30 Nov 2012

David Friedman on Anarcho-Capitalism

private law 15 Comments

A neat little interview (HT2 David R. Henderson). The interviewer asked him what Milton Friedman thought about it. I would never have had the courage to do that, thinking that he might be sick of people asking him about his dad.

15 Responses to “David Friedman on Anarcho-Capitalism”

  1. Dan says:

    That was pretty good. It seems like his view of how the legal system would play out is similar to what you have said in the past. Specifically, when he was talking about how if a group of people were willing to bear the costs to make drugs illegal, although unlikely, it would be a possibility. Unless I’m misreading your views, I would think you would agree with his statement that ancap doesn’t necessarily mean libertarianism, but that it is likely to be libertarian.

    • Dan(DD5) says:

      How do you prevent people from using drugs on their own property without violating it? David is caught in a self-contradiction here. He’s basically saying that coercion can be an outcome of free market exchange. To “bear” the costs of you not using drugs , as David puts it, basically amounts to be initiate violence or hire someone to do the job. But this isn’t a free market ban on drugs, bur a group of criminals using violence.

      • Matt Tanous says:

        “David is caught in a self-contradiction here. He’s basically saying that coercion can be an outcome of free market exchange.”

        I have argued similarly. It is entirely possible that there would exist a market for laws of a certain kind, but this would be a contractual system, and would require a barebones framework of private property and contractualism to not contradict itself and thus destroy the very markets it uses. Such a “pure” system as Friedman advocates would only result in statism and “the warlords” taking over. (I can certainly see the thieves being willing to pay more than the victims of that theft!)

        Of course, I’d also contend that the market-required base would be uniform, and the system would turn out more like Rothbard argued. I think Friedman has something against Rothbard, given what I have seen of his writings.

      • Dan says:

        It is not a contradiction to acknowledge that people could live in an ancap society that isn’t libertarian in its entirety.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Dan(DD5):

        Friedman isn’t saying that preventing people from using drugs on their own property is a “product of free market exchange”.

        He is saying that in anarcho-capitalism, although (some) individuals may have the opportunity to prevent other people from using drugs on their own property (similar to how some individuals have the opportunity to steal from others in a statist society where theft is illegal), he argues that it is unlikely that any group of people would incur the costs of enforcing this.

        It would be like preventing people from eating pastrami sandwiches in their own homes. Regardless of whether there is a monopoly enforcer (state) or not(anarchy), any individual who wnated to prevent such a thing would have to incur costs that would likely outweigh the benefits.

        Friedman is just being realistic. Anarcho-capitalism should not be thought of as perfectly libertarian per se, but rather as likely mostly libertarian. Not everyone will be angels even if there is no state.

        • Dan(DD5) says:

          Friedman isn’t saying that preventing people from using drugs on their own property is a “product of free market exchange”.

          Please explain to me how it is possible to “bear the cost” for such a thing, while still operating within the sphere of private property and contractual exchange?

          I don’t dispute the fact that some people may indeed operate outside that sphere, although, I agree that since the costs could no longer be legally dispersed on the many for the benefit of the few, It is unlikely that such behavior could be pervasive. The ever going threat of such people and perhaps the existence of a few of them is what free market defense agencies are there in the first place.

          But Friedman is implying something else here: When he is saying that the ancap society can produce non libertarian results, he is basically saying that the institution itself can, in theory, produce such results. That’s the fallacy right there.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Please explain to me how it is possible to “bear the cost” for such a thing, while still operating within the sphere of private property and contractual exchange?

            It isn’t. Nobody is arguing it is.

            But Friedman is implying something else here: When he is saying that the ancap society can produce non libertarian results, he is basically saying that the institution itself can, in theory, produce such results. That’s the fallacy right there.

            I don’t get that.

            • Dan(DD5) says:

              “It isn’t. Nobody is arguing it is.”

              Well then, what is a non-libertarian result if not that private property is being violated?

              • Major_Freedom says:

                It is a non-libertarian result. Nobody is saying that is a libertarian result.

        • Matt Tanous says:

          “Regardless of whether there is a monopoly enforcer (state) or not(anarchy), any individual who wnated to prevent such a thing would have to incur costs that would likely outweigh the benefits.”

          Except such a system also allows for the off-loading of costs through the same coercion, and the elimination of the very market system that Friedman wants. The market for law requires the acceptance of the private property and contractual system to work – without it, you are trying to do something similar to surveying the Marianas Trench without a submersible.

  2. Joseph Fetz says:

    FYI, David knows that I’m a moron. For some reason I am proud of that.
    ;)

  3. Sam Geoghegan says:

    *Paging Plenarchist

  4. Sam Geoghegan says:

    Orange uniform, bars.

    Is Friedman in prison?

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