Quote notes (#81)

Jason Collins quotes Alfred Russel Wallace on an encounter with anarcho-capitalism in Dobo (Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia):

… there are now near five hundred people in Dobbo of various races, all met in this remote corner of the East, as they express it, “to look for their fortune;” to get money any way they can. They are most of them people who have the very worst reputation for honesty as well as every other form of morality,—Chinese, Bugis, Ceramese, and half-caste Javanese, with a sprinkling of half-wild Papuans from Timor, Babber, and other islands, yet all goes on as yet very quietly. This motley, ignorant, bloodthirsty, thievish population live here without the shadow of a government, with no police, no courts, and no lawyers; yet they do not cut each other’s throats, do not plunder each other day and night, do not fall into the anarchy such a state of things might be supposed to lead to. It is very extraordinary! It puts strange thoughts into one’s head about the mountain-load of government under which people exist in Europe, and suggests the idea that we may be over-governed. […] Here we may behold in its simplest form the genius of Commerce at the work of Civilization. Trade is the magic that keeps all at peace, and unites these discordant elements into a well-behaved community. All are traders, and know that peace and order are essential to successful trade, and thus a public opinion is created which puts down all lawlessness.

NRx typically strays much too far from this insight.

May 13, 2014admin 16 Comments »


16 Responses to this entry

  • Erik Says:

    Quote is a little trimmed – the second paragraph ends thus:
    “One day a man was caught in the act of stealing a piece of iron from Herr Warzbergen’s house, which he had entered by making a hole through the thatch wall. In the evening the chief traders of the place, Bugis and Chinese, assembled, the offender was tried and found guilty, and sentenced to receive twenty lashes on the spot. They were given with a small rattan in the middle of the street, not very severely, the executioner appeared to sympathise a little with the culprit. The disgrace seemed to be thought as much of as the pain; for though any amount of clever cheating is thought rather meritorious than otherwise, open robbery and housebreaking meet with universal reprobation.”

    I will happily agree that Anarcho-capitalism works wonders for a very much self-selected population of five hundred traders with a common culture, and that seems to be what Michael Anissimov is trying to pull off with Project Idao. But in the wake of an anarcho-tyrannical society that has been forcibly desegrating a million men of a dozen different phyles, anarcho-capitalism sounds like a recipe for massive bloodshed as the differences are worked out. Perhaps massive bloodshed is inevitable, though.


    admin Reply:

    I don’t at all disagree. It isn’t so much the immediate practicality of anarcho-capitalism that is striking, as the degree to which societies and cultures have degenerated — such that even spontaneous equilbria once accessible to packs of brigands have been pushed out of reach by the inculcation of dependency and mass politics.


    Posted on May 13th, 2014 at 5:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • SGW Says:

    “All are traders, and know that peace and order are essential to successful trade..”

    Brahmin: You vaishyas sure got a nice, peaceful, prosperous and multicultural society going on, would be a shame if anything happened to it. How would you feel about paying us a small fee to ensure that no problems are created between you and your colorful neighbors over a cultural misunderstanding? We aren’t threatening you, we are your buddies and we just want to look after you,

    As experts on multiculturalism we can guarantee you that not a single one of your employees or relatives will get done over if you pay us this fee, so what say you?


    Posted on May 13th, 2014 at 6:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nyk Says:

    Such anarcho-capitalist arrangements seem to have also arisen during the earliest known American civilization, the Norte Chico civilization. From Le Wik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norte_Chico_civilization):

    “Haas notes the absence of any suggestion of physical bases of power, that is, defensive construction. There is no evidence of warfare “of any kind or at any level during the Preceramic Period.”[10] Mutilated bodies, burned buildings, and other tell-tale signs of violence are absent, and settlement patterns are completely non-defensive.[19] The evidence of the development of complex government in the absence of warfare is in marked contrast to archaeological theory, which suggests that human beings move away from kin-based groups to larger units resembling “states” for mutual defense of often scarce resources. A vital resource was present: arable land generally, and the cotton crop specifically, but the move to greater complexity was apparently not driven by the need for defense or warfare.”

