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Indian Libertarians

Life, Liberty and Property

You are all still a bunch of socialists

smehra Friday March 7, 2014

In a series of recent blog posts “Freedom Team of India” founder Mr Sanjeev Sabhlok has criticized libertarians of the anarchist variety on the issues like those of national defense. I usually don’t like to criticize the doers in the liberty movement, especially when India needs doers in large numbers, but I as a market anarchist cannot let such a criticism slide by without a proper response. So I will attempt to answer the criticisms with all due respect to Mr Sabhlok.

We start with the post on Rothbard: Rothbard’s foundational error about classical liberalism and his mistaken belief in anarchy (all quotes without source are from the article)

 

Quote:
"I've ignored Rothbard because he is a "libertarian anarchist"."

 

Mr Sabhlok wouldn’t be the first liberal to ignore Rothbard (or market anarchists in general) and he wouldn’t be the last. This is the usual mindset of a liberal when faced with their own logic taken to its natural conclusion. Ignore all our arguments as unsound as its a well known fact that “the government has to exist”. I applaud Mr Sabhlok for at least trying to study Rothbard, most liberals don’t even do that.

 

Quote:
"He assumed that the classical liberal social contract is a contract of CONVENIENCE."

 

All social contracts are contracts of convenience. It is what those who want to be involved with the state tell themselves to justify their acts of violence. Just like how a holy book is a book of convenience for the priests of that religion to justify their actions. But whether a social contract is a contract of convenience or not is of no consequence as the majority of the population has never signed any and only an extreme minority of the population was even consulted to draft the terms of the contract. (No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority - Lysander Spooner )

 

Quote:
"The nub of the argument is the need for TERRITORY. Human nature is tribal, aggressive and inevitably linked with war."

 

Absolutely. Need for territory is a central argument of libertarianism - Property rights of each and every individual. The fact about human nature can be refuted but arguments can be made either way. If humans are peaceful creatures (at least majority of them) who tend to socialize then a utopian form of Anarchism is possible without a doubt. But if humans are indeed aggressive creatures then all the more reason why we cannot let an extremely small fraction of them hold on to powers that affect a large percentage of population. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Personally, I am not a utopian anarchist. I do not believe that human nature is inherently good or that only a minority of humans have a tendency to do evil. I believe that all humans (even myself) cannot be trusted with power. The extent to which power corrupts may vary from person to person but the result is the same - a ruler who does violent acts against his subjects and justifies to himself by saying “I did the right thing”.

I usually do not like preaching “markets” to Classical Liberals (who already accept free* market arguments, *conditions applied) but I think a note about markets is needed here. If humans are truly violent and aggressive, why is it that majority of them live peacefully today? The answer, of course, is that we are selfish creatures. Violence tends to invite violence - its in our best interest to not aggress against another human being, at least not when its costly to do so. This is the reason why humans have socially evolved the process of markets. Markets make it cheaper to obtain goods peacefully than to obtain goods via violence. Indeed, whenever market processes have been deconstructed, humans have fallen back to their violent means - a lot of times against the state (and the rich). Markets make us humane. Market Anarchism is the notion that market process should therefore be left free to evolve without rulers - no compromise.

 

Quote:
"This means that threat of attack by others is always a possibility. And hence people must necessarily come together in GROUPS."

 

Although not said properly, a case for collectivism can be made. No individual has the capability to match the might of a superpower nation. Market Anarchists do not reject that argument. However, this argument is an argument for collectivism, not the state. We do need collective strength to ward off an aggressive collective. This is how it has always been.

Perhaps the difference between persistent minarchists and anarchists is their difference in goals. It is usually alleged that Market Anarchists (and Anarchists in general) do not give a good answer to the question of national defense. To some degree this allegation is true but not because we avoid the question but because our concerns are different:

 

Quote:
“… a society without government is a society without nations. In this context, “national” defense is a meaningless concept. If you wish, you may see this as an assertion that an argument for anarchy is necessarily an argument for global anarchy. I prefer to see it merely as the recognition that human beings, not nations, need defense.” - John Hasnas, The Obviousness of Anarchy.

 

Which is probably the reason why many Minarchists will always be Minarchists (or classical liberals) - they view national defense not from the perspective of the individual but from the perspective of the nation (and its rulers) - One nation with the fascist slogan “Strength through Unity. Unity through Faith”, completely forgetting the democides.

However, a change of perspective is needed if one is to understand Market Anarchists. After all a perfect form of national defense is supposed to be all about protecting the individuals of the “nation” from “foreign” invasion and not the “plutocracy”.

Yet historically wars, defense and armies have always been about protecting the plutocracy. At least in India, a change in ruler rarely had an impact on our daily lives (except during the war period). Armies were therefore not present to protect us from other kings, they were present to protect the current king from other kings - a fact that can easily be seen as the victorious king almost never showed any special ill will towards his newly acquired subjects (at least no more ill will than usual).

 

Whether present day armies are any different is a matter of speculation. But simply accepting that the national army represents the best interests of people will amount to blind nationalism. After all, present day Indians would shudder to think that the armies of Ashoka, Akhbar or any other king of the pre-democracy India ever represented them. Armies that ravaged not only armies of other kings but Indian civilians and infrastructure as well. People have no problem calling them rouge armies - they are no longer blinded by the sort of nationalism that existed then, blind nationalism that made the people support their king for wars. Yet most arguments involving “support our troops” are just that - supporting our troops without question. In fact, I argue that when people say “support our troops” they unwittingly say “support our plutocrats”.

If I was arguing with someone from the west, I would point out the “war crimes” done by the American armies in the middle east or the “war crime” Putin is about to commit. But unfortunately this argument is with an Indian audience who are afraid of such armies and feel that we need a monopolized army to protect our borders. Which opens us to arguments like:

 

Quote:
“I dare them to first go and stop Russia and China, if they can.” - Please control Russia and China first and then preach

 

When we as Indians talk of national defense, we would never want such an army to represent us as is the US Army - changing regimes, invading homes and destroying property. We would never want the Indian Army to stoop so low.

Yet on closer inspection, the difference between Indian Army and the US Army is just that of scale and power. Our Army is just not that high in the pecking order. Russia invades Ukraine, it would be in our best interest to keep quiet. Had our army been that strong and had we been high up in the pecking order, we would most probably have our very own Indian Putin - waging wars for special interests rather than national defense. This fact can be verified by a quick look at history, armies that are the strongest have always been the first to be used for special interests - fear of these armies were probably used to justify support of all national monopolized armies.

I wonder if Mr Sabhlok would demand that we first capture the “Indian Putin” before preaching liberty.

 

 

Do you support the troops?

Quote:
“Without the brave soldier, you would not exist.” - Please control Russia and China first and then preach

 

This, of course, insinuates that libertarian anarchists are ungrateful to the troops. But that is not the case. As I have said it before I am not a utopian anarchist, there is a need for societies to protect themselves. There is a need for some collectivism as no individual can stand up to an invading army. I accept the argument that soldiers have sacrificed their lives to protect us so that we can have a society.

