Like wild dogs need bunny-rabbits

Let me tell you something. Zimbabwe is not a social democracy. Zimbabwe is not a republic. Zimbabwe isn’t even a dictatorship.

This country is a kleptocracy.

Men in power need money to maintain it. Men in power need money to extend it, that’s it, finish and klaar.

The same way pigeons need statues to shit on, politicians with unchecked power need to appropriate the levers of state for their own material gain; they need to loot the common wealth.

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from Greek kleptes (thieves) and kratos (rule), is a term applied to a government that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service.

The term means “rule by thieves”. Not an “official” form of government (such as democracy, republic, monarchy, theocracy) the term is a pejorative for governments perceived to have a particularly severe and systemic problem with the selfish misappropriation of public funds by those in power.

Hanzi the effects of a kleptocratic regime or government on a nation are typically adverse in regards to the faring of the state’s economy, political affairs and civil rights. Kleptocracy in government often vitiates prospects of foreign investment and drastically weakens the domestic market and cross-border trade.

Ka-ching.

75 Comments

  • Buffdaddy

    21 April, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    who stole your money or was it your pies?

  • Tara

    21 April, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Ka-ching indeed! Now, the question becomes ‘What to do?’

  • Joe Black

    21 April, 2010 at 14:44 pm

    Shamwari, where are “our” diamonds going? Beijing?

  • Tara

    21 April, 2010 at 16:13 pm

    Can hardly wait to see what AntiCapitalistMantra has to say on this one, and how Mos Native and Joe will have to say in response. One thing I know, it will be LONG! There may be fireworks.

  • Joe Black

    21 April, 2010 at 17:07 pm

    There will be blood? LOL, you never know … it’s all preatty straightforward, surely.

  • Mos_Native

    21 April, 2010 at 17:46 pm

    lol@Tara!

  • Tara

    21 April, 2010 at 18:05 pm

    JB, I’m sure that’s what you thought with the independence post. Just you watch! Wait for it. 🙂

  • Mos_Native

    21 April, 2010 at 22:09 pm

    in all fairness, i’ve held up my end of the deal with the independence post. i await ACM’s riposte.

    on this one im sure we’ll all agree and be happy chappies. but then again, ACM might come in firing from an angle which gets us all worked up and before you can say “communism” we have books-for-comments flying thick and fast 🙂

    Tara, are you the cute girl who likes to watch two boys fight over her in the playground? huh? huh? huh?

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 07:30 am

    OMG please don’t start this comment affair again, I left my puke-pot at home 🙂

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 08:54 am

    Kleptocracy describes any state really- from Mugabe to Obama, since the state but its very nature is a perpetrator of one sided confiscation of property and is engaged in the expropriation of wealth by coercion i.e by force and violence through such means as tax, duty, VAT etc. (F Oppenheimer, M Rothbard, V Mises, FK Hayek, K Popper).

    We need to understand that the state is the only institution in the world that derives its income through involuntary exchange, ie coercion. One does not choose to pay tax, they are forced to pay tax. The equation is simple enough to understand, even for a kindergarten kid- Mos Native works hard, and is productive enough to add to the national economy and earns $1 for his efforts. The state, through its apache apparatus compels Mos Native to forfeit 50c in direct tax, 15c in indirect tax (VAT), 5c in stamp duty and another 5c in miscellaneous thieving. When Mos Native pass on 60c of each dollar he leaves for his kids is stolen away. Now I hear the socialist calling for equality of wealth and all sorts of moral reasoning. But the point is the involuntary taking of Mos Native income is Immoral and the height of Kleptocracy. It does not make it right simply because its legislated. Bush invasion of Iraq was 90% legislated for……

    Is Kleptocracy not what happened to Greece, the state fleeced the national coffers to naught, but unfortunately it’s not on the African continent to be described by some expletive.

    Zimbabwe is Kleptocracy just like any and every state in the world. If one must define Zimbabwe then a totalitarian state would be apt. Again, from the political writings of Pluto right down to Hayek its clear the full embodiment of a totalitarian state is encapsulated by MUGABE Inc!

    To answer Mos Native question in the previous thread, Ian Smith’s Rhodesian was some sort of fascism and this has now, in plutonian language degenerated into Totalitarianism.

    ps sorry for the late response.

  • Mos_Native

    22 April, 2010 at 09:19 am

    hater

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 09:19 am

    Just to ensure there is no confusion, thats Franz Oppenheimer in my citation.

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 09:29 am

    Wow Tara, you were right. Okay, let’s talk about it.

    Are you advocating for the abolition of the state as we know it? Because without taxation, a state cannot perform valuable functions through expenditure on public works, social engineering, law enforcement/public order, infrastructure, energy, water, waste management … et cetera ad infinitum!

    Saying taxation is thievery is borderline insane, as without taxation, public services that we tend to take for granted would cease to exist, which would lead to anarchy, which would lead to … the book of eli.

