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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Curly Capitalism Questions 1&2

Here are two curly questions from two anonomi(?)

Under pure capitalism, would there be legal aid?

In my libertarian/capitalist utopia there would indeed be many forms of "legal aid", but they would not come from the state.

Let me go back a step or two. In a free society, the state would be confined to protecting individuals from force and/or fraud. That is from the bad things people do to each other, not the stupid things people sometimes do to themselves.

This justice system would cover the basics-laws against theft, assault, rape, murder, fraud, extortion etc. Much of what the justice system now busies itself with eg "vice" laws, RMA laws, most tax legislation, anti trust law, labour law etc etc etc would no longer apply.

Consequently law would be much less intrusive and the legal sector would be significantly smaller.

Add to the mix, that no cartels would have any legal power to enforce membership. Bang goes the Law Society's monopoly. Lawyers would be subject to competition like everyone else. There would be fewer of them and I would expect that their service would improve.

Theoretically anybody would be able to practice as a lawyer. However, as in all other professions, the insurance industry would become the chief standards regulator.

How would that work? You go to a lawyer with a civil or criminal case. You have a right to sue, if they stuff up your case. Therefore, lawyers would carry public liability insurance. Insurance companies would either charge ruinous premiums to incompetent lawyers or would refuse to insure them. Very few, if any poor lawyers would last long, raising the overall standard of the profession.

So there would be fewer prosecutions for fewer offences. Lawyers would be cheaper and more competitive. The really good ones would also tend to be richer and less corrupt. (How soul destroying must it be, legally ripping people off for a living , as many lawyers do today, under the current system?)

As I believe the state/taxpayer has no obligation to pay to defend those who it prosecutes, who will defend those innocents wrongly charged?

For a start, I believe the David Bain/Rex Haig/David Dougherty type cases will be even rarer than today, because the legal system will be far more speedy, efficient and honest. This improved legal integrity will also reduce the incentive for lazy cops to "fit people up" as some of them do now.

Those few genuine cases of injustice that may arise will attract public support as they do now. Taxes will be minimal, living standards higher and the general level of benevolence greater.

There is no doubt in my mind that deserving cases will garner plenty of public support. I'm sure there will many offers of pro bono legal services from public spirited lawyers or the odd self schooled "amateur". Civil liberties organisations, idealistic law students, tribal authorities, protest groups, motorcycle clubs, churches, friendly societies etc etc etc, will also be there to help any of their brothers who are wrongly before the courts.

People will probably even be able to buy legal liability insurance. This will almost certainly become available if state legal aid, or as I call it "social welfare for lawyers", ceases to exist.

Ultimately, I have faith that free people are more likely to "do the right thing" than those who surrender their responsibilities (and consequently their freedom) to the state.

The system won't be perfect, but it will be a damn sight better than it is now.

In a libertarian utopia, will people still be forced to do jury duty?

No. Trials will be fewer, cheaper and more speedy as lawyers will no longer have the legal aid "taxi meter" ticking in the background.

That will make more people willing to come forward.

As there will be no dole, lower taxes and more employment choices, "no hopers" will not be so prominent on juries as they are today. Juries will tend to attract the older, the wiser and more public spirited of our citizens. Therefore verdicts will tend to be faster and more likely to be correct.


Blogger Yacap said...

In a libertarian utopia, will people still be forced to do jury duty?

In simply answering the question without further comment, you allow the implied slight to slip by. There's nothing "utopian" about libertarianism - well, perhaps there is with your (Trevor's) interpretation, in that you still see the state as being indispensable. True libertarianism is necessarily anarchism (not the crazy leftist variety), but that doesn't affect your answer to this question.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No true "Libertarian" supports Anarchism for the simply reason that it fails at the first hurdel and is inpracticle and irrational.With no objective body to rule on and enforce decisions in disputes chaos is inevertible.

Imagine a test match between the All Blacks and say England with no would see pretty quick the results of Anarchism!

Like the referee Government,strong but small and constrained,is needed if society is to function.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depends what country you're in James, in a lot of Europe, Anarchism (the "crazy leftist variety" as yacap put it) is refered to as Libertarianism.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

yacap, I don't think you can quote any libertarian in this country to claim what you say they claim.

They don't.

So back up the source of your: "True libertarianism is necessarily anarchism"

or admit it's something you attributed to them, not something you can even remotely infer from published statements.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Yacap said...

I'm a libertarian in this country, and I am an anarchist. James says "no true libertarian", but the very father of libertarianism is Murray Rothbard - an anarchist. James talks about a football match without a referee, which, like PC's favourite quote about anarchists in Lebanon saying "more police please" (as if there's some conflict between anarchism and police!), is just a complete and utter misunderstanding of anarchism. Anarchy simply means "no rulers", not "no rules". Anarchist football would have referees!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rothbard the Father of Libertarianism...? Was this when he wasn't sleeping around with Conservatives et el? I know someone who knew/opposed Rothbard directly and exposed him on various matters so theres much to debate on this topic it seems...

7:09 PM  
Blogger Lyndon said...

TL - while your vision of a justice system does sound rather faith-based, I actually just wanted to follow through with my comments on that previous thread.

Re: QWERTY - cool. Thanks.

Re: The rest - you miss my point. I didn't say "capitalism can be wrong". I was saying that a group of people acting in their rational self-interest can produce outcomes that none of them actually want, and that satisfy all of them worse than if they'd all acted some other way.


5:38 PM  
Blogger Tory Ted said...

Are you familiar with the way Jury Duty worked in Athens Trev? It's nothing new but it was a reasonable model for Jury Duty and one that could be adopted here quite easily.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

No Ed. Please enlighten me.

1:48 AM  
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8:28 PM  

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