I “support the troops”, but I do not support the following:

 

  • Forcing them into wars that involve special interests.
  • Forcing them to work for a single employer

Especially since that single employer is the state - a body that consists of the plundering class. And as it has been repeatedly pointed out - as long as we have a centralized body that claims monopoly over law and order we will always have special interests that can be acted upon using tax money, whether it is protecting certain businesses or protecting a currency. So saying that we will always need a state for defense is saying that we will always have to plunge our troops in special interest wars under the command of their only possible employer.

Classical Liberals (and Minarchists) do understand the slavery that comes with being forced to work for a single employer. Most of them are Liberals for this very reason - labor freedom. Yet when it comes to troops, they reverse their stand.

A better question would be: Does the members of parliament support the troops?

 

But what is the solution?

Market Anarchism is not a solution, its a process and to some its the end goal. Market Anarchism will not give any solution to your problems - it is not a committee. Questions like “How will a libertarian society handle X” are good from a utilitarian perspective and utilitarian arguments for market anarchism can be made. However something different drives the market anarchists, especially the Rothbardians:

 

Quote:
“In short, how many people will man the barricades and endure the many sacrifices that a consistent devotion to liberty entails, merely so that umpteen percent more people will have better bathtubs?

It is our view that a flourishing libertarian movement, a lifelong dedication to liberty can only be grounded on a passion for justice.” - Murray Rothbard, Why be a libertarian

 

It is simply injustice to force conscription, force them into wars they don’t support and force them to work for a single employer.

However, utilitarian arguments can also be worked out. Some of the good arguments are present in papers listed at Mises Wiki - a discussion of which demands a separate article in itself. But none of these utilitarian arguments will ever convince a terrified individual and fear is the ultimate weapon of the state.

 

Quote:
"Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats." - Benjamin Tucker

 

You are being Delusional

The task ahead for libertarians is a mammoth one, especially in India. Studying libertarian ethic helps you fix your screwed up moral compass. It helps you see the acceptance and even glorification of injustices around you. It helps you understand what a truly free society should look like; what a truly free market should work like. While an anarchist’s project is arduous and an uphill battle it is certainly not delusional.

 

Quote:
“It may be taunted with the retort that this is all Utopian and, therefore, not worth a single thought... Let India live for the true picture, though never realizable in its completeness. We must have a proper picture of what we want, before we can have something approaching it." - M.K. Gandhi

 

I simply cannot accept a “working” Classical Liberal state as a proper picture of what a truly free society should look like. A free society is not one where the government still has monopoly over land and money. So Classical Liberals either lie about true freedom or are delusional themselves – there is no such thing as a free society under a state (especially a strong state). Either way, Classical liberalism is an argument that we must keep the worst perpetrators of humanity in power or they will retaliate.

 

Two types of laws and Vulgar Libertarianism

smehra Friday February 28, 2014

The term “Vulgar Libertarian” was coined by Kevin Carson to describe certain types of libertarians who use libertarian “logic” to fight for plutocratic interests. This characterization has received a bad response from various libertarians. Some have even gone to the extent of setting up a site called http://vulgarlibertarians.com/ I feel that this bad response was unwarranted, after all we do have a problem of vulgar libertarianism and it is important that we identify it and do not remain in denial. I do not think Carson meant to call all [|right] libertarians (and anarcho-capitalists) as vulgar libertarians, but only a certain fraction of them who argue differently (either wittingly or unwittingly) that makes them sound like corporate apologists (which some of them actually are).

To understand Vulgar Libertarianism we must first identify two types of laws and how they affect the society.

 

Two types of laws

There may be other types of laws, but for the purpose of this article i will identify two types of laws:

 

  • Type 1 Laws which grant privilege
  • Type 2 Laws that control and limit the usage of that privilege

 

For instance, granting someone the license to distribute food as a part of a Public Distribution System is a Type 1 law. It grants privilege to certain distributors and guarantees them profit. Laws against hoarding would therefore be a Type 2 law which restricts the powers and privilege of the distributors which was granted by the government in the first place. Privilege can also come in the form of land (land acquisition bill), money (RBI), patent and tariff. Corruption of money is perhaps the cause of most of our problems.

In a very simplistic view, vulgar libertarians are those who only argue against Type 2 laws but ignore the Type 1 laws. In the above example, a vulgar libertarian will just argue that a public distributor has the right to hoard as much as he likes because he bought those grains. He will ignore that the distributor was licensed and was allocated those grains by the government.

 

Result of Type 1 laws

Type 1 laws exist either to support the plutocratic interests or they may exist as a result of misguided over-zealous politicians with the best of public interests in their hearts. Most of the time its a combination of the two.

Regardless of how they come into existence, their result is the same - a large unaccountable corporate empire - beneficiary to usury and theft by the government.

People in a democracy cannot stand to see (and they shouldn’t) such a massive empire that induces massive ‘inequality’. But oddly enough they start asking for Type 2 laws to be introduced instead of Type 1 laws to be dismissed.

 

 

Result of Type 2 laws

Most people who identify with the left seem to think that our mixed economy is a fight between two forces - evil corporates and good governments. They seem to think that without the influence of the corporates, government will be good. They therefore conclude that they should support the government (public interests) in this perceived fight against private interests. This is where they start asking for Type 2 laws. However this is a very simplistic view of the government. Government cannot keep corporate power in check - it was never designed to do so.

 

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." - Frederic Bastiat

Unlike Type 1 laws which grant privilege and are partial, Type 2 laws are mostly ‘impartial’. Take minimum wage laws for instance. Minimum wage laws apply impartially for all businesses, be it small or big. Most of the time when you hear a ‘lefty’ argue for minimum wage, he will point out how a giant corporate CEO earns hundreds of times more than a worker. Well that may be true for that giant corporate but it is certainly not true for small businesses and startups. They, as it is, have to work despite Type 1 laws at a great personal risk the left adds more Type 2 laws (like the minimum wage) that demonizes and kills small businesses - maintains the status quo. Big businesses therefore do not oppose Type 2 laws, they just make sure that they are worded impartially.

Libertarians have a good reason to oppose Type 2 laws. These laws do not solve the underlying cause and create more problems than they solve. But vulgar libertarians stop at opposing these laws. For instance one can argue that the CEO deserves that high salary because of the kind of work that he does, which would be true had this salary been decided in a truly free market but that is not the case here. Ignoring the Type 1 laws that resulted in this inequality and defending the current market as if its a free market is exactly what Vulgar Libertarianism is all about.

 

How to avoid Vulgar Libertarianism

Most Vulgar Libertarians are not so because of bad intentions. They sometimes unwittingly fall into this trap and sound vulgar to the person they are arguing. The only way to avoid this confusion is not only to oppose Type 2 laws but in the same breath oppose a Type 1 law that is the underlying cause of concern.

It is therefore not correct to argue against minimum wage laws without arguing against property titles and property theft. It is not correct to argue against net neutrality without arguing against licenses in telecom industry. It is not correct to defend sweatshops without arguing against patents. It is not correct to argue against low interest rates without arguing against the central banking system itself. Keeping ourselves from falling into this trap is perhaps most important to avoid misunderstandings and misrepresentations of libertarian thought.