    Of course, taxes are often misused to wage war or opress the taxpayers themselves (case in point), but arguing that all states are thieves hence does not fly here, sorry boss.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I totally understand your response; it is to be expected, especially if one has not really questioned the efficacy of the state in the first instance. However, I am glad you have responded in the choicest of words with respect to the state “as we know it”. Because the state “as we know it” is a little less than 200years and if we indulge in bastardisation that has occurred since the emergence of the democratic state then the state as we know it is less than 100 years. In these 100 years tax has increased from an all inclusive 2-10%, depending on region to an all inclusive 80-100%. The question is, what has changed? Within the 100 years, we have had 2 world wars, 3 world-wide depressions,10 recessions and many more localised recessions, a tenfold increase in welfare. Compliments of a bigger and bigger state.

    In particular, wrt to your questions. The increase in government expenditure over the last 100 years has been mostly towards WAR and WELFARE, thus the labelling- WAR-WELFARE state. Nothing to do with public works, increasingly these are now privately run. Try and name 1 public work that is done by government that will not benefit from competition and cannot be run in private hands? Sir, if the average voter invested enough in intellectual exercise, then a little nudge of the oblongata muscles will reveal how the state and politicians are the biggest thieves in the universe.

    The fact that the state “as we know it” is 100years old not only tells of the many alternatives available but the degeneration of how sour ociety has governed itself from the beginning of time. But more importantly that if 100% of one’s income comes from 90% of one’s neighbour’s labour- then hardly will they find the time, patience and intellect in investing in a future where the neighbour does not provide his income. To ensure the neighbour continues in this servitude:
    1) Legislate, and make it law to always receive your neighbour’s income. Be sure to provide nefarious excuses like waste-management
    2) Create and start enough wars to ensure the neighbour is in constant fear and thus requires your protection.
    3) Ensure your neighbour remains intellectually docile through propaganda e.g “the democratic state is not the best but its all that we have- or rouse emotions by quoting political nutcrackers e.g Mahoso or enlist them…gobbels, Moyo.
    4) If the neighbour passes on, take 60% from his kids- how dare he dies on you!

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I get that you’re trying to make a point here, but whatever it is was totally lost in all the bluster and (yes) bullshit in that comment.

    Your logic is so twisted and confused by irrelevant catch-phrasing and obfuscation, that I have no idea what you’re trying to say!

    Bwahahaha.

  • Tara

    22 April, 2010 at 10:42 am

    There it is! 🙂

    Mos Native, cute girl in playground with two boys? Me? I wish! I hated that girl. I wanted to be her.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Yes my small treatise in ideas, might just be beyond the average joe!

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Yes, it is way beyond! As any good communicator would tell you, the only way to be effective is to be clear, straightforward and to the point.

    It’s all well and good writing “small treatises”, but if they’re over-elaborate and muddled, they get you nowhere.

    Except maybe to expose you as a poseur.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Then i would benefit more, if you point out the over elaboration and i will try and clarify the message.

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Just simplify your argument.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 13:20 pm

    I have taken time to simplify matters, conceding i need to communicate better with my audience.

    1)If you have been born in the last 200 years, then what you know as the state is just one way of governing. Historically a democratic state, or dictatorship is not the only way of governing. We should never believe we have exhausted alternatives of governing ourselves.

    2)Those in the state will do everything that’s possible to remain in the state. The state does not produce anything in the economy, and so it relies on force to survive. Given this point, one would expect the state to remain as small as possible, but the politicians vested interests (politicians of any hue) ensure it grows bigger and bigger. Principally because a politician survives on how many handouts he gives. As a simple example, Obama has clearly been less interested in creating an environment for saving and thus creating more jobs automatically better health care, but was more interested in dishing out free health care to those that cannot afford.

    3)The most dangerous aspect of the state is not the income it confiscates from you but rather in a more hidden and sly manner. The state is the only agent in the economy with a monopoly to print money. The more money that is printed, the worthless is your earned money. Remember, we said the state cannot earn money through production but has a big insatiable need to please everyone. Thus when the tax collected is not enough, it prints money. That is how Greece got into trouble. US, bail out included. I have deliberately left out Zimbabwe to simply show Kleptrocatic (see definition courtesy of joe) tendencies.

    4)What is the way forward. I argue that outside of what politicians say, over the last 100 years tax has increased exponentially, but the benefits have not been seen. The Roman or Athens democracy taxed its citizen one day of labour in a year. Japan during its economic boom did not have an army. Sweden experienced its economic boom by remaining neutral during the 2 world wars. 90% of all disputes around the world are settled out of court, 75% under arbitration. A citizen of the world is more protected by private security companies than by the police. I give these examples to show that it’s not that we need to fix Washington, we need to get rid of Washington. Or at least ensure no intervention from Washington with our income and our daily lives. YES WE CAN.

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 14:11 pm

    Right. Lucid. Well done.

    So, you’re talking about abolishing the state? Okay. But you haven’t touched on my query, which was, if we abolish the state, and by state I assume we mean government apparatus, what then?

