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How bribes would be prevented in a free society?

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As you have probably heard, bribes are prevalent in Mexican government.

In a truly free Mexico, the government would take care of courts, police, defence, and nothing else.

When talking to my friends on how a free society would look like in Mexico, they frequently ask me back what would be the incentive of judges to reject bribes.

OK, we have here Juan and Pedro on court. Pedro has violated Juan's rights. But Juan is poor and Pedro is rich. Pedro tries to bribe the judge and his staff.

What would be the incentive of the judge to reject Pedro's bribe, if the judge is receiving a fixed salary from the State?

In all free enterprises, self-interest is the main drive to avoid corruption and bribes.

If you really care about the well being of your own business, and your employee is making a decision that hurts your business even when gets him better off in the short term, you just fire that employee... or put him in prison, depending on the fault.

But what would be the interest of the State to keep only honest judges, if there are no competitor governments to which citizens may switch? What would be the interest if the State cannot go broke? What would be the interest if the Chief of State is not accumulating capital from his good performance as governor?

With these questions in mind, anarchists seem to have a point here: if government were private companies, they would have the normal incentive all companies have to keep honest employees and get rid of the dishonest.

What do you think?

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What do you think?
We already have incentives (and disincentives) in today's mixed-economy. The exact same ones will be in operation. The main difference is that the more mixed an economy becomes, the more avenues for corruption and the more cynical people become about corruption. The rule of law is eroded. A bare-bones government takes away the justification for cynicism. In most third-world countries, it is common to be told that one cannot get along with one's life without paying the odd bribe here and there. Corruption becomes a way of life. Remove this cynicism and people will know that there is no reason for honest people to give bribes. That's the pre-requisite.

Once that is in place, the same incentives that exist (say in the U.S. today), will operate much more powerfully.

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Even if bribery never disappears, I'd rather have a system where the only time a government official can squeeze you for a bribe is when you are caught committing a real crime, rather than in most countries, where you can be hit up for a bribe for the "crime" of simply trying to run a business or use one's own property.

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I say the solution to Government corruption (and crony Capitalism) is a Government with no favors to bestow.

In this case, a corrupt judiciary, some questions have to be asked: is there no jury? Is there no right of appeal? If you can prove corruption, what kind of redress is available? I think we need an example with more detail.

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The problem with “competing governments” is one of jurisdiction. If one private court issues a judgment against someone there is no reason for another court to honor it. If I sue you and you run to another court’s jurisdiction you can seek to be protected from my court. The reason you need a third part to run the courts is to insure that there are rules of jurisdiction – Otherwise states or townships might as well be a different country.

As for bribes – The problem you state can certainly happen but it can happen in any type of government. In fact, the bigger the government the more likely the complexity of it will breed “hanger-ons” that will use the rules to their advantage. For example – A century ago Vanderbilt “bribed” officials so they wouldn’t impose rules on his business and that is generally treated as abuse by his critics (it isn’t but I digress). Today companies do the same thing but it is considered “campaign contributions” and other system accessible methods that are legal. “Bigger” government breeds methods and opportunities for cronyism.

You best option is a small and limited government with simple and well defined rules so the citizenry can have oversight of it and recognize abuse for what it is when it happens, then fire the parties involved when needed.

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OK, we have here Juan and Pedro on court. Pedro has violated Juan's rights. But Juan is poor and Pedro is rich. Pedro tries to bribe the judge and his staff.

What would be the incentive of the judge to reject Pedro's bribe, if the judge is receiving a fixed salary from the State?

In all free enterprises, self-interest is the main drive to avoid corruption and bribes.

If you really care about the well being of your own business, and your employee is making a decision that hurts your business even when gets him better off in the short term, you just fire that employee... or put him in prison, depending on the fault.

But what would be the interest of the State to keep only honest judges, if there are no competitor governments to which citizens may switch? What would be the interest if the State cannot go broke? What would be the interest if the Chief of State is not accumulating capital from his good performance as governor?

Moral virtue? Should that fail, you don't need to become an anarchist to see the merits of competing countries. Notice I didn't say this time competing-governments as that could lead to the misconception of many governments competing for one country or territory. I say and mean countries (nation states and their govs) competing for people (citizens, tourists, residents, gestarbeiters)

Some of those benefits (and consequences) are beginning to be seen in the Northern States of Mexico where people can almost chose whether to live in either side of the border (and notice Americans do that as well, from middle class retirees looking for a spot in the sun to run-aways who prefer not to deal with a puritan judicial system, to companies, (ex. Plan Bracero)

Of course much of that relationship (usa-mexico) is terribly government mandated. That's not the case of micronations, and small countries, which have to actually compete to attract people and markets to the alternatives in the same region (ex. Belize vs Costa Rica vs Panama) - or Gibraltar vs Malta vs Monaco -

Hong Kong- Macau vs Singapore, or Switzerland vs the World.

