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Making competing governments compatible with Objectivism

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Hotu Matua
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Suppose you live in a city with only two shopping malls: A and B. Shopping mall A is owned by an association of Seventh-Day Adventists.

In shopping mall A, shops close at 7:00 PM, the theater does not show films with nudity or erotic content, and the Fast Food section is all vegetarian.

In shopping mall B, shops close at 10:00 PM, the theater has no issue in showing films with nudity and the Fast Food section is as diverse as it can get.

If you decide to spend your afternoon in shopping mall A, you will accept the constraints placed by being there, within that territory. If you don't like it, you can leave and move to shopping mall B.

Each shopping mall will enact constraints within their territories, and compete for different niches of citizens.

We would not have two opposed set of rules or constrains applied to the same territory, but two territories between which citizens could easily come in and out.

Now let's imagine what would happen if instead of having a single central government handling police, justice and defense, we had the 50 states of the USA handling each one their own police, justice and defense. Furthermore, within each state, imagine polis (like Greek polis) with their own government. With the increase of people working from home, and the flexiblity of employers to fire employees or employees to find a better job within a laissez faire capitalist economy, a citizen living in Dallas who dislikes the service offered by Dallas' government could easily move to Houston, with a more efficient or less taxative government.

In this way we would have, for all practical terms, a free competition of goverments within the territory of the USA, even when each government would have the monopoly of force within its own territory.

Police and defense can be coordinated by multiple means. Nowadays, police and defense between countries are already coordinated. Think Interpol or NATO.

In the future, when free governments will be widespread acorss the globe, a citizen could move from Tijuana to San Diego or from San Diego to Tijuana, depending on their preference, and would pay voluntary taxes to the State he likes the most.

The very concept of "nation" or "country", "American" or "Mexican" would be gradually lost, as impractical. The world would consist of polis, or small territorial units like Singapur, and citizens moving freely among them, always looking for the best balanced environment to live and prosper.

Boundaries between minarchism and anarco-capitalism would be so blurred, that no one would spend time in debating about them. What would be the difference between having private companies handling police within the same city, and being able to move easily from city to city in search of the one whose monopolic police is more efficient?

What is your opinion about this vision?

Edited by Hotu Matua
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What makes a society "free" or not isn't just the right of exit, or the ability to move away. A person can already move from San Diego to Tijuana or vice versa. Someone who doesn't like "services" or the taxations of one government can always move elsewhere under the current scheme, that isn't the point. A government of a free society isn't here to offer competitive "services" or advertize that they just happen to rob you less than the next one.

That's not what anarcho-capitalism or "competing governments" is anyway. That's just massive decentralization or abolishing countries and making everything into small counties or city-states. Government isn't a company on a free market. Governments of free nations do not compete in any sense of the word.

I'm going to go ahead and veto that and throw my support behind laissez-faire capitalism.

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The proper term for *competition* between governments is WAR, because all government activities involve the use of FORCE. This is not a situation that any sane person should pursue as desirable. How long do you think this right of exit would continue to exist when governments--instruments of FORCE--have a vested interest in keeping their citizens where they are? How well do mob cartels share territory, hmm?

It would be perfectly acceptable and possibly even desirable to have a single unified world government IF that government were a PROPER government. The only reason why this hasn't occurred and may not be desirable is the fact that all governments that have existed in the history of the world have been improper in some way. With any luck, this trend will be reversed in the future and the world gradually may move toward one government as Balkanization becomes a pointless traditional holdover.

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The history of Russian feudalism points out another problem with this. In Western Europe, if you were a vassal (or even a serf) under some lord, you owed fealty to that lord, but he had to put you under his protection, as well. In Russia, a feudal lord had *no* obligation to his vassals or serfs. But they were free to leave at any time.

This worked about as well as the Western Europen system until, over the centuries, things consolidated to where the Tsar owned everything. You had no choice at that point, but to take what the Tsar gave you.