    Will “90% of disputes all around the world” still be settled out of court, when both parties know there is no enforcement either way?

    Surely it becomes a matter of survival of the fittest. I mean, you can’t argue for dissolution of the courts by stating that the majority of disputes over which said court has jurisdiction over don’t reach the court.

    The reason they don’t reach the court is because both parties opt to resolve issues without facing the consequences.

    So if there are no more consequences, there is no more law.

    And no more law means anarchy, a wasteland where each man is a law unto themselves?

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 14:38 pm

    Enforcement of the law does not need to be done by elected politicians. Anyone given this right can diligently perform. Breach of contract or impinging another man’s right must lead to court and enforcement of a court’s ruling. Contrary to your views on out of court settlements- arbitration is a sure sign that people are civil enough to create win win situations that benefit both parties. With state invention its always win -loss.

    If the state appoints the judiciary, then it’s foolish to believe that a case brought to the courts against the state will get a fair hearing.

    You are quick to see the anarchy between citizens, and yet do not ask the more fundamental question of who enforces the law against the state- when the state has breached simple human tenets?

    The thrust of my argument is non intervention of the state ( or such creature). The state creates anarchy every time is intervenes as a player in the market. Is tax not equivalent to a theft a lá robin hood?

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 14:52 pm

    Of course there is anarchy between citizens, that is why we HAVE laws and enforcement personnel. Imagine any civil dispute, and consider parties to said civil dispute coming to an accord. Without threats.

    Tax is not theft, it’s necessary contribution for important governmental and social services.

    There is OVER-taxation, yes. We at home know that very well.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 15:03 pm

    Enforcement of law does not need an elected politician.

    What important governmental and social service? If it was important, then why monopolise? is it not better if competition was the rule of the day?

    Taxation is theft by another name. And if the service the state provides is important then surely i should happily pay for it on my own accord without force!

  • Joe Black

    22 April, 2010 at 15:05 pm

    Sigh, you’re being hard-headed. Okay, new tactic.

    I will no longer debate your logic on merit, I’ll simply dismiss it on practicality.

    Keep your ideas, cos in modern society, they won’t fly. Lol.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    22 April, 2010 at 15:27 pm

    That’s really funny, coz some 250 years ago the then modern society dismissed a democratic state for its lack of practicality……however conceding its logic! 🙂

  • klooless

    22 April, 2010 at 18:13 pm

    The only way to sort all issues plaguing the world as we know it is, to remove the gene that causes greed. Do that and we will be lekker!

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 00:55 am

    Sorry Tara, Im with ACM on this one.

    Not a fan of the state. Any state.

    Bullshit of the highest order.

    And JB, if you believe the world would not function without the state, you’re in too deep boet.
    My only point of departure with ACM on this issue is where he would defend exploitation of peoples as a necessary means towards a greater good.

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 08:02 am

    Look, it’s not a matter of whether you’re a fan of any state. It’s a matter of alternatives.

    It’s all well and good railing against the state machinery, but if you don’t present any viable options there’s no value!

    Although history tells us, those who successfully rage against the machine only tend to replace one form of government with another.

    Not abolish government altogether. That’s just … fantastic.

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 09:09 am

    ACM is a bookworm. go back to the library while the rest of us live in the real world.

    you bore me for two simple reasons – you think you are clever and you offer no alternatives.

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 09:33 am

    But JB, you have already been given an alternative. ACM has given but one which appeals to him – privatisation. For expediency, in essence, I agree with privatisation (meaning paying the people doing the work directly rather than using the inefficient middleman that is government), but Im sure we’ll differ in the detail. The point is, you need to shift your perspective on this; it is not a case of where is THE alternative, its a case of which set of alternatives.

    There are many alternatives to the state we have in various guises today. What the prevailing state tells you is that there is no alternative and without what you have today anarchy would prevail.
    That is bullshit.
    That is the lie that any grouping of people ruling a place have always told the sheep under them. Monarchies whipped up blue or royal bloodlines to back their authenticity to tax people to death (read the origins of any monarchies and you’ll find they are just a band of bandits who came into power by war and then woke up one day and decided to proclaim themselves royalty. Some even invoke divine confirmation). The composition and mode and nomenclature of rule changes with the times but it is still the same – a small group of people feeding off the rest.

    Revolutionary 101 will also tell you that the main difference between man and animal is that animals adapt to the environment and that is why a lion today still exists as did its predecessor thousands of years ago, man on the other hand, alters the environment to accomodate him: point being what you see today, the states and modes, they are human adaptations, part of an ever-evolving continuum and can be adapted. Do not be a slave to your environment – alter it. The state is but a prevailing environment.

    On the necessity of government;

    There is absolutely no justification for having 25% to 40% of personal/corporate income taxed nor for the various other taxes cooked up regularly. For instance in Zim, what do they use your carbon tax for?

