Thursday, August 21, 2008

But How Will We Survive Without Any Regulation or Social Safety Net?

Market anarchists take freedom to the furthest possible extreme, to the point where most people are frightened of it. Prostitution, assisted suicide, polygamy, all guns and all drugs would be legal (yes, including meth). There would be zero taxes, zero regulations, and zero restrictions on trade. The only rule of the road would be to live and let live: do whatever you want as long as you don't commit acts of aggression against others or their property.

How would we survive without any kind of safety net? An article by the BAD Brigade gives the obvious answer:

Long before the welfare state came into existence, fraternal societies existed in the united states which provided both formal and informal mutual aid in the form of life insurance, health insurance, survivors benefits, old age housing, and other social services. And these societies, such as the Masons, the True Reformers, and the Ladies of the Maccabees, consisted largely of poor working people who banded together voluntary to take care of themselves and their fellow members. These groups, of course, were in addition to the family and churches which were primary providers of reciprocal assistance before the government began providing social security and other benefits.

Similar voluntary associations and social networks could again provide the bulk of assistance for needy individuals in an anarchist society. There would, however, need to be different provisions made for those who were permanently unable to work or take care of themselves. But, just like vast numbers of americans, despite heavy taxation to support government benefits, also contribute voluntarily to private charities, individuals in a stateless world would also contribute to private organizations dedicated to the care of those unable to care for themselves.

At Strike-the-Root, Chris Awuku pictures what he calls NSWOs:

In a stateless society, an individual or family facing financial difficulty or hardship could approach a voluntary group to seek assistance. In this instance, let us call voluntary groups Neighbourhood Social Welfare Organisations or "NSWO’s” for short. Once a person has approached the NSWO for support, a number of options could occur. The NSWO could offer temporary loans or grants to people as a means of providing poorer people with a steady income. It may also donate food, basic household items and other things which are necessities to most. An NSWO could also offer funds for business start-ups.

As mentioned earlier, a free market would grant poorer people the opportunity to enter business and create wealth for themselves. After all, help often does come to those who help themselves. Essentially, NSWOs would offer all of the services which are today administered by the state. Of course, the fundamental difference is that such organisations would be funded on a voluntary basis. Naturally, no governmental force would be required in order to finance the maintenance of an NSWO in the stateless society.

Rothbard recommended the "highly successful private welfare program" of the Mormon Church.

It is also worth reading Richard Garner's Is Charity Enough?

In addition, I think many of the people who are ambivalent about gutting the social "safety net" forget that they (usually) have families and large family tree, the members of which would not have to pay a dime in taxes. Do you really think they're going to let you starve?

As for regulation...

It would still exist, only it would be done by private individuals and associations. I think private agencies would and should regulate products and companies on things like environmental friendliness, labor & accounting practices, product safety, etc, and give stamps of approval on their products and such. There are companies that do stuff like this right now, and there would be a higher demand for them if no government regulations existed.

The idea that only government can protect us from fraud is a myth.

There would, of course, still be some degree of poverty, unsafe products, and fraud. And all of these things currently exist under our current gi-normous regulatory industrial complex.

But will we survive, in the end?? Yes.

Real free trade would be risky in ways that a government supervised economy would not be. There would be no state-run welfare system, no labor laws, no laws against pollution and the wanton slaughter of wildlife. But that does not mean individuals and the natural environment would be set adrift to fend for themselves. People are more than capable of forming voluntary organizations to provide for hard times, assist each other with creating jobs, facilitate direct commerce between producers, and campaign for a more humane treatment of non-human beings. People free to trade with each other would also be free to look at the ways they live and work and come up with ways to do both that are more humane and ecologically sound than those that currently exist. They have done this all through history and do it now, alongside the institutions of the warfare/welfare state.

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