Property Rights

This Thanksgiving, Be Grateful for Property Rights. The Pilgrims Nearly Starved Without Them.

Things go wrong when resources are held in common.

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This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for something our forebears gave us: property rights.

People associate property rights with greed and selfishness, but they are keys to our prosperity. Things go wrong when resources are held in common.

Before the Pilgrims were able to hold the first Thanksgiving, they nearly starved. Although they had inherited ideas about individualism and property from the English and Dutch trading empires, they tried communism when they arrived in the New World. They decreed that each family would get an equal share of food, no matter how much work they did.

The results were disastrous. Gov. William Bradford wrote, "Much was stolen both by night and day." The same plan in Jamestown contributed to starvation, cannibalism, and death of half the population.

So Bradford decreed that families should instead farm private plots. That quickly ended the suffering. Bradford wrote that people now "went willingly into the field." Soon, there was so much food that the Pilgrims and Indians could celebrate Thanksgiving.

There's nothing like competition and self-interest to bring out the best in people.

While property among the settlers began as an informal system, with "tomahawk rights" to land indicated by shaving off bits of surrounding trees, or "corn rights" indicated by growing corn, soon settlers were keeping track of contracts, filing deeds and, alas, hiring lawyers to sue each other. Property rights don't end all conflict, but they create a better system for settling disputes than physical combat.

Knowing that your property is really yours makes it easier to plant, grow, invest, and prosper.

In Brazil today, rainforests are destroyed because no one really owns them. Loggers take as many trees as they can because they know if they don't, someone else will. No one had much reason to preserve trees or plant new ones for future harvests; although recently, some private conservation groups bought parcels of the Amazon in order to protect trees.

The oceans are treated as a commons, and they are difficult to privatize. For years, lack of ownership led to overfishing. Species will go extinct if they aren't treated as property. Now a few places award fishing rights to private groups of fishermen. Canada privatized its Pacific fisheries, saving the halibut from near collapse. When fishermen control fishing rights, they care about preserving fish.

Think about your Thanksgiving turkey. We eat tons of them, but no one worries that turkeys will go extinct. We know there will be more next year, since people profit from owning and raising them.

As the 19th-century economist Henry George said, "Both humans and hawks eat chickens—but the more hawks, the fewer chickens; while the more humans, the more chickens." (Sadly, even Henry George didn't completely believe in private property. He thought land should be unowned, since latecomers can't produce more of it. Had he seen how badly the commonly owned rainforest is treated, he might've changed his mind.)

Hernando de Soto (the contemporary Peruvian economist, not the Spanish conquistador) writes about the way clearly defined property rights spur growth in the developing world. Places without clear property rights—much of the third world—suffer. "About 4 billion people in the world actually build their homes and own their businesses outside the legal system," de Soto told me. "It's all haphazard and disorganized because of the lack of rule of law, the definition of who owns what. Because they don't have (legally recognized) addresses, (they) can't get credit."

Without deeds, they can't make contracts with confidence. Economic activity that cannot be legally protected instead gets done on the black market, or on "gray markets" in a murky legal limbo in between. In places such as Tanzania, says de Soto, 90 percent of the economy operates outside the legal system. So, few people expand homes or businesses. Poor people stay poor.

This holiday season, give thanks for property rights and hope that your family will never have to relearn the economic lesson that nearly killed the Pilgrims.

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277 responses to “This Thanksgiving, Be Grateful for Property Rights. The Pilgrims Nearly Starved Without Them.

  1. Serious question, for you true anarchists out there, how does this article jive with your philosophy?

    1. Apparently it doesn’t. Or it could be that this article was not put in a prominent position.

    2. What’s a true anarchist?

      1. Someone that doesn’t believe in any government, I guess. At least that’s how I’m defining it.

        1. Anarchist: someone that believes that every single thing that the organized criminal gang that calls itself government does could be done better by voluntary action rather than coercion.

          Most people have this odd faith, not backed by evidence, that those particular criminals will behave better than the ones not openly and brazenly depriving them of their property and rights.

          1. Actually we have plenty of evidence including America’s success for most of its history and the failure of Somalia.

            1. So you’re saying that one organized gang of criminals initially behaving better than all the other organized gangs of criminals, thus causing relative prosperity, is proof that the organized gang of criminals behaves better than non-organized criminals?

              How much of your pay did government steal last year? How much of your pay did common criminals steal?

              I’m guessing for every single person who has every posted here, the first gang stole more than all the common criminals combined.

              1. You will always have organized gangs of criminals. There will always be those who voluntarily feel their personal self-interest is best served as part of an organized gang of criminals instead of being one of its victims.

                1. You will always have organized gangs of criminals. There will always be those who voluntarily feel their personal self-interest is best served as part of an organized gang of criminals instead of being one of its victims.

                  Yeah so why give them a legitimized monopoly of such activity?

                  1. Was wondering when you were going to show up?

                    1. “Where ever statist superstitions need to be vanquished, you’ll find me…”

            2. Actually we have plenty of evidence including America’s success for most of its history and the failure of Somalia.

              America’s success is directly proportional to it’s historical lack of state power, that is to say America’s success is despite the state. Nor is Somalia a valid example of anarcho-capitalism, or any other power vacuum created by wars over who gets to control the state.

        2. I assume by government you mean state. Commies will say this just shows why individualism, not communism, doesn’t work. Capitalists will say that this is just more proof for their side.

    3. I’ve asked a similar question re: drug cartels. The answer usually involves double talk or missing the point.

      1. In my opinion, I think what’s more important than government, is the morals that a society has. There are all sorts of governments out there, but all in all, it comes down to how people treat each other.

        In the US, for the most part, people are moral and despite the government fucking things up, things are pretty good.

        When society starts not caring and respecting each other, well, I don’t care who is in charge, things are going to be bad.

        1. What really helped America is work ethic. Our historical productivity is absurd compared with the rest of the world.

          1. “What really helped America is work ethic.”

            America’s economic dynamism in three key areas, tobacco, cotton and sugar relied on slavery.

            1. Even after slavery was gone, we still prospered.

              1. “we still prospered”

                Sure, but less absurdly.

                1. If only some other country had had legalized slavery in the past. I’m sure they would be very prosperous by now. /sarc

                  1. It was more than legalized slavery that early America relied on. It was the slave trade that brought millions from one continent to another. Africans, you see, were not affected by the tropical diseases that plagued the Americas south of the Mason Dixon line.

                    By the way, if you want to continue patting yourself on the back over this work ethic line, go ahead. I fully realize that maintaining an economy based on slavery calls for a strictly adhered to work ethic.

                    1. The first person to own slaves in English America was a black man.
                      Prior to that, they (both blacks and whites) were indenture or contract workers.

                2. America’s economic dynamism in three key areas, tobacco, cotton and sugar relied on slavery.[…]Sure, but less absurdly.

                  Slavery is not more economically efficient that free markets, let’s just get that straight now, slaver.

                  1. “Slavery is not more economically efficient that free markets, let’s just get that straight now, slaver.”

                    You’ve missed the point. African labour would have out-performed European labour in early America’s key industries because of African immunity to the diseases that would have killed others. It’s not about how free the markets were.

                    1. The vibrancy of the American economy in the nineteenth century had much more to do with innovation than with slavery.

                    2. No doubt slavery played only an extremely marginal role in the early American economy.

                3. I know this is like two days late, but mtrueman is so off base I have to jump in. He’s wrong about a bunch of things, but the first error is the worst. America didn’t become a real economic powerhouse until after the civil war, and Britain was still a wealthier country. It wasn’t until the end of WW2 that we really pulled ahead of the rest of the world, and then due in no small part to the industry of most of the rest of the developed world having been devastated.

                  And, yes, mtrueman, as much as you might hate the notion that the US might actually not be a steaming pile of shit, the whole Protestant work ethic that we’re known for is a fundamental reason why the US has historically enjoyed high economic growth. What’s that saying? 80% of life is showing up? That’s us.

            2. Personally, I like to remind americans of slavery as often as a I can.

              Did I mention the Congo?

              1. The mention of either slavery or the Congo always manages to offend and anger the commenters here. It’s the gift that keeps giving. I get a laugh at their expense and they get to revel in their victimhood for a short spell. Win win.

                1. And I get the opportunity to point out your obtuseness, over and over again.

                  It’s like a win-win-win.

      2. Cartelization is only tenable with a state. As I alluded to below, in a truly free market i.e. anarchy, how are you going to enforce your cartel when EVERYONE is armed?