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The proper term for *competition* between governments is WAR, because all government activities involve the use of FORCE. This is not a situation that any sane person should pursue as desirable. How long do you think this right of exit would continue to exist when governments--instruments of FORCE--have a vested interest in keeping their citizens where they are? How well do mob cartels share territory, hmm?

It would be perfectly acceptable and possibly even desirable to have a single unified world government IF that government were a PROPER government. The only reason why this hasn't occurred and may not be desirable is the fact that all governments that have existed in the history of the world have been improper in some way. With any luck, this trend will be reversed in the future and the world gradually may move toward one government as Balkanization becomes a pointless traditional holdover.

Hi Megan

Thanks for your answer.

I don't understand two points of it.

First: I don't understand how you translate the monopoly of retailatory force over criminals within a given territory to agression in the form of war as a way of competition among governments. Nowadays, governments DO compete in retaining their best brains and manpower, without going to war. For example, Canadians doctors or nurses come to the USA as Canadian socialized health system proves unfair. By the same token, Mexican nurses are attracted to go to Canada as Canadian circumsntances, however bad may seem compared to USA, are far better than those in Mexico. And war is not plausible among these three countries. A similar situation happens within the European Union.

Second, I don't understand why do you think that a PROPER unifed world government is better than a plurality of PROPER governments (mixed with less proper ones, at some stage).

If history has shown how difficult is for a proper government to exist, wouldn't it be too risky to bet on the permanent righteousness of a single world government? What if this unified world government becomes collectivist or even totalitarian?

A plurality of governments would allow people to move, testing a diversity of modalities, specific laws, strategies, procedures, etc. And the fall of one proper government under fundamentalist terrorists or the like would not necessarily affect other governments.

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The world existed in such a state as you describe for thousands of years, with the result being uncountable wars and untold human suffering. The system we have in place now here in the US is the best that has ever been devised by the minds of man, that works on a practical level. With minor adjustments to adapt to changing dynamics, emphasis on minor, it will work into the foreseeable future. The hodge-podge put forth by the OP is simply unworkable in meat-space.

Edited by Maximus
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The world existed in such a state as you describe for thousands of years, with the result being uncountable wars and untold human suffering. The system we have in place now here in the US is the best that has ever been devised by the minds of man, that works on a practical level. With minor adjustments to adapt to changing dynamics, emphasis on minor, it will work into the foreseeable future. The hodge-podge put forth by the OP is simply unworkable in meat-space.

I beg to differ. Wars and suffering have been caused by the plurality of authoritarian, criminal governments, not by the plurality of free prosperous nations. Suffering has been caused by the irrational fusion of State and Church or State and Economy. Free, capitalist and prosperous countries are not interested in going to war against one another. They would go to war only to defend themselves from totalitarian states. That is why you don't see Australia launching missiles against New Zealand, notwithstanding their separate police, justice and defense corps.

Balkanization is not a bad thing IF the balcanized states are freer than the mother state they secede from.

The mere existence of the USA demostrates that some part of the British empire had to secede to implement a freer society, and a better State.

Should the USA become a collectivist State, as some thinkers fear, Texas or Hawaii could be better off by seceding and implementing a freer society on their own.

I think capitalist Catalonia would be better off if independent from Spain, the Eastern provinces of Bolivia would be better off independent from Evo Morales' socialist Bolivia, and entrepenurial-minded Monterrey (where I live) would be better off independent from collectivist-minded Mexico. And Hong Kong, even when not a case of secession as such, has become an example of resistance to assimilation, an example of the will of people to remain an island of prosperity within an ocean of irrationality.

Wasn't Galt's Gulch a form of secession?

The hodge-podge put forth by the OP is simply unworkable in meat-space.

Sorry, I did not get the meaning of your sentence. Could you reword it?

Edited by Hotu Matua
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Businesses can compete productively because of proper governmental protection on individual rights.