When judges and politicians lose their constituency due to emigration, they also lose their bribes.

From there they can close the borders resulting in a poorer country and meager bribes.

Or reform their system until enough people go back to justify their position and salary.

With enough freedom of movement, and growth, regions can become like cities. And most people chose to pay taxes in a safe neighborhood than protection money to a gangster in a not so safe one. Eventually resulting in the "gentrification" of the latter hood.

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The staet is more fundemental than the market. A market can't exist if property rights don't exist, so the idea that a market could create a government is backwards.

A singular body of armed men that is organized under a proper philosophy is the only way to ensure that a free market can exist.

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These arguments suffer from rationalistic deficiencies and don't really work though. Look how a hypothetical market anarchist could respond:

The staet is more fundemental than the market. A market can't exist if property rights don't exist, so the idea that a market could create a government is backwards.

The market is more fundamental than the state. A state can't exist if a market doesn't exist (after all, what would the members of the state eat, drink, or have various pieces of equipment and capital goods, where would these things come from?) Therefore the idea that a state could create the market is backwards.

A singular body of armed men that is organized under a proper philosophy is the only way to ensure that a free market can exist.
Certainly a body of armed men organized under a proper philosophy is the only way to ensure that a free market can exist, but it doesn't follow from this that it needs to be "singular" (i.e. monopolistic.) That would be to equate organization with monopoly, and thus creates a non sequitur in that inference.
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Bribes, dishonesty, and violence all can exist in a free society. In a free society, judges would be as likely to be bribed as they are in our mixed economy.

The fact that government would be much smaller and disempowered in a free society, however, would mena that dishonest government officials could do far less harm.

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These arguments suffer from rationalistic deficiencies and don't really work though. Look how a hypothetical market anarchist could respond:.

Hypothetical? Like hell!

Why is it that the religious and anarchists (or "anarcho-capatilists") cling to Objectivism and Ayn Rand's skirt?

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Hypothetical? Like hell!

Why is it that the religious and anarchists (or "anarcho-capatilists") cling to Objectivism and Ayn Rand's skirt?

Well, there may be certain things that are valid and certain other things that are not valid. If you want to call recognizing this fact "clinging to someone's skirt," it seems rather odd. I'm willing to bet you hold similar positions in regards to many things. What does this make you then? And if not, then it would seem that the person who refuses to let go of a bad position is the one that is clinging. So then, wouldn't being concerned with being correct rather than being concerned with who had what position be the correct, non-clinging one? Isn't the question then not about skirt-clinging or not, which a genuine individualist would be indifferent to anyway (especially since you're just repeating that phrase you took from someone else in the first place) but what arguments work and what arguments don't work should be the only concern. "Those who cannot carry a train of consequences in their heads; nor weigh exactly the preponderancy of contrary proofs and testimonies may be easily misled to assent to positions that are not probable."
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That is an excellent question that deserves its own thread

A better question would be to find out why so many of those who are attracted to Rand's message of reason, independence, and heroic individualism turn out to exhibit such a timid and cultic conformity when it comes to thinking outside the strictures that Rand herself laid down, even hypothetically to subject an argument to critical examination.
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My argument was flawed, I am not offended. I would need to write a tons of stuff to explain my whole idea on the matter.

If four or five law providing organizations all had the same opinions on what constitutes things like private property, the status of children of citizens, the rights of animals, and so on and so forth, I really don't know why they would remaing for or five separate organization. It sounds like there would be one body of law, and thus, they would just divide their courts into effecient geographic districts. All the same.

If they didn't have the same opinions, then that would just create fundementally different legal systems, and while markets could exist between those countries just like markets exist between all modern nations, it wouldn't be any more secure than trade across countries (It would be a matter of politics, not business).

Do I not have a point here? Where should I be looking for a better grip on the matter?

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What would be the incentive of the judge to reject Pedro's bribe, if the judge is receiving a fixed salary from the State?

The most powerful incentives are good morals and sound judgment. Fear of losing their job, being humiliated or going to prison are secondary, much weaker incentives.

A judge who compares the amount of the bribe to their salary before deciding to accept or refuse is a judge who has poor morals and poor judgment.

But what would be the interest of the State to keep only honest judges, if there are no competitor governments to which citizens may switch? What would be the interest if the State cannot go broke? What would be the interest if the Chief of State is not accumulating capital from his good performance as governor?

The State should be able to go broke. There should be a clear separation between the State and economics.

A judge should go to prison if they accept a bribe, and be forbidden from ever working in the legal profession again. The one offering the bribe should also go to prison.

With these questions in mind, anarchists seem to have a point here: if government were private companies, they would have the normal incentive all companies have to keep honest employees and get rid of the dishonest.

