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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4829/the-production-of-security-by-gustave-molinari-1849/

The Production of Security by Gustave Molinari (1849)

March 24, 2006 by


The most “extreme” and consistent, as well as the longest-lived and most prolific of the French laissez-faire economists was the Belgian-born Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), who edited the Journal des Economistes for several decades. The initial article of the young Molinari, here translated for the first time as “The Production of Security,” was the first presentation anywhere in human history of what is now called “anarcho-capitalism” or “free market anarchism.” Molinari did not use the terminology, and probably would have balked at the name. FULL ARTICLE

{ 13 comments }

The Economist March 24, 2006 at 6:11 pm

“Molinari did not use the terminology, and probably would have balked at the name.”

Why don’t we balk at the name as well? It’s a stupid name, and doesn’t mean for most people what we want it to mean. Freedom of security means what we want it to mean.

Jim Stewart March 25, 2006 at 4:03 am

As says Molinari it will undoubtedly be disputed whether such a hypothetical situation [as production of security by free markets] is realizable. But can there be a non-hypothetical test of his hypothesis?

Consider the High Seas [& skys over them]. States do not recognise the claims of other states to power over them. So how, and by whom, is the security of the billions of dollars worth of vessels and cargos on the High Seas secured [if it is] against pirates?

I simply ask the question. Any answers from Misesians/Molinarians?

Ulrich Hobelmann March 25, 2006 at 4:20 am

First of all, very nice and exceptionally clear article.

Jim, I only know of an ex-oil drilling station somewhere near the British Isles. It is outside the grasp of any nation, and individuals and companies from all over the world store digital data there and communicate over satellite (I guess). It is privately guarded, of course, but I’ve heard of the friend of a friend who sailed there and was admitted a visit (it seems that the people there aren’t unfriendly).

I haven’t heard of protection agencies operating on the high seas (clearly, when any police arrived there, it’d be too late!). Probably there is some insurance, and maybe some self-defense involved as well.

Ulrich Hobelmann March 25, 2006 at 4:25 am

As to the hypothesis on the viability of free security, I think that must have been the case among the first American settlers to go west, before the establishment of the monopoly of the sheriff. Of course that society was not very industrialized, with little division of labor, and therefore also little delegation of security to some “police”.

But there were (at least to some degree) mutually respecting free people, and I don’t see why the same wouldn’t work for more modern free societies (i.e. not necessarily in Africa, unless the people there change, and their attitude to life and peace).

I’ve read the recent article here an Somalia, but from other sources I’ve heard stories of murdering gangs and other horrible crimes, so I’m not too sure how much to believe.

The Crawling Chaos March 25, 2006 at 2:27 pm

I’m pretty sure there’s international law regarding the high seas, and who’s flag your ship flies has some meaning too.

Peter March 26, 2006 at 1:02 am

Ulrich is talking of Sealand, AKA Rough’s Tower (it’s not an ex oil-drilling station; it’s a defensive fort from WWII), home of the wonderful HavenCo.

Frank Z March 26, 2006 at 9:27 pm

Excellent article.

“Just as war is the natural consequence of monopoly, peace is the natural consequence of liberty.”

Plain as day.

I too balk at the name. Without looking up the definition of “anarcho-capitalism” or “free market anarchism” I, as I suppose many others, would assume some sort of chaos would be othe outcome of any type of anarchism. There are rules of the free market after all, even if just the meeting of contractual obligations.

Alex MacMillan March 28, 2006 at 6:18 pm

Quite a few people choose not to buy auto insurance. Should they be allowed not to?

Should stupid people who refuse to purchase security protection for themselves or their families be protected?

Roy W. Wright March 28, 2006 at 9:30 pm

My view is that if someone without insurance causes an accident, s/he should be made to pay for the damage to others’ property, or otherwise punished if that’s not feasible. But of course insurance shouldn’t be mandatory.

Alex MacMillan March 29, 2006 at 5:51 pm

More often than not uninsured motorists at fault in an accident cannot (will not) pay the injured party. For such situations, the injured (and insured) party’s insurance would have to take care of the bills. But, of course, this means that uninsured parties (even those who may have no accidents), by increasing the risk of non-payment by unisured parties at fault, cause greater insurance rates for those who have insurance. How do we make uninsured parties compensate the insured for the higher insurance rates caused by the uninsured?

Roy W. Wright March 29, 2006 at 8:34 pm

More often than not uninsured motorists at fault in an accident cannot (will not) pay the injured party. For such situations, the injured (and insured) party’s insurance would have to take care of the bills.

No, like I said, in such cases the perpetrator should be otherwise punished. This could include property confiscation, which in most cases would just about cover the auto damages. I think most people, however poor, have a few thousand dollars worth of property sitting around.

But, of course, this means that uninsured parties,… by increasing the risk of non-payment by uninsured parties at fault, cause greater insurance rates for those who have insurance.

Well, firstly, coverage for accidents caused by uninsured parties would be optional. Secondly, what you say is essentially true for any criminal activity (here I refer to causing an accident, not to driving without insurance, as criminal). There’s always the chance (usually quite larger, I’d think) that the victim of a crime will fail to be compensated by the perpetrator.

Alex MacMillan March 30, 2006 at 12:58 pm

There would be innumerable cases where the uninsured motorist would be unable to compensate the victim of an auto accident. I see little difference between forcing people to get third party insurance before driving a car and forcing risk averse people (most) to pay extra premiums for uninsured motorist accidents. And saying that the risk averse are not “forced” in the same way that the unisured motorist might be “forced” is hair splitting.

I bring this up because there are many instances where the refusal of some to buy privately provided protection against various risks would cause financial injury to other parties. As another example, take the case where my neighbour in my attached housing unit refuses to purchase privately offered fire protection services. I would be forced to pay additional fire protection premiums so that my housing unit would not be damaged by a fire in my neighbor’s unit that she might try and put out with buckets of water.

Olivier May 5, 2006 at 7:41 pm

Anyone capable of producing force for sale is also inherently capable of producing the degree of coercion necessary to install himself as monopolist.

Has any article acknowledged and maybe resolved this apparent logical weakness in Molinari’s argument?

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