Market Anarchism...

is the idea that the rules of the market themselves should be decided on the market.

It is very similar to the idea that the rules of NBA games should be decided by the outcome of NBA games.

53 comments:

  1. Now you're just picking on them. But I suppose it's necessary in order to hammer these points into their heads, correct?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You mean a bit like the way the NBA has tinkered with the distance of of the 3 -point line over the years to address concerns about low scoring ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not serious are you rob?

      Samson, Ken, I cannot push this rock up the hill any longer just to see it roll back: can one of you handle this one? Thanks.

      Delete
    2. No, that's more like a government tinkering with the rules to improve economic performance.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Mr! Sorry I forgot to mention you in my request for help.

      Delete
    4. I was genuinely puzzled by your choice of analogy as the rules of most American sports are pretty much designed to meet market demand aren't they ?

      Also: Leaving aside any ancaps stuff what is absurd about the idea that the "rules of the market themselves should be decided on the market." ?

      Take 2 different markets A and B that have slightly different rules: If people prefer market A to market B then its rules will tend to become the dominant model for markets.

      Am I missing something ?

      Delete
    5. "I was genuinely puzzled by your choice of analogy as the rules of most American sports are pretty much designed to meet market demand aren't they ?"

      Right you are. So what? They are NOT determined by the games themselves!

      The analogy to market anarchism for sports would be: Let us have no basketball rules to start, but send two "teams" (who can even say what a team consists in at this point?) out to "play" (What will that mean? Have to "let the game decide.") a "game" and whoever "wins" gets their rules used next game.

      Delete
    6. "Leaving aside any ancaps stuff what is absurd about the idea that the "rules of the market themselves should be decided on the market." ?"

      Sure, the NYSE and AMEX can settle trades differently. But that is because there are ALREADY rules that say who is in charge at the NYSE and who at AMEX! Without already existing rules, you would not have two markets, you would have zero. (No one would own anything in order to be able to trade it.)

      Delete
    7. How did we get from a zero market situation to an multi market situations then ? Where did the rules come from ?

      Delete
    8. Well, rob, I think we can take it as a given that in a "zero market" situation, the rules were not coming from the market, right?

      Delete
    9. The history of many sports (probably nor basketball, but soccer is a good example) shows them originating in unstructured freeplay, gradually evolving into something more structured (where the rules will still pretty much be "crowd sourced"), attempts at codification (often competing versions ) then eventually a fairly standard set of rules used globally where any tinkering is done "by committee" , rather than spontaneously ?

      Delete
    10. Couldn't something like this have happened:

      - Humans evolve: No rules and no markets
      - People have the bright idea of trading stuff
      - Different "conventions" emerge (for example: credit allowed/not allowed, returns allowed/not allowed)
      - The conventions that people like the best get adopted.
      - Move forward 20,000 years and these rules have been codified in things like the NYSE.

      But of course you're right: The rules originally must have been predated the market - so no way could markets have emerged "from the market"!

      Delete
    11. What does it matter if the tinkering is done by a committee or by the players themselves when they sit down later and say, "Hey, let's add a goal!"? It is still absolutely nothing like "market anarchism," in which the outcome of THE GAME ITSELF is supposed to determine the rules by which the game can be played.

      Rob, you're just doing your best to avoid confronting the issue: imagine two groups of people showing up to play for the NBA championship. They get there and are told, "Right now there are no rules or referees: we will just let the game itself determine how the game is going to be played."

      It is complete and total nonsense. There is not even a way to determine who is winning!

      This is nothing at all like two boys who are just freely running around the yard when one of them says, "I'll race you to that tree!" The rule must be proposed, HOWEVER it is proposed, OUTSIDE of any interaction it may be proposed to govern.

      What market anarchists suggest is "Let's have a race to wherever the winner proposes we should go!"

      Delete
    12. "Where did the rules come from?"

      Where did the rules for the USA come from?

      Delete
    13. Rob, what you describe is NOT an example of the rules being a market outcome. The very first exchange could not possibly have taken places without A understanding X belonged to B and B understanding X belonged to A. Even if that rule was just tacit, it had to come first, and only then could there be an exchange. Exchange PRESUPPOSES ownership, and ownership is a rule about what belongs to whom, even if it is not explicitly formulated.

      Delete
    14. Suppose the NBA decides to abandon the 3-point rule.

      many players rebel and leave the NBA to form a parallel association.. They can't agree amongst themselves on what rules to adopt and they end with a few different rebel basketball groups being formed.