        Now, certainly some people might try, but they’ll soon realize it’s very expensive and will spend more time fighting all for nothing. Basically there’s an opportunity cost, and people will realize it’ll be more productive to cooperate in the market instead of trying to make the free market unfree.

        1. Pablo Escobar disagrees.

          1. You mean the guy who was killed at 44? Boy, that’s a great example of a tenable system.

          2. Except arms were legally unavailable and only available in the black market. Once again, his own political control of the state actually helped enfored his cartel.

            Plata o Plomo. With free flowing arms people would be choosing Plomo, except they’ll send it the other way. He gave that choice because Escobar knew it would be easier that way, again coming back to my point about opportunity cost.

          3. Pablo Escobar disagrees.

            Yeah the guy whose power and wealth was a direct result of statist policy? I wonder why fruit sellers don’t become the biggest vendor on the block by being the most vicious cunt of the bunch. You call yourself a libertarian with analysis like this?

        2. how are you going to enforce your cartel when EVERYONE is armed?

          The Mob.

          1. Right, what gives this mob magical powers? If everyone is armed and how does this group of people who are armed no differently than anyone else gain any comparative advantage and more imporantly maintains it?

            1. Maybe by being more brutal? How you use those weapons is a big part of the equation.

            2. If everyone is armed and how does this group of people who are armed no differently than anyone else gain any comparative advantage and more imporantly maintains it?

              Do you propose eliminating all nation states and taking away their weaponry before implementing anarcitopia?

              1. Do you propose eliminating all nation states and taking away their weaponry before implementing anarcitopia?

                I would propose secession into ever smaller political units, for starters.

                1. And when the nation states decline?

                  1. Huh? Secession. A world of Monacos and Lichtensteins and ultimately to yielding free market institutions to produce goods and services that were previously monopolized by the state.

                    1. My point exactly. Ya’ll go do your own thing. You contract with your defense companies for some M1 Carbines and a handful of Cessna cropdusters with machine guns strapped to the wings (because that’s all you can afford) to protect your diamond mines. Evilstatistopia decides they want your diamond mines and swoops in with F-22s and F-35s.

                      How free are you then?

                    2. How free are you then?

                      What does that prove? It’s preferable to cooperate rather than conquer. We don’t live under a world state do we? There do exist small countries that haven’t been immediately conquered, correct?

                      Human nature does not dictate ‘war of all against all’.

                    3. It’s preferable to cooperate rather than conquer.

                      False assertion.

                      If people thought it was easier to build than steal, why do so many steal?

                      There do exist small countries that haven’t been immediately conquered, correct?

                      Small countries exist today largely because they fall under the protection of the United States and the US is largely still benevolent.

                      One only need look at what Hitler did to Europe. If he’d settled for Europe he’d have likely had it. It took the US and Russia to defeat him.

                      Now imagine you have a Hitler with the hardware of the US today. Small countries (or anarchic hamlets) cannot generate the revenue to field a military capable of defending against a determined superpower. It’s inadequate by orders of magnitude.

                    4. False assertion.
                      If people thought it was easier to build than steal, why do so many steal?

                      Humans are social creatures. If the vast majority of people didn’t recognize the value of cooperation over looting, we wouldn’t have the division of labor, let alone an advanced market.

                      “Because so many people steal” is like me saying that murder is the most inherently human way of settling disputes “because so many people murder”. That’s just vague enough of a rationale to squeeze in a false assertion in there.

                      Small countries exist today largely because they fall under the protection of the United States and the US is largely still benevolent.

                      Right so small states historically only existed by virtue of some other antagonistic states’ hegemony?

                      One only need look at what Hitler did to Europe.

                      You say that as though there was not widespread violent opposition to Hitler.

                      Small countries (or anarchic hamlets) cannot generate the revenue to field a military capable of defending against a determined superpower. It’s inadequate by orders of magnitude.

                      Nuclear deterrents are pretty effective at stemming off would-be conquerors but even if that weren’t the case, your argument does nothing to invalidate the superiority of small states over larger ones in terms of human development. The logical conclusion of your argument is a world state, but I don’t see one.

        3. The cartel makes a deal same as the New York mob where they create a commission and parcel out who gets what. That it exists only because of a state is BS.

          The reason why cartels war is because the soldiers are cheap and there is no state.

          The families couldn’t fight both the state and other families so they came to the negotiating table.

      3. I’ve asked a similar question re: drug cartels. The answer usually involves double talk or missing the point.

        Drug cartels owe their existence to statist policies. I don’t see what your point is.

    4. Better than for the minarchists. Anarchy means no rulers, not no laws or no property. The only way for a a person to take your property without your permission in an anarchy is through criminal action. With a state, the state has the right to take your property whenever the rulers feel like it, constitutions and laws not withstanding; we are all familiar with the FYTW clause.

      1. There’s nothing to prevent a state from emerging under anarchy. In fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed.

        1. Ironically, anarchy seems to be the most unstable form of government that there is.

          One way or another, never seems to last for long.

          1. Anarchy is not a form of government at all. That’s sort of the point.

            I think you are most likely right, though. I will sometimes identify as an anarchist, but I have no illusion that anarchy, as in people living with nothing identifiable as government, is a situation that can be maintained. My position is more that anarchy is reality. Governments are just groups of people doing stuff, like any other group of people doing stuff. The most powerful gang, if you like. There is nothing special about government or laws that distinguishes it from any other group or organization that is willing to use force to get people to do what they want. Rule of law and government monopoly on force are always illusions.

            That’s what anarchism means to me.

            1. ” is a situation that can be maintained”

              Isn’t that the point? Once you’ve determined that a particular situation needs to be maintained, then bureaucracy and coercion are sure to follow. Your use of the passive voice here is revealing. Once you have ‘maintainers,’ people who see to it that a situation is maintained, you have moved away from the organic fluidity that I think is the most attractive feature of anarchism.

              1. Once you have ‘maintainers,’ people who see to it that a situation is maintained, you have moved away from the organic fluidity that I think is the most attractive feature of anarchism.

                Markets maintain themselves with no need of “maintainers” beyond competing and cooperating market forces.

                1. Ever notice how these ‘free trade agreements’ stretch into the 1000s of pages?

                  1. Ever notice that statists use euphemisms and lies to mislabel their products? Just because it’s called “free trade agreement” doesn’t mean that it’s the least bit free trade oriented. I don’t need world leaders to convene and sign deals in order to sell a pencil to a dude in China. However in order to erect barriers to trade, political leaders do that nicely.

                    1. “Ever notice that statists use euphemisms and lies to mislabel their products?”

                      Yes indeed I have noticed that. What I haven’t noticed is any market that isn’t encumbered with regulations and bureaucrats. If you stumble across any, let us know.

          2. Power vacuums have a way of getting filled.

            1. Fill them with free market institutions.

          1. I can’t watch youtube at work. Can you provide a summary?

              1. Hmm, yeah not too convincing.

                In the 1860s, would large scale combat have broken out on anywhere near the same scale if, instead of the two factions controlling hundreds of thousands of conscripts, all military commanders had to hire voluntary mercenaries and pay them a market wage for their services?

                Or that group of mercenaries could resort to conscription…

                Nonetheless, if the contract theory of government is correct, the vast majority of individuals can agree that they should settle these issues not through force, but rather through an orderly procedure (such as is provided by periodic elections).

                Well, that is obviously not true, given the electorate’s love of MOAR LAWZ (i.e. more violence).

                1. Or that group of mercenaries could resort to conscription…

                  How would that be profitable? If one group started conscripting individuals into its ranks, another group would make a killing (literally) by offering their services to protect those individuals.

                  Well, that is obviously not true, given the electorate’s love of MOAR LAWZ (i.e. more violence).

                  You need to read Murphy more closely if you think he’s advocating the contract theory of government. He advocates the “theory” of no government.

                2. Or that group of mercenaries could resort to conscription…

                  Well, from that same article:

                  But by the same token, such warlike people would also fail to maintain the rule of law in a limited State.

                  Which is pretty much exactly what happened. A group of mercenaries resorted to conscription. How is this an argument against anarchy?

                3. 1. If they are mercenaries there cannot be conscription by definition.

                  2. Did you even read the “contract theory of government part?”

                  1. If they are mercenaries there cannot be conscription by definition.

                    Sure there can. The guys who are getting paid point their guns at random bystander X and say “you’re with us now.”