So what kind of new entity will you invent that will oversee proper competition between governments so they don't start invading their neighbors? Some form of mega-government? :dough:

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Businesses can compete productively because of proper governmental protection on individual rights.

So what kind of new entity will you invent that will oversee proper competition between governments so they don't start invading their neighbors? Some form of mega-government? :lol:

You wouldn't really need a super-entity. No one can oversees treaties, but there is something called trust. If there is a government you can't trust, then it wouldn't matter if you had some means to oversee the treaty. A criminal will be a criminal regardless of an action being legal.

"Competition" between governments doesn't have to mean war. In a very limited sense, the US and Canada are competing governments. There is no war between the US. Of course a war *could* be started, but why *would* a war be started? If the world were more free, Canada and the US would want to attract people to their respective jurisdictions WITHOUT using force of any sort. Isn't that competition? And in fact the least violent country would probably attract the most people anyway. So there is no incentive for war either. Unless of course we're speaking of criminals, in which case it should be acknowledged that it wouldn't matter to the criminal what is legal or not, what is rational or not.

Edited by Eiuol
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Businesses can compete productively because of proper governmental protection on individual rights.

So what kind of new entity will you invent that will oversee proper competition between governments so they don't start invading their neighbors? Some form of mega-government? :lol:

We already have international tribunals and international agreements. No mega-government is needed.

And the freer and more prosperous countries become, the less the need of a mega government, and the less the risk of war.

The whole idea is that, the more extensive a State gets in terms of territory and population over which it holds the monopoly of force, the more hazardous it becomes.

It is not the same to pass a law that forbids private health care in New Hampshire, that to pass a law that forbids private health care across the USA.

And as you all know and agree, governments normally tend to get bigger, not slimmer. They tend to seek more authority over economics and private life, not less.

My point is that a State in charge of police, justice and defense, a State that follows the model of a State that Ayn Rand proposed, can do it better, and for a longer time, over a smaller territory/population, given the natural history of states towards collectivism. I would even say that, before reaching a critical threshold, the smaller the State, the better.

I don't know what that threshold could be: certainly, I would not propose a State that controls only one block of a neighbourhood. But maybe a metropolitan area would be the right size. At least, we could start with states and provinces.

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Strictly speaking, the size of the government's jurisdiction is not determined by Objectivism - only that there must be a uncontested jurisdiction. City-states or world government can be compatible with Objectivist politics. It is not the (geographic) size or organizational structure of a government that determines its legitimacy.

The root of the issue with the "competing governments" anti-concept is that governments can only compete if they disagree on what should be enforced or how. Multiple entities enforcing the same law and with established means to deal with conflict between themselves are not actually competing governments, but a de-facto government which happens to have a very decentralized structure.

If there is conflict (such as conflicting laws and jurisdictions) and no established way to resolve it - there are in fact competing governments. And war.

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Strictly speaking, the size of the government's jurisdiction is not determined by Objectivism - only that there must be a uncontested jurisdiction. City-states or world government can be compatible with Objectivist politics. It is not the (geographic) size or organizational structure of a government that determines its legitimacy.

The root of the issue with the "competing governments" anti-concept is that governments can only compete if they disagree on what should be enforced or how. Multiple entities enforcing the same law and with established means to deal with conflict between themselves are not actually competing governments, but a de-facto government which happens to have a very decentralized structure.

If there is conflict (such as conflicting laws and jurisdictions) and no established way to resolve it - there are in fact competing governments. And war.

I agree with you, mroktor.

I agree that Objectivism is compatible with both a world government and City-states. When addressing the issue of government, Ayn Rand, to my little knowledge, did not make any reference on the geographical size of the ideal State. Maybe she didn't because, under the original vision of a federation of the Founding Fathers, every state would retain enough autonomy. But as afar as I know, centralization has been increasing steadily through American History. In addition, most other countries in the world are highly centralized. And in those centralized countries, prosperous provinces tend to be looted in favour of less prosperous ones. The central government performs a "redistribution" of wealth.

