Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Private Production of Defense – Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Among the most popular and consequential beliefs of our age is the belief in collective security. Nothing less significant than the legitimacy of the modern state rests on this belief.

Here he addresses the problem concerning democratic governments’ defense practices: Hans-Hermann-Hoppe

“Moreover, under democratic conditions, insult will be added to injury.  For if everyone - aggressors as well as non-aggressors and residents of high crime locations as well as those of low crime locations - can vote and be elected to government office, a systematic redistribution of property rights from non-aggressors to aggressors and the residents of low crime ares to those of high crime areas comes into effect and crime will actually be promoted…[government] taxes more in low crime and high property value areas than in high crime and low property value ones, or it even subsidizes the residents of the latter locations – the slums – at the expense of those of the former and thus erodes the social conditions unfavorable to crime while promoting those favorable to it.”

How would a private system operate and solve the problems created by a democratic government’s system?  Hoppe thinks people would basically buy defense insurance and lauds the superior sufficiency of the private sector:

“Based on its continually updated and refined system of statistics on crime and property values and further motivated by the noted migration tendency from high-risk-low-value (“bad”) to low-risk-high-value (henceforth “good”) locations, a system of competitive aggression insurers would promote a tendency toward civilizational progress (rather than decivilization).

He also discusses what would happen if a state were to attack a stateless area protected by private defense associations.  What would the attacking state face?

In this case the aggressor would not encounter an unarmed population.  Only in statist territories is the civilian population characteristically unarmed.  States everywhere aim to disarm their own citizenry so as to be better able to tax and expropriate it.  In contrast, insurers in free territories would not want to disarm the insured.  Nor could they.  For who would want to be protected by someone who required him as a first step to give up his ultimate means of self-defense?  To the contrary, insurance agencies would encourage the ownership of weapons among their insured by means of selective price cuts.

People would actually have economic incentives to own weapons.  The insurance agency could weigh the risks and effectively pay people to help defend the territory voluntarily.  Futhermore, if the insurance agency failed to protect your property, it pays you.  In our world, when the government fails to protect your property, it still charges you and tells you better luck next time.

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