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That Bread is Mine, Too

Okay, so the State was smashed yesterday morning. Now what?

Obviously, everybody will go his/her own way and make oodles of gold. Some of it will be spent on protection agents and arbitration. And we shall be ever-vigilant against the return of the State!

But what are we going to do if someone wants his money back?

Such a question is far from academic, for one’s view of justice seems to determine one’s revolutionary tactics. Robert LeFevre, the anarcho-pacifist, pursues a purely educational route because he has foresworn the use of defensive restitutive force. What else can he do? Murray Rothbard, enamored with “temporary” political expedients, pursues popular fronts with rightists, then leftists, then partyarchs. With his “double restitution” or “restitution plus punishment” theory, he finds himself allied with the Penal Institution crowd regardless of other alliances.

Ayn Rand seeks unlimited restitution, and since infinity can only be achieved mystically she must resurrect a gover…

Edward Stringham: Private Governance | Book Review

There is a wide-spread conception - not only among Socialists, but also many Social Democrats and Conservatives - that the market would be driven to chaos if it were not regulated by the State, and that it therefore needs to be "kept in check" through the implicit threat of coercion if it did not behave according to its dictates. In Private Governance, Edward P. Stringham challenges this view, by delineating how the stock market, online commerce, private police and complex financial markets have been well self-regulated throughout history, and that when the State endeavors to take over the task of regulation of this and that industry, the result of the substitution of statutory regulation for self-regulation often turns out as a net negative, as State actors have far less of an understanding of how the industries work and less of an incentive to avoid either too little or excessive regulation.

Though the author's logic seems to endeavor towards favoring a Stateless society, it's no manifesto addressing the most potent objections to such a system (like military and crime [i.e. the questions of how a private police would conduct its business under a Stateless society, and whether there'd be no rules or competition in law and how], such as Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Market for Liberty by Morris & Linda Tannehill, Chaos Theory by Robert Murphy, The Conscience of An Anarchist by Gary Chartier, The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard, Against the State by Lew Rockwell, and many others have delineated theoretical solutions to), but it's certainly a useful contribution to its literature in terms of what historically has been shown to work in contrast to what theoretically may.

Stringham proves himself to have done a lot of research on the different sides of the debates of the subjects he brings up, formats his citations exactly to my aesthetic enjoyment, and provides a good structure to the content at hand. I'd certainly recommend this work for "central legalists" as Stringham calls them, who thinks the State is the first and foremost institution of arbitration one should approach in order to terminate civil conflicts, and I'd recommend them to check out some of the works cited above as complementary reading material to get more answers to questions in the format of "But without the State, how would X be dealt with?". Certainly, it's also quite good material for libertarians to get more of an understanding of the historical track record of market self-regulations, either out of curiosity or just as fuel for better arguments in debates with central legalists. Either way: Great style, structure and content, as well as informative in an academic, yet layman-friendly manner.

Stefan M. Kløvning is a Norwegian student discussing political, economic, and philosophical matters from an Austro-Libertarian perspective on his blog MisesRevived.


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