 

All hail the new snake oil salesman in town

sameer.panje Wednesday February 26, 2014

After months of needling by detractors, the BJP's prime-ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, has finally released his vision document for the upcoming elections. Most of mainstream media has received the vision document in a highly tepid fashion except for overtly pro-BJP commentators who have hailed it as manna from heaven. The sting in the tale actually comes from this pro-Congress commentator, who has made an audacious, but plausible argument that the BJP is trying to sell what the UPA made. That just reiterates what we've been telling you since even before we (Indian Libertarians) existed as a formal group - there's nothing of substance separating the Congress & the BJP, Narendra Modi included. But this post is not about the Congress & the BJP being similar. This is meant to be a critical appraisal of the single page vision document that encompasses the Earth. Perhaps a wee bit of Mars too.

The document is not very different from an essay my 8-year old daughter would write on the subject India of my dreams, except that she wouldn’t dabble in fancy but meaningless wordplay like the first two sections of this vision document do (5-T’s comprising Brand India and the Rainbow of India). A gimmick-driven vision is often a bankrupt vision. But if gimmickry in words is what rocks your boat, 2:15 to 2:22 in this video articulates a far better vision to look forward to. The inanities done with, let’s get to the meat of the document – the 8 point development model, which is accompanied by “detailed” initiatives on each point – the details even managing a second line in one instance.

Education & job opportunities for the youth

No, I won’t get into the usual libertarian argument about whether the government should venture into creating job opportunities. That’s something we’ve been shouting from the rooftops for decades now. But I guess most people are not even ready to listen to that argument. What I’ll ask instead is that if this was a matter of political will, why is it so that never once in human history have we seen a situation where everyone is employed? As for setting up IIT’s, IIM’s & AIIMS’s in all states, let’s first ponder over why the IIT’s & IIM’s created over the last decade or so haven’t matched up to the standards of the older IIT’s and IIM’s. And while we’re at it, let’s also ponder over why the older IIT’s have failed so utterly at the post-grad level and why the IIM’s are nowhere close to the brand value of ivy league business schools. Let’s also ponder upon how well the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh have fared on the employment stakes by allowing 100’s of professional education colleges? And why are businesses set up in these states still lamenting on paucity of employable manpower? All these questions seem to have escaped Mr.Modi’s mind (or that of the whizkids at APCO) while this vision document was being worked on. But that’s no reason why you can’t spare a thought on it.

Children & women empowerment

I’m amazed at the BJP leadership’s sensitivity to irony given that they completely miss out on the deep gulf between what they claim to stand for and what they come up with in their election manifestos & vision documents. This point is a glaring example. This is a party that claims with pride that it does not believe in appeasement politics. What exactly is children & women empowerment if not appeasement of specific classes? If the appeasement of religious & caste groups is a bad thing, on what basis does the BJP justify appeasement of gender & age groups? The detailed initiative mentioned under this point is called the Beti Bachao Programme (an amalgamation of children & women?). It’s anybody’s guess what this programme would entail if it sees the light of the day. Fresh laws aimed at preventing female foeticide that we know have failed everywhere or more “public service” advertising campaigns that won’t do anything more than maybe win a couple of awards.

Inflation/Price Control

This is everyone’s dream. But given that the mechanics of our currency themselves lackImage fundamental integrity, whatever measures one might claim to take, or forget claims, even take in all earnestness, this will remain a PIPE dream. The solution? B.R. Ambedkar had proposed a solution to this even before independence. But B.R. Ambedkar got canonized in India for all the wrong reasons and the reasons for which he deserved to be remembered were ignored lock, stock & barrel by all the politicians & bureaucrats of independent India. Mr.Modi is just another sheep in the herd. When he talks of setting up a “Price stabilization fund”, he’s putting forth a euphemism for “subsidies”. When he moots special courts for black marketers, he’s ignoring the reasons why black markets come up and merely applying ointment to cure cancer.

Agriculture reform

This has been one of the most tom-tommed points in the Gujarat success story being peddled by the PR machinery of the prime ministerial aspirant. In his vision document too, he appears to be quite ambitious about it. On closer examination, the ambition appears to be nothing more than tepid air. He talks of creating a data bank for agri-produce (whatever that means) and a National agriculture market (wouldn’t this measure intrinsically carry a data bank under it…rendering the previous point redundant?). He does so without realizing that this would involve dismantling the APMC act, which he has applied extensively during his 2+ terms at the helm in Gujarat. One wonders what brings about this change of heart (if indeed there has been one) just on the eve of the elections. And then there is the two-facedness of a supposed proponent of minimum government who wants the government to create & maintain data banks. Get me the aspirin, please.

Health-care for all

So what do we have here? More subsidies (since it’s for “all”), more intervention (since the vision document has taken upon itself to blanket define “preventive healthcare” and focus on it). Is this Modi’s counter to the Congress’ Food Security Ordinance or an attempt to impress Barack Obama by bringing out India’s own version of Obamacare?

Federal Structure

Mr.Modi has a knack of picking up fancy sounding terms & throwing them around. The problem happens when he has to elaborate on these terms, and that’s when the contradictions start tumbling out of the woodwork. “Minimum government” is one term he has made a career out of abusing; “Federal structure” is another. While he doesn’t miss mentioning the word at any given opportunity, his other statements betray glaring internal inconsistencies vis-à-vis his commitment to a stronger federal system. Let’s examine this document itself for these internal inconsistencies. Social welfare is supposed to be a state subject. But Mr.Modi’s vision for the next union government tramples all over the social welfare sector (women & child empowerment, healthcare, education etc.). Same is the case with agriculture reform. Now, had he been in favour of a stronger federal structure, it would have been contingent upon him to have the union government withdraw from these areas. Hence, it’s clear that he is quite the Feku that his detractors refer to him as. I can go back to every speech he has made over the last few months & point out to a plethora of such inconsistencies. But I’d rather not patronize you, the reader, by reiterating the obvious over & over again.

Anti-corruption measures

Bringing back black money stashed abroad is one of the stupidest "ideas" to have gained popularity in recent years. How exactly do the proponents of this measure plan to do it? To begin with, the money is no longer in Indian rupees. It has already been converted into foreign exchange. It has been stashed away in tax havens where the banks are not answerable/accountable to the Indian government. Is there any way to even identify the money that’s supposed to be brought back? And if it can be identified, for argument’s sake, is there any way it can be confiscated from the bank where it’s stored? High time the Indian voter started seeing through this annoying fiction.