      The NBA sees it role to enforce the basketball social order and hires an army to destroy the rebels. The rebels form defense associations and civil war ensues. Eventually the rebels form an alliance and win control of most of the country

      Post victory in the territory controlled by the rebels people agree among themselves that from now on basketball can be played using whatever rules players want to adopt. The only time that force can be used is if any attempt is made to stop "free basketball" from being played. Basketball players pay "defense associations" to help enforce this rule, as despite the end of the civil war there is still disagreement from time to time between different basketball factions that needs to be sorted out. On the whole though there is consensus despite the absence of a formal set of rules in the territory.

      There is still a small territory that is controlled by the NBA. Here any basketball that is not authorized by the NBA is banned and violators jailed. Some people still like to live here though because they feel that social order is being properly maintained.

      Delete
    15. OK so version2:

      - Humans evolve: No rules and no markets
      - People develop "rules" about ownership and property
      - People have the bright idea of trading stuff they"own"
      - Different conventions emerge (for example: credit allowed/not allowed, returns allowed/not allowed)
      - The conventions that people like the best get adopted.
      - Move forward 20,000 years and these rules have been codified in things like the NYSE.



      Delete
    16. And...? You think I don't believe this is very much what happened?

      Delete
    17. Well you mock the idea of ""rules of the market themselves should be decided on the market."

      But to me this seems quite close to what I just described and that we both agree actually happened (though I am sure you will quibble about the use of term "market" to make it sound like I am totally wrong.)

      Delete
    18. Humans evolve: No rules and no markets

      [in other words, they spend a lot of time fighting, eating and f""king]

      - People develop "rules" about ownership and property

      [in other words, the strong ones defeat the weak ones through use of force]

      - People have the bright idea of trading stuff they"own"

      [in other words, rulers create rules and enforce them, and people trade instead of fighting]

      Maybe?

      Delete
    19. Rob, let's try a different approach. I will grant you the description of the above as one where "the rules of the market evolved on the market," OK? And we both agree that your description pretty much fits what actually occurred, right?

      Delete
    20. er, Yes

      (Rob cowers waiting for the head blow from mallet).

      Delete
    21. Therefore, since market anarchism is a system where "the rules of the market evolved on the market", and since this is what we agree actually occurred... our CURRENT system is market anarchism!

      So congratulations, you have won: the system you prefer is already in place. Now pay your taxes... oops, I mean protection agency dues.

      Delete
    22. Oh, turns out it was just a foam mallet.

      Your argument is a bit like saying that lions must have evolved to live in cages since that is where they are most commonly seen these days.

      When I think about the term "the rules of the market" I envisage an ideal set of rules that describes the essence of a market. This set of rules has evolved through many millennia of market experience. I would say that most people would NOT include the use of violence to control trade as part of the rules of markets.

      Of course in reality we have many markets that embody this ideal to varying degrees. "Market Anarchists" think that if a way could be found to suppress intervention then more markets would closer to the ideal and this would have beneficial results.

      Delete
    23. So, when you see where your argument that "this is what really occurred" leads, you take it back. The parts of current reality that you LIKE were pleasing spontaneous evolutions, while those you don't like were imposed... I guess by Martians or angels, who stand to us as we do the lions in cages.

      Delete
    24. "The parts of current reality that you LIKE were pleasing spontaneous evolutions, while those you don't like were imposed... I guess by Martians or angels"

      Your argument amounts to "markets evolved but so did state intervention - you've got to accept either both or neither". This seems weird.

      Sure, both markets and market-interventions have evolved. But that is not the differentiator. Markets are based on human co-operations and mutual benefit and do not need to be imposed. Market-interventions by their very essence do need to be imposed - and generally by humans and not Martians or angels.

      And (before you raise it again): Market Anarchists would impose their view of property rights on non-acceptors - but that's different because it unavoidable and needs a whole other discussion.

      Delete
    25. ancapism is a fundamentally irrational ideology...

      Delete
    26. Gene,

      I've noticed that arguments with internet anaps invariably end up going down a rabbit-hole of pure nonsense and absurdity.

      You will start out with a very simple, clearly defined point, in the hope that the ancaps out there will engage with it and think... but 5 hours later you will find yourself neck-deep in a quagmire of totally meaningless and nonsensical debate about something that is completely irrelevant.

