Somalia Lived While Its Government Died

"Serious" foreign policy minds care about everything but citizens' lives.


Somalia in Transition Since 2006, by Shaul Shay, Transaction Publishers, 304 pages, $59.95

In most American minds, Somalia raises unsettling images of pirates and warlords, drought and famine, anarchy and downed U.S. helicopters. For those arguing politics, the East African nation is a powerful talisman: Its mere name is deployed to trump any libertarian argument for less—or God forbid no—government.

Established in 1960 from former colonial territories of Britain and Italy (though united for centuries by a rough sense of national identity and language, with complicated clan divisions), Somalia has been without a functioning modern central state since the collapse of Siad Barre's socialist dictatorship in 1991.

Barre's allegiance bounced from the USSR to the U.S. during the Cold War, while his domestic approach tended toward ruthlessly inefficient central control, cronyism, and inflation. He strove to demolish independent sources of power outside the state and left a nation awash in weaponry from his former patrons. Under Barre, military and administrative costs consumed 90 percent of government spending, while economic and social services commanded less than 1 percent.

Shaul Shay is a former deputy head of Israel's National Security Council and a senior research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. His new book, Somalia in Transition Since 2006, distills a bureaucrat's-eye view of Somalia. It reads like a set of white papers left behind at a conference of ministers, undersecretaries, and academics shuttled in on taxpayers' dimes to develop, as an actual United Nations report on Somalia states dizzyingly, "long term approaches to institutional development [that] will include support for the development of capacities to formulate strategies [which will] involve the provision of technical assistance to develop, formulate and implement policies."

Shay's book is all about war, diplomacy, international conferences, and failed attempts to make Somalia a modern Western state. While he barely expresses his own opinions, his book—especially when combined with research on Somalia outside its purview—shows Somalia has been more victim than beneficiary of the West's attempts to fix it.

Shay devotes hundreds of pages to Somalia's grim and baffling recent political and military history, but to sum up quickly: After Barre's regime collapsed, warlords hoping to establish themselves as a true national government fought, looted, and extorted. The United Nations and United States intervened, but by the mid-'90s both had given up.

The early 21st century brought a period of relative peace, disrupted by three separate attempts to create internationally supported "real" governments that in practice exacerbated conflict. As much of the largely pastoral population just tried to live their lives, an alphabet soup of often Islamist militias rose and fell and rose and fell, fighting each other and the feckless would-be national governments.

By 2006, a coalition of Islamist courts—known as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)—dominated Mogadishu, the nominal nation-state of Somalia's nominal capital. They imposed some rough versions of Shariah law where possible. Although they won much love from the Somali people for reducing the number of extortionary checkpoints and amount of militia fighting, they became targets of American wrath. In late 2006 a U.S. proxy invasion by Ethiopians (long-time enemies of the Somalis) brought violent chaos back to huge parts of Somalia, resulting in a fresh wave of 10,000 civilian deaths, 1 million refugees, and 3 million in need of emergency food aid.

War, natural disasters, an absent government-but how were people living? Shay neither answers nor even asks that question. What a society looks like without squadrons of technically trained experts isn't worthy of his serious consideration.

Some other researchers are interested in Somalis who aren't warriors or bureaucrats, and they have been fascinated by this phenomenon of a stateless zone in the modern world. Some of the more prominent such researchers have been of a libertarian bent. But even the libertarians, such as the economists Peter Leeson of George Mason University and Benjamin Powell of Texas Tech, rely on data and analysis from non-libertarian scholars and standard international sources.

In a 2007 paper in the Journal of Comparative Economics, Leeson examined 18 development indicators for Somalia. He found that "14 show unambiguous improvement under anarchy. Life expectancy is higher today than…in the last years of government's existence; infant mortality has improved 24 percent; maternal mortality has fallen over 30 percent; infants with low birth weight has fallen more than 15 percentage points; access to health facilities has increased more than 25 percentage points; access to sanitation has risen eight percentage points; extreme poverty has plummeted nearly 20 percentage points…and the prevalence of TVs, radios, and telephones has jumped between 3 and 25 times."

