- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Bouncing it around a little.

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist party, UK ) on March 23, 1999 at 13:46:38:

In Reply to: Untangling the Misconception of 'Competition' posted by Joel Jacobson on March 23, 1999 at 11:33:19:

: No, in such a society what has happened is taht the intra-societal "rules of engagement" have changed. Before, coercion was limited through "legitemization" and relegated to what we call government. In anarcho-capitalism coercion and the potential thereof are completely legitimate in all situations. Resorting to force is no longer considered the quasi-mystical property of what we call our government, and the cultural mores, rules, and customs that are what really holds society together will reflect as such. Also, see below.

I fail to see what this has to do with 'wealth will out' since that implies that when it comes to teh lawyerly bit, the one with the most money will win- its like a giant game of poker, the entire of society is inveted, but as ever, the one with teh money bags will allways win- just bet them off the table.

: Absolutely true. And this amount would have to exceed the potential profits from another firm's entry. The amount spent would always outweigh the potential gain from such an expenditure; now that's not very profitable, is it? Artificial monopoly NEVER works; only natural and state monopoly are efficient.

Erm, your first premise is flawed, I can actually spend a small amount, just enough, say by owning a straetigic patch of land, buying out the occiaisonal worker, or occaisional spectacular smashings, to make otehr investors wary, just increase the odds of no return a little, and most folk would back out- people prefer safe investments. 'I am holding a magnum .45, teh most powerful handgun in the world, and you're thinking to yourself, has he fired 5 bullets, or 6, well punk? do you feel lucky?'

: Here's a market analyses of how the private law market would look:
: 1) it is a fairly homogenous market w/o differentiation -- violence

No, this is one of your fundamental errors, tehre is differentiation, the quality of teh violence- theres a world of Differnce between hiring the Sherif's department of Asshole Indiana, and the SAS. This differentation would make a mockery of your whole 'mexican stand-off scenario'

: 2) entry and exit is almost costless -- guns

Training, insurance, Hellicopter gunships...

: 3) high price transparency -- consumers swtch costlessly in reponse to producer actions

Except, as we can historically see from Medieval italy, sometimes a disgruintled mercenary can be a bad foe....

: Thus, the market would have numerous smaller firms competing with each other on price and with a great need for committed customers. What would likely happen is firms would segment themselves into specialties ie. large corps, working-class neighborhoods, traveling professionals, etc. Since law enforcement is mainly used as a deterrent to some intrusion, contracts will be signed with a specific period predetermined. For instance I would sign with Jim's for $100 to protect me for the next year with some sort of escape clause should Jim not live up to his agreement. Finally, Jim would have this same contract with many other such individuals, say 10,000 bringing his total revenues to $1,000,000. On the other hand, JoelCorp is a wealthy company with a large amount of assets; the size of JoelCorp requires a much larger presence of coercive powers in order to deter potential harm to the corporate property. Bob's would contract with JoelCorp to provide protection for a year at the price of $1,000,000. Funny, the total assets of JoelCorp are pretty much equal to the total assets of those protected by Jim's.

Yes, but the Total individual price paid Jim, is less than Joel Pays in total, his cover will be less. Further, joelCorp could hire a special group, on a one off mission, at a high cost, the elite group.

: Amazing. Why? How can this happen you ask? It must be some sort of magic. No. Because we assume, reasonably, that the cost of protection is directly proportionate to the effort required to maintain said protection. If the gain from encroaching upon a "property" outweighs the cost then there will be incentive to do so. Otherwise, not. Suppose taht Bob already has a contract with JoelCorp. Jim can evaluate entry into the market based upon potential profit margins and chooses the most profitable. Bob is already receiving $1,000,000 from JoelCorp and Jim can underbid Bob and offer $950,000 or he can contract with numerous smaller holders; he chooses the later. Now Jim has to set his price at the same profit margin as Bob, any higher and Bob or another supplier will simply expand into the market and take away Jim's business. Profit margins will stabilize across the industry according to level of performance and assets protected.

erm, but Bob could have 4 or fice such contracts, worth umpteen million each, jim would find, due to teh relative constriction on the poor folk's purses, that he would have to find many millions of small time contractees to deal with, his cover would be much further stretch. plus, all of this assumes a third party, always, why cannot JoelCorp maintain its own security force, tailor made and dedicated to his profits, and not available on teh open market, a preaetorian guard?

: Now if we add in the factor of the demystification of violence we approach a situation making said violence virtually untenable. Force is no longer the 'sanctified' domain of 'the government', 'big brother', 'the state', etc. and is simply another action such as selling lemonade or writing software programs. Added to such analyses of Bob and Jim we will have individuals protecting their own properties with their own gun, grenades, and rocket launchers. Most likely they would never see use. War is always bad for business -- except for government and the arms industry; as someone once said, "War is the health of the State". Companies will always lose given socially 'unjust' actions based upon the morals and values of the individuals, including capitalists, inhabiting a particular region. Suppose a corporation makes the irrational decision to start a war. Businesses in the area will see this as a signal of the particular corporations lack of desire to 'play by the rules', as well as see the danger to the properties surrounding the particular martial actions. Other capitalists will, most likely, be the ones hurt greatest by such immoral actions and such renegade companies will find themselves discriminated against by other companies.

Erm, this sounds rather like teh Mafia to me, occiasional wars would happen, when teh gains outwiegh teh poetntial losses. Plus, teh different quality of armed forces would determine how successful they would be in achieiving missions (An SAS team deccends on Asshole Indiana's precinct, will they botehr trying to stop them? I think not). the whole point about standoff's leading to peaceful arbitration is undermined by such differences, and by personal armed force, without teh reach of market forces 9save teh mercenary labour market).

: As David Hume memorably pointed out "all values are governed by opinion" -- individual opinion influenced by social interaction, I might add. And that's always the way it's been.

And opinion is subject to PR budgets, plausible deniablility, secret black-ops.
: Interestingly enough, the whole analysis and success of all parties depended on their trustworthines and, thus, the desireability to do business with them.

Assuming of course that Violence remains the province of businesses.

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