Sunday, November 30, 2014

Citizenship and Culture Pournelle Chart

Based on a diagram by Chris Gilligan,
the diagram itself based on the work of
Ruud Koopmans and Paul Statham.

Thanks to Professor Chaeyoon Lim
for helping me access this information.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Majority Unionism, Compulsory Unionism, and Compulsory Voting Hurt Workers

     Some on the left speak of Right to Work laws as “right to work for less” laws. While statistically it is true that pay is nominally lower in Right to Work states than in non- Right-to-Work states, the interstate differences in consumer preferences, styles of economizing purchasing, and economic and social values, may account for Red-Staters' desire to live in more conservative economies.
     Also, the value of freedom – meaning liberty from coercion and compulsion, in addition to free choice from among many alternatives – is immeasurable. The freedom to choose a union is as important as the freedom to choose one's employer.
     Additionally, the reputation that Right to Work laws have for being “union-busting laws” is unfounded. Right to Work laws do not eliminate collective bargaining, nor unions entirely. They merely invalidate union shop agreements, which permit the hiring of union members alongside non-members, but with the requirement that non-union workers eventually join the union and pay dues as a condition of getting hired or keeping their jobs.
     Right-to-Work laws would do nothing to reverse the illegality of closed-shop union security agreements (in which only union members in good standing may be hired), which are outlawed by the Taft-Hartley Act.
     Although compromise between labor and capital seems a distant dream, I contend that the solution to compromise on the Right to Work vs. Compulsory Unionism issue is remarkably simple.

     On September 5th, 1989, Reed Larson, the head of the National Right to Work Legal Committee, appeared on The Mike Scinto Show, on WHIO-TV in Ohio, to discuss the merits of Right to Work laws. Wes Wells, a Dayton-area labor leader with the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (A.F.L.-C.I.O.), called in to the show.
     Reed Larson defended Right to Work laws, and Wes Wells explained that the A.F.L.-C.I.O. is opposed to the principles of the Right to Work Committee. However, they both agreed that it is due to federal labor law of the 1930s and 1940s (specifically, the majority unionism provision of the 1935 Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board) that free riders are created and covered.
     Before reading the exchange, it will be necessary to understand the majority unionism provision of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. According to this act (which is still in effect, and enshrined into law in Section 9 of the U.S. Code), there can be only one exclusive bargaining representative for a unit of employees (that is, the people elected by a majority of the workforce have the right to become the exclusive representatives of workers in collective bargaining with the employer), and employers are compelled to bargain with the representative [singular] of its employees.
     Majority unionism, compulsory unionism, and the compulsory and secretive election procedures required of unions by the N.L.R.B., are all consequences of the Wagner Act, and yet Right to Work laws take the rap for creating free riders.

     The following is a transcript of part of the exchange between Larson and Wells. The video can be viewed at this address:

Scinto: Do you think it's fair that if … I come to work for … Chrysler, or for … General Motors, that if I don't want to belong to a union, that I should have to be represented by that union?

Wells: Well, absolutely. When we take... a look at the average wage rate … of those Right to Work states, and take a look at the wage rates in this … state, for example, and take a look at the tax structure, and who pays the taxes, we don't think that there should be free-riders. If an individual enjoys the same wage and benefits – health, medical, and all those services – then we don't think … that they should be able to free-ride on other members that … pay union dues.

Scinto: Reed?

Larson: Well, I don't think that they should be able to free-ride either, and I don't that you should be required … to represent anybody who doesn't voluntarily join and pay dues to the union. Now just tell us, right on the air, do you want to represent those non-members? Would you support a change in the law that says you support only the people that want to be represented?

Wells: Reed, you know that by federal law, that we are required to represent those free riders.

Scinto: And he's [Larson is] saying he … wants that changed.

Larson: … We've got a bill in … Congress to change that. Would you support it? …

Scinto: Would you support the bill to … eliminate that federal law, Wes?

Wells: I'd have to take a look at the bill. I don't even know what bill he's talking about.

Scinto: OK... Let me... ask you, Wes, if ... we came up with a … theoretical bill or an actual bill that would eliminate the … mandatory support for people who didn't pay their dues and didn't belong to the union, could you at least … be open to the consideration of a Right to Work law?

Wells: Well, I, you know, I think we need to take a look at any legislation, but … you know, to buy a pig in a poke, absolutely not, and the things that Reed and the Right to Work Committee stand for, you know, we are directly opposed to those principles. And Reed is, you know, pretty much aware of that.

Scinto: Alright...

Larson: Just remember this: unions want to represent those non-members, and they fight bitterly for the right and the privilege of doing that, and then they want to tax those people.

     The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation – the 501(c)3 arm of the National Right to Work Committee, a 501(c)4 - primarily defends people who object to being compelled to pay union dues. It has also defended people who wanted to form new, alternative unions. The practices of having more than one union in a workplace are called dual unionism and minority unionism.
     In non-Right-to-Work states (otherwise known as Compulsory Unionism states, which allow closed-shop and union-shop union security agreements), unions compel non-consenting workers to pay union dues, even if they think the union doesn't do anything for them, or even agrees to limit their wages, raises, and benefits in order to keep the union contract with management/owners, and in order to keep the power to monopolize worker representation in the workplace.
     Agreeing to limit workers' wages is especially deleterious to the improvement of workers' living standards, because such contracts between unions and management were often written as long as decades before modern workers are hired. This, of course, means that wages and raises were written before all of the inflation and consumer price index increases that have accumulated since then.

     In addition to the fact that, in Compulsory Unionism states, inadvertent free-riders receive undeserved benefits (which they don't even consider to be actually beneficial to themselves, and therefore don't want, and also don't want to pay for), the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 -also known as the Wagner Act – allows employers to refuse to recognize the union.
     When the employer recognizes the union, the union can become the lone representative of workers in the workplace, provided that the union collect union authorization cards signed by a simple majority of the workers. But when the employer refuses to recognize the union, the union can only be certified through secret-ballot elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
     To reiterate, the majority unionism provision of the Wagner Act requires that if a majority of workers do not authorize the certification of the union as the sole representative of workers in negotiation with management, a secret-ballot election must take place.