    You may or may not know, that Zimbabwe in the 80s and 90s always had 1/3 of its annual budget allocated to the defence ministry – what the fuck for? Well, now you know why – DRC, Chiadzwa, those political opponents who disappear at night, the ability to brazenly steal elections AND spend your TAX on opulence and know you cant do sweet fuckall about it because there is a smoked up 21-year-old in army fatigues with an AK47 on his hip keeping you in check, thats what.

    JB, those public services you attribute to government ARE already technically privatised. Except the government is the monopoly enterprise.
    For instance,
    in functional states, your toll fees maintain your national roads, your car license fees maintain your municipal roads – but, if these national and municipal public works depts such receive payment from you and do civil work on roads, is that not an enterprise? And if that is enterprise, will it not benefit YOU if there are five enterprises competing for your payment and offering lower rates and better service? Is that public works not just an inefficient bureaucracy for work that could be handled better by a smaller private company rather than a bloated public department with rampant corruption, absent workers and multiple layers of duplicated, unnecessary and unaccountable management from a minister and his deputies, DGs and their deputies, Permanent Secretaries and their Deputies, Then departmental heads etc … down to the sordid man who digs the hole in the ground, AND then gets taxed for his efforts!

    What you also do not seem to be aware of is that these public services are hardly handled by the actual government themselves. Meaning the actual work is usually subcontracted out. BUT, and this is the big BUT, those contracts are given to The minister of what-whats uncle’s cousin’s son to handle – and therein lies the purpose of government.
    Government for the large part is merely a middleman coercing all manner of taxes and duties and levies on YOU, they receive it, blatantly take what they will, blatantly use whats left to fund their indirectly owned subcontracting companies, and lose the balance through bureacratic inefficiency and petty corruption.

    All the services you mentioned, you pay for directly, electricity, water, refuse removal, municipal roads, etc

    SO where does your income tax and sales tax go?
    What is it used for?

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 09:42 am

    The premise before even debating the alternatives is to show how intellectually bankrupt the current idea is. Do you agree that the state, in its very essence is a Kleptocracy?

    The first cardinal sin you are making is that a stateless society is a lawless society. The practical evidence at hand is that the more powerful a state is the hugely lawless a society becomes. Infact in a stateless society no-one is above the law, and there are no state pardons.

    The second cardinal sin you are making is that a stateless society is a utopian society and all the problems inherent in a society will end. The irony is that it’s the state that tries to create a utopian society through its robin hood tactics, and making itself immune to persecution of any kind. Far from utopian a stateless society values meritocracy.

    The third cardinal sin you are making is simply not thinking beyond your world view. If in 1995 someone argued the possibility of a country without its own currency you could have argued it’s not practical. The fact is a lot more seems impractical at the time- but that does not make it impossible.

    @Klooless, we are not calling for a people-less society, just stateless. Greed is inherent in people, regardless of societal make-up.

    @Mos-Native. i am glad you can at least see the possibility. The cardinal sin you are making is that altruism is the preserve of a collective society. The ideal of a truly libertarian society is the voluntary exchange and association. In simple terms if Mos_Native wants to donate all his earnings to charity then he is free to do so. The state has no right to force this on anyone.
    If we think about it a little we can see the hypocrisy of taxation. The state imposes morality on its citizens through coercion, by taking from A and giving to B. The question we pose to those who idolise the state is, if indeed the society is made of citizens with high morals would it not make sense if an individual under their own volition voluntarily donate part of their earnings?

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 09:46 am

    @Buffdaddy a man never stops being a student. By the way, i am the most practical individual you will find!

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 09:49 am

    so who are the private service delivery firms accountable to? your obvious answer us. who monitors, who awards the contracts, who terminates them, et aliter?

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 09:55 am

    Don’t rant about taxes and mention Zimbabwe … my thoughts on Zim are clear. Focus.

    Now, as for the notion that any state in its very essence is a kleptocracy, NO I don’t agree, that’s your hypothesis, and I already said it’s bullshit.

    Interesting how you view different viewpoints as “cardinal sin”. It’s that arrogance that will get you (and your ideas) nowhere. You guys talk about revolution blah blah, stateless this that, but your alternatives are … bullshit.

    You can argue it till the cows come home, the fact is you can never abolish the “state”, because although varying types of said state may not be ideal, and the ideal type of state doesn’t appear as intrusive and over-bearing as you would expect it to be, but hey …

    … c’est la vie!

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 09:55 am

    @Buffdaddy, the firms are accountable to the consumer on a daily basis and not like a politician every five years. Buffdaddy who monitors your favourite drinking hole? when they are not up to par- what do you do?

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 10:03 am

    @Joe, you have from the start of the thread not argued for the existence of the state except for practical ends. Yet comment after comment i have put forward reasons for a stateless society….and i am the arrogant one??
    Then you call yourself a libertarian and in the same breath idolise the state? I bet I will be accused of being arrogant if I call this an oxymoron.

