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Is it possible to own a radio frequency ?

Over at FR33 Agents, Pambas! asks, "Is it possible to own a radio frequency ?":

Here is the scenario:

A have a broadcasting station, from which he decide to broadcast in the 100 Mhz frequency music and talk-shows, or whatever cruise is mind. The station can broadcast in a radius if 25 km.

within the is area, B have a property, and can he decide to broadcast on the same frequency has A, with the same range has A broadcast station.

Can B sue A because the radio waves trespass his property ?

Share you though on this one :D Its not has easy has it seems ...

Here's my reply:

If A and B were both information broadcasters competing for consumers, I think they would be motivated to resolve their conflict quickly--sadly, from experience, by forming a cartel. If the cartel could not be enforced, market participants would play a positive-sum game of making the market as attractive as possible to gain new consumers.

The more difficult situation is where B is not participating in the information broadcast market, but is generating noise in the frequency, perhaps by the use of some sparking electrical equipment. In this case, information broadcasters would be creating a secondary market for organizations that could maximize the amount of useful medium for transmission--perhaps insurance companies that could pool the risk of accidental bandwidth pollution across geography and frequency and be large enough to participate in other markets common to the polluter, such as finance or contract reputation. At some stage, the cost/benefits would have to balance so either the polluter would be motivated to reduce his noise, or the broadcasters would abandon their plans to use transmission through the electromagnetic spectrum.

It might be sad for entrepreneur A who invested resources in a broadcast station without considering the problems that may occur, but eventually he and other owners of capital will become more careful in their planning before sinking their resources into new technology.

In short, entrepreneurs swim in this ocean all the time. Over time, more of us will realize that coercion is only a short-term fix for problems at best. As this happens, the growing market for liberty will draw more resources into non-coercive institutions.

Can you think of anything I should add?


To cleanse my spirit after that bout of cynicism, here is Butler Shaffer from the Murray N. Rothbard Memorial Lecture, Austrian Scholars Conference, 2003:

Each of us is biologically and experientually unique, and Liberty is the only condition in which we can express our uniqueness.

If we are to discover our connectedness with the world, we must understand that what we have in common with one another is the need to protect the conditions with which the Liberty of each of us can be exercised. Only as we learn to respect the inviolability of each individual, can mankind hope to survive. You and I are mankind--its present, and its future.

We must then declare to ourselves, as well as to our neighbors, that mankind--integrated in both body and spirit--will not only survive, but it will prosper in this world. That life belongs to the living, not to abstract collectives, regardless of their exalted trappings, or the duration of their tenure over the minds of men and women.

We must further declare that the spirit of mankind is going to survive on this planet, in the only place where it can ever be found, namely, in the autonomous and spontaneous expressions of individuals. It is time for those who believe otherwise to stand aside, as we support one another in the effort to reclaim our souls.

Cynical Epiphany #2

Same disclaimer as before.

One reason most people think the Sibel Edmonds allegations won't be investigated are that too many people, from both parties, are involved.

But another reason is that potential investigators benefit by having a large file of dirty politicians whenever they need a favor.

Cynical Epiphany #1

I don't like being cynical. I'd rather not focus on the depravity of humans. But sometimes I consider an idea and ask, "What prevents this from occurring?" and can't come up with a good answer.

Thus, the purpose of the collecting all of our communications at the NSA's Utah Datacenter is not to be able to sift through data to identify potentially dangerous individuals. It is the much simpler computational task to start with an individual of interest and then to look through their communications to find some leverage to gain their cooperation. Example: need a to make sure an accused person is convicted? Search through his lawyer's past and the past of her family and colleagues until you have what you need to make sure she isn't quite doing her best during his trial.

What is the Classical Liberal's answer to Corporate America's co-optation of government?

A friend who's exploring Libertarian ideas just wrote to me with the question, "What is the Classical Liberal's answer to Corporate America's co-optation of government?". I thought I'd give my answer here so others could correct me or elaborate.