Somalia was still, certainly, a desperately poor and underdeveloped nation. Access to clean water had not improved, and adult literacy and school enrollment had gotten worse. Straight-up comparisons of official numbers showed gross domestic product (GDP) falling in the first decade of statelessness, though Leeson felt these data were ambiguous due to likely upward reporting biases in the Barre era.

But Somalia did not completely devolve. In many respects, it more than held its own against its statist neighbors. As Leeson wrote, "on the majority of the indicators…Somalia improved more than its neighbors over the same period, suggesting that the collapse of government resulted in greater development improvements than would have occurred in its absence. In a number of cases, Somalia has been improving while its neighbors have been declining." National macro-statistics for Somalia, as with most of sub-Saharan Africa, are known to be unreliable, but they are the closest we have to big-picture knowledge.

The Somali cattle trade managed to thrive through that first decade of statelessness, for example. Leeson, relying on data collected by Peter Little in his 2003 book Somalia: Economy without State, wrote that "Between 1989 and 2000 the value and volume of the cattle trade [from Somalia to Kenya] increased 250 and 218 percent respectively." Somalis managed a working monetary system via a combination of Barre-era currency, counterfeits of it, and the U.S. dollar. Many multinationals continue to do business in Somalia. Apparently, trade, technology, and tribal institutions do more for Somali lives as lived than a collection of administrators in Mogadishu.

A 2012 paper from the International Crisis Group concluded that the "international community made a mistake in recognizing the [Transitional Federal Government] as the national government, representative of all Somalia. The parliament is self-selected by those who had the means or connections to participate in the endless peace conferences in Arta, Mbagati, and Djibouti City that led to the formation of the last three transitional governments. Many legislators have few, if any, real ties to the local people they claim to represent. The president was then 'elected' by this non-representative institution. The government has failed to win the trust of most Somalis."

Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia scholar at Davison University and no partisan for anarchy, astutely noted in a 2007 article in International Security that at worst, "anarchist" Somalia has emulated existing international anarchy, developing bottom-up systems of "protection and access to resources…through a combination of blood payment groups (diya), customary law (xeer), negotiation (shir), and the threat of force-mirroring in intriguing ways the practices of collective security, international regimes, diplomacy, and recourse to war, which are the principal tools of statecraft that modern states use to manage their own anarchic environment." But, he says, "these extensive and intensive mechanisms for both managing conflict and providing a modest level of security in a context of state collapse are virtually invisible to external observers, whose sole preoccupation is often with the one structure that actually provides the least amount of rule of law to Somalis-the central state."

The Somali people have decently functioning cultural and juridical practices that come surprisingly close to the private adjudication systems proposed by the anarcho-capitalist writers Murray Rothbard and David Friedman. That "legal" system, known as xeer, generally outlaws only direct physical harm to other people or their personal property. Xeer is built entirely around victim compensation, known as the diya, not punishment or imprisonment. Kinship groups have an interestingly sophisticated system of group insurance, essentially committing to pitching in to help make good on costly misbehavior by their relatives. (In a less Rothbardian touch, the largely nomadic pastoral Somalis don't recognize true individual ownership of landed property.)

The ICU's legal system tended toward a non-uniform syncretist mix of Shariah and xeer, with the former applying most to family, marriage, inheritance, and strictly civil matters. Some instances of harsh Shariah-like physical punishment are known to have happened in Mogadishu when the ICU dominated the city. But as Hanno Brankamp wrote in a 2013 overview of ICU practice for Think Africa Press, "Contrary to popular assumption and terminological intuition, the Islamic Courts were not able to establish a system under which sharia was systematically, or even exclusively, applied." Indeed, clan law "ensured that the legal force of Islamic law remained limited."