What do you think?

There's no reason why you couldn't have competitive courts under one government. Courts should have economic incentives to be efficient, honest and fair.

Human nature being what it is, you're always going to have people who seek to violate the rights of others through things like corruption of the legal system. In my view, in an Objectivist society, the penalty for crimes like that should be especially harsh, because the crimes amount to attempts to subvert the principles of proper government and justice -- which we very much require for our long-term survival.

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In my view, in an Objectivist society, the penalty for crimes like that should be especially harsh, because the crimes amount to attempts to subvert the principles of proper government and justice -- which we very much require for our long-term survival.

This is already the case, at least partially. The penalty for perjury for example is quite stiff. In addition, judges, etc., tend to take a harsh attitude towards people they perceive as abusing the system for their own ends (e.g., the person with a vendetta against another who brings trumped up charges, etc.)

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My argument was flawed, I am not offended. I would need to write a tons of stuff to explain my whole idea on the matter.

If four or five law providing organizations all had the same opinions on what constitutes things like private property, the status of children of citizens, the rights of animals, and so on and so forth, I really don't know why they would remaing for or five separate organization. It sounds like there would be one body of law, and thus, they would just divide their courts into effecient geographic districts. All the same.

If they didn't have the same opinions, then that would just create fundementally different legal systems, and while markets could exist between those countries just like markets exist between all modern nations, it wouldn't be any more secure than trade across countries (It would be a matter of politics, not business).

Do I not have a point here? Where should I be looking for a better grip on the matter?

It's np, some other people seem to get offended for some reason though by the very act of examination of this topic. I guess it's a touchy subject.

Yes, I think that's right that there would have to be a singular, or at least largely unified body of law, and there are reasons to believe that the market has powerful incentives to make this come about. In real life, when one firm’s services prove more popular, rival firms typically respond by offering similar services themselves. For example, PCs feature the Windows interface that was pioneered by their rival, Macintosh, or likewise we can see that Burger King’s products bear a more than passing resemblance to those of McDonald’s. And the same thing happens with competing courts as well in various instances of polycentric legal systems. The Law Merchant is an excellent example of a nonstate legal system that prospered because it offered a more regular and uniform set of legal norms than those of existing governments at the time, thus the whole point of a functioning legal system is that there is a tendency for this convergence on legal norms.

I think the mistake here is in thinking that as competing courts converge on a shared set of norms, that it follows that they thereby become parts of a single coercive monopoly institution. If providing similar services turns competing firms into components of a single firm, then why aren’t McDonald’s and Burger King trying to become a single firm? Why are they remaining separate organization? Why aren't they dividing their restaurants into efficient geographical districts? Or Visa and Mastercard? Or DC Comics and Marvel? And so forth. Firms offer similar services, and sometimes find it in their interest to merge with other firms, or buy up other firms, but even if McDonald’s and Burger King decided to merge together and did thereby become parts of a single institution, it wouldn’t be a monopoly so long as competitors were not forbidden. Of course they might think it was in their interest to coercively prevent competitors from entering the market, but the question is about whether it is in the interests of the consumers or not (I mean, of course the producer might want a monopoly from his point of view, but what of the consumers and other producers?) And in any case, third, while it is often in the interest of competing firms to offer similar services, it is not necessarily in their interest to offer identical services, since each will naturally seek to achieve some competitive edge.

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This is already the case, at least partially. The penalty for perjury for example is quite stiff. In addition, judges, etc., tend to take a harsh attitude towards people they perceive as abusing the system for their own ends (e.g., the person with a vendetta against another who brings trumped up charges, etc.)

I didn't mean penalties for witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants. I meant penalties for judges and other officers of the court.

On the witness side, although the penalties are high for perjury (up to 5 yrs imprisonment), it's a myth that there is a significant risk of actually being penalized. Very few people are prosectuted for perjury, yet in pretty every criminal or civil case, the eventual verdict amounts to a legal finding that one or more people were lying.

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I think the mistake here is in thinking that as competing courts converge on a shared set of norms, that it follows that they thereby become parts of a single coercive monopoly institution. If providing similar services turns competing firms into components of a single firm, then why aren’t McDonald’s and Burger King trying to become a single firm? Why are they remaining separate organization? Why aren't they dividing their restaurants into efficient geographical districts? Or Visa and Mastercard? Or DC Comics and Marvel? And so forth. Firms offer similar services, and sometimes find it in their interest to merge with other firms, or buy up other firms, but even if McDonald’s and Burger King decided to merge together and did thereby become parts of a single institution, it wouldn’t be a monopoly so long as competitors were not forbidden. Of course they might think it was in their interest to coercively prevent competitors from entering the market, but the question is about whether it is in the interests of the consumers or not (I mean, of course the producer might want a monopoly from his point of view, but what of the consumers and other producers?) And in any case, third, while it is often in the interest of competing firms to offer similar services, it is not necessarily in their interest to offer identical services, since each will naturally seek to achieve some competitive edge.

