Home > Anarchy, Austrian School > “Anarchy” really is a viable system of social order

“Anarchy” really is a viable system of social order

Nearly everyone I talk to has no idea (or more precisely doesn’t care) what anarchy means, what an “anarchist” supports.  Most associate anarchism with the Sex Pistols song.  Bad move.

Anarchy simply means the absence of monopoly government. 

Government is defined (even by Statists) as a monopoly provider of law and order services in a given geographic region.  There is no appeal process beyond the State.  It is defined as the “last appeal entity” in any jurisdiction when a dispute arises.

Anarchists believe in the power of voluntarism, spontaneous order and competition. 

Societies can order themselves through co-operation, not coercion.  Religions, social groups, charities – they all organise themselves cooperatively.  The govt organises society through compulsorily acquired property (theft through taxes) and through the use of monopoly force (via the police).

Spontaneous (not consciously designed) order can occur through the price mechanism.  Governments do not use the price mechanism to allocate resources; they use the political process and their own decision-making criteria, divorced from the price mechanism.  If a service is already being delivered by the private sector (such as coin production) the govt has to crush that industry in order to control that market.

Competition simply means a number of entities competing to provide the consumer the same product or service.  Govts should “compete” to provide law and order.  If a citizen doesn’t like a particular brand of “law and order” he should be able to sell up and move freely to a neighbouring state providing better law and order.  Hence, states should be as numerous and as small as possible.

My first introduction to anarcho-libertarian ideas was through this book by Robert Ellickson entitled Order Without Law: How Neighbours Settle Disputes.  After reading this brilliant book, I (naturally) asked myself “If neighbours can settle disputes efficiently themselves, why can’t all of us – society at large – do the same thing?  We are all essentially neighbours, and when we get into disputes all conflicts are essentially analogous to neighbourly disputes.  So why are there monopoly providers of so-called ‘law and order’ when we could probably (in the vast majority of disputes) do a much better job ourselves through voluntary arbitration/mediation services, appointed by disputants themselves (and through private insurance and security service providers in the case of protection of property and person)?”

I then went on to read Murray Rothbard, and found that he had posed the same questions.  Then I read Hans Hermann Hoppe and the Sun came out, shining brightly.  Hulsmann and de Soto simply added to the brilliant sunshine.

I now divide up the world into those ignorant fools who haven’t read these works and those Chosen Few who have.

Murray Rothbard begged for anarchists to be given a country, a region, to try out these ideas, to see whether they would work.

Well, as it happens, an area of the world is trying out these ideas, by default.  A “lawless” region of Africa has “fallen” into a state of true anarchy.  That region is a  secessionist area within the Ivory Coast.

And you know what’s happening? 

It is flourishing!  Check out what’s happening here.

And, ironically, when the central bank of Zimbabwe completely abandoned its attempts to control the monetary system and allowed “anarchy” to reign, with any currency (foreign or domestic) lawfully being permitted to be used for trade, guess what happened?  Trade flourished!  See what happened in 2009 here.

If we know for a fact that these ideas work, why don’t governments break up, why don’t they shrink, why don’t they abandon their “plans” for the benefit of the people?

Because they don’t exist for the benefit of the people.  They exist for themselves, to suck the lifeblood out of an economy.  They exist to expropriate property on behalf of their benefactors.

Remove the thief and the people flourish, just like you’d expect in any safe, civilized area of the city. 

Allow the rapists of the State to flourish and what you get is not anarchy, but chaos.

Who can deny that the biggest, most expensive State operations today are occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Have you visited these “strong state” regions?  Do you know the “benefits” the internationalized State is providing the people in these regions?  Note: the Taliban are long gone from govt in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein was hanged years ago now.  These “enterprises” are now run exclusively by Western govts and by the UN.

I ask you: Would you prefer to live as an ordinary person in the secessionist area of the Ivory Coast mentioned above or in Kabul?  Both are extreme cases at either ends of the spectrum: one with the complete absence of govt, and one with the greatest concentration of govt agencies (both “domestic” and international) on the planet.

Please think about it.  And please never associate anarchy with the Sex Pistols song ever again.

Categories: Anarchy, Austrian School
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