segunda-feira, abril 29, 2013

From Democracy to Anarcho-Capitalism

Um grande artigo de Bryan Caplan - Crazy Equilibria: From Democracy to Anarcho-Capitalism:
Imagine advocating democracy a thousand years ago. You sketch your basic idea: "Every few years we'll have a free election. Anyone who wants power can run for office, every adult gets a vote, and whoever gets the most votes runs the government until the next election." How would your contemporaries react?

They would probably call you "crazy." Why? Before you could even get to the second paragraph in your sales pitch, they'd interrupt: "Do you seriously mean to tell us that if the ruling government loses the election, they'll peacefully hand the reins of power over to their rivals?! Yeah, right!"

A thousand years later, the planet is covered with democracies. In most of them, defeated incumbents consistently make the "crazy" decision to peacefully walk away from power. In long-standing democracies, this pattern is so familiar we take it for granted.
Why bring this up? Because like the democrat of a thousand years ago, I advocate a radical political change: anarcho-capitalism. After we've privatized everything else, I think we should privatize the police and courts, and abolish the government.

I know how crazy that sounds. I also know I'm not going to change anyone's mind about this in a blog post. This post has a more modest goal: to convince skeptics that one prominent argument against anarcho-capitalism is greatly over-rated. The argument: "Do you seriously mean to tell us that privatized police companies will peacefully settle disputes, instead of attacking each other until one firm becomes the new government?! Yeah, right!"
Since we've never had anarcho-capitalism, this peaceful equilibrium sounds like wishful thinking. But it's no more wishful thinking than stable democracy. Both systems sound crazy when first proposed. Neither can be stable as long as people expect them to be unstable. But both can be stable once people expect them to be stable.

You could object: The expectations necessary to sustain anarcho-capitalism are highly unlikely to ever arrive. But the same was true for democracy a thousand years ago. Yet somehow, expectations radically changed and stable democracy arrived. How did expectations change so dramatically? It's complicated. But can expectations change dramatically? Absolutely.

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