Classical Liberals recognize the problem of business influence on government, but refer to it by different names than do members of the left. The Classical Liberal stubbornly insists that "Capitalism" is given its original meaning--an economic system where capital is held privately and transactions can occur between willing sellers and buyers without government intervention. By definition, this should exclude collusion between business interests and government, which Classical Liberals will typically refer to as Corporatism, Mercantilism, or Fascism.

The Classical Liberal recognizes that all humans want to fulfill their goals in life--whether these are as simple as being fed and sheltered, or as complex as achieving world-wide literacy. Classical Liberals distinguish between two methods of realizing these goals--either through productive effort and trade with willing partners, or by using force to steal, defraud, and extort. The first method respects the life, liberty, and property of others, the second does not.

Government, by definition, is that organization which has a monopoly on the legitimate initiation of force within a geographic area. Inherently, it must use force and the threat of force to impose its rules on others, no matter how these rules were derived. The minarchist believes that government action should be limited to only enforce those rules that protect life, liberty, and property. The libertarian anarchist believes that it is never legitimate to initiate force, and thus all governments are illegitimate (libertarian anarchists do allow for non-monopoly organizations to respond with proportional force in order to protect the individual).

Ideologies of the left attempt to limit government-business collusion by increasing the power of government. They promote government as the antagonist of business and suggest that greater regulation of business by government could put an end to collusion. This is puzzling, since government is at the same time a party to the collusion and the regulator of the collusion. To be fair, the collective term "government" includes a lot of different individuals, some of whom could be guilty of collusion and some of whom could be investigating and punishing collusion; the fact remains that whoever can secure control of the monopoly regulator can act without fear of regulation.

The Classical Liberal takes issue with colluding businesses, but not with business per se. Those businesses whose members neither commit crimes nor contract anyone else to commit crimes on their behalf can only continue to exist through productive effort (or by the savings of past productive effort). The focus of the Classical Liberal in stopping collusion is that institution that is committing the harm--the government enforcers who threaten to fine and jail whomever does not follow the rules born of the collusion.

In a Classical Liberal society, those businesses that committed crimes would be prosecuted at the request of the victims of those crimes. Those businesses that did not commit crimes, but merely showed poor taste--say the suppliers of puppy-skin coats--would be regulated by the market. The more objectionable the business, the fewer individuals who will want to deal with them, either as customers or suppliers.

To see how important the definition of "Capitalism" is to understanding this issue, watch this discussion between leftist Michael Moore and a Classical Liberal GWU student:

Comparing centralized defense and distributed defense

We've discussed the success of the passengers of United 93 at thwarting the 9/11 attacks before. I was reminded of it recently when I heard this quote from Ralph Raico's 2009 Mises University lecture "On War and Liberty" (at 27:09):

Some Defense Department! When 9/11 came, after having spent trillions of dollars, the Pentagon was not even able to defend its own headquarters from attack.

"Randy" likes Distributed Republic

Though we don't do scheduled TV, my family has been a fan of "My Name is Earl" for the last several years. We watch the episodes at the Official NBC Show Site.

The show is about a bunch of redneck scofflaws. The main character, Earl, is on a mission to right all the wrongs of his past. Ethan Suplee plays "Randy", his little brother sidekick. Randy gets to deliver great lines--after a guest character returns from a "cavity search" at a government building security checkpoint, he asks, "Did they find any? Or have you been brushing real good?"

I ran across Ethan Suplee's blog a while ago and found out he was a fan of Thomas Jefferson, Gerald Celente, and Ron Paul. I left a comment on his site pointing him at Stefan Molyneux's great "Matrix" video. Ethan not only liked that, but also said he liked the link to Distributed Republic that was attached to my name.

Now, if we could just get him to introduce us to Nadine Velazquez from the show! Here she is in character as the illegal immigrant Catalina...

