AnCap Entrepreneur Network - Manifesto Draft

Building the Institutions of a Free Society


Anarcho-capitalism describes a society free of the initiation of force or fraud. Each individual has a right to his or her life, liberty, and property, and no other individual or group can legitimately violate that right.

The State is a centralized organization that inherently violates rights. It funds its activities through extortion. It restricts voluntary trade through licensure, subsidy, and prohibition. It uses its monopoly of force to erode every limitation on its power, and thereby grows until it collapses under its own weight. It demands subservience to its authority.

Many of our relationships with each other are structured through institutions. We use these to simplify our trade, to transmit our culture, to communicate, and to resolve our differences. To the extent that our institutions rely on the State, they are vulnerable. Our institutions can be corrupted as the State engulfs them, or can be destroyed when the State fails.

The Anarcho-Capitalist Entrepreneur Network exists to help individuals cooperate to design and implement organizations that respect the rights of individuals; to create organizations that are completely independent of the State. In time, we hope that such organizations become familiar enough that individuals no longer consider force or fraud a legitimate way to interact with each other.

Operating Environment

The framework of Anarcho-capitalism provides a diagnosis of current events and predictions for future financial and social situations. Generally, we blame the financial collapse of the early 21st century upon fiat currencies and regulations enforced by the State. We blame the violent deaths of hundreds of millions of humans in just the last century on the attempt of various States to establish their authority world-wide. We try to imagine the innovation and wealth that could have been part of today's voluntary economy if it had not been systematically destroyed by State coercion. This gives us a view of opportunities for and threats to our organizations that are different from views sanctioned by the State.

We expect organizations to be regulated by the choice of the participants. To the extent an individual freely chooses an organization, it thrives. We embrace an environment of competition, cooperation, and division of labor.

We do not need to confront the State directly. We can be innovative enough to find spaces where we can operate, prosper, and grow new organizations that simply make the State irrelevant.

We know that, ultimately, there is no State. It is an idea promoted by some individuals to claim legitimacy for their criminal acts of force or fraud. As each individual realizes this, and denies that legitimacy, we will offer them a rich world of institutions that make that transition increasingly easier.

Topics of discussion

  1. Contracts - What form of written agreements should we enter when there is no State to enforce them? How do we establish mediation/arbitration networks?
  2. Competition - Most of our fields will be dominated by a competitor who has established a coercive monopoly, or a few competitors licensed by the State. How do we develop, fund, market, and grow our businesses while avoiding direct confrontation with the established players?
  3. Scaling - When a State fails and its coercive enforcement mechanisms end, it leaves multiple markets open. How can we design our voluntary institutions to expand into these sectors more rapidly than those of criminal organizations?
  4. Labor - Traditional employment is a maze of price controls and regulations. What alternatives are there for individuals to sell labor with little or no capital? Can we design micro-businesses that will let the growing ranks of unemployed produce value for themselves and their customers?
  5. Money - Money forms half of nearly every transaction. For this reason, the State always tries to replace stable commodity money with tokens of promises that can never be fulfilled. How can we provide convenient methods of trade and stores of wealth that avoid State fiat money?
  6. Accounting - The State claims that the point of accounting is to reveal your revenue so it can be taxed. We believe that accounting should help you manage your organization. As fiat money collapses, how do we track our resources through massive price inflation? What are the costs of changing your accounting currency? How will accountants deal with the glut of customers that may need to simultaneously make this change? What has been the experience in other countries that have changed currency?
  7. Security - We do not imagine a world without criminal acts. We merely deny that criminal acts are ever legitimate. We believe we can defend our lives and property without committing crimes against others. As States go through a death spiral of demanding ever more resources before they fail, we can expect high rates of criminal activity that we need to confront and resolve.
  8. Communications - The Internet and the cornucopia of media resulting from it provide a mature example of an industry escaping monopoly control. What lessons can we learn? What is still left to do?
  9. Information Technology - How can we maintain privacy of our own records and effects? How can we convince our customers that we are maintaining their privacy? How can we avoid the intrusive 'solutions' offered by the State and provide secure identification, communications, and storage in a non-authoritarian, distributed environment?
  10. Physical Infrastructure - Roads, power, water, and sewage are typically claimed as monopolies by the State. How do we provide businesses that make changing your utility company as simple as changing your bank?
  11. Medicine/Education - These industries have become so distorted with bad incentives that opportunities abound. How do we avoid the Gordian knot of regulations to provide the value that customer-patients or customer-students want?
  12. Intellectual Property - Whatever the philosophical basis of intellectual property, it is difficult to enforce property rights over material which is trivial to copy and transmit. It will be more problematic when the cartel of powerful States dissolve. How do we design business models to operate in this environment?
  13. Certification - Can people imagine alternatives to such monopolies as the FDA, SEC, and USDA? How do independent certifiers provide audits of companies for financial stability, ethical operation, or adherence to manufacturing standards that give their customers confidence? How do individuals demonstrate their reputations for meeting their contractual obligations? What role can branding fill in communicating confidence?
  14. Black markets - Through regulation, the State has declared some businesses crimes de jure. Some have responded by committing crimes in fact, leading to entire market sectors dominated by violence. What can we do to de-escalate the violence in these industries and return them to voluntary cooperation? If the State outlaws more businesses (banking, firearms, alternative education, alternative medicine, food, children's toys), how do we prevent them from turning to violence in response?

See also:

AnCap Entrepreneur Network - Rough Plan
AnCap Entrepreneur Network

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On the topic of money, perhaps we could implement something along the lines of a LETSystem? Money is just an idea, and the sooner we realize that the better off our economy will be.

Floydian Scrip

The mountain community where I live experimented with creating a local currency backed by labor. The experiment ended about the time I moved here, but this mainstream account matches what I have heard the locals say.

Not having read through all the details at the LETS site, my intuition is that a close-knit community naturally develops barter based on mutual trust. But to operate outside of this community (geographically, socially, or even in time--that is, using money as a store of wealth you could transfer to later generations) requires an idea that can extend beyond the mutual trust of the people you know. This generally means a durable commodity such as gold (though things like tobacco and grain have been durable enough to work over the space of a few years). The spontaneous development of money is a theme in the Austrian School of Economics; I am curious to see what proponents of local barter tokens think of the Austrians' work.

Rather than establish a single currency for members of the Entrepreneur's Network to use internally, I anticipate some members would have a larger discussion of how to develop competing currencies to use in different situations: facilitating community barter, merchant credit systems, commodity currencies for intercultural trade, and so on. Then we would look for business opportunities to implement or use these currencies.

For example, I plan to open a coffee shop in small town. Some of my expenses could be covered by labor from the community (a local cleaning service, musicians), some of my expenses are fixed in dollars (a mortgage), and some of my expenses need to be purchased from far-flung communities (imported coffee or other treats). Some of my income will come from local customers, and some will come from travelers passing through the community. How can I have a simple pricing mechanism for my menu, and avoid having, say a glut of worthless dollars and a shortage of global currency? Could there be a credit card service that handles the foreign exchange between all currencies? Is there an accountant I can hire that helps me balance my portfolio of currencies and find arbitrage bargains? Can travelers charge items at my shop to their hotel bill and then have the local bank handle the settlement at checkout?

Although many businessmen may have to address such questions, the AnCap Entrepreneurs Network would address them from some unique points of view:

  1. Our anticipation of a currency collapse based on our understanding of the coercive versus the voluntary economy might put us ahead of the curve for spotting opportunities/threats, and
  2. We develop organizations that do not rely on force or fraud, whether by those who operate or use the organization, or a central authority known as the State.