To me, the practice of robbing the prosperous citizens to pay for a welfare for the less prosperous citizens equals the robbing of the prosperous provinces/cities to pay for subsidies to the less prosperous provinces/cities.

In a world of home-based work, Internet instant connections and videoconferences, and City-states, citizens could easily CHOOSE where to live and therefore what police/courts/army to support by voluntary taxation.

So I based the use of the term "competitive" governments in this context in two premises:

  1. Citizens normally want to choose
  2. Governments normally want to be chosen

Ayn Rand fled Russia to live in the States. It is my assumption that Russia didn't like to be dished, and the USA did like to be chosen. In her time, moving from country to country was adventurous and dangerous. But in the near future it can be extremely easy.

It is also my assumption that, if a particular police corps had a lot of demand and appreciation because of its efficency, this police could raise their tax to pay better their policemen. On the other hand, a lousy police would make people in that city move away, and would have to either improve its processes or lower taxes, or both.

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That's government decentralization, not government competition.

Government competition would be two different governments of different fundamental principles facing off against one another. ie a theocracy VS a free-capitalistic society. In this case war is the natural discourse when the balance of power shifts. The theocracy would see the opponent as a sacrifice who they are entitled to invade if they so choose, and the free-capitalistic society would see the theocracy as a criminal state who they have the right to liberate if private citizens donate up enough cash and volunteers for a military operation.

Everyone of your states in your example must operate though the same fundamental principle of individual rights. It's decentralization, and yes it's good since it give municipal/state governments the chance to compete against one another in seeing who has the better politicians who can carry out those principles into practice.

And also, there is a mega-government that must oversee the whole of the decentralization, this government takes the form of a constitution and a federal government that enforces the constitution to prevent any of the states from going rogue (i.e. adopts Communism, theocracy...etc.) so everyone of the states must operate though the principle of individual rights. The federal government also organizes a national military from state donations for this purpose and also for defending against foreign invaders (from other humans to aliens).

Founding of US is a close example to this.

Edited by VECT
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I beg to differ. Wars and suffering have been caused by the plurality of authoritarian, criminal governments, not by the plurality of free prosperous nations. Suffering has been caused by the irrational fusion of State and Church or State and Economy. Free, capitalist and prosperous countries are not interested in going to war against one another. They would go to war only to defend themselves from totalitarian states. That is why you don't see Australia launching missiles against New Zealand, notwithstanding their separate police, justice and defense corps.

Balkanization is not a bad thing IF the balcanized states are freer than the mother state they secede from.

The mere existence of the USA demostrates that some part of the British empire had to secede to implement a freer society, and a better State.

Should the USA become a collectivist State, as some thinkers fear, Texas or Hawaii could be better off by seceding and implementing a freer society on their own.

I think capitalist Catalonia would be better off if independent from Spain, the Eastern provinces of Bolivia would be better off independent from Evo Morales' socialist Bolivia, and entrepenurial-minded Monterrey (where I live) would be better off independent from collectivist-minded Mexico. And Hong Kong, even when not a case of secession as such, has become an example of resistance to assimilation, an example of the will of people to remain an island of prosperity within an ocean of irrationality.

Wasn't Galt's Gulch a form of secession?

What happens when an entity such as Communist China or the ex-Soviet Union sets it's sights upon your Balkanized utopia? Will your small, weak competing governments be able to get their ass in gear in time to prevent a takeover by a superior military force? Will they have compatible weapons systems, or will each competing government have their own unique equipment? You see, there are considerations other than those which you have raised to examine. Considerations which must be taken into account in light of geopolitical reality.

Sorry, I did not get the meaning of your sentence. Could you reword it?

In other words, the theory is impractical in the real world. (Meat-space as opposed to cyber-space.)

