Nozick’s Panglossian’s claims

It’s time to wrap up our review of Chapter 5 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia (ASU). The last two subsections of Chapter 5 (pp. 113-119) are philosophical garbage disappointing. Why? Because Nozick concludes with two Panglossian claims, and neither rosy conclusion is supported by any actual evidence. First, he claims that a territory’s dominant protection agency will eventually become “a statelike entity” (p. 118), since it will prohibit non-clients from enforcing their rights in their dealings with the clients of the protection agency. Next, Nozick concludes that the phase transition from private protection racket to statelike entity will occur without anyone’s natural rights being violated, since the dominant agency will agree to compensate non-clients by providing them in kind protection services. Seriously? Who is he kidding? Nozick begs a number of fundamental questions in reaching these unsupported and speculative conclusions. In particular, and putting aside the free rider problem we mentioned in our previous post, what if a non-client doesn’t want compensation? What if he wants the right to exact vengeance? In short, why doesn’t the non-client get to decide whether it wants compensation and in what form, and who adjudicates any disputes between the protection agency and non-clients? Why, it’s the protection agency itself! Nozick’s benign “protection agency” is starting to look more and more like a Hobbesian “protection racket,” just as we have argued all along! Not all is lost, however. We will move onto Chapter 6 of ASU on Monday …

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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1 Response to Nozick’s Panglossian’s claims

  1. Pingback: Is there an equilibrium in a state of nature? | prior probability

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