Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Boycott The Entire Government?

Context: Anarcho-capitialism vs Pragmatarianism

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This upvoted comment on this downvoted post indicates that most of you don't know what pragmatarianism is.  Here's the comment...

Doesn't mention the cost of boycotting Congress. You can boycott Starbucks or Walmart and there is little cost to you. But the only way to boycott Congress is to not pay taxes. But ceasing to pay taxes results in a serious cost to you; jail and fines. If Americans could simply stop paying taxes with as little consequence as boycotting a restaurant they don't like we would see the real valuation of the government by the people. - thunderyak

With the current system, the only way to boycott congress is to not pay any taxes.  But with a pragmatarian system, you could boycott congress without having to boycott the entire government.  This is because in a pragmatarian system you could choose where your taxes go.  Pragmatarianism is also known as tax choice and taxpayer sovereignty.  Here's the FAQ.

Imagine if the only way you could boycott Starbucks would be to stop spending any money in the private sector.  Would any of you boycott Starbucks?  Probably not, it would be the epitome of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

The only thing wrong with the government is that we can't boycott congress as easily as we can boycott Starbucks.  Pragmatarianism would fix the only thing wrong with government.  If you weren't happy with the tax rate...then you just wouldn't give any of your tax dollars to congress.  As congress lost money...they would either fix the tax rate or go bankrupt.

Markets work because an organization's revenue directly depends on the amount of value it creates for consumers.  Pragmatarianism would create a market in the public sector.  This means that congress's revenue would directly depend on the amount of value they create for taxpayers.  So congress would have the maximum possible incentive to create the maximum possible value for taxpayers.  If creating the maximum possible value for taxpayers requires that congress drop the tax rate to 0%...then that's exactly what they'd do.

As I explained in my blog entry...Rothbard correctly diagnosed the problem with government (absence of individual valuation) but he recommended the wrong solution (abolishing the government).

Government, in short, acquiring its revenue by coerced confiscation rather than by voluntary investment and consumption, is not and *cannot* be run like a business. Its inherent gross inefficiencies, the impossibility for it to clear the market, will insure its being a mare's nest of trouble on the economic scene. - Murray N. Rothbard, The Fallacy of the 'Public Sector'

Rothbard was right that the government is not run like a business...but he was wrong that the government cannot be run like a business.  The government can easily be run like a business simply by allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go.

What are the alternatives?  Seasteading?  That's how you strike at the root of bad government?  You're going to foot vote for the ocean because you don't like the tax rate?  That makes as much sense as boycotting Starbucks by not spending any money in the private sector.

As Rothbard correctly argued...the root of bad government is the absence of individual valuation.  Therefore, you strike at the root by promoting pragmatarianism.

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