     These elections, aside from being secret-ballot (which Lysander Spooner argued are secretive, and remove all traces of voter privity) – are compulsory upon unions (rather than the rules of the elections being left up to the concordance of the workers themselves), and supervised and conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
     Aside from all this secrecy, compulsion, and tyranny of the simple majority, such elections may be required to take place on a frequent basis. As a consequence of Scott Walker's Act 10 - passed in Wisconsin in 2011 - public sector unions working in education and health are now required to participate in annual votes on whether to keep their union. [Note: although the Wagner Act pertains to (most) private sector unions, it does not apply to public sector unions.]
     Aside from being required to frequently vote in secret ballot elections on whether to renew their unions' certifications, individual union members may be required to vote in union elections, even if they want to stay neutral. When this occurs, it is because the simple majority of the vote is based on a majority of the total number of workers, rather than on the number of workers consenting to participate in the election.

     Compulsory voting in union elections compounds the risk that a union will be required to cease representing workers. This is because when more people are compelled to pay dues against their will, more people will vote against renewing the certification of that union when such a vote occurs. This is especially so when the vote is compulsory on top of the compulsory dues payments, which bred the resentment that led workers to resist conscription into the union in the first place.
     This is the essence of the all-or-nothing system that the N.L.R.A. set up. It is difficult to imagine how many Americans assume that federal law compels employers to negotiate with unions, in an unconditional manner. This is to say that majority status through federally-supervised secret-ballot elections, is the necessary condition to invoke government responsibility to ensure that employers negotiate.
     If federal law required employers to negotiate with anyone engaging in concerted activity with fellow workers (in order to engage in union behavior, or in order to invoke their right not to), then majority unionism and compulsory voting in union elections would be obsolete.

     The interconnected web of aforementioned problems is the reason why I am strongly opposed to compulsory voting, whether in union or political elections. And now that we see the damage which compulsory voting can cause unions, we must understand that compulsory voting has the exact same effect in political elections.
     To any progressive or liberal who argues that voting should be compulsory in political elections - including on the premise that "more people would vote in a progressive or liberal way" - I say “then to be fair, we must also forcibly educate people about all of their options”.
     There should be no compulsory voting without compulsory education about all of the choices. This is why I feel that employers requiring workers to watch anti-union propaganda is an acceptable consequence of all the union compulsion I have described; it is an effort to provide a counter-balance. When such union compulsion ceases to exist, I would oppose all efforts to compulsorily educate workers.
     But compulsory education aside, if the public knows that disaffected progressives and liberals will be required to vote, and that they will be voting in droves, then those who oppose progressives and liberals the most strongly will also show up to the polls (especially since they'd be required to do so) in order to create a counter-balance to the electoral power of their political rivals. We must remember Newton's 3rd Law of Motion - “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” - and apply it to political action.

     In my opinion, all of this demonstrates why putting bargaining rights on the table for sacrifice on the corrupt altar of representative democracy - which could vote those rights away, instead of being required to protect them as natural and inalienable, and protect our right to contract - was the first mistake of the labor movement.
     This is why I believe that on the labor issue, the federal government should do little more than protect each worker's unlimited right to enter into a contract and to negotiate (this right is limited by labor laws and long-standing labor contracts), protect the right of individuals to engage in concerted activity (or not to), and compel employers to bargain with employees (unconditionally, and regardless of the existence of a simple majority's approval).
     These rights should be seen as, and are, corollaries to all other rights in the workplace. As the International Workers of the World say, “an injury to one is an injury to all”. As Karl Marx wrote, “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”.
     The needs of individuals and minorities must be protected from the will of the simple majority, which is unstable due to its potential to change instantaneously and change rules for light and transient causes. Majority status should not be anywhere near as meaningful and consequential as simply engaging in concerted activity with other workers for the purpose of prompting negotiation obligations on the part of management.

     On top of that subjugation, some union dues support political purposes, and/or have their funding buttressed by taxpayers. Compulsorily extracted union dues that fund the remainder of unions' pursuit of voluntary contributions, are what is known as soft money, as opposed to the hard money that is raised voluntarily.
     It is this tangled mess of coercive taxation (to bail-out what consumers will not voluntarily pay for), compulsory dues payments, compulsory voting, tyranny of the simple majority, and employer freedom to refuse to recognize unions (if they don't get a simple majority), which render it paradoxical to support unions in Compulsory Unionism states; and which invite all the unlimited and secretive spending by corporations, unions, and political action committees, many of whose goals are questionably constitutional.
     It is violence in the workplace begetting a politically violent response, which - as I explained above - would be entirely called for, if only capitalists did not also collude to force workers to watch anti-union propaganda (on top of limiting and interfering with bargaining, and intimidating and exploiting workers).

     This mess is the fault of the citizens; for allowing the federal government to unconstitutionally legislate on matters of labor in the first place. Federal intervention in labor and commerce were never authorized by the Constitution. The Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce were originally fused together into one, when Theodore Roosevelt's government created them. I suspect that they were separated in order to keep labor's nose out of the corporate welfare books.
     This is why we must be wary that compromise may bring concessions, and that more secrecy may result due to only illusorily separated new powers such as these. Such departments are unconstitutional, and should either work with other cabinet agencies in a manner that provides checks and balances, or they should be constitutionally re-authorized, or else cease existing permanently.