Urban Development/Infrastructure

Consider the perfunctory joke about the spelling mistakes in such a crucial one page document made. The humour in this point is deeper. And that’s the reason I kept it for the end. In the points outlining this aspect of his vision, the so-called anti-Nehru channels his inner Nehru. He talks of a 100 smart cities. One wonders whether India even has half that number of municipal units that deserve to be called cities, smart or dumb? He talks of interlinking rivers through a system of canals. He dreams of bullet trains alongside the golden quadrilateral. Needless to say, this would involve a massive takeover of private property by the government. Hello, wasn’t somebody mentioning federalism & minimum government? Nehru had a fetish for the big & the beautiful (the longest dam, the tallest dam, the largest steel plant yada yada). So does Modi. End of story.

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I’ll wrap this up with a request and an assertion. The request is to ask yourself a couple of questions – How much of this vision do you see in place in Gujarat where Mr.Modi has ruled for the last 12+ years? How different is the “development” in Gujarat from that in similarly placed states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc.? The assertion is that Mr.Modi is selling you the same snake oil that others have been selling you for decades now. He has simply packaged it differently. If you have high hopes from him in the coming few years, I’d suggest you get a reality check. If you’re still not convinced, I won’t force this down your throat. But I’ll definitely rub it in with a rather caustic “I told you so” a few years down the line when I’m proved right.

 

Spectrum Allocation is Theft

admin Monday February 10, 2014

Indian Government is set to receive Rs 39,300 Crore for allocating spectrum to telecom giants. The companies involved are all bidding really high to get permission from the government to broadcast at a certain frequency using the equipment they own. I think it’s high time we recognize this allocation act for what it is - corporate welfare.

What does the government do in this entire process? It does not help improve the transmission. It does not increase the bandwidth of the spectrum. All it does is allow certain companies to broadcast over the spectrum by shutting down all those who set up their own transmission outside the system. A case of Bihar community radio comes to mind - which was shut down even though it interfered with no other service.

Most people consider 2G spectrum scam as an issue of corruption. The problem they see is that government sold out its thuggee protection services to the corporates for lower than expected price. Kapil Sibal has defended this allocation forming a “zero loss” theory. Despite being a corruption apology, this theory raises many good points which the mainstream chooses to ignore.

When Bunty and Bubli sold the Taj Mahal at 250 million dollars, can they said to have made a loss if they could have sold it for 500 million dollars? Obviously when you sell something you do not own you cannot cry loss later on. On what basis does the government claim ownership of spectrum?

Where do people think this money comes from? Had the companies paid higher cost for “buying” spectrum, the services they would have provided would have been costlier. 2G license fees is an indirect tax on the consumers. Its the consumer who ends up paying for the license fees.

The companies go along with this plan as they benefit a lot. This spectrum auction keeps out any small and budding competition as they can’t afford to compete with giant corporates when it comes to “buying” spectrum from the government. If they start using a spectrum that they have not “bought” from the government, even if its unused, they will be forced to shut down and their investment will be wasted. Which is why we have large telecom corporates who charge exorbitant amount for their services and have pathetic customer satisfaction. The whole spectrum allocation scheme hinders competition and is just another form of corporate welfare.

This conclusion should be enough to condemn it but some people need more persuasion. These are people who can’t imagine how spectrum will get allocated without the government. This argument is, in my opinion, invalid. You cannot justify this massive theft by being afraid of freedom. The chaos that may come about by deregulating spectrum is purely conjectural but the corporatism that has developed around spectrum allocation is unethical once you understand private property and natural rights.

I have no doubt that these tech giants would be able to figure out how to co-operate and utilize spectrum if they did not have state protecting their investment with tax money. There are multiple ways in which a broadcast clash can be resolved. The involved parties can arbitrate using a third party arbitrator (preferably not the state). The matter can be settled by a simple matter of homesteading - who was there first. (Do read this link for in-depth analysis)

An interesting example can be found in the most unexpected place - Somaliland. Somalia had no central government auctioning out spectrum or protecting investments of telecom industries. Yet Somalia probably has a much better telecommunication network than India. Granted there are still issues between rival companies, but their price tariffs are in general very low. Don’t get me wrong Somalia’s spectrum allocation is not something that one can call a free market allocation, but its clearly an indication that state is not needed to allocate spectrum. Somalia’s central government, like every other government, has now taken steps to provide regulation and protection to the established telecom industries - which i think is a step in the wrong direction. The Somaliland Association of Telecom Operators (SATO) has now formed close ties with the government.

Even in the United States, before spectrum was declared “public property”, courts were able to handle spectrum clashes using common law. However this lasted only for a year.

 

“Both the political class and incumbent businesses in the form of Big Telecom have every incentive to maintain the status quo: they get to run the show, control it, and extract rents.” - Tim Swanson

All this is discounting the fact that technologies/protocols have been and are being developed that allow multiple users to collectively utilize spectrum without interfering with each other.

And lastly, let us not forget the freedom of speech argument. Declaring spectrum as “public property” allows the government to control what is being transmitted - a form of censorship. There is no free speech on public property.

Private ownership of spectrum threatens the established Television, Radio and ISP mafia with market uncertainty and competition. Which is why you will probably never hear them supporting it. Television industry has a lot of spectrum allocated to it, which it utilizes inefficiently. Market forces would have probably allocated a lot of this spectrum to Internet services, which is a more efficient utilization.

 

Clandestinism in India

iljaimine Thursday February 6, 2014

To expect that your government respects your privacy, morphological freedom, methodological individualism and liberty is like expecting the fire to create wood. It is a disgruntling fact to learn that many people exchange their liberty for more security at voting booths. And, it is a lot more disconcerting fact to realise that many obstructionists/Indians simply welcome-d the year 2014 as a ‘new year’ than as a year of orwellianism. I am unsure whether the educated class of India is even aware about Centralised Monitory System (CMS) or not, but however it is very disappointing to still learn that many just watch TV reality shows like Big Boss without noticing that this show is also a sociopolitical reality.

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The apoplithorismosphobic system of India executes the principles of imposed order, and is purely antithetical to the catallaxy of free marketism. It also abhors spontaneous orderWith this constituted hobbesianism, the#0000ff: road to serfdom//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_surveillance|#000000:mass//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_surveillance|#000000:electronic surveillance//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_mining|#000000:data mining//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-DOT|#000000:Centre for Development of Telematics//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_India|#000000:Indian Government//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications|#000000:telecommunications//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecom_Enforcement_Resource_and_Monitoring|#000000:Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clandestine_cell_system|#000000:Cells//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enforcement_in_India|#000000:India's security agencies//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_India|#000000:income tax officials//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_India|#000000:India's telecommunications network//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_network|#000000:mobile//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landline|#000000:landline//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite|#000000:satellite//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_over_IP|#000000:voice over Internet Protocol//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email|#000000:emails//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS|#000000:SMS//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_Messaging_Service|#000000:MMS//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_tracking|#000000:track the geographical location//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media|#000000:social media//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook|#000000:Facebook//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn|#000000:LinkedIn//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter|#000000:Twitter//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Web_History|#000000:search histories//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Search|#000000:Google//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_India|#000000:courts//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_India|#000000:Parliament//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_service_provider|telecom services provider] (TSP), at which point the process is automated, and the provider simply sends the data to a server which forwards the requested information". Telecom operators in India are obligated by law to give access to their networks to every legal enforcement agency.

