The main idea: Though only a second-best alternative to a nuclear umbrella, a reformed Militia system could still afford weak defenders a way of imposing high costs on much stronger aggressors, with obvious implications for non-territorial defense in a Free Society.
1. The rationale of Militias
1.1 From the position of a weak believer in the ability of a future Free Society to credibly defend itself by conventional (non-nuclear) means, the idea of a Militia begins to look attractive. If non-territorial private defense agencies would probably be underfunded due to public good problems, if territorial entities could not be large enough to property defend themselves due to rational calculation issues, and if, for the time being, a proper credible nuclear second-strike capability is very expensive to procure (that is, too expensive even for China), than one is left with precious few alternatives when it comes to defending against a stronger attacker.
1.2 And indeed, a Militia system along Swiss lines is held in high esteem by some libertarians, who often compare it to the alternative of behemoth, uber-costly conventional armies creating problems too well-known to discuss.
The Main Idea: Looking back on the Albanian desocialization drive of the early ’90s, the failure to securitize state-owned assets and the insistence on a disastrous policy of physical land restitution stand out as the main failings.
1.1 Something more than twenty years ago, the Socialist Regimes of Eastern Europe fell one by one after the unwillingness of the Soviets to resist such development by force became known. Despite having severed all meaningful political connections to its European fellows since the ’50 and its lone Chinese ally since the ’70, the Albanian regime still could not avoid joining the fate of the overt Socialism in Europe, and by 1992 a feverish desocialization effort guided by a new government was in the works.
1.2 Looking back on that effort, what can one say about the long-term effects of the route chosen to transform a state-run economy into a mostly private one? To what extent where the Austrian prescriptions on desocialization followed, and to what effect? I will try to answer these questions, without expecting my analysis to apply to every eastern desocialization effort.
Long time no see
1. Better than nothing?
Modern Europe: where 50 shades of gray make all the difference
1.1 Few of those interested in economics can afford to show no interest at all in the Euro experiment, undoubtedly the most salient monetary development of the last decade (not of the current one, though), for better or worse. To libertarians, the question of interest is such: was the adoption of the Euro an improvement over the previous situation of a multitude of national fiat currencies, or a regression to a less desirable state of affairs?
1.2 I will try to provide my answer by availing myself of the local perspective of a citizen with, as it were, a first-row seat to the Euroshow. For prior discussions of the Euro on this humble blog, see here and here.
EDIT: Our own z1235 has posted a couple of months ago a reconciliation theory of Bitcoin and the Regression Theorem which is very similar to the one exposed below. Unfortunately I managed to miss that post in due time and was reminded of it only after publishing this.
The main idea: Bitcoin’s current rise to prominence will both mark the end of the use of Regression Theorem to discourage any alternative to the Gold Standard, and serve as the testbed of Hayek’s monetary insights.
Let yours truly add his own two cents to the substantial analyses recently published on the great performance of Bitcoin (see here, here, here or here for a few Austrian perspectives), or specifically on what the its undeniable, if perhaps temporary, success may yet show to followers of the Austrian tradition.
1. Bitcoin for Misesians
Bring it on!
The main idea: the twin concepts of “the system” and “they” do not stand for any actual system or group, but are a simplification of the Extended Order by the unconscious mind.
1.1 Allow yours truly to abundantly quote from a great blog I follow. Writing of Django Unchained the author opines that:
[D]iCaprio asks a rhetorical question, a fundamental question, that has occurred to every 7th grade white boy and about 10% of 7th grade white girls[:] “Why don’t they just rise up?” […]
Why did Django rise up? He went from whipped slave to stylish gunman in 15 minutes. How come Django was so quickly freed not just from physical slavery, but from the 40 years of repeated psychological oppression that still keeps every other slave in self-check[?]