Geographic division is simply a matter of having sanctioned first responders arriving at crime scenes, traffic accidents etc. If there is a car crash, and someone calls their firm, it would be best for all the firms to have the same people be the first responders. The fact that they would all be involved in the training and education of the same officers would make sure that all firms could have their testimony/reports be used. Basically the officer needs to be trained how to observe, ask questions, record answers, and respond to threats/emergencies in a way that all firms can agree with. Because of how critical these responses are to the legitimacy of criminal justice system as a whole, it is extremely important to all parties invovled that they are not associated with one of the various disasters that could be created by an improperly trained officer/first responder.

As long as most of the law providing bodies agreed on the fundemental philosophy of law issues, the need for monopoly would be weakened. I think this might be unlikely, even assuming a farely rational society, there are legal issues that even people who believe in private property get pissed off at one another about. As I stated above, fundemental issues such as the treatment of animals or children, quarantines, genetic engineering, how the ocean is dealt with, what kinds of evidence are acceptable, how should a warrant be gained, etc.

Honestly, a bunch of different political factions (even if they were all nominally capitalist) running around with their own code that they follow would make negotitions with other much more political. No longer are all people members of the same nation, who are dealt with usually on the sole basis of what they can provide, but people begin to be identified by which firm they associate with one another. This seems more troubeling than the chance that a singular code of law didn't rule in my favor when it came to the issue of the rights of minors, the death penalty, or how quarantines are dealt with. An "Anarchist" society would depend very much on people caring about these things, so ideology becomes a factor that can quickly outweigh the parochial self interest of economic man.

To be honest, an "Anarcho"-Capitalist society wouldn't be all that bad, due to the fact that for it to even exist everyone would have to believe in private property anyways. I do think that a state would be formed pretty quickly afterwords.

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I didn't mean penalties for witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants. I meant penalties for judges and other officers of the court.

Ah. Yeah given that my point doesn't apply.

On the witness side, although the penalties are high for perjury (up to 5 yrs imprisonment), it's a myth that there is a significant risk of actually being penalized. Very few people are prosectuted for perjury, yet in pretty every criminal or civil case, the eventual verdict amounts to a legal finding that one or more people were lying.

This also makes some sense. Generally a perjury conviction would involve being caught _willfully_ lying, i.e., intending to mislead the court. That's a high bar; after all the witness whose testimony ended up being disregarded by the jury could simply be mistaken, or their memory may be unreliable. There have been countless demonstrations of how unreliable witnesses can be even when they are trying their darnedest to be honest.

If all the witnesses testifying on the "losing" side of a trial got a perjury conviction slapped on them every time, no one would ever be willing to testify; the risk of going to jail for five years "because some smooth-talking lawyer suckered the jury" would be too great even if people were _positive_ about what had happened.

Also, if the defendant is found not guilty, it is not a pronouncement that everyone who saw him do it is wrong and lying, it's just that the state failed to amass enough evidence to convict. So there really is no implied statement about whether the witnesses were right or not.

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Well, there may be certain things that are valid and certain other things that are not valid. If you want to call recognizing this fact "clinging to someone's skirt," it seems rather odd. I'm willing to bet you hold similar positions in regards to many things. What does this make you then? And if not, then it would seem that the person who refuses to let go of a bad position is the one that is clinging. So then, wouldn't being concerned with being correct rather than being concerned with who had what position be the correct, non-clinging one? Isn't the question then not about skirt-clinging or not, which a genuine individualist would be indifferent to anyway (especially since you're just repeating that phrase you took from someone else in the first place) but what arguments work and what arguments don't work should be the only concern. "Those who cannot carry a train of consequences in their heads; nor weigh exactly the preponderancy of contrary proofs and testimonies may be easily misled to assent to positions that are not probable."

"Well, there may be...." If you think that there are errors in Objectivism, then you should reject Objectivism as a philosophy. You're not a hypothetical supporter of "anarcho-capitalism," you're quite committed and passionate about it.

"If you want to call recognizing this...." No, the clinging to "someone's" skirt is the rejection of Objectivism while claiming to be an Objectivist - you used the phrase "we Objectivists" (and stated that you were but playing the devil's advocate) a few times in the thread on so-called "anarcho-capitalism." There's nothing dishonest about disagreeing with Objectivism per se, but there is in disagreeing with it while claiming to be in agreement with it. That's the skirt-clinging.

So, you go from being "willing to bet" that I hold similar positions in regards to many things to concluding that I therefore do and then ask what does that make me. Given how you have argued for "anarcho-capitalism," I'm not surprised. Like I said, if pig could fly, they would...therefore they can.

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