     Big Labor and federal law create half of labor's problems. There is no reason why the labor movement and the limited government movement cannot work together; I assert that there are plenty of federal and state laws – and types of union security agreement practices (some of which are practically laws, because they are complex contracts that have been frequently updated and repeatedly allowed legal standing by the courts) – that can and should be found invalid and unconstitutional.
     As I stated earlier, these contracts and laws interfere with the people's unlimited right to contract. This right cannot and should not be voted away.
     Repealing the entire Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 (then dubbed "the slave labor bill" by labor leaders), amending or abolishing the monopolistic representation provision of the Wagner Act of 1935, and amending or abolishing much of the remainder of the Wagner Act, would be perfect places to start fixing the union bosses' mess. These are antiquated laws, in twenty years the Wagner Act will be a century old, and the Democratic Party can and should do much better.
     Right-to-Work laws must be re-presented in order to appeal to progressives and liberals. Here's how it's done: "Right to Work laws empower state governments to stop the federal government from requiring anti-union workers to derive free benefits - without paying dues - that result from the negotiation of union members who agreed to work for and pay dues to their unions". I could add "and willingly participate in, and vote in", if Right to Work laws could, of themselves, end compulsory and majority unionism. But that could only be done through a National Right to Work Amendment.
     There is no reason why labor should keep obeying the federal government's demands that it continue to work harder to support the free-riders that the government creates, giving more benefits than requested to workers who may despise the dominant union. This only begets more resentment, politicization of the workplace, political divisiveness, and spiteful policy-making.
     Constitutionally limited government, members-only collective bargaining, dual and minority unionism, and some of the goals of Franklin D. Roosevelt's unconstitutional 1933 National Recovery Administration (i.e., promoting boycotts and fostering fair competition) can reverse most of the aforementioned contradictions of organized labor. Right-to-Work laws and/or the abolition of the National Labor Relations Board (to be replaced by more direct negotiation between workers, owners, consumers, and investors) can solve much of the rest.

     In the 1980s, the Supreme Court ruled that workers may be compelled to pay a minimum amount of union dues to cover their fair share of collective bargaining, but they may not be compelled to become full members of a union.
     In my opinion, something close to this precedent should be recognized in Compulsory Unionism states, along with two requirements: (1) workers are given adequate warning – during the job interview, or at least before filing one's employment tax information - that they will have to join a union in order to keep their jobs, and (2) workers may only be compelled to pay union dues that cover those benefits of negotiation, of which individuals cannot help but receive the benefits.
     That is to say, any fair share fee that would be compulsory, would cover only those benefits that substantially improve the physical health and safety conditions of the workplace (the unavoidable consequences of working in a unionized workplace). Wages and benefits, however, would not be covered by fair share fees, but instead be negotiated on an individual basis (or, at least, wages and benefits could be allocated in a manner which is uniform with respect to individuals, but individuals would be free to opt-out of those full benefits).
     There is no good reason why the fair share fees which would normally be paid to the union, should not be paid to management and ownership, in order to cover the costs of the share of the health and safety improvements to the workplace which is incurred by workers not belonging to the majority union.
     Requiring ownership/management to collect fair share fees under these conditions, would eliminate the system of fair share fees as we know it, and allow workers to completely opt-out of paying dues to any union if that is their wish.
     It would also help ensure compliance with Section 19 of the Wagner Act, which provides that people with religious convictions against joining a union are entitled to not associate with or financially support it. Additionally, it would also help ensure that labor and capital each contribute something in regards to improving the physical conditions of the workplace.

     A twenty-year-old with no family to support, who goes to a hiring and staffing agency to find a job pushing a broom, should immediately be informed that “the union can get you fired for not paying dues.”
     “The union will resist any attempts to put non-unionized workers in the workplace, even on a temporary basis [for example, if you're a substitute for a unionized worker who is out recuperating from health problems]. No 'non-union' workers will not work here, not even if they want to form their own union, and especially not if they want to form that union in order to sue the majority union for agreeing to limit your pay and wage increases, in order to secure its contract, and under-bid any union that would have fought to secure higher wages. No job that doesn't require a license or full-time hours will be permitted to exist.”
     Furthermore, such a person should be allowed to earn less than the union would wish him or her to earn. If they go to work pushing a broom at a school, they should not be expected to join the combination teachers' and janitors' unions, and be paid as well as teachers, if they don't want to. In such combination unions, more skilled employees (in this instance, teachers) must stop pretending that allowing less skilled employees (here, janitors) to volunteer to earn less, threatens the skilled employees' bottom line, or their jobs altogether.
     The charade that paying low-skilled workers less, threaten the jobs of higher-wage earners, is a despicable lie that comes from unions, and absurdly threatens the jobs of both sets of workers. These lies may help garner sympathy for labor's cause, but they do not help individual workers whatsoever.

     Big Labor shoots itself in the foot using an enthusiastically registered gun made out of century-old federal laws. It no longer seems absurd to me to suggest that federal labor laws were designed to limit the freedom of several workers to demand negotiation, and the freedom of many unions to flourish, even several per workplace. This is in addition to the freedom to engage in sympathy strikes, which unions have to contend with aside from already needing majority votes and/or the union leader's agreement about whether and when a strike will take place.
     Essentially, I am arguing that union negotiation and its benefits must be treated as club goods; excludable and non-rivalrous. The market for union negotiation must be perfected, and its competition completed. Free riding is an externality which must be internalized in order to preserve the closed club nature of the union. Government created this problem; labor and capital did not.
     Unionists should not assume that a federal labor law benefits workers overall, simply because it is a long-standing labor law supported by Democrats (of eighty years ago, mind you). Liberalism has changed, and conservatism has changed. Labor must be revisited as a national issue, but the working public must be made to understand that our freedom and our power in the workplace are fundamental and inalienable rights, that we do not need permission to exercise them, and that we look to government (which we create and hire) only to protect these natural rights.

     To say what I hope is obvious, the problem is not that unions are inherently bad, it's just that many of them agree to abide by profoundly unjust and exploitative laws, and some are hungry for money, and for control in the workplace and in politics. I, for one, cannot agree to support most unionization in Compulsory Unionism states, because supporting unions would paradoxically lead to the destruction of unions (as I have demonstrated throughout this article). This is why I maintain that the left and the right agree on this issue; they just don't know it yet.
     I believe that there should be a National Right to Work Amendment, that the Supreme Court should invalidate and find unconstitutional the federal and state laws which permit union-shop union security agreements, and that the federal government should intervene in the Compulsory Unionism states (if necessary) in order to protect workers' rights to freely plan to form unions, strike, and demand negotiation. All other federal labor laws should be repealed, except laws requiring employers to negotiate, laws that protect the right of two or more workers to engage in concerted activity with intent to unionize, and laws that directly affect the federal government's own public-sector workers.
     I recommend that laws be passed requiring that no union be allowed to prevent other unions from going into competition with it. It should still be possible for unions to appeal to government to break up unions that use coercion and compulsion. But workers should not be left with no alternatives to an only union; if government destroys workers' only alternative, it should create an alternative, or at least allow any innocent workers to create something new. Either way, concerted activity must be strongly protected, in order for that to remain a possibility.
     To reject Right-to-Work laws, dual and minority unionism, members-only collective bargaining and open-shop union security agreements, is essentially to diminish the importance of federally protected concerted activity between several workers (as opposed to many workers agreeing to exist as a union, existing on majority status, following federal law and obeying the N.L.R.B.).
     Additionally, it is to assert that “unions are good because they help get the worker the full product of his labor, but to be truly excellent, unions should imitate the worst aspects of capitalism" - such as monopoly, coercion/compulsion, majoritarianism, representative democracy, and property ownership [albeit collective ownership in form] – and that unions should imitate the worst aspects of capitalist management and ownership, by having the power to fire people [keep in mind, we're talking about the power to fire people who don't even agree to work for them, and may have no idea that they'll be expected to start working for the union leadership's benefit until weeks after they are hired].