From 2014 onwards, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_network_operators_of_India|#000000:all mobile telephony operators//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_detail_record" rel="">Call Data Records (CDR) will now also contain details of the caller's location. The system aims to attain a tracking accuracy of 80% in the first year of operation, followed by 95% accuracy in the second year, in urban areas.

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CMS is nonetheless a single window from where government arms such as the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Investigation_Agency|#000000:National Investigation Agency//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte|#000000:byte//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_service_provider|#000000:Internet service provider//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Home_Affairs_(India)|#000000:Ministry of Home Affairs//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crore" rel="">crores (US$64 million). However, on 21 June 2013, a newspaper reported that it had obtained project documents relating to CMS, which showed that the project's budget was "nearly double" that amount. There has been no public debate about the system, and the democratic government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused. The anti-austrianist government has not stated how the data it collects is stored, secured, accessed or deleted.

Moreover,

In January 2012, the government had admitted to intercepting over 1 lakh phones and communication devices over a year, at a rate of 7,500–9,000 per month. In clear signs of the Indian government increasing its online surveillance, not all of it necessarily tenable, Apple's first transparency report, released globally on November 5, suggests India made 27 "law enforcement device requests" regarding 65 Apple devices between January 1 and June 30, 2013.

In contrast, the global transparency report released by Facebook shows that the Indian government sent over 3,200 requests for "some" information related to 4,144 user accounts. Microsoft and Skype, during the same period, received account-specific details for 413 Microsoft accounts and 102 Skype accounts by the Indian government. While Apple supplied data in 41% cases, Facebook says it complied with the requests in nearly 50% cases and supplied user data to the Indian government. Microsoft and Skype, in the transparency reports, have said 80.6% and 79.1% data was released, respectively. Already, India ranks second in the world - after United States - for seeking account specific details from Facebook between January 1 and June 30, 2013. In contrast, US generated between 11,000 and 12,000 such requests. While Facebook supplied information for 50% of the total accounts in India, Facebook released 79% data for US-based user accounts. Twitter, in the meantime, has also released its transparency report saying the Indian government requested for the removal of one tweet through a court order and another removal request though a government or police order. Between January 1 and June 30, 2013, Twitter was asked to withhold three tweets.

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UIDAI’s #0000ff:Aadhar card//indianlibertarians.org/2014/01/14/i-am-not-at-all-putrescent-statism/|I am not all putrescent.]”

Last but not least,

Deficit of the anatomisation of statism, in India, makes the Indian government very mordacious. To tell you benevolently, I find no difference between Modi, Gandhi, Kejriwal and other politicians (netas) because they seem to be the direct or indirect supporters of CMS. Only an ignoramus can find the difference.  

 

Child Labour and Education Sector

smehra Monday January 27, 2014

Child labour is indeed rampant in India and its adverse effects are no secret - from health impacts to psychological impacts. Every child pulled into the system of labour is a child pulled away from education. Even though I hate the current schooling system, i do understand the importance of education for the mental development of the child.

India’s (and perhaps the world’s) battle against child labour is not new. The government banned child labour in India soon after our “Independence” but the government has so far been unable to solve the problem of child labour. The government has, in fact, mis-spent crores of rupees of tax money in this project without any efficient outcome owing to its reactionist policies against child labour.

People cite various causes for child labour but they fail to assess the situation from the perspective of the child (or rather the parent). Regardless of whether you think education should be a right, education is an investment. A parent (or even the government) by sending a child to a school is making an investment that takes 12 years of prison time for the child to mature.

When a child becomes a labourer, he has chosen this path over getting educated at a government school. He and his parents have consciously chosen immediate wages over long term investment in government education. Some people say that it is because of illiteracy that the parent does not know the benefits of education but this claim does not hold much water. With massive large scale campaigns promoting education on one hand and large number of school dropouts on the other it would be false to assume that the poor and the illiterate do not know what is good for them. In fact, if these dropouts indicate anything, it is that the poor and the illiterate have recognized all these campaigns for what they are: false advertisements. Even the child labourers who are “rescued” by the government and the NGOs go back to being child labourers after realizing that they have been duped - that their future is not secure even after going through the hells of the government education. The government (and the NGOs) have to keep a constant watch on them to make sure that they don’t go back to being child labourers. If such an investment was really worthwhile, why is it that we observe the opposite response in the market? It speaks volumes about the quality of government education if the children would rather be labourers than get indoctrinated at one of those government schools.

So what do these child labour laws accomplish really? As with all other cases, prohibition has not helped. Child labour laws (as Rothbard puts it in Man, Economy and the State) are essentially “compulsory unemployment”. It takes away the last of the vanishing choices that the poor have. It reduces the “working population” while the “consuming population” remains unchanged which has a net negative effect on the standard of their living. Now add to this the law for compulsory education, which forces the children to attend school - a forced investment that does not reap as many rewards that one would hope. RTE is Indian Government’s version of “Let them eat cake”. An attempt to enforce a higher standard of living on on the lower class regardless of whether they can afford it.

How to decrease child labour?

The solution is really straight forward. The answer lies not in reducing the choices the children have but increasing their choices. A lack of good education system is, in my opinion the root cause of child labour in our modern society. A good education system is also the only cure - laws restricting child labour have the reverse effect.

Which begs the question: Is the government capable of providing quality education at cheaper cost? This is a wrong question to ask. The question you should be asking is, whether the government should restrict a competing firm from providing better quality education at cheaper cost?  - a free market in education. Regardless of how good you can imagine the government service to be (which itself is hard to imagine), on what basis can you justify restricting the market in the education sector? (which includes running government schools on tax money and enforcing “non-profit” motive on all the players)

 

A government that restricts free market in education cannot, with a straight face, say that it is fighting to eradicate child labour.

And when i say free market in education, i don’t mean to mess around with the term. I really mean the government is causing harm to the education sector and the education sector will be better off without ANY government regulation. Not only does government involvement in education create a problem of “indoctrination” which creates an obedient “worker class”, its latest endeavor of enforcing quality standards as mentioned in RTE puts at least 2200 private schools under threat of government closure in Delhi alone - so much for the government’s concern for children. Not to mention the licenses required to start a school and a centralized board (CBSE) both of which severely restrict competition in the education sector. This system ensures that a certain chain of schools remain dominant in providing quality education to the rich and the middle class at inflated prices, whereas it is next to impossible to start a low cost venture to educate the poor.

Perhaps next time when i debate a state socialist, i would be the one to say “But What about the children ...”

Source for cover image: [http://www.cartoonmovement.com/collection/64]

 

Don’t ask for Net Neutrality - Free the Internet instead

admin Monday January 20, 2014

Ever wonder why the social media is more free than the television media? Ever wonder why important information is disseminated more easily in social media than in television, even though television has the power to reach a wider audience simultaneously? The answer is private property.