Trouble in Paradise

I've written romantically before about what a nice place I live in. But, it seems that one of the locals is threatening to take away the property of a neighbor and lock him in a cage for a non-crime.

The original posting is at Doug Thompson's Blue Ridge Muse.

One of my longer cross-posted comments follows below:


I was not arguing for legalization of one particular substance: marijuana. I don't particularly care how dangerous it is or isn't to the person who decides to use it. I also don't care how dangerous any other substance is--alcohol, heroin, red meat, tobacco, pharmaceuticals or herbal remedies--it is not a crime for someone to ingest these substances. Further, I argued that it is expressly forbidden for federal legislators to make laws against substance use by the Constitution they all voluntarily agree to uphold upon taking office.

What I call a crime is when a person undertakes some action with intent to do harm to another party. According to the link you posted, Ted Bundy was a mass murderer. He should be punished and forced to make restitution to his victims' families. I am not arguing that nice people should not be punished. First and foremost, I am arguing that it is wrong to punish people who do not take some action with the intent to harm others, and you and I and your readers should not give such unjust punishment a shred of legitimacy.

Second, I am arguing that any federal laws that were created against ingesting substances are unconstitutional and were made "illegally". I put the terms in quotes, because we now have diverging meanings of the term "legal". Elected officials who were part of the legislative process you allude to took a solemn, voluntary oath to abide by the Constitution when they took their job. If they thought it was important to write laws against a substance, legislators had the means through the amendment process to do so, as was done with the 18th amendment prohibiting alcohol use. But this prohibition was reversed by the 21st amendment and never repeated for any other substance. The war on drugs uses government guns, jails, and confiscated revenue for a purpose the Constitution never authorized.

Contrast the legislators' "illegal activities"--violating a voluntary oath so they could lend legitimacy to violent actions--to the "illegal activity" you say we must avoid. I don't know the facts of the case against Patrick Fenn, but from your posting, I don't see mention of anything he did that was intended to harm another person. You said that he was growing marijuana for his own use, and that he was also giving it to friends. Even if he were selling it to strangers, this would be a voluntary exchange between consenting individuals. As far as I know, he is not accused of giving it to minors against the wishes of their parents, or misrepresenting what the product is that he is selling, or failing to deliver goods after accepting payment (each of which might fit my definition of crime). The things you say Patrick is accused of are only "illegal" by the decree of the authorities.

So, there seem to be two types of "illegal activity". Rulers are allowed to violate a solemn voluntary oath and authorize force against those who have committed no crime. Under what I take to be your view, this "illegal activity" is allowed. All's fair within the DC beltway because it makes up the "legislative process". But for you and I and Patrick, "illegal activity" is the result of that process, and we better follow it whether we like it or not, otherwise expect a gun in our face while our neighbors cower in fear. Our input into the "legislative process" is to vote for red team or blue team every few years and hope that whoever gets the spoils of our confiscated wealth doesn't find our lifestyle objectionable. Are there two types of people--rulers and ruled? Or are "all men created equal"?

Thirdly, I alluded to the argument that once you empower people to legitimately use force beyond self-defense, it is abused.

You say that you don't advocate "blind obedience to authority" but rather "obeying the law". Maybe you object to my use of the word "blind"--maybe you advocate obeying authority under the full understanding that the authoritarian is wrong, but still we should submit. This would be inconvenient for pot smokers in this case, and home-schoolers, homosexuals, conscripts, and various buyers and sellers in others. But I hope that you don't characterize Stephanie Shortt as "obeying the law". In her case, she is undertaking actions intended to harm another--threatening to lock Patrick in a cage and take his home. Such actions are criminal, and having a fancy title and the sanction of the federal government does not change this. Do you approve of Stephanie's choice (if she were to act upon it, your article suggests it is still under consideration) to prosecute Patrick?

