[ExI] Private and government R&D

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 06:47:28 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 10:21 PM, Stathis Papaioannou<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/7/26 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:
>> I can only tell you that what you mean by "free enterprise" system has
>> virtually nothing to do with what I have been talking about.
> Perhaps you could define it, and explain how any underlying principles
> would be upheld.

### A polycentric law system is based on the notion of competing
providers of law within one geographic area. It is a form of a primary
public good. Just as any other legal system it must be stabilized by a
set of social norms (i.e. beliefs) prevalent in the community, which
are a secondary public good. In this case the secondary public good is
the commitment to avoid participating in attempts to build a
monopolistic legal system, and a commitment to punish those who make
such attempts, or those who fail to participate in punishment.

The content of laws produced under such a system will of course depend
on the desires of persons who commission such laws (i.e. clients),
presumably by subscribing to one or more producers of law (i.e.
providers, such as judges, standards organizations, various voluntary
associations). I cannot predict the exact content, aside from the
general remark that this law is highly likely to accurately reflect
the desires of clients, compared to law produced by a monopolist. This
prediction is based on the consistent observation that services
provided by uncoordinated providers essentially always outperform
services provided by monopolists, in a multitude of settings: from the
provision of groceries, to cars, music, healthcare, education,
religious services, etc.

An additional prediction is that this system, if it were to exist,
would most likely incorporate strong beliefs (and the attendant
secondary public goods) regarding non-initiation of violence among
members of the in-group. In-group violence is destabilizing, probably
especially so in a situation where multiple semi-sovereign subgroups
are a desired feature of the system. Therefore I think that the
capitalist anarchy could only be built out of minds very capable of
restricting their desires for in-group dominance (of course, they can
still ruthlessly kick ass outside).


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