                    Which is pretty much exactly what happened. A group of mercenaries resorted to conscription. How is this an argument against anarchy?

                    It’s an argument that anarchy is not possible unless you have a populace that values liberty. It sounds like we’re actually in agreement on that point.

                    How would that be profitable?

                    You’ll have to ask slavers throughout the ages. They seemed to do pretty well.

                    1. But then they aren’t mercenaries. They are slaves. Did you change your mind? Are you still butthurt over Ferguson?

                    2. The one’s being paid are mercenaries.

                    3. Gotcha. why didn’t you answer about Ferguson!?!

                    4. Make an argument and I’ll respond.

                    5. I’m just jokin around asshat!

                    6. This is playing out like the Monty Python argument sketch.
                      But I came here for abuse!

                    7. It’s an argument that anarchy is not possible unless you have a populace that values liberty. It sounds like we’re actually in agreement on that point.

                      Murphy would agree on that point as well.

                    8. So it’s imaginary?

                    9. So it’s imaginary?

                      No, government is imaginary.

                    10. It’s an argument that anarchy is not possible unless you have a populace that values liberty. It sounds like we’re actually in agreement on that point.

                      That was one of the points raised in Murphy’s article.

                  2. In these arguments I think Machiavelli said it most succinctly.

                    The
                    mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they
                    are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own
                    greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others
                    contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you
                    are ruined in the usual way.

                    1. Of course, Machiavelli said that in the context of his frustrations at a divided Italy, of which he envisioned a strong neo-Roman Republic in which freeborn citizens would be conscripted into the military for a period of time (a la Classical Athens and Sparta).

                    2. I think the specifics can be generalized to other situations. You’re going to have to have some sort of defense given human nature. You can provide it for yourself as in a militia (I’ll agree he was talking about some sort conscription of freeborn militia)which Machaivelli prefered or farm out the defense. Whenever you farm out your defense you’re taking certain risks.

                    3. You can have the best of both worlds. A volunteer citizen militia doesn’t preclude the use of mercs for when the firepower is needed.

                      However, the point is to make the waging of war less profitable than trade. If it’s such a headache to hire mercs and then worry about them keeping their end of the bargain, then that’s an incentive on the part of a potential aggressor to engage in peaceful, mutually beneficial trade.

                    4. However, the point is to make the waging of war less profitable than trade.

                      And fortunately enough, war is far far less profitable than trade so long as you externalize the costs of the war. Without an institution dedicated to externalizing those costs, wars as we know them cannot be fought. Now what kind of institution externalizes costs hmmmm……

        2. Re: Jordan,

          There’s nothing to prevent a state from emerging under anarchy.

          Instead of just asserting it, you will have to explain how.

          The modern states did not appear from anarchy, just so you know.

          1. Private security company X says “you know what, we could make a lot more money if we just took whatever we wanted.” Maybe they don’t prevail against competing security companies, but maybe they do. Voila. A state is born. What they do next is entirely up to them.

            1. Just like in Ferguson!

            2. Re: Jordan,

              Private security company X says “you know what, we could make a lot more money if we just took whatever we wanted.”

              And I imagine private company A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y and Z would take that sitting down?

              Right.

            3. And every private security company would have the same incentive to gain monopoly status. They would also have the incentive to raid, assault, and rob other companies and their clients. There’s also a perverse prisoners dilemma that presents itself. Even if ABC security company is generally peaceful and law abiding, they have no way of knowing the intentions of XYZ company. If XYZ forms a violent monopoly then ABC will be out of business or worse. Therefore its in their best interest to form a monopoly before XYZ can and vice versa. Even if the cost of monopolizing the market in violence is extremely high its worth it because of the benefits of achieving a monopoly are so great and the consequences of your competitor achieving a monopoly are so dire.

              1. Sounds like every episode of the Walking Dead.

              2. Re: antisocial-ist,

                And every private security company would have the same incentive to gain monopoly status.

                By force of arms? Don’t make me laugh. This assumption that sans government private companies would act like the Mafia stems from ignoring or obviating the fact that mafias exist because of prohibitions. No prohibitions, no mafias.

                1. The Sicilian mafia originated as a way to provide services that the various ruling governments of Sicily couldn’t or wouldn’t.

              3. And every private security company would have the same incentive to gain monopoly status.

                The division of labor, that you may have observed as a thing that does exist, is one example of how people intuitively know that commerce is cheaper and preferable to force of arms.

                That ‘incentive to be a monopolist’ exists for everyone equally at all times. The difference is that in a statist system the means to obtain that monopoly actually exists.

            4. Armed populace and Militia. That’s your answer.

              1. Armed populace and Militia. That’s your answer.

                And when you are invaded by the US military?

                1. Re: Francisco d’Aconia,

                  And when you are invaded by the US military?

                  Then you sell the soldiers opium, so that Nixon places the final nail on American freedom’s coffin.

                2. Collective but still voluntunary action because it is in their self interest.

                  Just like how private companies who otherwise competes with each other can still cooperate in a consortium to form voluntary standards or protocols as is the case for many tech/engineering companies.

                  There can be private space flight to lauch weaponized satellites into orbit. They can deliver fusion/neutron-emitting airblast payload for short range, no blast damage, no nuke fallout retaliation.

                  Weaponied satelites can also take aim at other satelites

                  Or a powerful railgun can deliver the same payload on land over the horizon. This is much cheaper than the F-22 or basically any military program.

                  And it will be developed because the exact same tech is useful for laucnhing orbital space flights with a lot less to no rocket fuel (mass drivers in this form)

                3. And when you are invaded by the US military?

                  Then I shoot them. They may eventually kill me, but they will pay a terrible price to do so. Molon Labe

                4. And when you are invaded by the US military?

                  Does Monaco’s inability to stand up to the US military invalidate it’s existence or it’s poosition as a better guarantor of liberty and property rights than the US government is?

          2. Of course they did.
            What was there before government if not anarchy?
            If there was government ab initio, how?
            Governments grew out of the actions of individuals, initially acting freely. Possibly wrongly, but that’s *always* the case.
            Before there was government, there wasn’t. And if there wasn’t, what else do you call that condition but ‘anarchy’?

            1. He said “modern states” not government. The modern state has only existed for a few hundred years.

          3. Modern states are descended from a long line of social organization. First you had bands of people and then tribes. The tribe’s warriors provided the protection and usually got out of the drudge work so they could be ready for a fight. Soon city states and nation states formed – usually with a monarch. Those morphed into our present states.

        3. Oh there will certainly be people who want to form a state in an anarchy. But it won’t happen unless everyone agrees or acquiesces.

          It’s impossible to disband the state once formed without a revolution. But there will be lot of intertia and counter forces (i.e. competition) to mitigate formation, so long as people aren’t pussies.

          Just look at recent story about people who successfully refused to pay the Italian mob.

          Iceland survived 320-330 years with exactly the same governance of competitive voluntary clans. And it wasn’t voluntary because they were all angels. It was because of the weregild, if a chieftan tried to claim a monopoly on governance, someone else would chop his head off. If he tried to collude with other chieftans, the clan members themselves would take their own axes to the rulers.

          1. But it won’t happen unless everyone agrees or acquiesces.

            Yeah, that’s just not true. It’s perfectly possible for a determined minority to prevail.

            1. Apply that logic to itself. There’s a samll minority determined to form a state. You’re saying it’ll prevail (not just possible, but inevtiable from your original assertion)

              But what makes the determination of this minority to form a state more magical than the determination of the many opposing forces?

              1. But what makes the determination of this minority to form a state more magical than the determination of the many opposing forces?

                The fact that it’s probably more like apathy and ignorance of the opposing forces.

          2. “Iceland survived 320-330 years with exactly the same governance of competitive voluntary clans. And it wasn’t voluntary because they were all angels. It was because of the weregild.”

            The weregild is simply a fine for killing someone, scaled by class (less expensive to kill peasants).

            During that whole period, Iceland was plagued by inter-clan feuds.

      2. Still better than The Mob.

    5. how does this article jive with your philosophy

      Like this

      1. Ok, I opened the tab, expecting a lecture from some bearded man with wisdom wiser than god. I had my brain open, ready to absorb the knowledge.

        I got none of that, but damn, that was funny shit.

