Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Control stifles economic process

Control stifles economic process

(My Clovis News Journal column for October 26, 2012.)

In normal life, people generally see a monopoly as a bad thing. Lack of competition leads to poor services or products, inflated prices, and customer service gets put on the back burner because the money will come in regardless.

Business monopolies can only exist in collusion with government. Without the protectionism of regulation and red tape, competitors would quickly arise to satisfy the unhappy customers. Government stifles this natural process for the benefit of its corporate supporters and donors, and to the detriment of everyone else.

Government is the ultimate destructive monopoly. One whose "services" you can't even refuse. This results in the worst possible scenario.

Why pretend this particular monopoly is good?

A local church doesn't declare rulership over its neighborhood; instead the members mix and mingle in the community on equal footing with members of other churches whose "territories" overlap without borders. You don't tithe to your neighbor's church, you are not subject to its rules, nor are you entitled to any help from them. Those who wish to opt out of membership altogether are not assaulted or robbed for not going along, nor are they forced to leave the area.

A legitimate government would follow the same template: overlapping autonomous "associations" competing for "customers". The only universal rules that would apply everywhere would be based on Natural Law: don't attack others, and don't steal or damage other people's property. Everything else is a matter of opinion.

Overlapping governments could allow people to contract with them, pay the applicable taxes, abide by a set of rules, and get specified benefits in return. Your neighbors on each side might contract with different governments than you do. When signed up with one government you owe no taxes to the others and could get nothing from them without paying for it directly on a per use basis. Only those who wanted to finance a service would have to.

Those who choose to not join any government at all would still have to pay for any government service they wished to use, or they could choose a non-governmental provider, since a lack of a monopolistic government would allow a market in services to develop- including those things people wrongly assume can only be provided by government, such as roads and bike paths, security, education, water and sewer, and justice. Anyone who feels they do not need any particular service would not be forced to pay for it. Then the market would decide whose services were superior and which would die off.

Everyone wins except those who want to justify their coercion and force everyone into a "one size fits all" mold.


Does complexity necessitate theft and coercion?

Does a complex society necessarily sustain its complexity through theft and coercion or could you have an honest complex society?

I have read things that explain how complex societies "require" a State, due to their complexity.  That a monopoly of force is required to keep strangers from attacking and stealing.

The theory goes that simple societies, such as primitive hunter/gatherer societies, can get by without a State because of their small size (fewer individuals and less-complex connections between them), but once you get enough people in a society a State becomes "necessary" to keep people from attacking or robbing "strangers".

If that is true it seems more reason to revert (or advance) to simple societies again, rather than justification for The State and its requisite theft and coercion.

I hope it isn't true.  I like technology and don't think very many of the people I like would survive long (or well) without it.  Even though I also like primitive technology, too.

Of course, I can't really see how anointing some with special powers to rob and kill is better than letting the bad guys just take their chances with robbing or attacking people who might defend themselves.  A monopoly of force just empowers those most likely to abuse it.

And, as I have pointed out in the past, just because something might have been true in the distant past doesn't necessarily mean it is still true today.  Humans haven't changed, but their environment and their world has.  I think technology- guns, internet/communication, and so forth- changes the game in fundamental ways.  I think it puts people on a more even playing field and makes it harder for the bad guys to hide, once you remove the veil of legitimacy that the State seems to confer.

I would be perfectly willing to be a guinea pig and test the theory by living without a State keeping me or my enemies in line in a modern society.