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 10:10 am

    @ACM my favourite drinking hole is a club of which I a member and it has a management which is answerable to a committee which is answerable to the members. we have an annual general meeting where a committee is elected every year.

    you want to try another one?

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Let’s get it right, I am not “idolising” the state. Of course I’m being practical … does it mean if you argue for a stateless society I should make a polar swing and side with you? Nope.

    The fact is, there are working states, there are rogue states, there are shitty states – my point is that I’m living in a shitty state that is infringing on my rights, and would prefer (and advocate for) a working, ideal state.

    You are swinging to the other side, calling for the abolition of the state. Which is, to all intents and purposes, impractical.

    I am calling for the modification of OUR state to a democratic one, which respects its people and works for their welfare.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 10:45 am

    @Buffdaddy. the point is at any given moment in time you have the choice to leave, and they are many alternatives. Why should it be any different with regards to waste disposal, postal services, water etc

    @Joe, i totally understand where you are; beleiving in the essence of the state, you reckon if the politician is changed ( with tonnes and tonnes of benevolence)then the good state becomes functionary. Please tell us of such a democratic state in history or at present since you are a practical man. (caveat: Bush, Hamas, Hitler were all creatures of a democratic state). to quote Mos_Native most powerful erudition:
    “That is the lie that any grouping of people ruling a place have always told the sheep under them. Monarchies whipped up blue or royal bloodlines to back their authenticity to tax people to death (read the origins of any monarchies and you’ll find they are just a band of bandits who came into power by war and then woke up one day and decided to proclaim themselves royalty. Some even invoke divine confirmation). The composition and mode and nomenclature of rule changes with the times but it is still the same – a small group of people feeding off the rest”

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 10:46 am

    @Buffdaddy. the point is at any given moment in time you have the choice to leave, and they are many alternatives. Why should it be any different with regards to waste disposal, postal services, water etc

    @Joe, i totally understand where you are; believing in the essence of the state, you reckon if the politician is changed ( with tonnes and tonnes of benevolence)then the good state becomes functionary. Please tell us of such a democratic state in history or at present since you are a practical man. (caveat: Bush, Hamas, Hitler were all creatures of a democratic state). to quote Mos_Native most powerful erudition:
    “That is the lie that any grouping of people ruling a place have always told the sheep under them. Monarchies whipped up blue or royal bloodlines to back their authenticity to tax people to death (read the origins of any monarchies and you’ll find they are just a band of bandits who came into power by war and then woke up one day and decided to proclaim themselves royalty. Some even invoke divine confirmation). The composition and mode and nomenclature of rule changes with the times but it is still the same – a small group of people feeding off the rest”

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Firstly, don’t twist my words, I didn’t say change the politician, I said change the system to one which is ACCOUNTABLE to the people. Why can’t you get your head around that.

    Then again, as opposed to your belief in … what? Man’s innate decency towards his fellow man, when left to his own devices?

    Your argument is ludicrous, so I hereby respectfully withdraw.

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 11:03 am

    @acm yes I can leave and go to the keg which is a private company but has to get a business licence, liquor licence, health certificate etc. even though it is private it still has a higher authority to answer to in respect of those issues.

    so in a stateless environment, who licences, who supervises, who monitors, who fires and hires?

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 11:13 am

    The guy with the biggest gang with the mostest guns. And anyone who says otherwise is feeling lightheaded.

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I guess Tara is having multiple what-whats! 🙂

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Organisms.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    23 April, 2010 at 11:33 am

    @Buffdaddy
    Thats an important question. To answer your question I will start by provoking further thought – why is it necessary to have elected (democratic or otherwise) politicians to decide on business licence, liquor licence, health certificate etc and the enforcement thereof. Secondly does it really matter whether one is a democrat, republican, Dem lib, MDC or Zanu p ft to decide on business licence, liquor licence, health certificate etc.

    A stateless country is not a lawless country. In a stateless environment a governing body/authority can simply be appointed with clear rules and procedures in terms of licensing and enforcement thereof if there is any breach. This is not unusual, the footballing leagues have an association, so do lawyers and health, media practitioners who conduct business on a code of conduct and ethics, breach of which invites varying consequences.

    @Joe: debate of ideas is always useful and i have gained some valuable sociological feedback. Please read the following link in your own time. http://mises.org/daily/3903

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    @acm so who appoints the powers that be? leagues have a association of clubs that is elected (democracy) the other fields i.e health, lawyers are all regulated by legislation. legislation is formulated by parliament which is made up of elected and non elected officials.

    In your world who makes the laws, who enforces them, do people go to jail?

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 13:40 pm

    @ACM – interesting article. A bit too idealistic and feel-good about the stateless society but presents a good brief overview and perspective nonetheless.
    The one thing I found interesting though, which I had been failing to articulate, was that issue of confusing cause and effect.

    The public services and development we see happen despite NOT because of taxation.