    6. I’m not really an anarchist, but I think I can answer for them:

      In a group this small anarchism almost blends into other forms of government. An anarchism system works by mutual consent and it’s much easier to get consent from everyone in a small group to any arrangement. In general forced sharing is incomatible with anarchism if the consent of all members is not obtained (which it seems it wasn’t given the theft). Systems of informal private property rights work well if everyone respects them by mutual consent. It’s fairly easy for a group this size to develop informal rights systems that everyone in the group agrees to, and it’s also easy to find non-violent means to punish someone if they break those rules. For instance, by expulsion from the group.

      I’m one of those peole that thinks that anarchism, like communism, can work ok in a small-group setting, but when you scale up to societies where most people don’t know eachother, you need some formal rule enforcement system.

      1. I’m one of those peole that thinks that anarchism … can work ok in a small-group setting

        Feature, not bug. In HM-topia the largest legitimate political organization would be the hamlet.

        1. That system was tried – the hamlets were overrun before the days of Sargon because they were unable to mount an effective defense against people willing to use force.

            1. The people needed for a stable stateless society don’t exist. Your hamlet would always border agressive neighbors, even if it doesn’t fall to corruption from within.

              1. Hobbes’ “bellum omnium contra omnes” is as much a theological doctrine as Luther’s “total depravity with predestination”.

                1. You know nothing about theology. Luther didn’t believe in total depravity or predestination. You mean Calvin. And Hobbes’s doctrine was not in any way theological. If requires accepting his ideas on human psycology and anthropology, but has nothing to do with theology. Hobbes goal, like in assuming yours is, was liquidating theology.

                  1. You know nothing about theology. Luther didn’t believe in total depravity or predestination. You mean Calvin

                    You are correct. My bad.

                    And Hobbes’s doctrine was not in any way theological. If requires accepting his ideas on human psycology and anthropology

                    It is theological in that his view of human nature is supported only by his own ipse dixit assertions. Hobbes had no views on human psychology or anthropology as those weren’t concepts yet. Hobbes’ arguments were strictly limited to the philosophical.

                    Hobbes goal, like in assuming yours is, was liquidating theology.

                    I’m not an atheist if that’s what your insinuating.

                    1. No actually my bad. Luther did believe in total depravity I was mistaken. Luther accepted some of the Calvinistic “TULIP” credo but not predestination.

                    2. Re-read the first ten chapters of Leviathan. It’s just as much psycology as anything Freud wrote. It’s true it wasn’t experimental psycology like Skinner and Pavlov, but it was based on attempting to understand human behavior empirically if not experimentally.

                    1. Calvin. And Hobbes

                      Niiiiice!

        2. And how does a hamlet ward off an invader that has battleships, aircraft carriers, tanks, bombers and nuclear weapons?

          Or are you going to tell me that countries don’t invade other places for their resources? How’d that work out for the American Indian?

          1. Well the first two, by being landlocked, and the second two, by being on the Moon.

          2. The American Indian was killed by battleships, aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons?

              1. No, but neither were yours.

                1. It was serious as a heart attack.

                  The American Indians were wiped out by an overwhelming force, made possible through the resources a government can command. Small bands of people cannot afford such resources and will eventually become slaves. So much for liberty.

                  1. ^ This. I can’t get behind the “if everyone were nice, anarchy would work” argument. Same argument goes for communism.

                  2. The American Indians were wiped out by the lack of acknowledgement of property rights.

                  3. Small bands of people cannot afford such resources and will eventually become slaves. So much for liberty.

                    Who owns all the slaves residing San Marino? If smaller force always and inevitably yields to large force, there wouldn’t be 192+ variably powerful states in the world.

                    1. Who owns all the slaves residing San Marino? If smaller force always and inevitably yields to large force, there wouldn’t be 192+ variably powerful states in the world.

                      There aren’t. They are protected (rightly or wrongly) by the US military.

                      You act as though countries never invade other countries for fun and profit.

                    2. There aren’t. They are protected (rightly or wrongly) by the US military.

                      The US is the most powerful state and plenty extortionist but the continued sovereignty of these little countries is not a product of large state benevolence. If larger states could get away with annexing these territories, they would.

                      Why do you think Russia, a revanchist power, only half ass invades Georgia or Ukraine? Because outright conquest is universally considered illegitimate. Such actions would not have been too illegitimate to stop it from happening only 200 years ago, but times have changed and the political culture along with it. That culture imposes certain costs on would-be Ghengis Khans that is irreconcilable, otherwise we’d have a world of states openly competing to directly annex every other state’s territory.

                      You act as though countries never invade other countries for fun and profit.

                      War is not profitable or otherwise humanity would have perished long ago from waging an unending war of all against all.

                    3. War is not profitable

                      Sometimes yes sometimes no.

                      You strike when it is and build your empire. The vassal states pay tribute and you recover all the costs plus some.

                      One of the tactics of Genghis Khan was to attack a country and inflict a severe blow. But rather than continue the attack, they would let the place decay for a few years and then come back when the place was weaker.

                      The Turks in 1683 had a treaty with Austria they were ready to break because they had a huge army, Europe was weakened by the 30 years war, and
                      France hated Austria. The time was right for the Ottoman Turks to take Austria and then France and all of Europe – only a military blunder saved Europe from it’s stupidity.

          3. And how does a hamlet ward off an invader that has battleships, aircraft carriers, tanks, bombers and nuclear weapons?

            The same way the city-states of the United Arab Emirates do. They trade a valuable resource in exchange for defense.

            1. I suppose that works to a certain degree…

              …if you have a valuable resource to trade. If you don’t, you become a slave.

              1. The real trick is to make it so it’s more profitable to trade, or just to leave you alone, than to wage war. Take the example of the hill tribes in upper Southeast Asia. For about 1,500 years, they have been sandwiched between two large empires, the Siamese and the Chinese, yet they have really never been under the power of them. Why? The terrain is treacherous, resource-wise there isn’t much, and the hill tribes have the reputation of being the craziest motherfuckers on the yard who will just stab you because its a Tuesday. It was always more profitable to either leave them alone or hire them out as mercs. Even 40 years on, the Laotian Communists still haven’t decisively dealt with their low-grade Hmong insurgency.

          4. Militias work, I don’t see why that’s hard to understand. Look at the Americas before and after 1775. They loved Liberty and there was no real monopoly on force (if things got “too bad” for the Governor, he called in the militia… who then did what he wanted or didn’t because they were supposed to attack their own neighbors). That isn’t a monopoly on force and therefore not a “real government” (by many definitions).

            1. The Swiss are another good example.

              1. The Swiss have terrain on their side.

                The problem with militias is that while they can make a people not worth conquering, they cannot prevent a modern army from annihilating the people the militia is drawn from.

                Soooo, if Dr Doom wishes to take over Tarrania for its valuable Latium mines, he could just have his hyperbombers turn the land to glass and just move his people in to take over. It may cost him a billion Latervian Francs and profit him only ten million Latervian Francs a year and so he may decide it’s not worth his trouble.

                I think that occasionally there are points in history where the technology of arms favors distributed defenders to the point where a militia can defeat an invading army outright, but they are rare and fleeting.

                1. I think John Robb makes the point that those points in history are becoming more and more common with the advent of 4th Gen warfare. Indeed, since WW2, whom have we fought? Insurgents. And what has been our track record? Not as good as one would have expected from a global hegemon.

                  1. Our record is exactly what you’d expect for a nation that eschews attacking civilian populations even when confronted by guerrilla warfare. Even none genocidal tactics like internment or temporary resettlement are off the table. Both those tactics work well when used as the Boers found out.

                2. The Swiss have terrain on their side.

                  And lots of guns. And lots of money to make the other side pay. You can kill them all, but then invading them doesn’t make any sense, now does it?

                  Also, mineral resources are never worth invading an (technologically advance) armed populace. Contrary to what many think, even dictators use cost-benefit analysis to determine their evil acts. Make it too expensive and even Hitler won’t invade (back to the Swiss).

                3. Soooo, if Dr Doom wishes to take over Tarrania for its valuable Latium mines, he could just have his hyperbombers turn the land to glass and just move his people in to take over.

                  The same applies for a modern advanced military. If Dr Doom wants to nuke it from orbit, there is nothing the Tarranian stealth bombers can do to protect themselves. Unless they have a laser defense system that actually works, they are glass.

                4. I think that occasionally there are points in history where the technology of arms favors distributed defenders to the point where a militia can defeat an invading army outright, but they are rare and fleeting.

                  I think once you’ve acquired them, nuclear arsenals are cheaper than large conventional armies and one hell of a deterrent against aggression.