      Ancaps seem to have developed some sort of technique whereby any substantive critique can be turned into a long and pointless argument about nothing at all... and then they go on their merry way, spreading the same falsehoods and nonsense, over and over again.

      Delete
    27. Glad to help; I am volunteering in a knotting course right now so have one arm tied behind my back, and the 3 point rule feels just about right.
      The rule makers, based on their observations, chose to change the rules of future games. This change was not because Seattle played Dallas, the winner to choose a new rule. But even if we grant that is what happened you'd be no better off. Who set the rule the winner could set a new rule?

      The game must first be played under some rule mustn't it? But now I am just repeating Gene's parable and will stop.

      Delete
    28. Rob, please read the above comment by Mr.

      Yep. I can't keep this up. Every time I follow the logic of your position A to show you where it leads, you simply shift to position B. Can't go on. Too weary.

      Delete
    29. Mr. Not quite. You are forgetting their drive-by villification of "statists" and their esoteric neo-confederate speech. (what after all is the point of endless ranting about Lincoln except to provide a vehicle for esoteric speech?) But I quibble.

      Delete
    30. I agree these discussion are totally pointless so I will refrain from entering into long winded exchanges on your blog in the future.

      However if you reread this thread you will see that all my comments have been around the subject of "the idea that the rules of the market themselves should be decided on the market." and how the "rules of the market" may in fact have evolved. I certainly haven't opened any rabbit holes or vilified any statists as your apparently one-eyed commentators allege.

      Delete
    31. You mean a bit like the way the NBA has tinkered with the distance of of the 3 -point line over the years to address concerns about low scoring ?

      Was the tinkering done during the game?

      Delete
  3. It is really striking how, just as Gene says, Murphy just does not understand the argument. Not that he rejects it, but as Gene demonstrated clearly on the other thread, simply does not grok it. Does it somehow trace back to the Rothbardian fantasy that their views are a priori, incontestable, and obvious?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "as Gene demonstrated clearly on the other thread"

      Where?

      Delete
  4. rob, what you keep pointing out is that the rules of, say, basketball, evolved slowly as people reflected on the course of play in actual basketball games. Of course they did! Who in the world would deny that? If you are attributing to me and Ken and Mr. such an absurd position, it really ought to stop and make you think "I must have them wrong."

    The way the rules of basketball did NOT develop is by letting them be determined by the winners of basketball games! The first team that brought knives onto the court would win THAT game, so now, knives allowed!

    Even the famous example from rugby, where someone picked up the ball in a soccer game and ran with it, is not a counter-example. His doing so was suggestive, but it did NOT create a new rule. That required a separate activity of reflecting on the game and negotiating its rules. And negotiating the rules of basketball is not at all the same thing as playing basketball!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I accept that I may be missing the point here.

      Genuine question: On what basis do you think that ancaps believe that the way the rules of the market be developed is by letting them be determined by the winners of the game ?

      It would seem a more viable position to me to say rather that they believe that the "winning" rules are determined by all the participants not just the winners.

      Delete
    2. Rob the "game" is a metaphor. They do they they will be determined by people paying for the rules they want, however. But their very ability to pay depends upon the rules of who owns what!

      Delete
    3. OK: You're envisaging that with no state rich people will simply enforce rules that benefit themselves and this will in turn make them richer.

      You may be right: Perhaps they might even come up with the idea for an institution that will help them in this goal.....oh, wait.

      Delete
    4. Rob, you made a revealing misquotation. Gene's original comment was not about the rules being determined by the winners but by the outcome. You scrambled that in a very serious way. Winners might indeed set futre rules, as winners are people. Outcomes are not. So your error postulates a very different thing, and zi suspect this is part of why you cannot see the point. The rules of the market cannot be an outcome of the functioning of the market as they are a prerequisite.

      Delete
    5. Not sure if anyone is still reading but:

      Ken says "The rules of the market cannot be an outcome of the functioning of the market as they are a prerequisite. "

      Yes, you need some rules before you can have a game - but once you have boot-strapped the process the rules and the game can develop iteratively.

      However there may indeed be a bias in rules creation that will favor the winners.

      So while understanding how rules emerge is interesting - it doesn't mean that all emergent rules are "good". Libertarians judge rules by whether they comply with libertarian views on sustainable property rights and the NAP - and as history as shown - these don't seem to take-hold spontaneously.