     Whether and how unions may or may not exist or strike, should not be left up to distant bureaucrats in Washington, but the freedom of decision on this matter should be recognized as a fundamental natural right, and protected. So let us not speak of “reining in the unions”; instead, it is time to rein in the powers of majority, monopoly, coercion, compulsion, ownership, politicization, polarization, and firing - which federal and state laws have permitted unions to exercise - so that collective bargaining with capital may be diverse, fair and equal, and both free and freeing.
     Perhaps it is even time to thoroughly end the power of the tyranny of the simple majority to vote away our inalienable individual rights to use our personal property (i.e., our bodies) to have an unlimited right to contract, and engage in concerted activity, and practice our natural, fundamental (albeit extra-constitutional) right to bargain with our employers (and our unions).
     I suggest that we may do that by constitutionally limiting government. This will have several positive effects: (1) the government would not be free to pile on government bureaus and the employee rolls and contracts and public sector unions that come with it. This would help ensure that the costs of government never get so high that it appears that taxes will have to be made compulsory upon everyone. It would additionally allow willing customers to make the choices about which companies and unions win and lose in the marketplace, rather than those choices being made by government bureaucrats and union bosses who have the power to steal the property (i.e., income) of taxpayers and workers.

Edited in December 2014
Thanks to Terry R. Gray for his assistance

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Market for Legitimate Violence: Panarchist Taxation, Property Insurance, and Securitization

Written in May 2013
Edited in November 2014 and January 2015,
Published November 21st, 2014

Chapter 1: Liberalism and the Progressive Tax
Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Minarchism, and the Flat Tax
Chapter 3: Agorists, the State, and Compulsory Taxation
Chapter 4: Liberals, Minarchists, and Agorists
Chapter 5: Reconciliation, Freedom, and Reciprocity

Chapter 1: The Panarchist Philosophies
Chapter 2: Panarchic Politicoeconomic Systems
Chapter 3: Default Geographic and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
Chapter 4: Consent of the Governed Under Duress
Chapter 5: The Legitimacy of Political Associations

Chapter 1: Democracy, and Sovereignty as Externalization
Chapter 2: Political Choice as Boycott and Market Preference
Chapter 3: Progressivism as Social Convention

Chapter 1: Forms of Wealth, and Banking Practices
Chapter 2: Mutual Risk and the Price of Public Services
Chapter 3: The Wealthy as Charity Cases
Chapter 4: Personal Wealth as a Danger to the Community



Chapter 1: Liberalism and the Progressive Tax

In the view of most people who are both politically and fiscally liberal, important reasons to support and pay taxes to government include funding the administration of social welfare programs aiming to alleviate poverty, funding of the delivery of goods and services provided through such programs, and increasing the equality of economic outcome and of socioeconomic mobility for members of political society.
Liberal governments and administrations typically attempt to accomplish these goals by taxing citizens’ wealth in property and their personal incomes, through the implementation of “re-allocative” or “redistributive” taxes. Such taxes bear structures whose proportions of receipts to disbursements aim to result in what liberals believe to be a fairer and more equitable distribution of income and wealth, thus achieving the aforementioned equality of economic mobility.
In a progressive – or graduated – tax structure, the rich are taxed more than the poor in proportion to their wealth and / or income. In an accelerating – or exponential – tax structure (a form of the progressive or graduated tax structure), the rate at which the proportion of taxed wealth and / or income increases itself increases as taxpayers accumulate more wealth and earn more income.
Under a regressive tax structure, the poor and / or low-income are taxed more than the wealthy and / or high-income in proportion to their wealth and / or income. Under a flat tax structure, all members of society are taxed an equal proportion or percentage of their wealth and / or income.

Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Minarchism, and the Flat Tax

In the view of many political libertarians (in particular, minarchists) the State should not administer social welfare programs – or progressive taxes on wealth and / or income – in order to provide for equality of economic outcome; rather, it should only provide for equality of economic opportunity (in addition to political equality), and eliminate institutional discrimination (i.e., forms of discrimination practiced by agencies of government, and by the monopolies and oligopolies which they support and charter).
Minarchists believe that the State should only provide a small set of services which are thought to be essential. Typically this is because such services are perceived as necessary to foster a just civil society which upholds and protects the freedom of association and the freedom from coercion, and also because it is thought that such services cannot be sufficiently and / or ethically provided through the voluntary pursuit of rational self-interest in a system of free exchange.
The most common set of services the provision of which minarchists support include police services (such as detention, arrest, and detective and investigative services); court services (such as arbitration, adjudication, and restitution); personal security and common defense; and the protection and insurance of property, including the security (and securitization) of wealth.
Sometimes, minarchists support the funding of government services through the implementation of flat tax structures, wherein – as explained above – all government subjects are taxed an equal proportion or percentage of their wealth or income.