Edited by Maximus
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Your ideas are contradictory:

In a world of home-based work, Internet instant connections and videoconferences, and City-states, citizens could easily CHOOSE where to live and therefore what police/courts/army to support by voluntary taxation.

It is also my assumption that, if a particular police corps had a lot of demand and appreciation because of its efficency, this police could raise their tax to pay better their policemen.

Well, what is it? Voluntary or forced? If it's voluntary, then there is no way the police could just unilaterally raise their tax.

I think this idea about competing governments is based on the premise that it is proper for government to initiate force against innocent people, which is false.

Proper governments have nothing to compete with.

Government A: Come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens!

Government B: No, come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens even harder! ;)

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Your ideas are contradictory:

Well, what is it? Voluntary or forced? If it's voluntary, then there is no way the police could just unilaterally raise their tax.

I think this idea about competing governments is based on the premise that it is proper for government to initiate force against innocent people, which is false.

Proper governments have nothing to compete with.

Government A: Come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens!

Government B: No, come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens even harder! ;)

No, Randroid.

Competition as I see it would look like this

Government A: Come live here, we solve crimes 80% of the time, and we charge you USD $2 a day IF you want to receive our protection (if not, you can still live here and protect yourself). Our services do not include ambulance to the nearest hospital.

Government B: Come live here, we solve crimes 95% of the time, and we charge you USD $3 a day IF you want to receive our protection (if not, you can still live here and protect yourself). Our services do include ambulance to the nearest hospital.

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That's government decentralization, not government competition.

Government competition would be two different governments of different fundamental principles facing off against one another. ie a theocracy VS a free-capitalistic society. .

Why do you limit competition to fundamentally opposite views?

Why not two systems with similar foundations can still compete?

We see it everywhere.

Two attorneys, both of them good and with a similar academic background, can compete for clients in the same city. They do not need to represent fundamentally different views of law.

Eight runners can be competing for a gold medal in a race, and this does not mean they represent opposite ways to run or train.

Competing governments founded on captitalism, freedom or even Objectivism can still compete, because they will implement slightly different strategies, procedures or techniques, and they would be slightly more or less successful . They would be made by employees and leaders with different skills.

Edited by Hotu Matua
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What happens when an entity such as Communist China or the ex-Soviet Union sets it's sights upon your Balkanized utopia? Will your small, weak competing governments be able to get their ass in gear in time to prevent a takeover by a superior military force? Will they have compatible weapons systems, or will each competing government have their own unique equipment? You see, there are considerations other than those which you have raised to examine. Considerations which must be taken into account in light of geopolitical reality.

What makes you think that governments in my Balkanized "utopia" would be weak?

Prosperous and technologically advanced nations, however small, can cooperate a mong themselves to build formidable forces (not so much in size as in effectiveness) and find ways to protect themselves from large totalitarian sates.

The European Union itself is balkanized, and if it had the spirit to do it (instead of depending on the USA for their protection) they could raise up and develop an army that could successfully deter Russia (nowadays I think it can already deter China). There is no economic or technological obstacle for Western Europe to become as strong as needed to deter Russia, other than Kant's influence in their minds.

Take also Israel, much smaller than its Arab neighbours, and always successful against them. It is true that Israel has got help from the USA, but the Arabs have got a lot of juice from their huge oil revenues and Soviet help as well. Israel is, simply put, far better.

In other words, the theory is impractical in the real world. (Meat-space as opposed to cyber-space.)

I was never claiming that City-States are a possibility now and everywhere.

I was wondering if they are a possibility compatible with Objectivism.

Ayn Rand proposed voluntary taxation, but she stressed this was not possible NOW, and that one thing is to set an ideal, and another very different thing to work for that ideal and find the most appropriate time and mechanism for implementation.

If City-States are compatible with reason and freedom, which I think they are, we may look for the possibility to implement them in specific countries at specific times through specific mechanisms, all of which would have to be discussed on a case by case basis.

