|Reading 126 prior posts may not be a very good option for may people.|
It strikes me that the linear nature of this and all the other message boards I've seen becomes a real problem when discussions extend through dozens of posts.
Yet, the nature of the subject matter frequently requires extensive discussion.
There are many better ways to organize data. Some of the really good ones that I've sat on since the early '80's are patentable and would improve Google by several hundred percent, and so I won't talk about them. However, it would be nice to be able to specify exactly which post(s) one is responding to, and to then be able to follow a sub-thread of such responses. Then each post could have a menu listing just the direct responses to that post.
As a response to Jim's original post, one of the problems that was dealt with rather conclusively in the Tannehill's "The Market for Liberty," was this whole complex revolving around "retaliation" and "punishment." As I recall, they argued persuasively that both of these concepts came out of the dark ages of jurisprudence. Note that the common law which served pre-Norman-Conquest England and much of Northern Europe does not include either of them.
If you have equity, then where does retaliation or punishment fit in? I.e., if you are in fact compensated totally for whatever damage someone else caused you, then haven't you simply created a debt upon yourself if you, in addition, retaliate or punish someone? Aren't you then completely out of the business of justice and actually engaged in the business of enforcing a punitive version of morality?
The socialist argument is that the state must enforce the law, by making it too expensive for criminals to operate. Thus, you cut off the hand of the thief and execute the adulterer and confine the user of non-sanctioned drugs for years like an animal, all as an example to other potential thieves, adulterers, drug users, etc. This is also the position taken by necessity by conquerors like the Normans. After all, you can't have the victims of your conquest sueing you in a common law court.
Under the Common Law, the thief has to pay back all his ill-gotten gains and compensate everyone for all the trouble of catching and convicting him. If he refuses, he will be declared an outlaw and the courts will not protect him against attack. The adulterer as such would not even come under the common law, although I'm sure that a spouse could sue for breach of contract. And drug users would be free to indulge as they chose, but not to drive under the influence or otherwise place other people in uncompensated danger.
Of course, when the system of justice breaks down, or is unworkable from the get-go, then we see the degeneration of conflict into punishment, threat and retaliation.
If you stick to the principle of equity, however, then the issues are generally those of fact and evidence. What were the victim's rights of ownership? How and to what extent were they violated? How can the violator put things back to where they originally were?
Of course, that begs the question of what constitutes valid claims of ownership, and I have been arguing that a public auction should be the basis of property rights, as it satisfies the claims of the public as to prior or potential use much better than the models derived from the Divine Right of Kings, from which our present concept of private property is a lineal descendent.
As to the incentive for private defense agencies to cooperate, I draw upon the model from the world of trade of the Letter of Credit, wherein a 3rd party guarantees a contract. The third party, typically a commercial bank, only releases the money for the goods upon proof of satisfactory delivery. They only refund the moneys upon the contractually agreed upon terms of default. The bank itself will typically have publically verifiable certification, insurance and/or bonding to prove its own level of risk. And so on for the bank insurers, etc., in a widening gyre of involvement.
Similarly, the defense agency would not last long unless it was very careful about ensuring that it acted completely within the constraints of its own contractual authority and was covered by its own insurance, which would generally be provided by a third party, also in business to make money, and with its own methods and procedures to verify that it could meet its obligations. In any forceable intervention, risk control would be paramount. Eg., it would require that the victims who called it in had signed off on the proper waivers. The people who "called the cops" would be liable for any false charges, of course, and would thus carry their own insurance, which would base its premiums on the risk that the individuals created. But, the argument from complexity would enter the picture about now, typically.
There is an example often cited in elementary economics textbooks of all the people in the world economy who are involved in the production of a book of matches. The lesson is that ultimately the production of that book of matches involves everyone on the globe. Of course, any single person or even a majority of people could disappear (as they do, every 70+ years or so), and the matches would still get produced.
However, if you tried to defend the market economy on the basis of that book of matches to some Marxist alien who had never participated in a market, then you would inevitably get bogged down trying to explain the relationship of the pricing of each stage of production versus the supply and demand. At each point, the Marxist would proclaim, "AHA! You didn't explain where the lubricating oil for the sulfur mining equipment came from! Thus, your "market" cannot possibly work."
Or imagine trying to explain a living cell to an intelligent robot that had never seen a biological life form. Such a ridiculous Rube Goldberg thing could not possibly work! The robots would likely laugh their collective heads off and then exterminate us for trying to perpetrate such a massive fraud.