Friday, January 8, 2010


For Road Trips of Moderate Length...

...why not listen to a guy with a sweet English accent read my Chaos Theory? Intro here, audio recording here.

Oh! I'm not sure when it was last described as "sweet" - 30 years ago maybe when I won the school declamation contest with a rendition of Xanadu perhaps! And here's me doing my best to emulate the great Riggenbach too!
I still don't understand how Market-Based Defense would work?

Is there anyway you can write a response to section 8 in this link?
I'm sure anonymous meant for Bob to write a response, but let me try and put words in his mouth...

First of all, I think it's important to emphasise that Bob is talking about *defence* and not *offence*. I tend to agree that if you are waging an offensive war, it is necessarily likely to be political, and therefore state action. Though I can certainly still see room for such a commander "contracting out" specific objectives.

And I agree, to an extent, that Stalingrad may have been a less appropriate "case study" than perhaps Bob thought at the time. It was a set piece siege and it may be better in such a circumstance to have central control - though central control does not mean a single contractor carrying out each objective. Let's just hope that we do not have EU style tendering rules in such a situation - the defending territory would have been overwhelmed whilst they waited for the next edition of the European Tendering magazine to publicise their requirements and calls for proposals!

But looking at more recent conflicts, and bearing these two things in mind, I think there's a very good case for small autonomous units. Once they might have been called "guerillas", now "insurgents" and, even if you did want to go on the offensive, look at the devastating effects of a few loosely connected people in explosive underwear.

Many of these sorts of small, semi- or completely autonomous units are keeping some of the best trained and equipped state forces on the planet at bay - whether it's been the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur or Northern Ireland (or indeed the French resistance or Greek partisans during WWII).

But in fact, from what Bob writes, there would likely be some more centralised co-ordination - carried out via the insurance companies and there will likely be many situations I can see where several of them would work together - forming a secondary co-op or joint venture company to co-ordinate requirements in areas where several of them operate together. And of course in the anarchist "state" the incentives as to what assets they put highest priority into defending are themselves far better than for nation states - less worry about defending high profile civic but essentially symbolic targets and more concern about saving those economic assets (and people) the market indicates are most valuable and/or defensible.

But for me, it looks like Steele's criticism misses one big factor -Chaos Theory is not, I presume, intended to be a manual on every aspect of this. It is a general introduction to the possibilities. There have been vast screeds written about private law and defence in more detail. For me, the most important line in the whole piece to remember is the last sentence of the first essay - that the author had shown how it *might* work, to the extent that skeptics ought no longer to be able to dismiss the ideas out of hand as completely loco! And that they cannot really get away any longer with simply trying to refute those arguments, but they really have to say also in what ways they think the current, state oriented system, actually does work, or works better than any conceivable alternative system could.
am i the only idiot who can't find the mp3 to download? where is it? thamks!
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