    Of course, the Noble Savage theory of human prehistory is patently wrong in most other parts of the world, which makes this exception to the rule even more remarkable. I wonder to what extent is genetics the culprit in such cases of spontaneous altruistic cooperation, and to what extent the decline of such peaceful anarcho-capitalist communities is due to the odd hawks suddenly having an evolutionary advantage living in the midst of the altruistic and peaceful doves.


    Posted on May 13th, 2014 at 7:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    That some traders can manage to make a trading marketplace orderly is well and good, but iwhat kind of people are they?

    Presumably most traders have valuable merchandise with them, which makes them much more careful and conservative (not to mention older) than a roving band of vibrant youth.


    admin Reply:

    A functioning catallaxocracy would no doubt be careful to prevent the emergence of “roving bands of vibrant youth”.


    Dan Reply:

    I’m trying to follow…

    According to wiki,
    “Catallaxy or catallactics is an alternative expression for the word “economy”. Whereas the word economy suggests that people in a community possess a common and congruent set of values and goals, catallaxy suggests that the emergent properties of a market (prices, division of labor, growth, etc.) are the outgrowths of the diverse and disparate goals of the individuals in a community.”

    Are you saying that through the natural ‘market’ tendencies, the problem of roving bands of vibrant youth will take care of itself? How? Will warlords arise?


    Posted on May 13th, 2014 at 8:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quote notes (#81) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on May 13th, 2014 at 8:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    More interesting is the history of the Lanfang Republic in Borneo. Chinese settlers in Borneo help the Brunei Sultan, who gives them some land in the south. The Chinese soon develop a flourishing state based on mining and trade…

    until the Dutch come in from Java some decades later and kill them all.

    So much for flourishing trading polities.


    admin Reply:



    spandrell Reply:

    Surely the Dutch were also traders. Somehow they didn’t realize that trade was about peace and mutual benefit.


    E.Antony Gray (RiverC) Reply:

    There is also an Indus Valley civ that was wiped out; seemed very advanced, peaceful, prosperous, for its time. If profit is the motive, the trading society may make itself so easy to conquer militarily that a society that has some investment in defense and war will find the cost/benefit a no-brainer: defenseless people with lots of valuable goods? Plunder ’em.

    Patchwork does present some models for which these techcomm/ancap groups can persist.

    Posted on May 14th, 2014 at 3:26 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    The natural state of men in any situation is to work out a modus vivendi by any number of means.

    Our anarcho-tyranny was engineered from the Top Down over the last 50 years, using the Powerful Tools of Administrative govt created by the New Deal. The New Deal was of course benevolent 1933-1965. I mention it’s benevolence as 1] most people are still in love with the long dead New Dealers and their well ruled, just, and economically beneficial state and 2] powerful and unchecked by design administrative govt in the hands of the malicious must be confronted as a central challenge and threat. Without that nothing else is even possible.

    Now some wish to infiltrate this Cathedral – conveinient enough when it’s already you’re employer..hmm? Some think they will rise and somehow turn it around. That is save the Cathedral for the good – their good and oh yes “civilizations”. Which ignores that this Cathedral has powerful and entrenched interests, the chief driver of the rachet ever towards more, more, more.

    BTW as regards #1 that includes certainly much of NRxn, who are here because of banishment and exile from paradise Bubble. As regards #2 there’s no running from THAT. If you run it pursues you, but notice something pls – not very physically brave. Fat cowboys with guns just faced them down in Nevada with billions at stake, yet they folded. Hint.


    R7 Rocket Reply:

    The physically cowardly pajama boys who run the Cathedral often do not understand the amount of effort and risk the police and the military has to do to maintain the Cathedral’s authority. Some NRx sometimes miss this fact as well.


    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    The only thing that our leaders-from-behind are afraid of in this case is that it will look bad on TV.


    Posted on May 14th, 2014 at 10:24 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    R7 and P.E.T pretty much sum it up, pajama boys afraid of TV and Twitter.


    Posted on May 15th, 2014 at 1:50 am Reply | Quote

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