E) Safety and Security

Safety and Security

Interviewer: Marco, you are a pioneer traveller to the OboxPlanet. We call it an  Anarcho-capitalist,” society. Does that mean that there is anarchism and chaos?

Marco: Not at all. Similar to Earth, the majority of the inhabitants of the OboxPlanet seek peaceful coexistence. Protecting life and property is for them just as much of a fundamental desire as for us and in my observation, the OboxPlanet tends to be safer and more peaceful than many areas on Earth.

Interviewer: How is law and order maintained without state institutions like police, courts, prisons, and the military?

Marco: The military is a state institution, we discuss that in a separate chapter. Regarding personal security, most individuals on the OboxPlanet enter contracts with private security firms, more precisely with insurance companies. These companies, motivated by the need to cover damages, share the same interest in preventing crimes as their clients. They encourage investing in self-defense measures, such as locks and surveillance, or residing in secure neighborhoods. Many communities employ patrolling security services, further mitigating risks, all of which reduce insurance premiums.

Interviewer: But how can low income people afford protection?

Marco: Firstly, when we look at the costs on Earth, f.ex. in Germany, the total expenses for police, courts, prisons and internal security amount to less than 2% of GDP. On the OboxPlanet, where we have no state monopoly but market competition, these costs are even lower. Secondly, people are much wealthier on the OboxPlanet and thirdly, poor people have less property to insure, i.e. lower risk which translates to lower premiums. And as a matter of fact, I have observed charity arrangements and pro bono work of security and law firms for the most needy and uninsured. 

Interviewer: It sounds promising, but how are criminals apprehended and punished?

Marco: Insurance companies excel in apprehending criminals, as they hold convicted individuals financially accountable for all expenses. Collaborating with detective agencies and headhunters is common practice.

Interviewer: And in cases where conflicting parties disagree on who is at fault, how is the guilty party determined?

Marco: The absence of state judges allows adhering to the principle of impartiality. Judges cannot be affiliated with any involved parties, a familiar concept from private contracts on Earth. All contracts stipulate procedures for appeals, and the clients of course commit to peaceful conduct. Initiating violence or theft voids contractual protection. All in all, the reality on the OboxPlanet aligns closely with the predictions by Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, Hans Hermann Hoppe, Stephan Kinsella and others.

If you are new to these ideas, get ready for the intellectual adventure of a lifetime.

Safety and security are usually considered the core functions of governments, the protection of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, as the American Founding Fathers put it. How would people organize themselves without state police forces and courts? 

Fortunately, we not only have historical experiences and examples but also a rapidly growing body of literature on this topic.

Here are some key elements.

Firstly, a significant portion of crime on Earth does not exist on the OboxPlanet because there are no “victimless crimes.” These are activities that involve consenting adults engaging in peaceful interactions, with recreational drug use and prostitution being the most notable examples. On the OboxPlanet, there are no black markets, no Mafia or criminal gangs, and no money-laundering laws.

Imagine our world without gang wars, a massive decrease in the prison population, the absence of many court proceedings, the elimination of corruption deeply embedded in the police and judicial system, and the removal of the romanticization of such violence in movies and literature. It becomes clear why life on the OboxPlanet is generally more peaceful and where the tolerance and prevalence of violence is significantly lower.

A second notable difference lies in the fact that law and security firms operate as competitive enterprises. Their focus is on preventing and arbitrating conflicts, and the most efficient, or cost-effective, way to achieve this goal is to prevent physical violence at all costs. This is because physical violence is so economically burdensome that any firm engaging in it would likely go out of business, especially when competing against non-violent counterparts.

A third, related topic is the incentives of private companies and state monopolies. The focus of private companies is to make the victims whole. Insurance companies pay for the damage and have a financial incentive to catch the criminals, because then, they can make the criminals pay for all the damage and expenses. Today, the police usually has no financial incentive to catch wrongdoers and if they do and the criminals are thrown in jail, to add insult to injury, the taxpayers, including the victim, bear the financial burden of the criminal’s incarceration,

And then there is the foreign policy and wars. They simply do not exist because there are no states. No military, no defense budgets, no war victims etc. etc. 