Andre Le Sage, a political scientist at National Defense University, wrote in a 2005 paper that "customary xeer is the most far-reaching of the Somali justice systems, particularly in rural areas that are commonly beyond the reach of formal judicial systems, and is the most effectively enforced." Since these various justice systems have maintained "a modicum of peace and security in various parts of the country," he added, trying "to force one system across all areas would undermine those systems that function locally, and 'rule of law' assistance could in those circumstances create more conflict by undermining the structures that currently underpin local peace and security arrangements."

Those are some of the cultural resources that have helped Somalia's development indicators keep pace with its neighbors'. What has bedeviled the Somalis, from the Cold War to the war on terror, is being treated as a pawn in larger powers' schemes. Intervention has bred intervention: The 2006 Ethiopian invasion to overturn the ICU led to the rise of the Al Qaeda-allied radical Islamist group Al Shabaab, which led in 2009 to a new Kenyan invasion. (The Kenyans, like the Ethiopians, acted with America's active cooperation.) Back in 1992, a State Department official said that the U.S. mission in Somalia was "basically re-creating a country." Having perhaps learned that that's a trick that never works, Washington is now more cynically using Somalia to wage a drone war and to run rendition and torture camps.

As the latest attempt to impose a national government flounders in internecine bickering, the Associated Press reported in November that Somali sources said the U.S. is threatening to cut off aid to the would-be state if the current president and prime minister can't work together effectively. The existing aid package includes "$58 million…in development assistance in this fiscal year and an additional $271 million in military assistance for the Somali national army and the African Union force in Somalia."

A wide range of scholarship and commentary on Somalia, most with no ideological ax to grind, tells an interesting and even somewhat encouraging story—one about a society with an unusual and robust clan-based system of dispute resolution and goods provision that has managed to keep daily life moving along even without a "Somali government." (Even the threat of Somali piracy has practically disappeared compared to its zenith in the early part of this decade.) But for all its very fine-grained details about militias and conferences and battles, Somalia in Transition Since 2006 misses this tale entirely.

The problems with Shay's book, as informative as it is about what it chooses to cover, are the problems with the American and international outlook toward Somalia writ small: Both view bureaucrats and military leaders as paramount, ignoring what life is actually like for the people trying to live, work, co-exist, and even thrive.

NEXT: James Baker, J Street, and the Transformation of the Republican Party

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. No one wants facts when they employ Somalia as a rhetorical totem.

    I had some FB derp from an acquaintance who trotted out Somalia as free-market capitalist anarchy in its purest form. When I replied that free-market capitalism depends on rule of law and property rights, and that as far as I could tell Somalia did not follow any school of anarchist theory (anywhere on the right-to-left spectrum) the ‘discussion’ ended.

    1. Of course it did, because they ‘won’.

    2. That’s only because you and every other libertarian out there don’t understand what you really believe. Only progressive intellectuals know what libertarians really believe. You see, when libertarians don’t want something to be done by government, then they don’t want it to be done at all. The fact that libertarians don’t want the government to raise crops means that libertarians want everyone to starve. See? You don’t know what you really believe.

      1. Yeah, I always love that: a) you don’t know what you believe – let me tell you, and b) even if you believe that it isn’t in your own best interests – I know those better than you.

        I mean fuck – how can you argue with that kind of enlightened mind?

        Sometimes you can goad them a little with how mistaken humans can be and then remind them that they themselves and every expert they believe in are just as human as the ignorati. The looks on their faces when that dawns on them – of course you don’t get that all too often.

        1. Sometimes you can goad them a little with how mistaken humans can be and then remind them that they themselves and every expert they believe in are just as human as the ignorati.

          Nope. Doesn’t work that way. You see, when someone joins government or has a lofty degree from the right college, a miracle happens. They cease to be fallible human beings and become something more. In the case of joining government, because they serve the Will Of The People (formerly The Divine Right Of The King) they are no longer affected by self interest or greed. They become angels. In the case of intellectuals (formerly the clergy) they lose all fallibility and are above reproach.

          We live in a feudal system. Only the costumes have changed.