Chapter 3: Agorists, the State, and Compulsory Taxation

Unlike minarchists, Agorists believe that there are no services which are customarily provided by government which could not be sufficiently and ethically provided through voluntary market exchange; not the services the provision of which is often supported by political libertarians, nor even those supported by minarchists.
Most Agorists would agree with the definition of “State” – and many with the definition of “government” – as “an agency which seeks to prevent and prohibit – through armed conflict, and through clear, present, and immediate threats thereof – all agencies (which are not its truly co-sovereign subsidiaries) from competing against it (within some given claimed territory) to provide persons with goods and services which are widely perceived as being of the general social, common, and / or public welfare”.
This definition can be simplified to “an agency which wields a credible territorial monopoly on the legitimate initiation of coercion (or violence, or force)”; or to the simpler “an agency wielding a monopoly on violence”.
Agorists believe that upholding the freedom from aggressive, initiatory coercion and violent conflict (for reasons other than self-defense, and the defense of justly acquired property) is the most important goal – if not the only goalof civil society; and that no person can ethically be compelled against his will to fund the services of this or that particular provider of public services.
This means that Agorists oppose taxation (as we know it), typically preferring to instead implement fee-for-service and / or insurance- and risk-based models for the funding of competing providers of public services.

Chapter 4: Liberals, Minarchists, and Agorists

In the view of many liberals, to decrease government provision of goods and services to a small, minimal set of several essentials borders on “barbarism”, “the survival of the fittest”, “social Darwinism”, “the State of Nature”, and “chaos”.
Indeed, in the view of many minarchists and liberals, an Agorist society would be chaotic; and driven by greed, profit motive, and self-interest which is irrational, selfish, and divorced from – and independent of – the interest of the multitude.
In the view of the Agorists however, the State is an intrinsically violent, exploitative, discriminatory institution which perpetuates social and economic hierarchies, privileges, control, domination, and even the ownership of human beings as property (as some are inclined to characterize political representation).
To the Agorists, taxation is a form of legalized – although unethical – theft and plunder; it is the compulsory transfer of wealth from one group of people to another, which occurs without the authentic, verifiable, voluntary, and consensual delegation of authority. It is the use of coercion against the individual to cause him to fund the operations of an entity which he may morally abhor.

Chapter 5: Reconciliation, Freedom, and Reciprocity?

These facts beg the question: Might it be possible to reconcile the seemingly diametrically-opposed philosophies of political liberalism and Agorism, or – at the very least – to establish some set of standards agreeable to both ideological tendencies (as well as most or all others) which defines the conditions necessary for the legitimacy of systemic political association and of the pursuit of political goals?
Might it also be possible to do so in a manner which eliminates all forms of institutional discrimination and provides for the equality of economic opportunity; promotes the alleviation of poverty and increases of the equality of economic outcome; minimizes both chaotic and authoritarian forms of violence, coercion, and abuse; and allows for an efficient allocation of goods and services to the public?
Might it be possible to uphold the institution of private property without diminishing the common or public good, imposing unreasonable impediments on the rational pursuit of self-interest, or resulting in an inefficient and / or inhumane allocation of resources?
Might it be possible that to utilize social ostracism and boycott to non-violently “impose” personal social conventions, traditions, customs, and social order upon agencies which provide us with public services may be sufficient to bring about a relatively uniform, free, and fair set of available service providers?
Might it be possible that the available set of providers would begin to reflect the interests of the buyers, and influence the decisions of consumers of public services regarding which providers shall be most important with which to ensure that they share ethics?
Might it even be possible to legitimize voluntary association, voluntary cooperation, and reciprocity; and to establish a funding system for public goods and services which is fee-for-service, insurance-based, and consistent with free-market principles, which does necessitate the initiation of coercion, and which functions as an accelerating progressive “tax”?
What are we to make of Milton Friedman’s promotion of both “voluntary cooperation” and aspects of the negative income tax (a progressive tax which guarantees a supplemental, government-provided minimum income for untaxed citizens)?


Chapter 1: The Panarchist Philosophies

Agorism was proposed by Samuel E. Konkin III, and developed by J. Neil Schulman, Wally Conger, Brad Spangler, and others. Austrian School economist Robert Murphy has made contributions to topics related to aspects of Agorism, and fellow Austrian School proponent Murray Rothbard influenced Samuel Konkin.
Being that one aspect of the Agorist philosophy is support for the freedom of multiple agencies to compete against one another in the same territory to provide goods and services to the public, Agorism is compatible with several strikingly similar philosophies.
One of such philosophies is called panarchism, meaning “the system of the leadership or rule by all”; its developers include Paul Émile de Puydt, Kurt and John Zube, and Gian Piero de Bellis.
Another philosophy is known as “National Personal Autonomy” or “National Personal Sovereignty”. It was proposed by Austrian Marxist Otto Bauer, who desired that persons have the freedom to choose who governs them regardless of where they live. Bauer believed the idea to have potential to protect national and religious minorities from oppression.
Yet another philosophy is a form of direct democracy developed by Bruno Frey and Reiner Eichenberger; it which invokes the phrase “Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions”. This system allows for the potential that jurisdiction which is non-geographical and non-territorial may be wielded. Additionally, it could permit or even require overlapping subject-matter jurisdiction, and / or other unknown varieties of non-geographical and non-territorial forms of jurisdiction.
Classical liberal C. Frederic Bastiat, his intellectual heir market anarchist Gustave de Molinari, individualist anarchists Max Nettlau and Le Grand E. Day, and objectivist Roderick T. Long also made significant contributions to schools of thought similar to those mentioned above.

Chapter 2: Panarchic Politicoeconomic Systems

The fact that these philosophies are compatible with one another means that political thought which aimed to develop each of the two greater general economic paradigms (typically referred to as “capitalism” and “socialism”) resulted in the evolution of multiple ideological strains into a group of practically structurally-identical philosophies, which may be referred to as the panarchist philosophies.
It should also be noted that it is conceivable that each pillar of the American democratic-republican federalist system – namely, democracy, republicanism, and federalism – could be developed and improved in its own way through the adoption of panarchist principles of subsidiarity.
This means that implementation of such a system likely carries with it a high potential that the two general political and economic systems (which many presumed to be diametrically opposed to one another) – as well as their adherents – may develop alongside and in commerce with one another, and co-exist in general solidarity without much conflict, armed or otherwise.
This is especially true if several of the issues appearing to cause the most différance between the systems can actually be resolved and reconciled. Treating the reconciliation of the issues most likely to cause controversy as the most important to resolve would run contrary to the current mainstream tactic of uniting factions of radicals by concentrating on noticing and reinforcing existing widespread agreements.