An interesting example on this issue is given by David Friedman in his book “The machinery of freedom”. Where he tries to compare private property with property that has been designated as “public property.” He argues that the print media (in the US) is more free than television media because of the right of the individuals to run their own printing press:

 

“The printed media (newspapers, magazines, and the like) are produced entirely with private property. Buy newsprint and ink, rent a printing press, and you are ready to go. Or, on a cheaper scale, use a Xerox machine. You can print whatever you want without asking permission from any government. Provided, of course, that you do not need the U.S. Post Office to deliver what you print. The government can use, and occasionally has used, its control over the mails as an instrument of censorship. Broadcast media (radio and television) are another matter. The airwaves have been designated as public property. Radio and television stations can operate only if they receive permission from the Federal Communications Commission to use that property. If the FCC judges that a station does not operate 'in the public interest', it has a legal right to withdraw the station's license, or at least to refuse to renew it.”

Private property is liberty that enables us to practice free speech, theft of private property enables the government to control our speech. The broadcast media is not free precisely because spectrum is considered as public property - which the government can control.

A similar analogy can be applied to “net neutrality”. It is funny that the same people who distrust the FCC, are now calling for the FCC to enforce “net neutrality” on the Internet to solve the problems that FCC itself created. The truth is that net neutrality is about who controls broadband - the corporations or the government? The government is never neutral, expecting them to enforce “net neutrality” is impossible. The demand for “net neutrality” is exactly that - demand for making Internet a public property, ie controlled and censored by the government. FCC will do to the Internet what it did to the broadcast industry: control, by license mechanism, what should be allowed on the Internet.

But this does not mean we ignore the problem (which most people on the right are currently doing), it just means recognizing and breaking the shackles on the Internet. In David Friedman’s example, if we had to free the print media, we would need need to deregulate the postal service. Allowing anyone to create a distribution network so that print media can have alternatives in case a network (like government’s postal service) decides to censor. The problem lies, as always, in the lack of choices.

Internet’s shackles are similar. Consider the amount of licenses that are needed to set up networks, both inside the country and outside. Consider the licenses on spectrum allocation and broadcast. All these have contributed in creating a controlled industry where the corporations have become large enough to censor certain traffic types (hence the demand for net neutrality). But asking the government to enforce net neutrality standards is like asking for a ball and chain shackle to be attached to the left leg because the one on the right leg might cause imbalance.

Imagine the FCC threatening to cancel the licenses of ISPs who refuse to censor content which FCC considers inappropriate (something FCC has done with radio stations). Imagine the six strike plan to be enforced by FCC (and not just a few ISPs) after it has gained complete control over ISPs. If you think censorship by a private party is terrible, just wait till you have experienced censorship by the government.

The answer lies in freeing the Internet - and not just the internet space, but the infrastructure too. Removing all the regulations and licenses that are controlling the spread of the Internet. While it is true that creating a network requires capital investment, it makes no sense to add more burden on the people who want to set up infrastructure for the Internet.

Google (and others) have been asked to route all traffic for Indian users through India, but you can imagine why Google is reluctant in doing this. In USA, at least there are some privacy laws that restrict the government from spying (laws which were broken by the NSA), in India we have no such laws. I, for one, am in agreement with Google on this issue. I would never trust the Indian government, who has a direct interest in me as i am an Indian, over the US government when it comes to privacy.

Don’t demand net neutrality as it will just make government the master of the Internet and remove the little freedom of choice we do have. Instead ask for more freedom of choice - a free market in the Internet sector.

Read More:

 

 

Turning Trash into Treasure

smehra Saturday January 18, 2014

In a recent debate between Warren Mosler and Robert Murphy on MMT vs Austrian Economics, the former gave an excellent demonstration of how the government turns litter into money (worthless paper into paper currency). With apologies to him, here is the cut-section (click on play twice):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUTLCDBONok?rel=0&start=3907&end=3952&autoplay=1" rel="external nofollow">youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUTLCDBONok?rel=0&start=3907&end=3952&autoplay=1

If the rest of the article sounds confusing or if you think that Mosler’s analogy is inapplicable to the state, do watch the complete debate here. Mosler, in this debate, will be using this as a premise to justify the theory of MMT. But I will be using his demonstration to explain how the government effectively creates inequality and retards development by having a monopoly over money.

In Mosler’s demonstration there are 25 people sitting in the room and there is a gunman at the door who will only let you exit if you have one of his “cards”. Now according to Mosler, he doesn’t want to be unreasonable, so he has state print exactly 25 cards so that every person in the room is able to exit the building. Ignoring that the entire premise is based on threat of violence, there are a couple of things Mosler can do to distribute his cards:

 

  1. He could just simply give each person one card so that everyone is able to exit the building. But then the cards will have no effect on the market (market will still exist as people own other goods they can exchange). The market value of all of those “cards” would be zero - everyone has one - everyone needs one. The 25 people will simply take their “card” and present it to the gunman outside. Everyone would have existed the building, but the building’s economy would have zero production induced by those cards - its as if the card-gunman system did not exist at all.
  2. He could distribute (corporate welfare) or trade (licensed business) the 25 “cards” with certain chosen 5 people (licensed businesses). So that each of these 5 people have 5 “cards”. Now these 5 people can use one card each to exit the building, but then they still would have nothing to eat (unless they produce goods on their own). The 5 people with cards need goods and the 20 people without any cards need at least one card to exit. Now we can have some exchange, as there is some incentive involved. These other 20 people will have to sell their goods (and labor) for obtaining these cards.

 

Now, let us drop scenario 1 as the whole “card-gunman” system would be moot. Let us instead focus on Scenario 2 as we can draw some interesting conclusions from it.

This is wage slavery This argument is more moral than economic. The 20 people who do not have a card are wage slaves to the 5 people who do. This is not because they don’t have a capability to trade with each other, but because they have been forced to trade with the special 5 people who have been the first to be granted those cards. As far as morality is concerned, I think this should be one of the essential reasons to question this system.

The 5 people with “cards” also gain an unnatural bargaining power against the other 20 who don’t. In this system the privileged to non-privileged ratio is 1:4 but in reality this ratio is much much less. The privileged few who are first in line in this “trickle down” hierarchy tend to accumulate capital due to this bargaining power. This robs the non-privileged class of their wealth so that the privileged few can gain some. In this system, the non-privileged class has not only to pay for its sustenance but also pay the gunman with the cards they can only get from the privileged class.

Is loaning better than granting? This argument can be rebutted by saying that government does not grant money to the privileged five but instead loans to them. While bailouts are the most obvious form of perpetrating wage slavery, but so is loaning (when there is a gunman standing). Even if you give loans to the first five people, the need for “cards” by the non-privileged class does not disappear. The non-privileged class will still have to work as a slave to the privileged class, regardless of the fact that the privileged class has to return the borrowed money. The government is essentially loaning out privilege and decision making.

Taxing the Rich doesn’t help - its a smokescreen

Suppose person A is selling his labor to person B who has a lot of “cards”. In the absence of taxation, B would have paid A one “card” thereby freeing him from the threat of the gunman. But now that taxation is imposed upon him, do you think he would be able to, or agree to pay one whole “card” to A?