In the specific case of the USA, if you at some point think your country is clearly going in the wrong direction, you may as well think in setting up an independent state in Hawaii, Alaska (as long as Sarah Palin is no longer there ;) ) or whatever other harbor of liberty ( a city-State of New York would be very symbolic, like a beacon to the rest of the world).

Edited by Hotu Matua
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Israel only exists because the US is propping it up with tax dollars. In your EU scenario, we know from history what would happen - the Brits and Germans would fight, the French would immediately surrender. Remember the old boxing axiom that a good little man will always get beaten by a good big man. Individual small states, no matter how technologically advanced, will not have the resources to fight a large, well equipped and trained opponent, short of the nuclear option - and would still be outgunned in that respect as well.

The city-states of Greece came close to annihilation from the Persians, if not for the action of brave men at Thermopyle. In modern warfare, there may not be time for such a stop-gap measure while the Polis arms.

Ayn Rand love the US and what it stands for and I do not believe would have entertained the thought that it should be broken up into Balkanized communities, rationally based or not.

Edited by Maximus
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Israel only exists because the US is propping it up with tax dollars. In your EU scenario, we know from history what would happen - the Brits and Germans would fight, the French would immediately surrender. Remember the old boxing axiom that a good little man will always get beaten by a good big man. Individual small states, no matter how technologically advanced, will not have the resources to fight a large, well equipped and trained opponent, short of the nuclear option - and would still be outgunned in that respect as well.

The "size" is probably population, in which case entire "cities" could be large. You would want to have treaties, thus creating a very loose, decentralized "government", based on agreements about rights. Also, there is nothing to suggest there could only be small "city states". New York City is certainly more wealthy than whole countries. But anything an individual city is lacking could be made up for in agreements/treaties with other cities.

I'm not sure why you brought up Ayn Rand with regards to her supporting such an idea, because it has nothing to do with the discussion. What matters is if it can work and support a rational society.

Edited by Eiuol
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Government A: Come live here, we solve crimes 80% of the time, and we charge you USD $2 a day IF you want to receive our protection (if not, you can still live here and protect yourself). Our services do not include ambulance to the nearest hospital.

Government B: Come live here, we solve crimes 95% of the time, and we charge you USD $3 a day IF you want to receive our protection (if not, you can still live here and protect yourself). Our services do include ambulance to the nearest hospital.

First, the purpose of government is the protection of all individual rights, specifically without discrimination of any sort. That means that everyone within its borders (protection of citizens abroad is optional) must receive equal protection, not just those citizens who are paid up.

Second, ambulances are not government business, but let's say that nation A has an air force and nation B doesn't, in addition to the difference in conviction rates. However, this would be "competition" between different nations, each with one sovereign government and separate territories. Is this what you mean or are you talking about two or more governments competing in the same geographical area?

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The only competition between governments should be to obtain the most ideal practice of Capitalism possible, which means the complete enshrinement and protection of individual rights translated into the economic and political (I use the terms to include the efficacy of the police, military, courts, how the system is paid for, the particulars of the laws). In this sense, yes governments should compete against each other to see who can have the best police, the best laws, the best military. These things are what a good or bad government is judged by. Any economic/cultural differences between countries' citizens are nonessential, because government only deals with using force and protecting freedom. It does not exist for profit, or for the economic/cultural advancement of its citizens but only for political justice. There are no conflicts of interests between Capitalist governments.

Now that doesn't mean that people can just arbitrarily start a government whenever wherever they want. In my mind it is an act of force to secede from a government, as you are saying their laws are invalid and no longer apply to you, while under their system, while establishing an armed system which forces your laws onto people (as that is a government). It is only justified if the "parent" government is using force against you (a la the American revolution). So if you are already in a Capitalist system, that doesn't mean you and your neighbor can suddenly ignore the government and create your own state. You must either be sanctioned by the existing state or morally justified.

So, essentially, what I am saying is that governments can and should compete, but only in accordance with their nature. The rest is the voluntary exchanges between individuals.