Chapter 3: Default Geographic and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

The geographic-jurisdictional goal of panarchy can be termed “extra-territoriality”, “exterritoriality”, “aterritoriality”, or “overlapping jurisdictionality”. It could be achieved in the event that existing governments were to offer to provide goods and services to persons living and traveling in unincorporated and / or outskirt settlements, neighboring jurisdictions, then to other nearby territories, and then to more and increasingly distant places.
Given sufficient time for governance agencies to expand their offers of coverage and service provision (both geographical and in terms of types, varieties, and combinations of goods and services) into new markets, outside the reach of their current claimed jurisdictions, there would exist a state of affairs in which people’s freedom to choose which agency or agencies provide(s) them with “public” services – regardless of where they happen to be living or traveling, and without being required to move to a different location – would be free from the unnatural and artificial commercial inhibitions, civic barriers, economic distortions, and networks of privilege which result from the monopolization and oligarchization of the market for government and in the markets participated-in by the beneficiaries of corporate government.
A political environment fostering panarchist geographical-jurisdictional subsidiarity would render moot nationalist arguments such as “if you don’t like the laws here, you can always move somewhere else”, and the “vote with your feet” position articulated by Ronald Reagan which may be construed to support states’ rights.
Such arguments fallaciously assert that one is free to relocate oneself to the territorial jurisdiction claimed by the monopolistic agency whose set of laws one despises less than others. Individuals may be free, however, provided that they can afford to relocate themselves – being fortunate enough to have protected their earnings from undue taxation and burdensome regulation – and that they have been fortunate enough not to have been convicted of crimes whose punishment entails prohibitions on traveling or moving to outside the claimed sphere of sovereignty of their birthright default regional overlords.

Chapter 4: Consent of the Governed Under Duress

The barriers and distortions caused by default governance – and by the exclusive (and exclusionary) political, propertarian, and commercial privileges which it confers – together create an environment of permanent duress.
Populaces living under duress cannot be expected – and should not be assumed – to make rational, independent, enlightened, informed, consensual decisions regarding who provides them with political representation and other commercial goods and services (this statement could be used to promote the consent of the governed as easily as it could be used to revoke the right to vote).
One presumes that this duress does not exist, and that the giving of consent (really, submission) is legitimate, when he accepts requests of – and makes contracts with – customers (including both citizens and participants in non-governantial markets) to buy his goods and subscribe to his services.
If he is a monopolist, he rationalizes himself to be the legitimate beneficiary of the privilege bestowed by the rightful sovereign. If he is an oligopolist, he rationalizes himself to be a “competitor” in a “free-enough” market in which provision of services by default according to location is simply the unquestioned norm, and in which his market “freedom” lies in the power – whether earned, bestowed, both, or neither – to prohibit distant “competitors” from offering services to their claimed customer-subjects.
Just as an act of violence can be as convincing a show of power as the issuance of a credible threat, ability and privilege have the same influence on increasing the likelihood that persons will have to submit to some monopolistic or oligopolistic actor in order to obtain their basic subsistence and survival needs.
It is exploitive; in that it derives advantage – as well as utility and usefulness – from the fact that, to survive, consumers must frequent markets, which can be dominated by one of few providers, and whose rules can be influenced by one or few agents.
The perpetuation of monopoly and oligopoly is an abuse so egregious that it should be considered tantamount to violent aggression. Of course, violence and abuse of all varieties are to be discouraged, minimized, defended against, and compensated for.

Chapter 5: The Legitimacy of Political Associations

First, there is to be no violence or coercion in the authoritarian sense; that is, no person shall be required to subject himself to a political association without exercising the freedom to choose which agency – from among a set of fairly competing alternatives (fairness defined as all market agents having more or less the same influence, market share, and information, or at least not posing a risk of constituting an artificial oligopoly) – shall be delegated the authority to resolve disputes which he cannot resolve on his own without resorting to armed conflict.
Second, there is to be no violence or coercion in the chaotic sense; i.e., no person shall be free or permitted to adjudicate or arbitrate disputes of others if and when he has some substantial vested interest in resolving the dispute.
That is, all disputes which cannot be resolved through peaceful, mutually-consensual decision-making must be submitted to some – although not necessarily always the same, and preferably not always the same (due to the high potential of abuse) – fair, neutral, and independent arbiter (or, eventually, series of arbiters) which lacks substantial, direct, vested interest in the outcome of the decision.
More generally, no person or agent may make decisions which directly affect the freedoms of others without their consent. This conception of arbitrary powers and abilities should contribute to the conception of the privileges of those taking-up enough market share to wield oligopoly powers as tyrannical.
The very existence of these agents and powers pose threats to the freedom and fairness of markets – and the rights of consumers to participate in them – worldwide. The freedom to intervene arbitrarily in the affairs of others is no less a privilege because it is unchecked than because it is bestowed.
In regards to whether individuals would be permitted to refrain from submitting irreconcilable disputes to some neutral agent or agents, economist Robert Murphy writes in “Chaos Theory” that others would likely refrain from association with such individuals due to the high risks involved in doing so.
This is especially true given the perception that, given the irreconcilable nature of such disputes, such individuals often attempt to inappropriately “take the matter into their own hands”. As doing this under default government would mean rejecting the authority of the only government making a claim on the territory one occupies, under a free market in governance it would mean rejecting entire markets of agencies operating under an accommodatingly broad array of systems of judicial ethics.
Overall, adopting such a stance on the conditions for the legitimacy of political associations would help to decrease the number and impact of decisions made on the behalves of agents which inhibit said agents’ freedom to act in accordance with their own ethics and self-interest.


Chapter 1: Democracy, and Sovereignty as Externalization

An emphasis on personal choice in commercial and civic matters should not preclude the freedom to make decisions democratically – nor in concert with and consideration of the wishes of others – provided that such systemic decision-making structures are acceded to voluntarily; that is, in the presence of alternate decision-making modes and structures, provided that no agency may compel any person to come exclusively to it for any service, and provided that such political associations are not permanent, may be terminated, and are subject to frequent option of renewal and scrutiny.
Provided that the costs and responsibilities associated with the application and enforcement of such decisions are not externalized (passed-on) to non-consenting, unaware, and / or not yet affected persons or agencies, the freedoms of those who wish to make decisions via democratic processes would in fact be augmented.
Perhaps most importantly, they would be protected from actors attempting to impose fiscal austerity measures, which many in modern American political society view as being often arbitrary in regards to alternative budgetary reform measures which may be more conducive to the promotion of peace and socioeconomic justice, such as the removal of privilege from the military-industrial complex and the removal of barriers to commerce and the labor market.