Taxation on the employers is taxation on the employees. Taxing B keeps A in “danger zone” longer than needed. Taxing the rich does not bridge the economic inequality gap.

 

What more? This taxation is essentially a smoke screen. The money taxed by the rich is re-introduced in the pyramid scheme at the top. The licensed businesses which are taxed, continue to get business from the state as the state pays them for it, using the money collected by taxation.

Does direct “card” transfer help? If taxation money is poured back into the economy from the top of the pyramid scheme, would it make sense to implement a sort of negative income tax? So that people at the bottom of the pyramid scheme are directly helped? One might be tempted to support Milton Friedman’s proposal for negative income tax, but further examination yields a different story.

To understand why this is, we must first understand what the one “card” demanded by the gunman actually signifies. So lets discuss that first.

Who is the gunman?

Perhaps the better question would have been, where is the gunman. After all you don’t find actual people with guns standing outside your door (unless you don’t pay your taxes). If you thought gunman personified tax collectors, you would be partially right. But that is not all which the gunman personifies.
Have you ever tried booking a train ticket (Railways being a service provided by the state) using anything other than a Rupee? Or buying petrol for your car and paying in some other currency? Or buying that ration food provided by the state using gold coins? You can’t. You can, indeed, trade your gold coins for Rupees and then buy what you need. But all government services (including tax collection) insist that you need to pay back in the Rupee.

Strictly speaking, there is no violence here, but what if someone did want to get into the business of food distribution and agreed to accept some other currency. Would the government allow that? The entire food distribution network is cartelized by government interference - by way of licenses and regulations. The gunman is the government force that hampers alternate business providers in the economy. Any business not registered with the state, is dealt with force and shut down or worse - never even allowed to be setup. This gunman ensures that the only way you can get any essential goods is through government or government licensed players.

 

So what does it mean that the gunman is demanding a “card”? The one “card” demanded by the gunman, is not just the taxes that you have to pay - its the sum total of “money” required by an individual to survive and buy essential services from the government (which the government has made sure that only it can provide).

Coming to the original question, why is the negative income tax bad then? Well, you can’t pay the citizens a negative income tax of one card, because then we would enter scenario 1, where everybody “escapes” but production is not influenced by the “cards” and their value would drop to zero. Perhaps you can pay them enough to make the total as “1 card”. But that would send a signal to the workers that their one card is assured no matter how much they work. So the negative income tax paid to the those below “poverty line” would be less than “1 card”. Perhaps making the total to be ½ a card would be better. So that there is remains an ½ incentive to produce. But regardless of the amount you set, you will be hampering production. Combine this with the lack in alternative markets, the value of the “card” will start to drop. Soon you will not just need “1 card” to exit the room, you would need more - say 1.5 cards to give to the gunman. Now suddenly we have only 25 cards, but we need 37.5 cards - this will call for more printing and an increase in the negative income tax money. There is nothing to stop this cycle.

Government creates boom and bust cycles When one of the businesses run by the first 5 people to receive their cards, starts to fail, it creates a slump in the market. There can be variety of reasons for this failure: mismanagement, fall in demand etc. If the failure is due to mismanagement, the business is not wiped out because of the protection given by the government. Alternative businesses are not allowed to give any competition to them and when these businesses fail, people call it market failure. Now the government has a few options: It can unlicense the business and grant the license to another business, but that does not free you from the slump. You could loan or bailout the corporate. Doing this prevents the business from failing immediately, but it does two other things:

 

  1. It rewards bad behavior. It tells the large corporates, that if they are too big to fail they will be saved when they start to fail. It incentivizes businesses to take risks and create slumps in the market, the next one even bigger than previous one.
  2. If a business is failing its an indication that resources need to be allocated to other sector or businesses (regardless of the reason). Bailing out a failing business pulls resources from sectors and businesses that are actually doing well, making them susceptible to slumps.

 

The "ups" and "downs" do happen in the economy, but it is precisely due to government monopoly over the money and tariff (which leads to unnatural accumulation of capital in a few hands) that makes it far worse. Formation of large corporates is extremely difficult in a free market full of competition and if a large corporate does indeed fail, bailing it out creates an even bigger bubble.

The card-gunman system inhibits development of the individual The five people who are on the top of the chain, received capital (and labor) by virtue of receiving the “cards” first. The “cards” have no actual value, without the gunman standing outside. Government acted as a reverse robin hood, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. The 20 other people, were robbed of their capital (and labor) not because they have to work for a living, but because who they would work for has been decided by the government. This lack of choice not only violates individual sovereignty but also inhibits development. It results in inefficient corporates managing the stolen resources and individuals who have to work more to feed themselves leaving no time for entrepreneurship or personal development.

Conclusion: Fire the gunman As soon as you provide those certain five individuals with initial “cards”, you are not providing the equality of opportunity. You are creating a pyramid scheme which you maintain by violence. Such a scheme hampers development and individual rights. Its one thing have this system imposed upon you, but completely different to accept it, glorify it and praise it. What is even more stunning is that the gunman claims to be an employee of the 25 people. It seems strange why the 25 people (or at least 20 of them) not fire the gunman. Perhaps it is because the gunman’s violence is obvious, state’s systemic violence on the other hand ...

 

Minarchism: Road to Corporatism

smehra Thursday January 16, 2014

Many critics of Minarchist/Small Government argue that, as a system, Minarchism is not stable. That over the years, the “small government” will expand and take over the duties of the society or market. Such a criticism, however, assumes that a small government is something that would be desirable, if only it was maintainable.

 

Under a Minarchist government, whose only job is to protect life, liberty and property, it would be the government’s duty to provide “law and order” institutions like Courts and Police. The state will retain its monopoly on violence and it will be the final arbitrator for all conflicts.

For the purpose of this discussion we will ignore that no government, in history, has kept its size limited; but focus on a society under a Minarchist government.

 

For the state to successfully protect private property, it would have to maintain a register of private properties owned by its citizens. Otherwise it would be really tough to arbitrate property disputes. All decisions made in the “arbitration” of such a dispute would be final and enforceable by the police force. Police force would be funded by a small tax collected by the state from its citizens.But such a system of protectionism frees the owners of large properties from being affected by the market forces. It allows them to hold on to the properties that they are utilizing inefficiently, for they do not directly pay for its protection but rather depend on the entire tax system to fund it. Any violation of their “property rights”, which are granted by the state, would be dealt with tax sponsored violence. An abandoned property owned by an individual, for instance, would be protected by the state without the said individual being charged the market price for its protection. One can argue that abandoned property can be unregistered by the state, but then you have taken the first step in increasing the power of the state and given it the power to take away property rights.

Some people still argue that this would be a just thing to do. After all, the property owner still pays for the protection of his land as he too pays his taxes. But by this argument you can justify the entire philosophy of state socialism. Using this argument, you can justify state’s interference in food, clothing and shelter as the people being “benefited” are also part of the tax system. If state socialism creates distortion in every other sphere of the economy, why is property defense any different?