      Delete
    6. "but once you have boot-strapped the process the rules and the game can develop iteratively."

      EVERYBODY knows this rob. You are quite mistaken about the point Ken, me etc. have been making in thinking we are denying this.

      Delete
    7. I was not asserting that Ken denied that, but just trying to clarify the issue (and actually find some common ground that would make this discussion make some sense).

      As I pledged above to avoid pointless and long-winded discussion of your blog I will stop now.

      Delete
  5. On the off-chance that any lurker is actually interested in seeing a calm handling of these issues, I suggest reading my pamphlet "Chaos Theory" to see a first pass. Unlike this blog, you will see an honest attempt to raise concerns and deal with them. You will not see the equivalent of, "Ha ha, statists think the NBA rules should be determined by John McCain sending in airstrikes. That's really how these guys think the NBA should work."

    For example, on this very issue of needing to know the rules before you can let "the market" go to work, there is a section in Objections where I set up the problem this way:

    "A sophisticated critic may charge that my proposal rests upon a circular argument: How can people use contracts to define property rights, when a system of property rights is necessary to determine which contracts are valid? After all, Smith can’t sell Jones a car for a certain sum of money, unless it is established beforehand that Smith is the just owner of the car (and Jones the owner of the sum of money)."

    Now, you can like my attempted resolution or you can think I failed, but the notion that a quick little blog post can blow up the project--and the smirking from other that this is a criticism that is beyond my ability to comprehend--is obviously wrong.

    It's one thing for people who don't know me well, to assume I'm a fool who doesn't realize there are such objections floating around, but I would think Gene--who I'm pretty sure wrote a nice blurb for the first edition of "Chaos Theory" though I don't have it in front of me--would remember that I did have a response to this type of thing, one that he himself used to find compelling. Of course I could've been wrong--Gene changed his mind--but this notion that only an ideologue could miss what's staring him in the face, is a bit much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob,

      Your theory appears to rest on the idea that the majority will support it... therefore it is legitimate even though you 'don't have a theory of the source and nature of legitimate property rights'. How is this different to democracy?

      Delete
    2. "You will not see the equivalent of, "Ha ha, statists think the NBA rules should be determined by John McCain sending in airstrikes. That's really how these guys think the NBA should work."

      Bob, that is a complete, utter strawman version of what I actually wrote.

      And I just read that section of Chaos Theory. You *say* you are going to take up this objection, and then instead perform a magic trick. I will explain what I mean later, but since you can't perform what is logically impossible, it is not surprising you could not do actually do this.

      Delete
    3. "statists think the NBA rules should be determined by John McCain sending in airstrikes"

      I don't think anyone who is reasonably intelligent thinks that things should ideally be determined by the threat of John McCain airstrikes.

      However, anyone who is reasonably intelligent would probably also recognize the fact that things might well be determined by the threat of John McCain airstrikes, in reality.

      The real difference here is between fantasists (you) and realists.

      Delete
    4. It is not just any old strawman Gene. It is a very revealing one. By omitting the main point entirely it suggests Murphy does not UNDERSTAND the point. Like in the other thread.

      Delete
  6. I think the most damning thing for market anarchism is the way its adherents approach law. It's akin to the scientists who attempt to tackle metaphysics and fail spectacularly. Property and contracts are the hammer(s) and everything else is a nail. Trying to cram everything into their idiosyncratic framework only results in slapdash ad hoccery. Contracts can't cover even half of the stuff they think it can.

    ReplyDelete
  7. One last question on this post:

    I notice you don't publish about 1 in 5 of my comments. I'm just curious if this is because

    1. You never see them because of issue before they hit your blog and are not aware they even exist
    2. You review them and reject them
    3. You've got better things to do than read and approve/reject my comments so some just get get missed.

    Any of those 3 answers is fine by me (its your blog) I'm just curious.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gene, what is it about privatization that these so-called market anarchists think is a solution to conflict? I'm struggling to wrap my mind around it, but as far as I can tell, they seem incapable of realizing that people might not want something to be privatized or that they might not like the way something is being used.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Samson, I think this is another word game. If it is clear that I make all the rules then they say we no longer have a conflict about who cleans the toilet because we have no dispute requiring adjudication. You clean the toilet. So we have unhappy Samson and gloating Ken, but no "conflict". No contention, no conflict.
    That is what they mean by solve.
    Feel better?
    Oh, you missed a spot.

    ReplyDelete