Two for the Bounding Main

Tales of the Black FreighterCongratulations to the Swedish Pirate Party – which favours abolishing patents, narrowing the scope of copyright, and opposing governmental surveillance – for winning a seat on the European Parliament.

In a more extraparliamentary vein, check out Brian Doherty’s article on Patri Friedman and Seasteading.

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69 Responses to Two for the Bounding Main

  1. Anon73 June 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    Sounds like they had more luck as a single issue party than the LP has in 30 years. Maybe the LP should rename itself to the “Pot Party”?

  2. Aster June 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    Nah. Let’s be fair to the LP. Even with Bob Barr as their lord and mascot, they only deserve to name themselves the “Kettle party”, in relation to the Republicans, who have the respectively same kind of right to associate themselves with marijuana. Both need a hard scrub before being left out in the sunlight to dry.

    Incidentally, the Kiwi Legalise Cannabis Party performed only slightly less well than the Libertarianz.

    I voted Green as the most practical way to support civil liberties, feminism, and sisterhood. But I’ll take a gang of jovial potheads over Lindsay’s Perigo’s socially excused class addiction any day of the century.

  3. MBH June 9, 2009 at 2:04 am #

    Unrelated praxeological thought experiment:

    What if there were a population, let’s call it Americo. In that population a few companies operating in industry X pretty much monopolized the market for X. Whether they were running a cartel of sorts is unknowable, but what is knowable is that the prices for X are raising to ridiculous levels. And yet, no competition has entered the market.

    Eventually Bob–the population’s go-to guy–says, “Hold on, this is stupid. These companies should have to compete against somebody.” Bob’s family has had access to really solid X for many years, and Bob thinks that his family’s company should offer X to everyone–not just his family.

    Praxeologically speaking, Bob is doing what is in everyone’s interest. Praxeologically speaking, Bob is moving in a direction which is in accord with the free market. But what if Bob’s name were Captain Coercion and his family was actually the federal government? Bob couldn’t help what his family members did before him. Hell, they should have been offering X to the population all along, Bob thinks.

    Regardless, Bob is determined to break up the monopoly on X. Do we chastise Bob because he’s more commonly known as Captain Coercion and his family is the federal government? Or, praxeologically, do we say that Bob is a good free marketeer in this instance?

  4. Anon73 June 9, 2009 at 3:31 am #

    In many situations like you describe, the “family members before him” either directly restricted the production of X, or else promoted the concentration of capital which indirectly led to monopolies providing X. A Randian once said “Nothing currently provided by government has not already been provided better at some point in history by private hands”. 🙂

  5. GGI June 9, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Are You perchance suggesting that, having swam the vast expanse of the electoral ocean between Sweden and Brussels, the Pirate Party will suddenly turn out to have been changed into violent monsters by the journey and start killing everybody in the Europarliament? 🙂

    That would be a good agorist argument BTW.

  6. Robert Paul June 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    My overarching question, though, is a matter of pragmatism. Given the situation in which we find ourselves today, we have a limited number of options. Counter-economics is effective and necessary in many fields, but it has its limitations (at this point in time). For instance, what are my agorist health care options?

    In these sorts of instances, I

  7. MBH June 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Using the State to do something is equivalent to forcing others to take a certain action…

    The state is nothing more than a collection of people whose use of force is popularly considered legitimate (irrespective of whether that use is actually legitimate). Say that some of the people composing the state design a plan and some other people decide to purchase it. That’s no more “central planning” than a private business who designs a plan to make a profit.

  8. MBH June 12, 2009 at 12:28 am #

    In some instances that’s not the case. If the federal government says, “OK: health care costs are ridiculous. No private company offers anything reasonable. If you like the plan you have, then stick with it. If you don’t like the plan you have, you can buy the same plan the government’s employees use.”

    Robert, I’m sorry. But, I’m not convinced–in this instance–that such an interaction is not a voluntary exchange. The government is not using force to get you to buy the plan or to get you to fund it. The resources are not coerced out of the population anymore than Blue Cross “coerces” members to supply resources.

  9. Robert Paul June 12, 2009 at 1:49 am #

    But, I

  10. MBH June 12, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    …[W]hy is the government running the program and not someone else?

    Good question.

    …[T]he government has granted itself a monopoly on first-class mail delivery.

    But the government is not granting itself a monopoly in the case of health care. Quite the opposite. Non-government run health care companies are the only ones in the market today. None of them offer a reasonable price for health care. The government is not granting itself anything except the right to compete with the non-government run companies. If the government cannot offer a quality product, then people will stick with the non-government run companies.

    I’m having a difficult time seeing how this is not–in the singular instance of the health care industry–a win/win situation. All other concerns aside. And there are too many of them to count. How is this a bad thing for the people?

    Yes, the power structure is illegitimate. Yes, the system is dehumanizing. But, if it can supply voluntary competition in the health care industry, isn’t that a legitimate function? Especially since it counts as a function if and only if it offers a product better than what’s on the market.

  11. MBH June 12, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    Roderick, I’m all for mutual-insurance systems.

    I would say that my entire way of thinking about polycentrism is Rube Goldberg-ish. I have no illusions about that. But I do tend to think that we’re two sides of the same coin. Your side is just more straightforward.

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