                5. When you take a place over you mostly want it’s citizens to be your slave labor force. So killing them all doesn’t make sense. When you plan to move your people on the place like Lebensraum, then you don;t care about depopulating the place of Poles and Russians.

            2. And the amount of force a militia could summon was comparable or greater than the attacking force.

              Let’s be clear. There are three nations in the world, right now, that could completely wipe out any of the remaining nations in under a week. Minutes if they want to use nukes.

              The resources a state can summon, DWARFS, that which can be generated by a conglomeration of private companies. A company cannot afford to develop and build an F-35, let alone a squadron of them, let alone an effective military.

              Eventually, you’ll get a Hitler or Napoleon in charge and your little fantasy will be fucked with a capital F.

              1. This is true. Yet, let’s remember than one of those nations used to be a lot larger, and when it attempted to retake some of its former territory, this nation and one of those other nation decided WW3 wasn’t worth it. And that former territory is still sovereign.

              2. Let me know how well Vietnam and Afghanistan went (every time)…

                Liberty lovers have more weapons that non-liberty countries like those 2. Yes, you can invade, but you cannot hold when the populace is armed. Also, being evil to them just makes them more angry and makes more of them shoot at (into) you. The best you can do is nuke them and why would you do that? Their “resources” come from their wealth and wealth comes from productivity (Adam Smith). Killing them all takes their wealth and makes their land worthless for decades.

                Also, the F35 is crap. All the best planes come from competition, not top down authority. And yes, any company tasked with securing these armed, free, productive people will have lots of money to buy what works.

                1. Let me know how well Vietnam and Afghanistan went (every time)…

                  Dude. Let’s be clear.

                  The ONLY reason Vietnam and Afghanistan are still standing is because the US has some sense of morality. We chose to fight a limited war vs a total war as our politicians actually cared about not going down in history as the worst mass murderers ever to exist.

                  We have the capability to slaughter every living thing in Afghanistan. We choose not to use that capability cuz morlas and stuff.

                  Do you think Napoleon or Hitler would have hesitated to use it if he had it? And there will be another Napoleon and Hitler. Especially if they see a world ripe for the taking.

                  ANd I’d be more than happy to debate “the best planes” with you any time.

                  1. We have the capability to slaughter every living thing in Afghanistan. We choose not to use that capability cuz morlas and stuff.

                    The purpose of the war was to keep them from being communist or cause “OMG, terrorists!”. That implied we were the “good guys” from the beginning. In other words, if we’d been going in for a reason other than being the “good guys”, we wouldn’t have gone in. To put that simply, there is no reason for the US to war with them other than these reasons. The Soviets invaded for… whatever reason (to make them commies? IDK, would have to look it up) and they failed too.

                    If you invade a people to take their resources, it is a simple economic (profit) calculation, and the well-armed free people make that untenable. You bring up Hitler, and that is who decided not to invade the well-armed free people, because it wasn’t worth it.

                    I can’t prevent the unfree and unarmed in the rest of the world from being the victims of evil men, but they and their ancestors chose their paths. We have not yet chosen and this would work here (and has in the past).

                    Also, I don’t know what the best planes are, but the F35 is not even close to that list.

                    1. So libertarains are equally talented fighters as Vietnamese peasants and Pashtuns. Also liberterians love technology and hate farming and the kind of rural regions of the world that are defendable with guerilla tactics. Mercantilist trade based states like Signapore are some the easier in the world to conquer. The “telluric” connection to the earth that motivates a third world partisan can’t be duplicated with ideological partisans.

                    2. Don’t think you can put me in your box, pilgrim. I love rural areas (though guerrilla tactics work wonders in urban/suburban areas too). I’m more than a match for anything evil men can send at me; the US government trained me, I have more freedom of movement, and it’s my land (so I know it better and have more motivation to win).

                      My ancestors in the colonies may have been only classical Liberals, and imperfect ones, but the most powerful country in the world got tired to trying to get them to stop shooting them.

                    3. I’m more than a match for anything evil men can send at me;

                      How bout a nuke?

                    4. How bout a nuke?

                      Why can’t a voluntary protection company have a nuke, too?

                      Or do you mean the US military? Would they nuke their own people to “keep them safe”? Isn’t that like the “nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure” joke that we tell when a kid bites a pop tart into a gun shape? It’s ridiculous on purpose, because even their own people wouldn’t believe it!

                    5. Why can’t a voluntary protection company have a nuke, too?

                      Because nukes are incredibly uneconomical.

                      Are there people who wish to own F-16’s and nuclear weapons so that they can kill people? Definitely … But, without tax-payer funds how many of them could really afford to commission such weapons? Even with economies of scale, an F-16 costs something like $10,000,000 to build and about $5,000 per hour in fuel and maintenance to fly. Additionally, firing the weapons systems can cost up to $1,000,000 per sortie. If forced to work productively to earn their keep, how many of people would have the free time to design, build and practice with such weapons? How many of them would settle for the reduced mayhem of a cruise missile when they can kill a larger number of people with a cheaper and more reliable low-tech truck-bomb made out of fertilizer?

                      … without government demand for them, I don’t think nuclear weapons or even F-16’s would exist. They are expensive to build, and of limited use. They require a significant amount of industrial infrastructure, including hundreds of factories,hundreds of engineers, and thousands of workers to build, maintain and support them. In the absence of significant consumer demand for these superweapons, all those resources would be invested in other more profitable ventures…

                    6. Because nukes are incredibly uneconomical.

                      Not really. Freedom is worth a lot. One nuke can really “put off” a superpower.

                      And you insistence that “cool stuff wouldn’t exist without government” is cute. Go read The Road to Serfdom to show you why you’re wrong.

                      Let’s put it this way, if you took 1/10th of what I pay in taxes right now to “defense” and paid it to a (competitive) security company to make a nuke, how long would it take? A year (maybe)?

                    7. If you invade a people to take their resources, it is a simple economic (profit) calculation, and the well-armed free people make that untenable.

                      It’s not untenable if you have no problem killing them all. Perhaps I want their land.

                      You bring up Hitler, and that is who decided not to invade the well-armed free people, because it wasn’t worth it.

                      Only because there was parity between the two forces. In an anarchy, there will not be because a nation state has almost no limit upon what it can spend (steal) if it so desires.

                      I don’t know what the best planes are, but the F35 is not even close to that list.

                      Not true. For what it does, it’s the most capable fighter bomber in the world. By far. (Or will be when it’s fielded.)

                      It just happens to be over budget and years behind schedule as the program is horribly run. But that is the fault of Congress.

                      So one could argue it may not be the best value, but it’s hard to judge. If you fielded a plane that cost half as much, their value is worse if they all get shot down the first night.

                    8. It’s not untenable if you have no problem killing them all. Perhaps I want their land.

                      And perhaps they have nukes pointed at your land…

                      Only because there was parity between the two forces.

                      Not even close. How many me could he have sent to take the Swiss? They had, what, half a million?

                      In an anarchy, there will not be because a nation state has almost no limit upon what it can spend (steal) if it so desires.

                      Not really. Voluntary protection agreements go pretty far in anarchy. The free people will be more productive than the evil state (by definition) and will have better stuff. Even if they don’t, it’s simply not worth killing them all in order to take what they no longer have!

                      For what it does, it’s the most capable fighter bomber in the world.

                      Yes, no other aircraft attempt to do so many things. Of course, all the other aircraft do what they do well, whereas the F35 does all that stuff quite poorly. So you’re technically correct, but that’s pretty meaningless when you replace a bunch of good planes with 1 plane (3 planes) that do all those things much worse.

                      Oh, and it is Congress’ fault, but that’s because they didn’t use competition.

                    9. Of course, all the other aircraft do what they do well, whereas the F35 does all that stuff quite poorly.

                      But it’s quite simply not true that it does all that stuff quite poorly.

                      Don’t believe ANYTHING you read about military acquisition programs. EVERYBODY has an agenda.

                      They all tried to shit on the F-22 as well, and it’s a quantum leap ahead of anything else in the world.

                    10. quantum staggering leap?

                      better

                    11. The F35 is crap, and does nothing well. The F22 at least has the speed/maneuverability going for it. The F22 is way too expensive, and not competitive, but it is quite good. The F35 has 0 purpose.

                      If you want to argue, argue for the F22. The F35 is a stupid argument for your point.

