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A Student Voice: Anarcho-capitalism: A compelling case to consider

December 13, 2022
Editor’s note: In the inaugural edition of When We Are Free, Lawrence W. Reed stated, “No social movement in history has ever succeeded without a literature: good books are the fountainhead of good movements; bad books set evil forces in motion.” More than 40 years after the first edition of When We Are Free was released, Northwood students have heeded Dr. Reed’s advice, launching a Students in Defense of Freedom essay series. It is an impressive collection of essays committed to liberty. This series reflects how Northwood students think critically, and seriously embrace individual responsibility and self-determination. Each essay provides the reader with insights and lessons from the perspective of a current Northwood student.

Danijela Danilovic is a freshman at Northwood University who hails from Subotica, Serbia. She wrote this piece as part of the next In Defense of Freedom, a series of essays by Northwood students.

Libertarians believe in people and our ability to cooperate with others. They still believe that the government should be present, but its role must it be minimal and based on the protection of our basic human rights.

David Friedman tries to convince us otherwise. Dr. Friedman is the son of famed economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman. The younger Friedman is a leading proponent of anarcho-capitalism, the theory that the state is an unnecessary evil and that all services, including the law itself, can be provided by voluntary cooperation in the private economy.

David Friedman theorizes that human society can fully function on its own without any government interference. This means the complete privatization of everything, from police forces, and courtrooms, to law-making and national defense.

This has never occurred to any of us, probably because we were never taught that way. As strange as that might sound to you, try to imagine our society without government, where private ownership and voluntary exchange would rule. This system would result in greater freedom, and more variety. The human character would be strengthened.

Let us start with the example of police, and how they would continue to protect our rights and our property. First, as a well-known feature of the free market, many agencies will be created with the aim of offering the best service.

If crime happens, the agency of the victim and the defendant would have to come to a mutual agreement so that physical conflict does not occur. To bring justice, they would decide to go to a judge and leave the decision to him. For both parties to have a guarantee that the other side is going to stick to an agreement, a contract is scaled.

It would no longer be the government’s responsibility to ensure that both parties adhere to the contract.

But we would be sure that both parties do not violate the contract, because if they do, no agency will trust them anymore. That would make it very difficult for them to run their business and generate profit.

The same principle would be applied in respect to court decisions. Regarding law-making, this practice would result in more laws, applied differently for each relationship between two people.

This sounds unfair until you realize that contracts between us represent the legal system instead of government. This means that we would have a contract that we made up under our terms, with every right to say no and with the person of our choice.

We know that our agency will try to provide us with the best laws, and that our judge will try to make the fairest decision possible. For this, we can thank the foundations of the free market and the principles of capitalism. In this case, you would have a big role in choosing the law that applies to you; the possibility to compare it to others; and an increased sense of responsibility.

Theoretically, anarcho-capitalism would result in a better society, but the transition between the system we know and the system would not be easy. However, many civilizations have flourished under the wings of anarcho-capitalism, and we have every reason to believe that ours would too.

If we could understand all the freedom and privileges that this system affords us, we can truly reach absolute freedom and explore the limits of human society.

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