Skip to main content

Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Riots are Inevitable, Not Justified

Beginning Note: I do not condone the riots against or the looting of private citizens or private property. This is not a defense, it is an attempt at an explanation.

Across US cities, there have been protests to call for reform of the police and legal system that is responsible for the brutal murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. While the overwhelming majority of these have been peaceful events, much of the news coverage and government reaction has been in response to the rioting and looting that have become adjacent to the calls for justice.

Many are shocked at the almost complete breakdown of law in cities across the country. But these should not shock anyone. They are an inevitable product of our current legal system: a monopoly. The government and police claim to have a monopoly over the legitimate use of force, and when this monopoly is shown to be counterproductive to the preservation of law--that is the protection of person and private property--we can only expect chaos.

The police have shown that they are not here to protect you or your property. Most obviously, they have shown it by the brutal murder of George Floyd and the lethal ambush of Breonna Taylor. When protesters took to the streets to fight this injustice and demand reform, several police departments began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into peaceful crowds exercising rights allegedly protected by the constitution. One video sent to me by a victim of tear gassing shows just that. The police have also shown that they are incapable and/or uninterested in protecting private property of local businesses once protests turn violent. Some have even suggested that the police were the one who started the riots using agent provocateur tactics. Others say that it was started by white nationalist or antifa. It is likely some combination of those three agents and natural, justified anger boiling over into unjustified violence. What is one to do when the monopoly fails to protect you and your property? When one Minnesota man tried to defend himself and his store by using deadly self defense, the police came and arrested him! They refuse to give up their monopoly of force even when it has deteriorated to having to protect their own murderers.

Much of this violence--both from the police system and the riots--have had a disproportionately negative effect on People of Color. 27% of fatal police shootings kill Black Americans when they represent only 13% of the entire US population. In fact, one Louisville protester was fatally shot by either the LMPD or the KY National Guard. There have been countless videos from local Black business owners who have seen their stores become the targets of chaos. One video shows a Muslim man named Hassan and his store after looters stole much of his inventory. An opinion piece in the Washington Examiner also argues that minorities are hit hardest by the looting.

What can we do to stop this from happening? Many have suggested political reform to curb the unaccountable police system we currently live in. Congressman Justin Amash of the Libertarian Party has proposed a bill that would “eliminate qualified immunity”. Cliff Maloney, President of Young Americans for Liberty, has said he will work for six real solutions. Others have called for mandatory liability insurance for police officers so that the taxpayer does not have to pay for the mistakes of the State and so that higher premiums will regulate ‘bad apples.’ All of these solutions are ideas that I support. I believe implementing these and other accountability measures will help to lessen police brutality. I hope to help these political solutions become realities.

But can we look beyond our political system for a solution? The heart of the problem is that the State exercises a monopoly on force. Imagine a system that lacked that inherent problem. For example, what if policing was done by competing insurance firms that did not have a monopoly on violence?

First, and most importantly, the firms would have no reason to use excessive force against their own customers. But what if a racist private police officer still used his power to murder? I cannot claim this would never happen. But from the start, it would be discouraged internally--whereas government police have an infamous internal protection. When the LMPD murdered Breonna Taylor, how many people could say, “You know what? I do not want to be policed by them anymore!” In a private system, media attention on killings would cause customers to switch from one firm to another, creating an incentive for police to be more refrained. Private police also would never have the shield of sovereign immunity.

Second, the firms would support local businesses if riots ever broke out. In the video of Hassan, he says that he has insurance but that repair and replacing will still be expensive. What if the insurance company was the one responsible for protecting his business? They would have an incentive to do this so that they do not have to cover claims. And they would certainly never have arrested the Minnesota man for protecting his own property!

We need solutions to the growing problem of unaccountable police. Some of these include political reform and I commend the work being done by those who are helping to get these passed. We should also consider more fundamental changes to our police system, though. It is clear that Americans are ready for change.

Derrell McIver @BenjaminDMyles1


Popular posts from this blog

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds th…

Technological Agorism I: Digital Feudalism

We live in the age of digital feudalism.

In earlier times, peasants saw their productive capital rerouted to their feudal lords. Likewise, we modern serfs see the monetary value of our digital presence being rerouted to big tech CEOs. And just as medieval lords used this capital to maintain their elaborate manors & their status in the nobility (thru kickbacks to the monarch), these modern day lords do precisely the same. The advent of tokenization promises to change this.

Big tech has profited enormously from the digital peasantry in two ways. 
They earn money based on the popularity of user-generated content. In other words, we use FB, Twitter, & IG to view content posted not by these companies, but by the individuals who use their platforms. Big tech collects & monetizes our personal data & has been doing so for quite some time. Own Your Content The tokenization of digital content has already started the process of disrupting legacy business models. Seeing as the fir…

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 

Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…