                    12. Where do you get your information on the F-35?

                    13. Where did you get yours?

                      To answer, mostly online. Then I taught myself the very basics of how fighters/close air support/stealth planes should work. The F35 was a bad idea from the start. You can’t have close air support with short wings, you can’t turn with short wings, and you can’t take of vertically with long wings. It’s heavy and won’t be able to turn well. It’s too heavy to accelerate quickly.

                      The Air force is convinced that missiles will be the end-all in fighters. They thought that in the 1960s and the F4 was crap. Governments don’t learn from history.

                    14. My information comes from an engineer who’s ass deep in the middle of testing it.

                      I am a retired AF pilot, was an operational test pilot and worked as a requirements liaison in acquisition at Wright Patt.

                      While I’ll agree that the F-35 is not as good as it should be, for many of the reasons you state, it’s better than anything else in the world for the mission it was designed for and far better than the aircraft it is replacing.

                      As I said above, EVERYONE has an agenda. Viper and Hog guys will tell you the F-35 sucks because they are going to lose their cockpits to it. Boeing will tell you it sucks cuz they want to sell you Super Hornets. Senators will tell you it sucks because they want to support shit from their states. Defense magazines will tell you it sucks because it sells more magazines.

                      All new acquisitions have problems. They are developing the most advanced machines ever created by man. It’s not like they are updating the Ford Escape with a new cup holder. This is shit that has never been done before.

                      Yeah, the acquisition system is absolutely horrible. That’s mostly due to politicians, despite what they’d tell ya.

                      As for CAS…do you know which aircraft supplied the vast majority of CAS in Iraq/Afghanistan?

                    15. it’s better than anything else in the world for the mission it was designed for…

                      If I design a “better” semi truck that’s supposed to both haul freight and run a quarter mile in under 14 seconds, I may have the “best” vehicle for what it’s designed for. that being said, it’s probably the least useful vehicle on planet earth.

                      and far better than the aircraft it is replacing.

                      Which aircraft? The A-10, the F16, or the harrier? (It’s supposed to replace the F18 too, right?) It MAY be “better” than the harrier, but that was pretty much the first of it’s kind.
                      It’s NOT better than the A-10 at close air support as the laws of physics prevent it from flying slow enough (short wings). It also can’t take fire like the A-10 can/did.
                      It MAY be “better” than the F16 beyond sight range, maybe. It’s NOT better when the 2 can see each other. The only reason it’s better than the F16 beyond sight range is due to being “more stealth” than the F16 and the improved missiles. Then again, at this point, it’s like comparing a Spitfire to a F16, there’s that may years between the 2 models! If the Spitfire had ANY CHANCE AT ALL against the F16 (ceteris paribus), then the designers must be idiots!

                    16. The F22 is way too expensive, and not competitive, but it is quite good.

                      Not competitive with what?

                    17. Sorry, not produced in a competitive environment.

                    18. Nothing in the military is. And that’s part of the reason it costs so fucking much.

                      I’m just not sure how one would go about making it competitive. No company would take the risk involved unless they were assured of a return.

                    19. Those LM contracts bought a LOT of Porsches, yachts and pussy in NJ….I’ll tell you that much. Saw it with my own eyes. Didn’t know before that about bonuses being able to buy 100K to 500K stuff for an individual.

                      Unfortunately, much of what they bought was made outside the USA.

                      LM built the finest stuff that 1/2 the money could have bought…if they didn’t need to fill their ranks with bought-off politicians, ex-military brass, etc.

                    20. The F16 was adopted due to competition (an actual competition against what would become the F18).

                  2. And there will be another Napoleon and Hitler. Especially if they see a world ripe for the taking.

                    They have to get people to follow them….

                    I think that is getting harder with each passing year.

                    1. I think that is getting harder with each passing year.

                      Why?

                      Look at the progtards being led around by their feelings. They seem pretty easy to manipulate to me.

                      Look at this nation and how we’ve lessened the definition of the word “threat” since 9/11 so we can get involved in conflicts all over the world that we wouldn’t have dreamed of acting on militarily 15 years ago.

                    2. I think Hitler or Napoleon benefitted by having masses of poor people with no chance at a good life who were offered pay, food, and shelter in exchange for killing on their behalf.

                      As humanity gets wealthier, the pool of people whom a future Khan Noonien Singh can make a similar offer is going to be less.

                      I could be wrong about this, but that’s my take.

                    3. As humanity gets wealthier, the pool of people whom a future Khan Noonien Singh can make a similar offer is going to be less.

                      Provided humanity continues to get wealthier, I’d agree. With all the opposition to wealth creation out there today, we may be heading for a period where humanity actually regresses. Hope not, but very possible.

                    4. With all the opposition to wealth creation out there today, we may be heading for a period where humanity actually regresses. Hope not, but very possible.

                      TMFT, man. TMFT

                    5. Provided humanity continues to get wealthier, I’d agree. With all the opposition to wealth creation out there today, we may be heading for a period where humanity actually regresses. Hope not, but very possible.

                      All the more reason to abolish statism. This insidious ideology is the greatest threat to humanity in existence.

                2. The F35 is crap not because of lack of competition. There was competition. it was because the military thought that they could save money by having one plane in multiple roles due to the advancement of technology.

                  In the past an air superiority fighter was that and that only, a short range bomber just that, a ground attack plane just that. Both of them would have been toast against a superiority fighter in a dog fight. The US thought it could have everything in one airframe and same money.

        3. hamlet.

          mmmm. Thanks, HM. I’m going to Waffle House for lunch. Waffle and country ham, side of bacon, side of hash browns.

      2. Notice in the article that the solution involved farms allocated not to individuals, as presumably libertarians would have had it, but simply smaller collectivities – families.

        1. There’s nothing wrong with voluntary association, which a family basically is, unless you want to lower or abolish the age of majority.

        2. Distinction without a difference. Women and children were treated like property back then.

          1. It was a better, more civilized time.

            1. Well they certainly dressed sharper.

          2. No they weren’t. The Puritans were pretty progressive for the time on things like independent means for women.

            1. Scandal!

            2. And this led to Hester Prynne slutting around.

            3. “The Puritans were pretty progressive for the time on things like independent means for women.”

              Bitch, get back in the hovel and churn me some butter before I castigate thou

          3. “Distinction without a difference.”

            I disagree. There is a big difference between being ‘treated like property’ and being treated like a free individual.

            1. I’m sure you’re going to tell us all about Puritan divorce-court now.

              1. How much time have you got?

                1. Your wisdom should be shared not for my personal benefit, but the edification of all mankind.

      3. I guess that’s the point. My son and I have political discussions all the time, and while I can preach how things “should” be, he always ask how things would work in the real world.

        And more importantly, how we would ever get there. I don’t have answers for him.

        1. Well, tell your son that when he solves the Is/Ought Problem, I’ll be willing to co-author the paper with him and we’ll split the Kyoto Prize.

          1. Are you going to wear the medal when you win it? I think it’s a little flashy…

            1. The kid can have the medal. I’ll just take the yen.

              1. The medal might be more valuable.

          2. Why should my son solve it? I’m trying to teach him about Libertarianism and he’s asking me how it applies in real life.

            Do you have anything I can give him?

    7. Serious question, for you true anarchists out there, how does this article jive with your philosophy?

      It jives quite well although this seems counterintuitive at first blush.

      Systems of property rights really require the following institutions:
      1) Recorders of deeds
      2) Arbiters of disputes.
      3) Enforcers of the arbiters’ rulings.

      People generally assume that this role has to be provided by a state because for each of these roles, if there are competing institutions they can lead to conflict. For example:
      1) Deed recorder A says Alex owns the house on 67 Spooner St, and deed recorder B says John owns it.
      2) Arbiter Wapner rules that John did purchase the house, while arbiter Judy rules that no, John didn’t register the sale properly so it belongs to Alex.
      3) Alex hires the SOA Motorcycle club and Detective Agency to seize 67 Spooner St while John hires the Angel Detective company to do the same.

      Under an anarchic system, organizations seeking to provide these institutional services would arise if (a) the demand was sufficient, (b) they could market their services in a way that people were willing to pay for, (c) they could work out processes to peaceably resolve conflicts between them and competing organizations.

      1. In some ways this is already happening: the U.S. court system is so terrible on the civil front that their is a fairly sizeable mediation industry to provide the arbiter service – although it depends on the government courts and the police/sheriffs/constables to enforce their dictates.