Two more ways of looking at the topic:

Firstly, how can people and property be protected against criminals, against thieves, burglars, rapists, kidnappers and how can wrongdoers be apprehended? For these classical police functions, stateless solutions can easily be imagined because they exist already. More than half of all security forces worldwide are privately employed.Today, on Earth, the Police, military and judicial services in the developed countries use mostly well below 5% of all resources. On the OboxPlanet, we can save the military expenses and reduce the costs for the rest because they are no longer provided by a state monopoly institution. And what about the poor?  The need for protection of life and property is greater, the more property there are. Rich people need more – but they can also afford it. And since most people are wealthy, even the poorer regions are as safe as the rich neighborhoods on Earth. 

Secondly conflict resolution. What do we do when two people don’t agree on who is in the right? Here, too, we have ample experience in history. We can read about private arbitration in the bible and today, big and increasing parts of our business dealings work out most conflicts without state help. We can look at the credit card business and the sharing economy enterprises like uber and air bnb as well as the international trade law. All of them work out conflicts among their customers “internally” and without the power to enforce fines. Instead, the main power they have and use is exclusion.

I venture to say that business models built on the reputation of providers and customers not only keep people honest, but can even smooth out parenting mistakes in children. In the many years as both a provider and a customer of Airbnb, we have overwhelmingly noticed how the discipline of ratings has worked, for us as well as for our customers. Let’s say a young person feels like misbehaving. In a regular hotel on Earth today, he probably has to trash several rooms before he gets into trouble with future bookings. At Air Bnb, consequences follow immediately. 

Since the dawn of the idea of a stateless society in the 1970’s, thinkers like the Tannehills, Murray Rothbard, David Friedman and Hans Hermann Hoppe have all developed ideas for private conflict resolution.

If you are new to the idea, get ready for an intellectual adventure of a lifetime.

What experiences on Earth, past and present, help us understand life on the OboxPlanet?

Let’s talk about two arguments against a stateless planet

1. “But on Earth, at least we have some social security and legal certainty.”

Both are an illusion. Both depend on the will of the politicians. Social security is no security but the belief that politicians will keep forcing some group to pay for others, the young for the old, the healthy for the sick etc. It is the belief – or the illusion? – that these programs can and will be paid into the far future. And as far as legal certainty is concerned, there is no certainty as long as politicians can change just about all laws. They have done so, sometimes even retroactively.

The fact that politicians can and do make laws for whatever they please has another, often tragic consequence. It makes a mockery of the noble principle “ignorance of the law does not protect you from consequences”. This principle makes sense for laws that are commonsense, like “thou shall not murder”. It is an absurdity in a world where nobody knows all the laws and some even contradict each other.

2. “Why go to extremes, why not settle for a minimal state which provides the protection of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?”

There was a time in the history of the Earth when political theory was heading in the direction of the stateless OblxPlanet. The so-called Classical liberalism is a political ideology that emerged in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment.  John Lock, in hist  ”Two Treatises of Government” in 1689 argued that the state should limit itself to the protection of “life, liberty and property”. This spirit culminated in one of the masterpieces of political literature, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, where Thomas Jefferson used almost the same words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

This was the battle cry  of the American Revolution, which ended by the American Colonies getting rid of the English King. Thereafter, the founding fathers of the United States wrote a constitution with one overriding goal in mind: to limit the extent of government to precisely enumerated functions, listed in the ”bill of rights”.

It was a group of brilliant minds in an optimal moment in time. Alas, what logic leads us to predict, happened. Whenever you have a state, an institution with the monopoly of making laws and regulations and enforcing them with all the necessary coercion, this will tend to attract people who want to rule, more so than people who want to abolish rules. One could say: “growth is in the DNA of every state”. The US, today, is the biggest and most powerful state history has ever known. Fun fact: the military defence budget in 2021is bigger than the next 10 biggest military budgets combined, and about 12 times higher than Russia’s military budget.

What can we learn? Since not even the American constitution could reign in the growth of the state, we must probably accept that as long as states exist, they will want to grow. The upshot? By studying the OboxPlanet, we know, that a stateless society cold function, arguably with much more peace and prosperity. And as one saying goes: “Only when we dare to imagine the possibilities, can we begin to make them a reality.”

Things we could learn and implement from the OboxPlanet:

Aim to abolish the state completely.

Aim for decentralization and secession, everywhere, anytime and with no ifs or buts.

To combat the uncontrolled growth of legislation, each law should have an expirationdate, a so-called ”sunset clause”.