Chapter 2: Political Choice as Boycott and Market Preference

The majority of Americans today – some 60 percent, at least – believe that the wealthy should pay a greater percentage of their income (and / or property) than the middle-class and the poor to fund the operations of government.
Given this fact, it seems reasonable to expect that in a free market for governance, at least – and probably significantly more than – 60 percent of the agencies competing to provide goods and services to the public would implement a progressive fee-structure.
They would do this (at least in part) in order to appeal to their would-be customers’ ethical sensibilities – i.e., their support of socioeconomic justice, fairness, and equality – and with a set of underlying goals which include expansion into untapped markets and service of dissatisfied former customers of competitors.
Given that a significant majority of the market for – and customers of – public services would choose to abide by and demand such a fee-structure, direct-action efforts may further increase that majority.
This is due to the facts that most or all customers would impose their desire for such a fee-structure on the market; and that many of the remaining 40 percent or less of the populace which does not already support progressive taxation may come to see that intentional interruptions in the structure which benefit the very top percentage of earners the current system disproportionately benefits the top income earners at their expense, and that it was not progressive taxation but rather imperfections in it which has significantly contributed to the disparity in wealth and income.
This system would function best in a society in which individuals are free and encouraged to boycott and protest agencies which they believe act unethically, to spread information about such agencies to others, and to reach their own conclusions about which facts about agencies are true or false.
Naturally, the individuals (and groups) who believe that refusal to implement a sufficiently just and equitable fee-structure is a good enough reason to refrain from supporting an agency should be treated as no exception.
Given sufficient sustained dedication and coordination of the actions of such individuals (and the citizen advocacy, consumer awareness, and public interest groups – and other associations – which they form), it is conceivable that agencies perceived as among the most amoral or exploitative would lose most or all of their share of the markets and of their patrons.
This would likely occur due to resignation of officials and employees, desertion by customers, lack of ethical sympathy felt by potential customers to begin with, protests by outside actors, and / or increased competition by better-respected agencies.

Chapter 3: Progressivism as Social Convention

Given the aforementioned conditions, it is also conceivable that the implementation of an equitable accelerated progressive fee-structure would dominate – or even, potentially, completely encompassthe market for the provision of public goods and services.
Before continuing, it should be noted that fee-structures are multi-variable cartels; that is, multi-variable standards on the prices which customers are willing to pay in exchange for services (multi-variable because a graph of this type of fee structure describes a rate of acceleration of the ratio of income and wealth to portion taxed). It should also be kept in mind that price cartels are imposed by either or both the providers and the consumers of goods and services.
In summation, it is conceivable that the implementation of just and equitable fee-structures could pervade the entire market for the provision of goods and services to the public, through the acceptation and adoption of social norms and customs which assert and defend the ethical imperative of implementing such fee-structures; actions such as information-sharing, protesting, boycotting, and forming customer price cartels.
In regards to the protection, insurance, and securitization of private and personal wealth, property, and income (insofar as they are services offered and provided to the public), all consumers of public goods and services – especially those who believe in socioeconomic justice and equality and want their property protected and insured – would be urged to adopt unwavering personal standards of how equitable the fee-structure of the agency protecting and insuring their property need be in order for them to be able to justify to themselves becoming customers of such agencies (that is, to always demand that the fee-structure of their property-insurance agency be both graduated and accelerating in respect to the wealth and income of the customer). Consumers would also be encouraged to urge others to do the same.
However – considering the possibility that direct-action information-spreading, protests, boycotts, and adoption of standards through the formation of peaceful cartels may not be sufficient to bring about the universal implementation of fair and equitable fee structures providing for the funding of the administration of agencies protecting and insuring wealth, property, and income – it is necessary to explore the possibility that self-interest and profit incentive may help guard against such failures.


Chapter 1: Forms of Wealth, and Banking Practices

The “flat tax” fee-structure which is often supported by libertarians and minarchists is the most simplistic model of a fee-for-service system providing for the protection, insurance, and security of wealth. In this model, the owners of wealth would pay an insurance premium whose amount is in direct proportion to the quantity of wealth to be insured.
Given the diversity of the forms which wealth can take – for example, physical assets like landed property and metallic currencies versus monetary assets tracked by banks’ computers – and the varying amount of difficulty involved in protecting these different forms, the numeric relationship between the price of the premium and the value of the wealth would vary widely when one takes into account the relative amounts of the different forms of wealth which an insurance customer possesses. This would cause interruptions in – and distortions of – the direct-proportional relationship between the amount of wealth and the cost of insuring it.
However, this problem could be solved by prohibiting practices such as speculation without full possession of assets (which can manifest as usury and fractional-reserve banking), and the manipulation of interest rates by non-market actors. Such reforms would be especially justifiable given that the allocation of resources is inefficient in the presence of such practices, all of which may be characterized as non-negligible transaction costs. Additionally, the system of the sale, purchase, and trade of debt should be re-examined, as should anything resembling the use of debt as a medium of exchange be abhorred.
Essentially – given successful universal implementation of such prohibitions of superfluous transaction costs – the normality of the flat fee-structure model would be preserved; that is, all persons would pay the same fraction or percentage of their wealth in order to protect the remainder of their wealth, regardless of how rich or how poor they are.
However, the purpose of explaining how a flat model could be perfected is not to propose or promote the flat model, but rather to introduce it as a basis for a more complex model.