You should read this next sentence, get yourself a drink, and consider your own slavery: the system told Django that he was allowed to. He was given a document that said he was a bounty hunter, and as an agent of the system, he was allowed to kill white people. That his new job happened to coincide with the trappings of power is 100% an accident, the system decided what he was worth and what he could do with his life. His powers were on loan, he wasn’t even a vassal, he was a tool[…]
DiCaprio is a third generation slave owner, he doesn’t own slaves because he hates blacks, he owns them because that’s the system; so powerful is that system that he spends his free time not on coke or hookers but on researching scientific justifications for the slavery– trying to rationalize what he is doing. That is not the behavior of a man at peace with himself, regardless of how much he thinks he likes white cake, it is the behavior of a man in conflict, who suspects he is not free; who realizes, somehow, that the fact that his job happens to coincide with the trappings of power is 100% an accident… do you see?
The Last Psychiatrist,
No Self-Respecting Woman Would Go Out Without Make Up (January 14th 2013)
1.2 I do indeed, but what I see is something else entirely.
The main idea: representative democracy fails in producing unbiased crowdsourced answers to difficult problems, as do its direct and statistical offshoots. Only unfettered trial by jury can be realistically considered a fair crowdsourcing mechanism.
Previously on Lost…
My previous post tried to analyze the claim that mass (i.e. representative) democracy is the only realistic non-violent alternative to civil conflict and found it in need of severe qualifications, to put it mildly. Here I will try to deal with the other appealing argument made for mass democracy: that it provides an algorithm for crowd-sourcing difficult issues. May democracy be in better luck this time?
The main idea: in terms of avoiding civil unrest, mass democracy is at the very most the fourth-best option available, and clearly underperforms systems that could quite easily be implemented tomorrow, even without doing away with the state.
1. High pretensions
1.1 Anarcho-capitalists are left unimpressed, if not frightened or even disgusted, by the depths of the modern worship of democracy. A host of moral and ethical arguments disprove the notion that by topping the bureaucratic apparatus with an elected echelon we make our government less of an aggressor against personal property.
1.2 An interesting debate though, starts once we accept, for the time being the existence of a government: does democracy still count a second-best alternative to a Free Society? I will try to explore the two arguments for democracy that appear to be more than poetry: that democracy avoids civil unrest and that it provides a crowdsourced second best algorithm for approaching just laws.
The main idea: Hayek’s concept of cultural evolution must be furthered by taking into account the conflicts between different replicating entities: the group, the individual and the meme itself.
1. Cultural Evolution
1.1 Friedrich Hayek’s last work (and the one I personally find the most compelling) The Fatal Conceit elucidates his concept of cultural evolution. In short, Hayek states that social mores, intermediate in nature between reason and instinct, are subject to an evolutionary process. Those human groups that sport the mores which are better suited to boosting their numbers will expand at the expense of groups following less adapt traditions. Though such norms are (most of the time, at least) not the products of any deliberate human rationality, they still ‘behave’ as if some human intelligence periodically reviewed their usefulness, a special case of Hayek’s celebrated spontaneous order.
1.2 I will have to skip here Hoppe’s critique of Hayekian cultural evolution (we may meet again, but for now let me state that this lecture sounds very Hayekian for a critic of cultural evolution), and rather focus on but a single issue: namely, that as stated by Hayek this model is clearly one of group selection, a set of theories which have been extensively (and, to my mind, convincingly) critiqued. Can Hayekian cultural evolution jump past this limitation and can we gain any additional insights in the process?
Of course, but we must go deeper!
The main idea: the Tiebout model of government competition can be said to truly fail to the degree that it ignores the perverse incentives created by the modern versions of feudalism, federalization and devolution.
1. The Issue
1.1 One of the blogs yours truly follows, Let a Thousand Nations bloom, posted an interesting recap of a couple of recent articles discussing the severe inconsistencies of the Tiebout model.
In my previous posts I’ve tried to paint the vision of a future where the technological reality of nuclear conflict will bring us towards a Free Society. Here I try to show that the concept needed for such a society to exist has already been created in the form of the State, here that the coupling the concept of the State with the reality of nuclear escalation will ultimately produce a world run by market-driven law, and here why I think we should have some reason to expect that market-driven law would approach Rothbard’s vision of libertarian law. I will try, in this last post, to address a few objections that I can imagine brewing in most minds.
Objection! Where’s my NAP?