla is allowed in the back seat of any car. - Massachusets State Law
Red cars can not drive down Lake Street - Minneapolis Minnesota

How is a no clucking rule, enforced in a small area, doing to hinder vehicle movement MORE than the no gorilla provisions?

Quote from: 'gu3st'
This means that it must be sufficiently easy and justifiable for others to build roads of their own. Is it?

Concrete is actually pretty cheap, easy to get a hold of and fairly easy to maintain. No single person would be able to maintain a vast series of interconnected highways, but those aren't strictly needed for travel. Furthermore, roads may not be a business's primary service. For isntance, there's a national chain here called Wal-Mart. There are stores in just about every city in the nation. These stores need sane ways to ship goods from store to store. If no other alternative were available, Wal-Mart could create their own roads and then charge a toll to enter them. Even if the roads weren't their primary goal, they'd have incentives OTHER than customer satisfaction to keep them maintained. This is true too for shippers like UPS and FedEx, freelance truckers et cetera.
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memenode

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Re: Property as micro-states
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 02:07 PM NHFT »

Makes sense.

Basically, it can't be worse in terms of rules imposed by the owners of the property you use (like those roads) than it already is, yet it can be better because you are not forced to obey and you don't need any paperwork to do in order to stop using someone's property. (In the case of state, if you want to leave the jurisdiction you'll need a passport at the very least and then sever the citizenship..)

There are a few cases which could be considered for the sake of exploring the issue better. For example, while everyone is allowed to build roads, will there be enough available space for this?

Also, what if some rich man buys a lot of land and builds a whole town on it and then rents houses to people. This being his property his power is de-facto dictatorial in that town because he can make any rules he wishes. As people get used to the houses they are living in it may be hard for them to move if the property owner decides to establish ridiculous and oppressive rules, which could put them in a rather unpleasant "obey or move" predicament.

Maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but anyway, it could happen. I suppose the situation is still better than what we have now. All they have to do is move and there are likely to be plenty of house owners competing with this guys town. :) I guess the self-regulation of the market would work in this case too.

An interesting thought. This guy with a town could be a socialist and could offer his property to other fellow socialists and establish there a de-facto socialist state, only one where only people who actually concede to the rules of living in such a state would actually move there.. In a sense, voluntaryist market is the *right* way to establish whichever social system you want to live in while at the same time naturally applying certain "checks and balances" which make sure nobody is being coerced into any particular social system - that it is all chosen voluntarily.



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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Property as micro-states
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 04:45 PM NHFT »

Quote from: 'gu3st'
or example, while everyone is allowed to build roads, will there be enough available space for this?

Theoretically, the number of roads that can be constructed is limited by the amount of road making materials in the universe. I mean, we could mine Mars into oblivion to build more and more roads on Earth. Once there's more and more roads, we could move on to extrasolar planets.

Following that course of logic is kind of stupid though. It would NEVER get to the point where everyone needed to build their own road to do something. Ever. Someone would invent and profit from a form of pathless travel (such as personal aircraft) LONG before the need for that much competition became profitable. You might have 6 billion road owners, but it only takes ONE to meet customer needs and make the others less of a value.

In all honesty, this very issues is one of the most PROMISING in my opinion. Roads as we know them have existed essentially the same for the past several centuries with no real innovations in efficiency or safety.

Quote from: 'gu3st'
Also, what if some rich man buys a lot of land and builds a whole town on it and then rents houses to people. This being his property his power is de-facto dictatorial in that town because he can make any rules he wishes.

The arguement "it's hard to leave" isn't really a valid one for using force. People living in the desert might find it hard to leave their families to gain water, but it won't make them any less thirsty. They can accept the terms of the property owner or leave, whichever they see more value in.

In the USA, we have leases which are essentially contracts. In my current one, I have certain obligations (like paying for water service) as does the landlord (like not throwing me out if I pay my rent on time). The rental agreement is shown BEFORE I move in and if I don't agree with those terms I can negotiate a change in those terms (which I did... The lease agreement didn't allow cats and I have two - we added additional terms to the contract to allow me to have my pets) or not accept the contract.

Unless the people were rounded up at gunpoint and forced into the property, any demands made by the land owner are either something both he and you contractually agreed to OR a breach of contract and can be handled like any other violation of a contract.
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Property as micro-states
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 11:04 AM NHFT »

We have some private roads in NH, but only a few are inherently valuable for capitialistic purposes.
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Jitgos

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Re: Property as micro-states
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2008, 05:39 PM NHFT »

I agree with the mini-state mindset. Also, I love the term voluntaryist and have started using it exclusively to describe myself. It's very descriptive. No longer am I against anything. I am FOR voluntary action between people.
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