Nozick: free protection services for all?

Below is Part 30 of my review of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”, which covers the sixth subsection of Chapter 5 (pp. 110-113), where I review — and rip apart — Nozick’s solution the problem of risky independents.

prior probability

To his credit, Nozick recognizes the reciprocal nature of the relationship between private protection agencies and independents in the sixth subsection of Chapter 5 (pp. 110-113). Specifically, if a protection agency decides to prohibit independents from exercising their right of self-help against due-paying members of the agency (on the pretext that the guilt-finding procedures of independents are unreliable and unfair), such a prohibition would impose a significant disadvantage on independents. So, what is to be done? In a word: compensation.

In summary, Nozick re-introduces his principle of compensation from Chapter 4 of ASU (p. 110, emphasis added by us): “The clients of the protection agency, then, must compensate the independents for the disadvantages imposed upon them by being prohibited self-help enforcement of their own [natural] rights against the agency’s clients.” So far, so good. But, alas, to make this scheme workable, Nozick qualifies his compensation principle in a major…

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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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3 Responses to Nozick: free protection services for all?

  1. In most manifestations of stateless provision of defense services there will be spillover-effects for free riders. As briefly mentioned in Chris Coyne and Nathan Goodman’s 2020 paper (see link below).

    Click to access tir_25_2_08_coyne.pdf

    In my humble opinion, the best structure for enforcing payment for the private production of defense services would be to bundle the dues into HOA fees.

    If the members of the HOA board / community members determine they would prefer to form their own militia versus paying “professionals” they can vote to terminate this service.

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