        The area that is the big problem is the enforcement of judgements. My guess is that in an anarchic system, the big deals (like buying a house, car etc) would customarily involve a great deal of due diligence prior to the deal being inked and money changing hands with money and property going into some escrow system to ensure that the outgoing guy vacates property in an orderly way.

        But there would still be incidents where somebody acted as an indian giver. The sort of sanction they would get would really depend on how the local society punished transgressors – ranging from the Amish shunning to the beautiful Spanish system of public humiliation, or perhaps more violent means employed by such groups as the Pinkertons.

        1. As far as the rise of a new state out of the competing security agencies; that is a real danger. Anarchy really depends on a critical mass of the society choosing to not live under state protection. Ideally, if the society is culturally inclined to not live under state protection, the security services would have trouble consolidating power and forming a new monopoly state. In reality culture is very mutable and the security promised by states is very tempting. Medieval Iceland abandoned their anarchic system and submitted to the rule of the King of Norway because the tithing system introduced by the Christian church led to the families who owned land with churches on them taking over all the chieftainships which eventually led to an upsurge of violence that the locals hoped the king could contain (amusingly, Roderick Long points out that this unacceptable rate of violence was lower than that which Americans live under right now).

          1. Of course, this is true in societies with states as well. It appears that the U.S. has a revolution every 40 years or so, although the revolt takes the form of a new batch of people taking over the state, pretending they are continuing the old institutions while transforming them in new directions. John has argued in the past that this is a source of stability – that the revolutionaries have to work withing a framework that is conservative and limits their ability to change things. In an anarchy big changes in culture will manifest themselves with big changes in the legal system because this conservative framework will lack the might to suppress those who would overthrow them. I feel that the state is a source of instability – that it creates the crises that cause the massive cultural changes that increases its power.

            But it’s a hypothetical argument. The question isn’t a binary argument between anarchy or state. Instead there are a million questions on very narrow topics where the question is whether we will permit people to make their own choices or constrain their choices for the greater good. If enough people choose freedom as the answer for a sufficient number of questions, you will have your anarchy. And it will grow so organically and gradually that the institutions to provide the various services we expect from the state would arise based on what consumer demand existed for them in those intermediate times.

            1. Thanks for the serious input. I appreciate it.

  2. Fuck, something I am actually interested in discussing and learning about and…

    Silence.

    Fuck again.

    1. Reason has apparently heard your pleas. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!

  3. Is this going to be an annual Thanksgiving story for Reason?

    1. I keep meaning to read “And The Fair Land” every single year. But there’s no getting around it, I’d rather read about commie Pilgrims averting starvation by transforming into I-got-mine-so-fuck-you Gaia rapers.

  4. It was the same in Jamestown as well.

    People apparently are more willing to starve and bowl (and possibly eat their fallen comrade) than work for the collective.

    1. It takes a village to starve to death.

      1. Ooh that is an excellent quote. I’m stealing that one.

        Alternatively:

        “It takes a village to commit genocide.”

        1. “Jamestown was almost Jonestown.” Or something like that.

          1. I’ll drink to that!

            1. *hands purple flavoraide to Fizban*

    2. Although Jamestown was also afflicted by some pretty bad assumptions & conditions: they assumed the Indians would provide them with food; they believed there would be precious stones lying around in the rivers; because of the social classes most of them came from, few had hands on experience in farming or hunting.

      Finally, your life expectancy is never helped by building your settlement in the middle of a swamp.

      1. Really? It seems people in Washington, D.C. have a lot of longevity.

      2. Still doesn’t account for skeletal men literally bowling in the streets.

  5. You know, it’d be great if this story were true, but every time it comes up I do some cursory research and cannot find any primary or even secondary (e.g. Wikipedia) sources to back it up.

    So, [citation needed].

    1. Start with William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation a.k.a. The History of Plymouth Plantation which you can find on Google books.

      1. Isn’t Stossel source enough. For heavens sake look at that mustache.

        1. Being published in reason automatically throws their credibility into doubt. Don’t you know that?

      2. Ah, finally!

        Paragraphs 163 onwards seem to be the key.

        Thanks.

    2. I still look forward to the year that I don’t have to hear this fucking story again. I really don’t need my worldview validated by pilgrims.

      1. You’d rather have your worldview be purely theoretical, not backed up by empiracal evidence?

        1. Evidence? Please. This was, like, a hundred years ago. People are totally different now. Property rights are just white privilege by another name.

          See, empiricism doesn’t stand up to SJW talking points.

        2. If you want to get your economics lessons from 100 years before Adam Smith was born, knock yourself out.

    3. I agree. I know there is documentation on this somewhere, but this is the sort of thing that gets more exagerrated in the telling. Especially since there are people who are going to jump all over any detail to attack it, it’s probably best to reference source documentation as much as possible.

  6. Off topic… Even though I’m salaried, the concept still befuddles me. The complete disconnect between inputs required (time worked) and renumeration just doesn’t jive. There is no incentive to put in more effort beyond the contracted minimum (especially with the state) beyond theoretical prospects for advancement/chance of layoff. In many places the prospects for advancement either don’t exist or are disconnected from the work anyway. The incentive structure you get from wages doesn’t exist, and there doesn’t appear to be anything to replace it.

    Can one of your economic gurus explain it to me?

    1. I have turned down promotions because I would go from hourly to salary. It is common in my field for salaried personnel to work longer hours with no bonus.

    2. I know when I’m hiring I prefer to pay by the job and not by the time it takes to do it. If I hire a guy to fix my roof, and pay him by the job, his incentive is to get my roof fixed as quickly as possible so he can get another roof job. If I pay him by the hour, his incentive is to stretch out the roof job as long as possible. Also, it’s easier to assess costs if your labor cost is a fixed amount, leaving time as the only variable. Hourly wages make both time and labor costs variables.

      1. So then how do you renumerate the guy who runs your factory? Or other ongoing functions that don’t break down into discrete jobs?

        1. Percentage of profit?

        2. Running a factory is a discrete job on a daily basis. There are a certain set of things that have to occur every day, day in day out. If you control cost variability by say limiting the factory manager to 40 hours a week then when his time is up he leaves those things undone. IF he’s getting a salary then he stays until those things are done. Salaries incentivise an employee to be more efficient with his time. Of course when things absolutely have to be done, the hourly guy is tempted to work slower than he might otherwise in order to gain overtime pay.

      2. You are referring to a lump sum from the client perspective. Depending on the business, time and labor cost are the same for how the are billed to the client and only vary for paying the employee but is already factored from the client billing process.

    3. In the company I work for, salaried individuals often get better “perks” in lieu of fat stacks of cash. Granted, most jumps from hourly to salary will include some kind of overall pay raise, unless the employee was doing a shit-ton of overtime in his hourly position.

      The biggest salaried perk around here is a flexible schedule, but I question how much of a perk that is considering they’re accountable for so much more–and, as a result, I assume it takes up much more of their time.

      I have absolutely no interest in advancing myself to a salaried position for this company.

    4. Government incentives are part of it, I think. The government has decreed that the guy who works on the production line making widgets gets overtime, but the guy who manages the widget factory does not.

      And the factory owner has decided that the inefficiency (that you described) of paying the manager a straight salary is cheaper than paying him overtime.

    5. I’m certainly no guru, but here’s what I think. Companies increasingly use salaried employees to get around overtime laws. As far as the incentives for the employees, in the private sector there’s bonuses, raises, and promotions tied to work performance. Also, while the statement “people respond to incentives” is true, it is not true that every person responds to the same incentive the same way. If only 10% of the population is on salary, but that 10% is comprised largely of self motivated individuals then their work will not suffer from the lack of immediate incentive.

    6. It’s not time vs remuneration. It’s value added/work produced etc vs remuneration. In addition, there are lots of jobs where the work has busier times and slower times but evens out to be 1 FTE over the course of a year. The salary creates stability/greater predictability in pay for the employee and payroll expense for the employer.

    7. Re: UnCivilServant,

      Even though I’m salaried, the concept still befuddles me.

      Become a contractor and present a bill.

      There is no incentive to put in more effort beyond the contracted minimum

      There IS an incentive: You’re still competing. Against who, you ask? Well, thank you for asking! Against others who do NOT mind working the extra work beyond the contracted minimum. That who.

      Remember that.

      1. But if you’re a government employee or contractor, you’re not competing against anybody. There is no incentive to do shit.

        1. Being a contractor solves the conundrum if you feel you need to fulfill your contract without feeling guilty for not doing more. A government worker is less than a human being so who cares?