          1. that’s kind of funny. Not long ago I saw a Milton Friedman video where he was saying the basis for the incorruptible British civil servant was a massive reduction in the number of things classified as illegal. With fewer laws to circumvent, there was no reason to bribe public officials or otherwise play games with the system.

            1. Not only that, but when there are tons and tons of laws as there are in America today, it is practically impossible to follow them all. It is at the discretion of the enforcers as to whether you get in trouble or not. If the enforcer likes you, then you get off the hook. If they don’t like you, they just follow you around until they have an excuse to bust you. The result is rule of man, not rule of law.

              1. and they (the enforcers) must see that as a feature. The best way to make everyone a criminal and, therefore, subject to state sanction, is to make as many things as possible illegal.

                1. Ever notice that the more progressive a city is, the worse the cops are? It must necessarily be so, because progressives feel that everything should be subject to rules backed with state violence. This gives them the opportunity to initiate state violence on anyone they don’t like, and the enforcers are more than happy to oblige.

                  1. and that was the real story behind the Eric Garner incident. Selling. Loose. Cigarettes. Absent that law, cops had no reason to say a word to Garner, let alone act like uniformed thugs. Not excusing what the cops did, but the wheels on that began turning with TopMen.

                2. I used to own bars in British Columbia. If you read the rules carefully it was virtually impossible to run a bar. The liquor inspectors were all ex-military, ex-RCMP types who walked into your bar like feudal lords looking to exact tribute. They generally would threaten me and loom above me, (they were all big guys in those days, now of course 60% of them would be left leaning women), and glare at me. But, they left me alone in general.

                  I hated it. But, I was stuck with it. At one point I did something nice for our inspector. He was getting worse and worse with his drinking. By the time he would hit my place he would be pretty wasted. One day he came in drunk out of his mind and told me he wanted whiskey, which I gave him. But, I also took his keys and asked him for his home phone number. He was drunk enough he didn’t question me. My hotel was 100 miles from where he lived, I was a on a circuit. When he finished drinking he wanted his keys and I said ‘not a chance’, took him upstairs and got him into a room and let him sleep it off. I then called his wife and told her not to worry that he wasn’t coming home, but I also told her what had happened. Some months later he showed up, thirty pounds lighter, cold sober, with his wife. He told me that day was a wake up call for him, his wife had suspected but not admitted what was happening, and he went to AA etc. His wife came up because she wanted to personally thank me.

                  1. @ Pulseguy – thank you for that story. And good for you for doing that. I probably would have pushed the guy in front of a bus.

              2. Mencken wrote, all the way back around WWII, that the Cop’s idea of paradise was one in which he always had some law he could show you to be breaking.

                The Liberals think like cops. Quelle Surprise.

            2. When you’re trying to do business in a rule bound country, such as Mexico, it is the bribe that makes things happen. You don’t bribe someone to be allowed to do something you shouldn’t be allowed to do. You pay someone in the bureaucracy to walk your piece of paper past the dusty stacks of applications that have sat there for months, so that yours doesn’t.

              Rules create corruption.

              1. ‘rules create corruption’ And full circle to Friedman’s story about the incorruptible British civil servant. He wasn’t always that way, not when Britain was a nation full of smugglers because so many things were illegal. Make things not involving force/coercion legal and, voila, the civil servant cannot be corrupted because no bribes are necessary.

                The statist, unfortunately, is blind to this believing instead, that laws are magical. As a bonus, places where economic freedom exists are far more likely to also have political freedom. Not always, but often. Political freedom, meanwhile, never exists without the presence of the economic kind.

          2. You see, when someone joins government or has a lofty degree from the right college, a miracle happens.

            Yep, that’s their default. The trick is to deny them such deus ex machina, since they invariably are fellow atheist/agnostics. Usually they’ll huff off about like a Christian does when you deny Jesus. Of course they won’t allow that they are doing exactly the same thing – no, it’s different for them.

            Progressives really are just incredibly mindless things. They would be so much happier as an ant or a bee.

            1. “Progressives really are just incredibly mindless things. They would be so much happier as an ant or a bee.”

              And then swatting them would be legal.


