taglines are spooks

polycenteric law

The feature of polycentric law, I would define as: “having multiple legal authorities active in the same geographical area”. This naturally is in light conflict with the definition of nation-states used in ancap: “A monopoly on violent legal authority over a geographical area”. Not mutually exclusive, but I would suggest the more total the state the less polycentric it is.

Polycentric law is everywhere, in every functional system I’m aware of, the most glaring example of which is in America corporations shop for a tax rate between the states, but with little restrictions on this getting in the way of their economic activity.

In Kowloon walled city there were 5 crime families, and well Kowloon was growing in population while Mao’s china starved. It’s unclear how that was functioning but it was likely mafia-style feud law.

In Somalia they have “blood feuds”, where your family tree determines your court, your 3rd cousin if deemed the best person in your clan is your judge for family disputes or something like that, getting a complex network based on family relations. And they were “better off stateless”.

And then religion, oh my god religion, the original legal systems pre-separation of church and state. If you’re wondering why Europe hates jews as money-grabbing, they were allowing “usury” when the catholic church wasn’t. and christen bankers were angry about it. When I as a capitalist would say the usury was likely necessary to make modern capitalism. Furthermore, the separation is kinda weak, like I’m in Utah, there was a church building on my highschool campus with a synced schedule with the school so I could have religious education implied to be on par with anything else taught.

In nation-states this is a hierarchy of courts usually, do understand this is very much a part of your life now, a complex web of courts you don’t understand following different rules, different norms, that only works at all because you rarely need to use it. Furthermore, there are likely elements of capitalism affecting you, most modern contracts will have arbitration clauses, these are private systems that have added themselves to the bottom of the current hierarchy. Keep that in mind as I describe what I want here.

I as an ancap, want to extend polycentric law, in an ideal world instead of family, religion, or the hierarchy geography, I would want political party you pick and pay for to decide the law in you live under. Start-up cities are a similar idea but are still in the geographical mindset to avoid conflict with current nation-states.

Why? Well, existing polycentric law elements are random and poorly planned. Bloodlines, invisible sky men, and mafias are no way to organize society(even if they are better than states). While the nation-states’ polycentrism is fragile, in America the federal government is always growing. I’m sure the UK had a growing list of reasons to dislike the EU. etc. It’s not great if an important element of the legal system you believe makes it functional is eroding, always, causally. Also moving between states to pick between red and blue isn’t the level of freedom I’m looking for.

To make a careless argument in its favor, I would suggest two aspects: robustness, and experimentation.

For robustness, consider that California is fucking insane, while being likely the strongest state, failing in several measures, if their insanity was affecting elsewhere would America still be standing?

For experimentation, there was a first state the legalized gay marriage, weed, LSD, and who knows what else on into the future, and despite calls by the evangelists saying these things would cause god to smite America I have yet to hear of a politician struck by lighting the day/hour/minute such laws are passed. And you can just look up their crime rates and other sorts of stats after the fact.

The freedom afforded to corporations to shop for tax rates needs to be expanded to all. Consider reading David Friedman if interested.