    8. “Can one of your economic gurus explain it to me?”

      …. “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”…

      The idea here is that, by this time in history, your work should jive with your daily and life goals and therefore you would very naturally put your all into it.

      Assuming this is the case, renumeration would increase over time as productivity increased (experience, education, etc.) and any enlightened org or boss would spread the goodies.

      That’s how I did it during my 20+ years as a boss – I never based bonuses on exact hours or even on the exact profits, but rather on a bigger picture of what the employees put into the job.

      1. I thought you were supposed to base bonuses on your gracious desire to take care of them, regardless of the work thy did.

        You capitalist monster!

        1. “I thought you were supposed to base bonuses on your gracious desire to take care of them, regardless of the work thy did.”

          Well, I did feel a responsibility – not a desire – to them and their families. After all, that’s part of the modern game (social construct). They give the biz a BIG part of their waking hours and I provide enough for them to have a car, medical care, a house, food, etc…..at least to some degree (given a 1.5 or 2 person working household).

          So, yeah, I took that responsibility seriously. I’ll tell you a little business secret also. Graciousness and caring for employees – even overpaying them – helped me become more successful than virtually any of my peers who were in the same business. Most of them are still working, while I moved on over a decade ago.

          Generosity pays – big time!

          1. Generosity pays – big time!

            Sure does. When it’s not mandatory.

            1. Oh, no. They would have worked their butts off if he was required by law to pay them what everyone thinks is best for the bestest, bestest employees out there.

              Because people never make rational decisions about expending effort vs. reward.

              I’m surrounded by capitalist monsters!

  7. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

    1. Who?

      1. The moustached fellow who is not Geraldo.

  8. Most people in reality are motivated by pressure from their boss/peers to get things done at work, and have deadlines, so it’s not like people’s net incentive in a salaried position is to slack off . From an employers perspective, considering most salaried people work = 40 hrs/wk, it’s a better deal to go salaried. Also it’s simpler for accounting/expenses. And it avoids the potential problem of hourly-paid people stretching out assignments.

    1. What’s weird is that at my work, we salary but we bill by the hour.

      We end up leaving a lot of money on the table because people don’t want to work the extra time to not see any of it.

      Yeah, the company pays out bonuses at the end of the year based on profits, but most people don’t really connect the two.

      1. Yeah, the company pays out bonuses at the end of the year based on profits, but most people don’t really connect the two.

        And those that do can probably do the math in how much work they would have to put in compared to how much of an increase in end of year bonus they’d see and decide it’s not worth it.

  9. So one of the things I got out of this article is that a collective (government, if you want) is needed to enforce property rights and contracts.

    For the anarchists out there, what are your thoughts on this? I have a hard time explaining to people how we would function without any government to do this.

    Is this the minimum we should have, maximum?

    1. Re: Jorono,

      So one of the things I got out of this article is that a collective (government, if you want) is needed to enforce property rights and contracts.

      No. The article shows that forced collectivism leads to death. Governor Bradford simply saw the obvious and convinced the settlers to change the way they treated land ownership.

      Remember that the pilgrims were not some heterogeneous group of people looking to settle. They all shared the same religious and social views that lead to their near demise. Every individual saw him or herself bound by the decisions of the group which wanted to share the property out of religious conviction, which meant they could not simply fence their properties and refuse to share their crop. But their dissatisfaction with the situation was externalized by shirking and laziness, followed by thievery.

      Your assessment of the lesson is therefore wrong.

      1. Right or wrong, I still have the question. I did get some get info from the comments, but most of them still talk about the way things “should” be and don’t dwell in any reality.

        I believe in the maximum freedom, I just know that there will always be people who want to be in charge so I think there will always be conflict.

        I don’t know, I think too much time is spent on here bitching about the gov (and believe me, my friends and family hate me because I bring up every negative thing they do) and talking about how things should be, instead of putting down realistic solutions.

        Maybe because there aren’t any…

    2. The basic theory as espoused above is that no collective can enforce rules without consent. Conversely, once you have consent, no collective is needed to enforce the rules.

      The only pro-collective economic argument that can be made is for the benefit of concentrating capital. However, that benefit is amply reaped by voluntary associations (families, businesses, churches, mutual societies, etc.).

    1. What does it say about me that I think the original joke was funny *because* of how inappropriate it was?

      Its probably because i’m Irish and abuse alcohol. Oh well.

      1. Dangle that revelation in front of some other successful lefty and you might just clip another career. Or are Micks still fair game?

        1. So you completely missed the obvious comparison of “Blacks/Watermelon” being horrifyingly inappropriate, but making fun of the “Irish/Alcohol” is entirely passe.

          I suppose Irony is not your strong suit.

          What the fuck was the rest of your comment about? ‘Successful lefty’? who?

          1. WOW. Talk about missing something completely obvious.

            1. You don’t like “the irish”?

              Join the club

  10. Yet progs fret over income inequality when enforced equality is proven dangerous,

    1. “Yet progs fret over income inequality when enforced equality is proven dangerous,”

      I’m a prog and I agree 100% that forced equality of any kind is dangerous. On the other hand, I believe that an enlightened society can create both safety nets and an educational system which attempts to lift up those who picked a bad lottery number in the birth lotto.

  11. I would ask the man about the stealing of the Indian’s corn stash – even before they met the Indians – but the Fiction Writer has already weighed in and declared it “the right” of civilized man to vanquish and steal from any and all native peoples.

    So, if we accept that as truth – then maybe we can agree that AFTER you steal all the goodies, it’s better to divy them up among the pirates. That’s what made privateers and earlier war so successful….but I really fail to see how it extends to a more modern and civilized idea of property rights….

    It was only under threat of death (hanging) that Jametown settlers finally started to clean the place up and get their asses in gear. However, as soon as they were somewhat successful they started the plantation thing with slaves – again, no reason for the white man to sweat in the fields.

    Our New England ancestors were always just a bit higher on the morality scale (for their time). They established the “Puritan Work Ethic” and were happy to labor. I think the same basics still exist today. The people I know from New England (the Yankee mentality) are hard workers and generally honest. People I know from some (not all, some) other places seem to spend their lives figuring out how they can make as much money as possible while still sitting in the A/C all day and night. Sweating is beneath them.

    “let someone else do the hard work” is quite typical in this country…at least among those who have been here a couple generations.

    1. Ingenuity is a labor-saving device.
      Much human progress is has been made by lazy people who invented new ways of doing things so they didn’t have to do the hard work.

      These days, the hard work is done by robots, or other machines, whenever possible. But the left still bitches that letting robots do the work deprives poor people of jobs. See? Even when you’re NOT exploiting the working man’s labor, you’re exploiting the working man.

      Me personally? I’m all in favor of a good work ethic, as long as it is directed towards work that is actually useful and benefiticial to someone. Maybe all those people on welfare should try to think of something they can do that is of value to someone else. Except there is probably some regulation that is going to stop them from doing it.

    2. Yet, you want to subsidize this behavior?

  12. my roomate’s aunt makes $60 hourly on the internet . She has been without work for nine months but last month her pay check was $17929 just working on the internet for a few hours. find more information….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  13. At the Thanksgiving table, in the style of Passover and Easter, consider telling the story of how the Pilgrims first tried Collectivism for 3 years and nearly starved to death. Then they switched to Private Property and Free Markets and never went hungry again. The story is available in compact form at this link: http://www.westernfreepress.com/?p=297814

  14. Think about your Thanksgiving turkey. We eat tons of them, but no one worries that turkeys will go extinct. We know there will be more next year, since people profit from owning and raising them.

    And yet we keep hearing nonsense, for example from the Ayn Rand Institute, that Social Security will go “bankrupt,” even though no one ever says this about, say, the Pentagon. This can’t happen except through deliberate political sabotage because the U.S.Government has monopoly issuing power of the U.S. dollar, and in a fiat system government checks can’t bounce because of insufficient funds.

    Besides, Congress can always change the current funding mechanism for Social Security if the payroll tax doesn’t bring in enough abstract numbers of dollars to make the checks clear.

    1. Well, I suppose this stupid (retread) article deserves an equally stupid response, so… bravo?

  15. Well they also go wrong when they are not renewable and are held in private like gold and coal mines that leave toxic tailings for the rest of society to clean up.

  16. Since we’ve made a near complete circle practically all the way back to communist hell, what again was it I’m supposed to be celebrating?

  17. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My neighbour’s sister has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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