          3. We live in a futile system. There, FTFY.

          4. We live in a feudal system. Only the costumes have changed.

            A feudal system, being a system of contracts between property owners for mutual recognition and protection, is not the same as serfdom which as the name implies is a system of involutnary servtitude. Feudalism and serfdom have existed at different times and different places as well as simultaneously.

            A modern ‘feudal system’ of sorts, would be an improvement upon the centralized state system that we now employ. The current system of governance I believe represents a regression in the rule of law.

        2. “I mean fuck – how can you argue with that kind of enlightened mind?”

          I favor a large mallet.

          I just LOOOOVE the kind of fatuous LIRP* idiot who is sure you don’t know what you think, or what you really feel, or what you said, or what you want. I love them because I can say to them; “Explain to me why my statement of my position isn’t really reflective of my position without resorting to jargon or psychobabble.” Since they practically cannot BREATHE without jargon or psychobabble, they can’t. But they also know that they have to refute my accusation or lose, so they try.

          The sputtering is most amusing.

          Most of what they say is gibberish, sanctified by constant repetition and if you are rude enough to challenge it they can’t deal with that. If they even try to think about it their heads start to come unwound, like a ball of string falling down the stairs of the Washington Monument.

          *Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive

          1. I favor a large mallet.

            Is there a jurisdiction where that is legal?

            1. Well, considering how fond the LIRPs are of “symbolic” actions that, viewed dispasionately, comstitute assault, you could just wait for one of them to assault you, and then apply the mallet.

              But it’s a grey area.

            2. It’s legal if you live in a cartoon.

            3. In a thread about Somalia I drop a set-up line that just screams “Somalia” and no one goes there.

              I am disappoint.

          2. I love them because I can say to them; “Explain to me why my statement of my position isn’t really reflective of my position without resorting to jargon or psychobabble.”

            I usually just do the exact same thing to them they do to me.

            You see me do it here occasionally when I use the, “Translation:” response.

            Of course, it usually helps when you can quote major historical figures in the prog movement, which progressives can almost never do.

            I disagree with your description of progs as “liberals.” When progs in Britain and the US started calling themselves “liberals” sometime in the mid-20th Century and got everyone to play along with their theft of that label they succeeded in pulling off perhaps the greatest Jedi mind-fuck in history. Progressivism was/is by definition an expressly anti-liberal third-way socialist movement. What they accomplished was co-opting a movement antithetical to their own ideology and claiming the history and victories of that movement, history and victories they had previously (and sometimes still do, witness the term “neo-liberal” now en vogue with right-thinkers in Europe) denounced vociferously.

    3. He could have easily retorted that it doesn’t matter what “theory” the people follow, when you remove government this is what you always get no matter what. It’s not true at all, but it’s an easy retort.

      The results of removing government altogether depends entirely on the culture of the people. If they grew up in a tradition of individual rights, reason, education, and literacy, then it will be much better than if the people hadn’t grown up with those traditions.

      1. and how many places had this tradition of individual rights, reason, education and literacy without some framework involving the rule of law to undergird it? Those traditions also require the tradition of a legal framework in order to exist.

    4. “When I replied that free-market capitalism depends on rule of law and property rights”

      You could have simply pointed out that nomadic herdsmen don’t practice capitalism. The nomad with a couple dozen head of cattle is probably not going to fret too much over satisfying his investors by increasing his herd over the next quarter. They do have law and property though their conception no doubt differs from that of your typical capitalist. As for your “Somalia did not follow any school of anarchist theory,” that’s almost certainly for the best. These schools of anarchist theory, like schools of socialist or libertarian theory, are best not followed.

      1. Wikipedia has a good article on Xeer and how it works. The “anarchy” there is not lawlessness.

      2. It seems that in these tribal communities that rely on village elders adjudicating their disputes works out because they know the people involved personally and can tailor the resolutions to suite also the social safety net is the family. It seems to suite the community fine like in Afghanistan their government is notoriously corrupt so the average citizen is sure to get a raw deal from the government. Our government is doing a stellar job in reaching astounding levels of corruption so we can be proud.