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It is, by the way, illogical to bring up historical/ethical analogies such as what the OP began with. The policies of shopping malls, lawyers, IE Private citizens with private property, have nothing to do with the nature or the decisions of the government. They are two whole different areas. Furthermore, as there has been no truly Capitalistic country, it is silly to bring up how the idea of "competing" governments has failed or succeeded historically. All of the past governments were in some way Statist, so no wonder there were problems. I think as long as you follow the method in the second paragraph, it is easy to determine when something should or should not be a state.

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The only competition between governments should be to obtain the most ideal practice of Capitalism possible, which means the complete enshrinement and protection of individual rights translated into the economic and political (I use the terms to include the efficacy of the police, military, courts, how the system is paid for, the particulars of the laws). In this sense, yes governments should compete against each other to see who can have the best police, the best laws, the best military. These things are what a good or bad government is judged by. Any economic/cultural differences between countries' citizens are nonessential, because government only deals with using force and protecting freedom. It does not exist for profit, or for the economic/cultural advancement of its citizens but only for political justice. There are no conflicts of interests between Capitalist governments.

Now that doesn't mean that people can just arbitrarily start a government whenever wherever they want. In my mind it is an act of force to secede from a government, as you are saying their laws are invalid and no longer apply to you, while under their system, while establishing an armed system which forces your laws onto people (as that is a government). It is only justified if the "parent" government is using force against you (a la the American revolution). So if you are already in a Capitalist system, that doesn't mean you and your neighbor can suddenly ignore the government and create your own state. You must either be sanctioned by the existing state or morally justified.

So, essentially, what I am saying is that governments can and should compete, but only in accordance with their nature. The rest is the voluntary exchanges between individuals.

Well, separatists movements generally do not happen by whim. There are generally a lot of reasons to take the time, resources and risk (includig the risk to lose your life) to get involved in a secesionist movement.

To begin with, since there are no perfectly free, capitalist and rational governments out there, you will frequently find moral reasons to separate.

You may be able demostrate that your province/region has been exploited, oppressed, ignored, looted, set aside in important decisions, etc. You may be able to demostrate that your province has a different history, culture, language, ethnic root, religion, mindset, etc. Your people at that province might look themselves as a different people with a different destiny.

If Quebecois people want to secede, isn't that their right?

If Texan people want to secede, isn't that their right?

Wasn't the right of the 13 colonies to secede from the British Empire?

If your wife wants to leave you, will you lock the door to force her in? You may try to persuade her, go to therapy, etc. but in the end, you as a rational husband will not keep her where she doesn't want to stay anymore.

As far as I understand, Objectivism demands to have a government (any one that is good enough to protect rights), not necessarily that specific national government (the Canadian one, the Irish one, the Swedish one, the American one)

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...this would be "competition" between different nations, each with one sovereign government and separate territories. Is this what you mean.. ?

Yeah, this what I mean.

I am not talking about two governments competing within the same area (that would be plain anarcho-capitalism, and governments would not be governments anymore, but private police corporations). I am talking aobut two sovereign governments in separate territories, and people able to move from one territory to another looking for the government that better ensures their prosperity.

This is what happens now, but migration is still complex, risky, cumbersome.

If migration, though, were the easiest things to do, then people would move from country to country several times during their lifespan, have four or eight or twenty different citizenships during their lifespan, and governments would strive to become efficient enough to attract the best residents.

One of the ways to make migration the easiest things to do is to have small City States with almost total autonomy, coordinated amonng themselves with treaties or agreements (e.g. keeping joint forces like NATO, and joint police intelligence agencies like Interpol). So during your lifespan you could be Houstonian then Chicagoan then Torontian then Londonian etc... or maybe just stay Hong Kongian the rest of your life, it that is what fits your lifestyle better

This would be a wonderful symbol of freedom: to be free to choose your citizenship, your government, your nationality.

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