    Real and proper governance is a minimal act detached from the business of society and does not need to be involved with service provision and development.
    The modern state concerns itself with these activities only as a means to justify tax revenue and NOT because these activites are complex issues which cannot be addressed otherwise.

    The state and taxation are like the schoolground bully who denies you entry to the cafeteria and tells you only he can access the cafeteria for you – for a fee. After a while you adjust to it and factor in this fee to your budget and cannot fathom life without the convenience the bully affords you.

    Closer to home (since you insist on the practical);
    That hitch-hiking spot at the Showgrounds. That band of marauding touts who (last time i was there) initially ‘assisted’ people get lifts and then within a short while were allowing only ‘approved’ buses and ETs to pick up people; and anyone else who did stop would pay a ‘commission’ to them for ‘giving’ them passengers. That is prime example of government in action at its basest. Call those touts Rulers, call the passengers the citizens, call the ‘approval’ licences, call the ‘commissions’ tax and duty; and voila, you have a state!
    And those same touts/rulers would have you know that should they withdraw their presence, anarchy would reign as rival gangs of ETs and bus operators and unruly passengers jostle for transport and passengers.

    Yet again,
    To use the first instance of taxation and state on the natives here (Zim) in 1894;
    The natives were FREE, going about their business on their land. Then the colonial authority introduced hut tax. The idea was for the governing authority to raise money and to coerce blacks into working on the mines and farms and industry so as to earn wages to pay hut tax; nonpayment of which was a criminal offence.
    The hut tax was obviously not presented as a coercion and exploitation tool, but as necessary for services and development.

    And so it is with current taxes. We pay taxes out of HABIT. And because there is a bloated wieldy bureaucracy which has been put in place to collect and as a CONSEQUENCE of taxes, which in the first instance are not required by nor benefit, the people paying them, we are now convinced that that unnecessary bureaucracy is indeed necessary and society would descend into chaos without it.

    Government, the state, has you convinced that you need to pay them for what you can all do by yourselves, otherwise there would be anarchy.

    And the irony of it is, the staunchest defenders of this robbery-by-another-name are you, the ordinary citizens who has been conditioned shitless to believe they MUST handover 20-40% income tax and 15% sales tax to that same government!

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 13:48 pm

    @Mos Native – first tax in Africa – Zunde raMambo

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 13:52 pm

    Dude, our ancestors were always taxed by the chieftainship. They were provided judicial services, land apportionment and demarcation services, social welfare (taking care of orphans etc) … know your history before you blame the settler for everything.

    Again, I’m done. This is exasperating.

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 15:34 pm

    What is exasperating JB is debating egos rather than ideas.

    I point at the moon and you proceed to pick at the details of my finger.

    I give you a fable, an analogy and a historical occurrence to base my opinion.
    In return, with complete diregard to the phrase “tax and state” (emphasis on the last word) and the context of the example, BD goes pedantic on taxation in Africa and JB jumps on with a little jibe for good measure.

    Read the comment, understand the argument and refute it if you can.

    Refute.

    If you can.

  • Buffdaddy

    23 April, 2010 at 16:01 pm

    the arguments are floored and flawed.

  • Joe Black

    23 April, 2010 at 16:08 pm

    I’m done with you 🙂

  • Mos_Native

    23 April, 2010 at 16:31 pm

    @BD – if so then they should be easy to refute, no?

    @JB – lol!

  • Tara

    23 April, 2010 at 16:36 pm

    Organisms? Please! You lot lost me at Mantra’s first Kelptoblahblahblah (not implying anything about the validity of the post. Just the sheer length of it all), the point at which my eyes glazed over and rolled to the back of my head! It looks like a very interesting debate but it is all too jargony for the politics philistine that I am. If anyone really thinks I should know all this, feel free to send me a powerpoint presentation with pictures(for the love of God, no text) summarising each ‘Nhingi Says’.

    Oh, no need to elaborate the Organism ones. I get that! 🙂

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    24 April, 2010 at 01:39 am

    Zunde ramambo was not confiscation, taxation is. In a stateless society voluntary association and giving is not only welcomed by encouraged- there is really no need to force someone. The state, especially a democratic state is an involuntary association. Buffdaddy, parliament i.e the legislator is a body composed of individuals given the mandate to enact laws. This is quite different from the executive, the state, that is enacted to govern.

    Buffdaddy by refusing to pay tax you bear the full wrath of the violent state, when surprisingly if you deceivingly claim welfare credit then the long arm of the long tends to be lenient.
    Mos Native, what you term idealistic, is a condition that has many precedence in history. Unfortunately instead of debating the nuances of such a state, we have to debate if at all it can be a possibility. Sad really.

  • Joe Black

    25 April, 2010 at 09:26 am

    What is the value in debating the nuances of a state that could never become a possibility?

  • Mos_Native

    25 April, 2010 at 14:26 pm

    @JB – rather odd limitations from a proponent of outside the box, against the grain and such …

    The improbability of an event does not make it impossible.

    Black swan, anyone?

    “never in a thousand years”, anyone?