State interference in property rights, will therefore cause distortions in the market. A state with the sole authority to protect property rights has the sole authority to define it, control it and re-allocate it by selective implementation of its property laws. If you look at the current system of property rights, as managed by the state, the people who suffer the most are the “homeless” people who do not “legally” own any property (like the slum dwellers in India). Home owners do have “property rights” granted by the government, but their rights are easily and repeatedly violated by the police. “Property rights” of large corporates, on the other hand, are strictly enforced and violators prosecuted most efficiently. Even a minarchist state will not be free from such a systemic bias.

“Property rights”, as granted by the state, is one of the core reasons for the corporatism that follows; the massive accumulation of capital creating, what anti-propertarians call, the “capitalist” class. This does not mean that i am anti-propertarian. I just don’t think that state has any business defining, controlling and protecting private property - a job that should be left to the market, which can do this in an economic and peaceful manner. In a way anti-propertarians are right to recognize property as a means of exploitation, their failure however lies in differentiating “de-facto” property rights from “de-jure” property rights. For them all forms of property is a fiction of the state.

But it is not property rights which is the culprit here, its the entity with the absolute right of defining it. By selective enforcement of “property rights” even a minarchist state will produce large corporates whose monopoly over the land they claim to own will be protected by the state. The corporates will not be paying market price for this protection but rather the price defined by the state. If this price paid to the state is too high, it will hurt productivity. If this price paid is too low, it gives the corporates (and landowners in general) an undue advantage.

Minarchists, like other statists, are still imagining a just and controllable state which shall be the best provider of “law and order”. They are correct in condemning the monopoly of the state over the markets, but fail to recognize the reason why the state is able to maintain such a monopoly. They fail to see that monopoly over “law and order” is central to all other monopolies; other monopolies are merely a reflection.

 

“... monopolies are insulated from market competition and hold their customers by force, they lack both the information and the incentive to provide consumers with fair, efficient, and inexpensive service.” - Roderick T. Long

The problem with the state protecting private property lies essentially with the problem of state being the central and final arbitrator. Such an “arbitrator” suffers from a judicial bias towards the state and the status-quo.

Minarchism, even without the expected growth in the powers of the state, will lead to distortions in the market, inequality and an elite status-quo that will accumulate capital by theft.

Read More: Market Anarchism as Constitutionalism

Here is an excerpt:

 

Anarchy thus represents the extension , not the negation, of constitutionalism. instead of thinking of anarchy as a situation in which government has been squeezed down to nothingness, it might be more helpful – at least for minarchists – to think of anarchy as a situation in which government has been extended to include everybody. This is what Gustave de molinari, the founder of market anarchism, meant when he wrote, in 1884: “The future thus belongs neither to the absorption of society by the state, as the communists and collectivists suppose, nor to the suppression of the state, as the non-market anarchists and nihilists dream, but to the diffusion of the state within society.” A “diffused” legal system is preferable on pragmatic grounds because anarchy multiplies checks and balances; handing all power over to a single monopoly agency is too risky.

 

“I am not at all putrescent.” - Statism

iljaimine Wednesday January 15, 2014
I think, as per the Constitution of India, I am a very dangerous man. Moreover, my misanthropic existence is perilous to the philosophy of statism. This anti-catallacticist system suffers from apoplithorismosphobia. Vociferously speaking, I have no guilt for being an anarchist. I feel pity when I see 51% chickens around me infringing upon the life, liberty and private property of other 49% chickens through democratic means. This democracy functions on the legal exploitation of methodological individualists. These chickens are unready to comprehend that the only way out of this abattoir is to read Mises and Rothbard. In this matrix, ignorance is a choice that the chickens make. They are suffering from stockholm syndrome, and to discourse with them is like administering medicine to a dead person. After reading few of my essays on IL, these chickens have threatened me on legal grounds or on the sedition basis. They call me glutton, and they find me the most corrupted atom in this world. They tend to forget that nobody can hurt my conscience without my permission.  But, anyways, it is my destiny that I belong to the critical minority than siding with the unquestioning majority. How can I debate with these zombies when they cannot even differentiate between libertarianism and libertinism?
Image After all the good things said, I would like to even bring to your notice that this chromatic term called “corruption” has been doltishly defined. Thanks to our education system that indoctrinates irrational thinking. Obviously, it is irrational in nature because the education system is under the monopoly of the government. You will certainly find only theories of a devilish economist named John Maynard Keynes in school/college economics textbooks, and being an academician I openly challenge anyone on this point. Many people view corruption in that sense the media and government wants it to. This argumentative essay is, therefore, an attempt to liberate consciousness of those individuals who are ready to put knowledge above ignorance; for those whom liberty is everything and for those whom free speech possesses no charter on defamation.

When evading taxes is a corruptible activity, why collecting taxes is not corruptible? Taxation is a legal robbery, and even a red ant knows about it. I cannot rob you, because it is illegal. Is it not amoral when the government forcefully infringes upon your savings and investments that unfortunately get raped away by the inflation and their economic policies? May I know why this is legal and incorruptible? And, if murdering you is illegal then why war on you is legal? Isn’t this a corruptible comprehension? By the way, if cigarette tax is meant to discourage smoking then is the income tax meant to discourage working?

Then, they say that coercive corruption is bad. Good. But let me remind them that there is no collusive corruption, in reality. This collusive corruption is a structural massager born out of the abundant conditions termed by the coercive corruption. No doubt to note that no one rules when no one obeys, and it is certainly corruption when obeying the unjust laws. Therefore, obedient voters are more corrupted than the libertines. When bribing is an act of corruption, then what makes inflation to evade the tag of monetary corruption? When central banks are bailed-out due to the deliberate recessions, then what makes bailing-out an act of incorruptibility?

Then, there are#0000ff: socialists or welfarists If socialists think those who believe payment ought to be a voluntary process where individuals subjectively value their preferences sculpted by the market forces like supply and demand are selfish, what does that simply declares its privileges to take money from whoever it wishes for whatever proper it says is justified? Now, these socialists aren’t incorruptible? After a while these anti-capitalists clamour that the spontaneous order - in a free society begets corruption. In this context, I would like to know that why Somalia is called the most corrupted nation in the world, when there is no monopoly over money-supply in this anarchic society? Without government, in this anarcho-capitalist society, how does bribery function? May be these socialists got their third-eye destroyed whilst watching the TV. Anyone who comes between USA and Oil is a terrorist, and there are people around me who believe that the somalian pirates are immediate threat to the mankind. May I know why the nation-states possessing the nuclear weapons in our world are very useful for the human civilization? Why it is not corruption when the system permits an armed government to hold monopoly over everything? Also, what makes this anti-corruption society morally incorruptible when it openly disdains free love?

Now, to talk about free trade, I would like to bring to your notice that the foreign trading becomes crooked when the state intervenes through corruptible mechanisms like fiscal restrictions and quantitative restrictions. Free market believes in exchanging goods and services, whereas a state believes in exchanging wars and bullets. War becomes possible when goods are raided and not traded. What’s your priority?

To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates corruption and that ideology is government.