Chapter 2: Mutual Risk and the Price of Public Services

Thus far, the influence which the difficulty of insuring wealth exerts on the price of premiums has been taken into account, but the influence of risk has not.
Just as insurance companies could not stay in business without carefully and accurately determining the risk associated with insuring persons and their property, consumers of security cannot expect to stay safe without carefully and accurately determining the risk associated with hiring one insurance agency over its competitors.
Being that income earners and property owners want to keep their wealth safe from those who would take or damage it – and keep themselves safe from those who would attempt to kill or injure them in order to take it – they are willing to pay in order to fund such security efforts.It is reasonable to expect that in any just society, those who earn and own the most would be willing to pay the most in order to protect themselves and their wealth.
In the administration of a taxation system for the funding of security of person and property which is based on insurance against mutual risk of buying and selling goods and services which promote such security, we would see a flat-tax-style linear relationship between wealth and income, and the “tax rate” (being that the fee-for-security-service voluntary “tax” is a form of insurance, the tax rate can also be termed “the insurance premium:”).
Not only would there be the psychologically satisfying fairness of the flat tax, but additionally the wealthy – being that with their greater wealth they are more likely than others to become victims of theft and bodily harm – would be willing to pay higher premiums (and even premiums they consider exorbitant and ridiculous) in order to protect and insure their wealth and income and themselves.

Chapter 3: The Wealthy as Charity Cases

The effects of administering such a taxation system would likely be compounded and complemented by the sharing of information regarding the risks of associating with customers and providers of security; and through protest and the formation of customer price standards, and the boycott of agencies who do not implement such a system.
As a reminder, these customer standards regarding fee structures are multi-variable “cartels” which are “enforced” by the available set of potential customers associating faithfully and legitimately in markets which have fair conditions for participation and can be influenced by customary personal and societal standards.
In such a system, any agency which pledges to protect the property of the wealthiest consumers of security for a reduced premium would effectively be promising to perform something resembling a charity service, essentially transforming the wealthiest consumers into “welfare cases”. Such agencies would likely allow for the vast accumulation of wealth in property in private hands, leading to a diminution of profitability (unless and until such agencies decide not to play fair and begin to threaten, attack, and / or externalize costs onto unwilling potential customers).

Chapter 4: Personal Wealth as a Danger to the Community

      In the event of a sustained, effective boycott against competing property insurers, property owners would continue to desire that their property remain safe from those who would take or damage it, and also desire to keep themselves safe from those who would attempt to kill or injure them in order to take their property.
      As a reminder, in a panarchist system, property protection and insurance companies would negotiate with, and occasionally sue one another, when their insured customers wrong one another. Also, agencies offering property insurance policies would not be able to stay in business (i.e., avoid going bankrupt) without carefully determining the risk associated with resolving to protect, and issuing an insurance policy that covers the property of, some particular customer or other agency. Additionally, the premium rates on such insurance would reflect each company's past measures of success in providing restitution to victims of property theft or damage.
Wealthy property owners whom do not pay protection premiums, the price of which approaches that of fair market standards set by the consumers of security, would have no reason to expect others not to attempt to seize or diminish the utility of their claimed property, and / or attempt to physically harm them for defending it. This is to say that the wealthiest property owners whom do not pay to have their property protected and insured, would have no reason to expect people not to steal it.
This proposition could easily be construed to suggest that property claims which are uninsured – and / or not readily and actively protected or maintained – are illegitimate. This is important because it is compatible with views on property rights expressed by Mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, by geoists such as Henry George, and in John Locke’s labor theory of property; i.e., that the ownership of landed property is legitimate only when it remains in use or occupation.
To fail to pay more would be to fail to internalize the protection costs which the presence of that wealth would externalize upon the remainder of the community (literally, the geographical community, whose occupants are vulnerable to attack or burglary due to the possibility of their homes being mistaken for the wealthy property).
      The wealthy would be both obligated and willing at the same time, to pay higher amounts for the premiums to have their property protected and insured, even if those prices are exorbitant and ridiculous in their own opinion. First, because they have more wealth, and second, because they, with their greater wealth, are more likely to become victims of theft.
      It would be especially true that the wealthy would be willing to pay more if “cartels” are “enforced” universally; that is, if each and every one of the many property insurance agencies selling in the market, were to accede to consumer demand that those with more land and wealth, pay more to protect their property, and additionally pay to defer the protection costs which would normally be incurred by the least wealthy property owners.
      Property owners would become willing to pay more – both proportionately and absolutely – in order to protect their property and keep their persons safe (i.e, against those many consumers who would demand that their property insurer threaten loss of life and limb against those who own so much property and wealth, that the presence of that wealth (and neighbors' knowledge that it exists) puts the safety of their neighbors at similar risk (i.e., of burglary and unmerited occupation). In acceding to consumer demands, the wealthy property owner protects his own self-interest, and succeeds at protecting both his person and his property.
It is in the afore-explained manner that rational self-interest and profit incentive may help guard against the failures of direct action, account and correct for the externalization of costs onto society and unwilling potential customers, and fuel a market mechanism which would prevent and limit the accumulation of vast sums of private property (i.e., in the means of production) in private hands.
Simply, not only does this system take into account the motivation of businesses to reap net benefit and to serve the interest of their board members, investors, and customers; the success of the system depends on the rational pursuit self-interest and profit motive (in a context of non-aggression, and of just legal and economic repercussions for aggressing against competitors and unwilling potential customers).
Agencies which do not administer such equitable "tax" policies could even be sued for exploitation by a potentially infinite series of appeals to mutually-chosen fair, neutral, and independent arbiters which do not have vested interest in the outcome of the decisions made. Additionally, direct-action tactics and lawsuits alike could result in the bankruptcy and / or abolition of the offending agency.

How much more difficult a time would those who benefit from government largess have protecting their own wealth (i.e., through their own effort) if they had to possess all of their physical property and wealth on one parcel of land, instead of ten or more houses?
How hard would it be to protect their wealth if they had to carry all of their wealth on them in a sack of physical gold, tied around their ankles, so that instead of being free to go to the marketplaces and the auctions, they are forced to dislocate their own knees in order to get there?
I would not object if we lived that way. In Ancient Rome, if someone became too wealthy, they would strand them on the outskirts of the city. Not only can my idea be used to achieve just that, it could also spare the marketgoing public the indignity of having nearly every item at the auction bought out from under them right in front of their eyes.

For additional reading, see "Chaos Theory" by Robert P. Murphy, and "The Market for Liberty" by Linda and Morris Tannehill.

See also: the following blog entries.