    5. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

    6. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  2. OK, Brian, you’re just asking for it: LIBERTARDS CAN HAZ SOMALIAS*@^!


  4. Reductio ad Somaliaism

  5. The “Somalia” argument is almost as bad as the Godwinning of an argument.

    And you know who else used to Godwin arguments to win them?

    1. The last President of Somalia?

    2. John Godwin ?

  6. OT: Or actually, perhaps exactly On T. Mrs, Almanian and I are on V in Richmond, VA to attend the funeral of the guy who taught us bagpipes (which is how we met at age 12 and ultimately became Mr/Mrs Almanian /backstory). SO – the growth around DC is UNREAL! Holy fuck! Been hearing about it – but when you SEE it….it’s horrific.

    People are so fucking stupid and the federalization of EVERYTHING gathers MOAR SPEED.

    So the growth of Mordor on the Potomoc continues apace, rendering state govts immaterial, and hastening the run toward SOMALIA when it all collapses as it must, cause it’s not sustainable.

    I cannot WAIT to get out of here tomorrow and get to Tennessee/Kentucky. Think we’re moving there…it’s still in human scale, plus the ROADZ are fabulous!

    1. Also, SugarFree…

    2. MORDOR was better organized and less harmful.

      1. And, it had really cool uniforms.

  7. Brian mentions the lack of private property, presumably meaning clans “own” big areas.

    One reason I favor individualism is because contracts can simulate 99% of collectivism, everything except coercing outsiders, whereas collectivism cannot tolerate individualism, let alone simulate it.

    But I can’t see any very good way of simulating clan land ownership with private property. It all depends on the definition of clan membership, and contracts are too variable. It seems obvious that those born to two clam members are in turn clan members, but what if they move away to go to college, then come back? Are they still clan members? What if they live in the clan area but work outside? What is the adopt a non-clan baby?

    I can only see it being practical for a geographically and culturally isolated area, like a Pacific island.

    Anyone have any insight or know of any practical real world instances?

    1. Clan member = national citizenship.

      As an example – the US clan.

      You don’t *actually* own any land in the US, you just have an indefinite lease-hold – with a ton of restrictions (including the restriction that the restrictions can be added to or changed without notice). You can secede but the ‘clan’ retains ownership (though you can continue the leasehold). ‘Clan elders’ (elected politicians) manage the communal property that hasn’t been given over to leaseholds.

      1. O come off it. That’s not even close to answering what I asked.

        Private ownership, as it exists in the US, may not be private ownership as it would be under a freer government, but you still have general rights to fence in your land, build on it, graze cattle on it, drill for oil, and so on.

        Under clan ownership, the clan decides those things because the clan owns it. As in the Americas before 1492. As in tribes fight over land, but individuals have no stake. I assume they had some form of private ownership in the sense that whoever planted and tended a crop in a field got first dibs, but who knows.

        What I am curious about is how these tribes, or other clans, handled clan membership.

        Getting all ranty with property taxes, eminent domain, etc, contributes nothing.

        1. i wasn’t getting all ranty about property taxes, etc.

          But a modern nation state runs this thing basically like its a clan that owns the land and lets members use it.

          As I said – indefinite leasehold. You pay a fee to the clan managers and you get the use of a parcel of land for an indefinite period. There can be restrictions on what you do with it. And the analogy holds to ownership of land *here* – it can be taken away for not paying taxes (lease), restrictions on what you can do with it (zoning laws and easements).

          Admission into the clan – is citizenship. If you’re considered suitable (and this can be measured many ways, form the US’ extended paper chase to some countries flat-out allowing you to simply buy citizenship outright) you’re given clan membership.

    2. Most of the area in the Horn of Africa away from the coast is geographically and culturally isolated. Those lines that you see on the map are just suggestions.

      1. It’s also such shit land that few people see any point in trying to take it over. Those warlords wouldn’t exist without outside support. Even our own progressive shitlords wouldn’t want anything to do with it directly, only through proxies.

