Interesting about Somalia

Yes, we know, it\’s anarchy. The libertarian state writ large (or small).

No, not all that wonderful either. Yet:

Somalia functions better as a non-state than it did as a state, and it functions better than many of its peers that are states.

As ever, the solution to the absence of government, the solution to the anarchy of markets, is not simply the presence of government. It\’s (perhaps limited) (and certainly competent) government.

And in the absence of that limited and competent government it\’s entirely possible for the anarchy of markets to do better than bad government.

11 thoughts on “Interesting about Somalia”

  1. It’s a good point.

    I get irritated by people who try to use Somalia as proof that statelessness works incredibly badly in practice, without allowing for the state it was (in both senses of the word), before it became stateless. To me, it’s a bit like trying to use Ethiopia as a complete representation of parliamentary democracy.

  2. Anarchic libertarians want a stateless society, not a lawless one where personal and property rights count for nothing.

  3. Now that they’ve gotten the economics of it sorted out, all they have to do is crack the whole “guys driving around in SUVs slaughtering hordes of bystanders” problem and they’d be on their way to Hong Kong status. I wonder if Ayn Rand has any advice.

  4. “guys driving around in SUVs slaughtering hordes of bystanders”

    Well, that’s the difference between a state run and a stateless country, in the former it’s the only the government doing this, in the latter its everybody with an SUV and a machinegun.

  5. Ian,

    yes, if there’s one thing that characterizes state-run countries, it’s the government driving around in SUVs slaughtering hordes of bystanders.

  6. Tim, you’ve said before that sometimes, albeit rarely, there is such a thing as a free lunch. But this is only in the case where a state which was previously ballsing things up, stops ballsing things up.

    They’re not creating something out of nothing, they’re just stopping destroying things.

  7. The key insight is that legal systems add value. That’s why colonialism adds value, why places like Hong Kong bring in British judges to implement common law to make it more hospitable to finance. Paul Romer’s work on “charter cities” is interesting. So is the Somalian legal system, Xeer.

  8. “if there’s one thing that characterizes state-run countries, it’s the government driving around in SUVs slaughtering hordes of bystanders.”

    Golly, so state run countries must be better ! Who’d thunk it ?

  9. @Luis

    Yes, if there’s one thing that characterizes state-run countries, it’s the government driving around in SUVs slaughtering hordes of bystanders.

    Unfortunately government thugs shooting civilians from the decks of technicals is exactly what does happen in some parts of Africa.

    Somalia is still deep in the doo-doo, but we have to compare it to its surrounding countries, not to Europe and the States.
    Against them, it’s not doing too badly.

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