News

Loading...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Is That Anarchy Working Out For Ya?

My anarchist friends blame violence chiefly on the state. So what is the least peaceful nation on earth?

The anarchist one: Somalia.

23 comments:

  1. Why is Brazil considered a more peaceful place than United States?

    But more importantly, why is United States considered more peaceful than Iran? Iran has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world - being a mere one-tenth of that in District of Columbia in US.

    I checked how they measure the Peace Index - one of the indicators is policemen per capita.

    But if more number of policemen ensured reduced crime, why is having more policemen by itself a bad thing?

    So Iran has lower crime rates than that of US, but it gets docked down far below US, because it is a police state? The logic is stupid. If Iran is more peaceful, it is more peaceful. Number of policemen does not matter in that respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prateek, I'm sure no method of doing this is perfect. But... the police thing does make some sense. One might consider the most peaceful place one where there is neither any crime NOR any law enforcement: the people in and of themselves just don't commit crimes. A place with tons of cops might be considered more "subdued" than peaceful.

      Delete
  2. Watch out for those hospitals too, Gene. Some of the most dangerous places on earth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So is what you are saying, "Just as only very sick people go to hospitals, so only very sick nations will enter into a state of anarchy?

      I agree.

      Delete
    2. Not what I am saying, but even if it were, I would close the quotation marks.

      Delete
  3. Prof. Peter Leeson has done work in this area. You can find it at http://www.peterleeson.com/better_off_stateless.pdf. Furthermore, given that civil liberties and (probably) economic freedom are completely nonexistent in Somalia, it is hard to argue that Somalia is an libertarian anarchist society.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How easy is gathering data on this type of thing in Somalia anyway? (to ancaps- not rhetorical I'm genuinely curious)

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Furthermore, given that civil liberties and (probably) economic freedom are completely nonexistent in Somalia, it is hard to argue that Somalia is an libertarian anarchist society."

    And the Soviet Union was not a real example of communism!

    I know Pete's work very well. I have co-authored with him, in fact.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I sense a contradiction here.

    On one hand, Somalia is considered by **some** people online to be better off in anarchy, as the innovative spirit of certain Somalis has forced them to build their own electric grid and their own roads in rural parts.

    On the other hand, Somalia is considered by **some** people to be worse off precisely because of a brutal and authoritarian government.

    Generally, they tend to be different people making each argument.

    But Tony Ardizzone just made both those arguments in one small post.

    Which one is it?

    ReplyDelete
  7. so they're working out their anarchy over there in Somalia. . .heh. someday a righteous and large (strong) enough gang will placate the Somalian populace. meanwhile we're stuck with our own righteous and large (powerful) gang. chaos aka "anarchy" being the removal of restraints in the human power vacuum. . .things will eventually "resettle." true that.

    maybe it is "peaceful" in the United States (homeland - lol) but I wonder what an Iraqi or Afghani or drone mishap in Yemen thinks about the United States being "peaceful." I don't think they took into consideration Arms Shipments. lol

    ReplyDelete
  8. aha! they got me. they do take into account external warfare/conflict.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dr. Callahan,

    Are you asserting that any state in a state of chaos is an anarchic state? All I am saying is that it does not seem to me that Somalia is actually in a state of anarchy. Chaos, of course. My understanding of the situation is that since Somalia has limited to nonexistent civil liberties and economic freedom, there must be some government restricting such exercise of liberty. If anyone is still unclear, please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As noted above, it is rather tricky for you to assert both:
      1) Somalia is an example of anarchy; that's why the people are doing so well; and
      2) Somalia is not an example of anarchy; that's why they are doing so badly.

      What anarchy means is "no leader." And Somalia is certainly leaderless. I understand it is not the vision of anarchy you recommend; the real question is, is it the one you would get?

      Delete
    2. I agree that the people in Somalia are suffering. I am not arguing that they are not and I am not framing it in the way you set it up. An anarchic society would not be able to involuntarily repress and abridge civil and economic liberties. Thus, I am just raising the point of whether or not Somalia truly is in anarchy (I contend that they are certainly in a state of chaos).

      All things aside, I am reading your book Economics for Real People and I must say I am very impressed by what you have to say.

      Delete
    3. "An anarchic society would not be able to involuntarily repress and abridge civil and economic liberties."

      Why not? There are people referred to as criminals who do that sort of thing all the time.

      What is true is that in the anarchy *in your head* this will not happen.

      Delete
    4. What I meant was that there would be no central authority that could do such a thing. Thank you for responding to my email, by the way.

      Delete
    5. "What I meant was that there would be no central authority that could do such a thing."

      Yes, non-central non-authorities can do a fine job of killing you!

      "Thank you for responding to my email, by the way."

      Of course, any time.

      Delete
    6. By "such a thing," I meant abridgement of civil and economic liberties. In an anarchic society, murderers and rapists and the ilk would be put in privately-run prisons. This is not my idea. I read it in Bob Murphy's book Chaos Theory. I'm aware that this may seem utopian, but the free market does a good job at protecting consumers and facilitating commerce and civil society. Why can't the same happen for law?

      Delete
    7. "In an anarchic society, murderers and rapists and the ilk would be put in privately-run prisons."

      You hope. Whether they actually would or not is another question. Hasn't worked that way much in Somalia, apparently.

      Delete
    8. But this is why David Friedman opposed violent revolutionary tactics to bring about a stateless society. If there is no steady transition toward such a society, then the people will not be able to react and chaos will ensue. I believe Don Boudreaux has eluded to a similar position. The "anarchy of Somalia was formed in a vacuum unintentionally created by those who held total power. Had civil society been able to flourish, we may have seen a more peaceful transition to statelessness (or none at all).

      Going off what I said about prisons, I do believe that the profit and societal incentive would be there on the market for prospective owners of private prisons to engage in such economic activity.

      Delete
    9. Anthony - I think most rational people, in a socially and economically free society would be compelled by the profit incentive but wouldn't there be plenty of criminals who would be just as happy not to? Indeed wouldn't there be an incentive for some to try to usurp the freedom of the people and subjugate the people?

      Delete
    10. Anthony - I think most rational people, in a socially and economically free society would be compelled by the profit incentive but wouldn't there be plenty of criminals who would be just as happy not to? Indeed wouldn't there be an incentive for some to try to usurp the freedom of the people and subjugate the people?

      Delete
  10. Yes, that's a right question.

    "Would an anarchist's ideal version of anarchy actually end up like Somalia?"

    Let's say it does not end up exactly like Somalia due to cultural differences - the religious fundamentalism and cross-sectarian fighting going on there.

    But the general problems of pillaging and piracy? I believe they can even persist in otherwise stable and peaceful Western countries under anarchy for two reasons.

    1) Even US under the Civil War or the Revolution was not some paradise, although it was not Congo either. When there is no monopoly on violence (hence, no state), the aspiring monopolists for violence conduct actions such as that of General Sherman.

    2) People who have used "peaceful civil disobedience" against governments have often incited (unintentionally or intentionally) violence. Martin Luther King's civil rights protests often turned violent and resulted in vandalizing and attacks on property. Gandhi's anti-statism led to the Chauri Chaura incident of police being locked and burnt inside a building.

    Neither was the intention of Gandhi or King. But if "by their fruits ye shall know them", then the anti-statism of Gandhi and King was borne of violence and brutality. Hence, anarchy is borne of violence and brutality, whether intended or not.

    ReplyDelete