    And your dismissal of these ideas on the state seem more emotional than rational as they disregard previous societal structures before the instance of the state, the nature of the state behind the facade sold to the electorate and the possibilities presented by various political/economics/philosophical thought.

    Remember that the current state did not ‘just happen’. Neither did the current distribution of wealth and economic systems. These are the result of systematic application of select ideas.
    I suggest that you consider new ideas – fighting within a flawed system is futile – the struggle folk realised this – and Ian Smith’s thousand years got drastically reduced as a result.

  • Joe Black

    25 April, 2010 at 15:20 pm

    Like I said, change the government, or the form of government … don’t try abolish it.

    Anyway, this is becoming repetitive.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    26 April, 2010 at 11:26 am

    By M Rothbard

    “Throughout history, states have existed as instruments for organized predation and exploitation. It doesn’t much matter which group of people happen to gain control of the State at any given time, whether it be oriental despots, kings, landlords, privileged merchants, army officers, or Communist parties. The result is everywhere and always the coercive mulcting of the mass of the producers — in most centuries, of course, largely the peasantry — by a ruling class of dominant rulers and their hired professional bureaucracy. Generally, the State has its inception in naked banditry and conquest, after which the conquerors settle down among the subject population to exact permanent and continuing tribute in the form of “taxation” and to parcel out the land of the peasants in huge tracts to the conquering warlords, who then proceed to extract “rent.” A modern paradigm is the Spanish conquest of Latin America, when the military conquest of the native Indian peasantry led to the parceling out of Indian lands to the Spanish families, and the settling down of the Spaniards as a permanent ruling class over the native peasantry.
    “In a profound sense, the free market is the method and society ‘natural’ to man; it can and does therefore arise ‘naturally’ without an elaborate intellectual system to explain and defend it.”

    To make their rule permanent, the State rulers need to induce their subject masses to acquiesce in at least the legitimacy of their rule. For this purpose the State has always taken a corps of intellectuals to spin apologia for the wisdom and the necessity of the existing system. The apologia differ over the centuries; sometimes it is the priestcraft using mystery and ritual to tell the subjects that the king is divine and must be obeyed; sometimes it is Keynesian liberals using their own form of mystery to tell the public that government spending, however seemingly unproductive, helps everyone by raising the GNP and energizing the Keynesian “multiplier.” But everywhere the purpose is the same — to justify the existing system of rule and exploitation to the subject population; and everywhere the means are the same — the State rulers sharing their rule and a portion of their booty with their intellectuals. In the nineteenth century the intellectuals, the “monarchical socialists” of the University of Berlin, proudly declared that their chief task was to serve as “the intellectual bodyguard of the House of Hohenzollern.” This has always been the function of the court intellectuals, past and present — to serve as the intellectual bodyguard of their particular ruling class.

    In a profound sense, the free market is the method and society “natural” to man; it can and does therefore arise “naturally” without an elaborate intellectual system to explain and defend it. The unlettered peasant knows in his heart the difference between hard work and production on the one hand, and predation and expropriation on the other. Unmolested then, there tends to grow up a society of agriculture and commerce where each man works at the task at which he is best suited in the conditions of the time, and then trades his product for the products of others. The peasant grows wheat and exchanges it for the salt of other producers or for the shoes of the local craftsman. If disputes arise over property or over contracts, the peasants and villagers take their problem to the wise men of the area, sometimes the elders of the tribe, to arbitrate their dispute.

    There are numerous historical examples of the growth and development of such a purely free-market society. Two may be mentioned here. One is the fair at Champagne, that for hundreds of years in the Middle Ages was the major center of international trade in Europe. Seeing the importance of the fairs, the kings and barons left them unmolested, untaxed, and unregulated, and any disputes that arose at the fairs were settled in one of many competing, voluntary courts, maintained by church, nobles, and the merchants themselves. A more sweeping and lesser-known example is Celtic Ireland, which for a thousand years maintained a flourishing free-market society without a State. Ireland was finally conquered by the English State in the seventeenth century, but the statelessness of Ireland, the lack of a governmental channel to transmit and enforce the orders and dictates of the conquerors, delayed the conquest for centuries”

  • @Moyo

    26 April, 2010 at 11:49 am

    @ACM did not get JB’s point because he premised his contribution on the wrong definition of “state”.
    A state is a political and geopolitical entity and should have a permanent population, defined territory, government and capacity to enter into relations with other “states”. Hence you have the term “nation-state”.
    Now when @JB said this country is a kleptocracy – I take it he meant that the governance system in our “state” is now characterised by kleptocratic tendencies. I would have loved ACM to say whether this is the case or not. So I don’t know if ACM would want to wish for the abolition of the “state” for that would be anarchism. So ACM please come again.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    26 April, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    @Moyo

    Your definition of state is wrong. And so is your understanding of anarchism. However, your questioning reveals your disagreement with the definitions rather than the possibility. so lets clear the definitional disagreement. i have posted a snippet of Rothbard’s views- in tandem with my view on what a state is. The state is the ruling class in a society in history or more specific- government in today’s society. Wikipedia can clear this mis-understanding.