  8. I find the Singapore subject much more interesting. i hope an editor or two at Reason will address the apparent paradox, which even National Review headlines “In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew built a Welfare State That Works.”…..-john-fund

    1. At best, he is an example of what you can get if you have a ‘good’ despot running things.

      An autocrat who understands that the best way to increase his own wealth and power is by ‘growing the pie’ can be incredibly good for a society – while he’s in power.

      Once he’s out, the very mechanisms that he used for good are ripe for takeover by those who only care about how much of the current pie they get to eat and fuck the future.

  9. Another problem is the failure to actually look at what L/libertarians are actually doing in Somalia/Somaliland. It’s no secret, see

    1. It seems that the Flag Counter country information there is lifted directly from the CIA World Factbook. NTTAWWT. The CIA’s site is pretty good for a quick overview.

  10. After reading the filters required to pass before receiving government assistance I would not call it a welfare state under todays definition of welfare state.

    It seems like more of a true safety net rather than welfare like the US version.

    1. Before we met, my wife applied for government assistance. She was working three jobs while trying to support her son. They told her she had to sell her car and quit one of her jobs before they would put her in line. She told them to screw.

      1. “quit one of her jobs”

        if that is not the embodiment of the perversity of welfare, I don’t know what is. When the downturn began, I had numerous former co-workers who stayed on unemployment because “I’m not going to take some shit job.”

        No, Sparky; better for you to leech onto me than to do something to help yourself. Then again, the shit job would have likely meant less money that unemployment and whatever else was providing, so I understand the economics argument. Anyway, good on your wife; you have clearly married well.

        1. Its why I support the CBI concept – as a compromise.

          We’re not going to get rid of state welfare, so just give it to them in one package. No queuing, no 5 thousand forms to fill out, no 15 overlapping bureaucracies who *almost* all do the exact same thing.

          Just ‘here’s your 10 grand, go find a job, or don’t, just go away’.

        2. I do door to door work. To qualify frankly you have to be not developmentally delayed (well not VERY much so), be able to talk to people without making them throw up and walk. Not much more than that. I get a $50 bonus for every person I sign up to do my job. I ask every person who tells me they can’t help my charity because they’re unemployed they can have a job. Guess how many takers on average per year. Go on, guess.

  11. Benjamin Powell of Texas Tech

    Shout-out to my alma mater! Raider Power, whoop whoop! Libertarians on campus, fuck yeah! Time to sell plasma and go to the Bash Riprock’s for penny pitchers, which is what we do at that school!

    1. …I miss college.

  12. Goddamn it Reason, you damn well know that without gov’t the sun doesn’t shine, rain doesn’t fall, and cattle won’t graze. You know that seeds won’t germinate, birds won’t chirp, and fish won’t bite. Gov’t is the source of life and without it there are endless wars, famine, starvation, and all around jackassery.

    Wait a sec, you say that gov’t is the source of the latter and not the former….Oh shit, I thought I was at HuffPo, my bad.

  13. Somalia is what I like to call a “Black Market Correction”.

    1. +1

  14. Anarchist facts:Anarchist are fake libertarians,Murray rothbard supports terrorist anarchist groups in Spain and France,Anarchists came from communism. the left and libertarians laughs at you,and Murray Rothbard stole the “libertarian”from the originals who had the name first.

    1. WTF ????

  15. Very interesting article. It would be nice if international data gathering organizations actually focused on unbiased economic data so there was a clearer picture. I wonder how much the life expectancy and other health related improvements were due to an increased charitable focus on the area and improvements in medical processes in general over the time since the government’s collapse

  16. So in essence, people’s lives improve when you remove the effects of a corrupt government.

  17. In Somalia, “Life expectancy is higher today; infant mortality has improved 24 percent; maternal mortality has fallen over 30 percent; infants with low birth weight has fallen more than 15 percentage points; access to health facilities has increased more than 25 percentage points…”

    See? Obamacare works!!!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.