  • @Moyo

    26 April, 2010 at 15:20 pm

    Before we hit Wiki, please elaborate your understanding of the terms state AND government. Are you really saying the state is THE government?

  • Mos_Native

    26 April, 2010 at 21:30 pm

    @Moyo – maybe you should hit that wiki. Or sit this one out.

  • Mos_Native

    26 April, 2010 at 21:54 pm

    @ACM – That extract sums it up neatly.

    The ANC govt has just completed the largest public project since 1994 – stadi-fucking-ums. ka-ching.

    Work is underway for the second largest project – power stations. Already, R1bn is in the ANC investment company (whatever the hell that is) through shareholding in the consortium with Hitachi. To be funded by residents and WB loans to be repayed from residents tariffs. ka-ching.

    And still the penny doesnt drop.

    Was talking to one of the fellows the other day, who is about to get the contract to supply HARARE with WATER. Connected to the hilt. ka-ching.

    Diamonds, minerals, stadiums, heroes acres, sprawling yet dysfunctional colleges, hospitals, WATER, carbon tax, capital gains tax, income tax, fuel levy, road levy, witholding tax, sales tax … KA-CHING!

  • Joe Black

    27 April, 2010 at 08:41 am

    Mos Native, that doesn’t answer @Moyo’s question. Or maybe YOU are the wiki (you certainly seem to think you are) and you’re on strike today.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    27 April, 2010 at 10:20 am

    @Moyo the state is the Government (at least for now). Previously in history it was the aristocracy, Monarchy, dictatorship, Church, etc.

    @MosNative. The hallmarks of a state gone bad are epitomised by the ANC government. But its foolhardy to believe the system can be changed…..what is worrisome is the intellectual neglect of those who should know better to start calling for alternatives. Obama a clever lad with all the good intentions in the world quickly succumbed to Statism. In the UK starting this month tax was increased, with the highest earner taxed at 50%, yet voters are lining up believing a change in the system will usher a new dawn.

    The state is the cause of the last 100 years BOOM BUST phenomenon, through its interventionist policies especially continuing to debase money and keeping interest rates artificially low.

  • @Moyo

    27 April, 2010 at 13:07 pm

    Interestingly enough, to say that the state is the Govt, in essence, embodies the values of the “Patriotic Front”, ANC or Chavez as we know them. The political power vested by the state (which according to me is an entity) in those in Govt (which is an authority) is abused by converting the state’s resources into private assets (of course, the legitimacy of the power transfer process is another discussion on its own). Those in the upper echelons are so drunk with the power AND wealth that they cannot tell the difference between their Dura at the farm and GMB silos or their farmworkers and officers of the ZNA.

    When you say “the state is the Government (at least for now)……… But its foolhardy to believe the system can be changed…..what is worrisome is the intellectual neglect of those who should know better to start calling for alternatives” I sincerely hope that you have not succumbed to the bashing of the ruling class or worse still that you are doing some kind of Goebbels’s for them.

    You would know that there is the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe National Defence Forces. It is not in vain that the long title is in news bulletins ad nauseam – however I am not sure whether all of us (the masses) comprehend the full effect of the “statement”.

    At this point I would then agree if you say, in a corrupted system the state is the government, but what is worrisome for me – is the way you have shot @ JB’s (assumed) quest for righting the currently bastardized system, and you’re saying that this would be foolhardy, but at the same time you reserve your right to believe that a stateless (in the correct usage of the term) society is NOT a utopia.

    If I am to believe Buffdaddy – that you are a bookworm, but then when you do not test the theory in the real world; like @Jb – I would be tempted to leave it at this.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    28 April, 2010 at 09:35 am

    @Moyo, i think you are missing something fundamental in your debate. You are missing a lot of issues, and i am not sure what your point is.

    The state is the government. The government of the day will carry out the mandate of the political party in power. Since they are varied political parties, no two states will ever be the same however the coercive nature of the state remains the same. Contrary to your belief that i am arguing for a utopia, the stateless nation advocates for no such chimerical wishes but simply freedom for the individual. It is the state that goes against the natural course of nature and imposes a supra structure that sets out to redistribute wealth, ensure conformity and is above the law.

    ps did you miss the example above of Celtic Ireland that survived and flourished as a stateless nation for 1000years? more than the current democratic state, less than 200 yrs old?

  • Joe Black

    28 April, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Oh my God. Celtic Ireland. “Flourished” is not the word.

  • Anti capitalist mantra

    28 April, 2010 at 10:41 am

    @Joe i thought stateless was not probable in your world?

  • Joe Black

    28 April, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Your thoughts are confused, and don’t try take little digs at me, you pompous windbag 🙂

  • Elton Licerio

    9 July, 2011 at 13:53 pm

    There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity but I’ll take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as effectively