I sincerely hope that the passion of my convictions hasn't alienated you or other readers. I spent years living under different governments, reading, and pondering before arriving at these views. In retrospect, it seems I should have known from the age of six that initiating force and fraud are always wrong. But we receive a lot of conditioning to obey our rulers, and it is too easy for us to succumb to peer pressure and think that we can take a shortcut and use violence to achieve our well-intentioned ends. I hope that, after consideration, you will agree that it is wrong to steal from an innocent, even if you disapprove of his choices in life.

You have your opinion about marijuana being dangerous and Patrick and his friends have their opinion. I believe you volunteer to help people deal with marijuana and other addictions and I find this very admirable. You should be allowed to live according to your opinion and Patrick should be allowed according to his, so long as neither of you intentionally harm another person.

I don't believe I even know Patrick. What is upsetting me in this story is that it is destroying a myth I held about Floyd--that the inhabitants of this small mountain community would value the peaceful choices of their neighbors above the decrees of Washington. It is probably too late to save Patrick, but we all better consider these ideas seriously. The steady accumulation of federal power over decades seems to me ready to collapse upon itself over the next few years. We had better decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong before we hurt each other any more by "obeying the law".

AnCap Entrepreneur Network

I just returned from my first event at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. I generally pick up the recorded events a few days later on the podcast feed. But, after seeing that Gil Guillory was presenting a paper (scheduled to join the others on his site) "Marketing Subscription-Based Patrol and Restitution", I decided to take the drive down to Alabama to meet him.

Gil's research is on a business model similar to the product I speculated about back in September. Finding Gil's research was a watershed moment for me: this anarcho-capitalism stuff is becoming real. We've studied the ideology, we've discussed scenarios, we see the old economic model crumbling--now it's time to combine land, labor, and capital in the real world. It's time to look at generating revenue streams not decades away, but this year.

I am proposing that we create a network of business people interested in starting profitable organizations based on anarcho-capitalist ideology in the short to medium term. My draft of the manifesto is here. Here's a rough plan for us to develop.

Who's ready to build a free society?

AnCap Entrepreneur Network - Rough Plan

This is the start of my brainstorming, so I'll leave this as bulleted items with minimal explanation.

  • Social networking site - Members' contact info and business skills, member blogs, wiki, private conversations, shared documents. Partner with similar site to leverage hosting and development?
  • Research program for business models and background info - submit to Libertarian Papers?
  • Conferences - Piggy-back on existing conference. Session track at Austrian Scholar's Conference? Other conferences to get geographic/ideological/seasonal spread? Additional smaller, more frequent, less formal meetups?
  • Funding - What model to use: donations in kind (open source)/financial donation/subscription/advertising/pay-per services/paper topic "bounties" (perhaps awarded as prizes at conference and chosen by donors: $300 for best presentation on 'When to Change your Accounting Currency to Gold; a Breakeven Analysis', $100 2nd prize)
  • Expenses - Site hosting
  • Marketing - Associated projects: LvMI, Free State Project, Freedomain Radio, Seasteading Institute, Global Guerrillas (resilient communities and failed states), Factor e Farm (distributed manufacturing, response to unsustainable social institutions)
  • Progression as sector develops - e.g. "Rothbardian Contract Law"
    1. Theory presentation at conference
    2. Course on how to create compatible contracts
    3. Course for mediators/arbitrators (M/A)
    4. M/A network
    5. Advertising for M/A organizations
    6. Feedback from M/A on difficult issues develops theory further
    7. Contract boilerplate for purchase
    8. M/A Certification service
    9. Contract history rating service to certify parties' reputations in honoring contracts

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

We're becoming mainstream...

Yet [Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty] has tensions at the philosophical level. One activist observed that there seemed to be many “paleoconservatives” in the group’s leadership, while much of the grassroots were “anarcho-capitalists.” Paul recognizes the fault line. “I have many friends in the libertarian movement who look down on those of us who get involved in political activity,” he acknowledged, but “eventually, if you want to bring about changes … what you have to do is participate in political action.”

--The American Conservative

AnCap Products I'd Like to Buy #3

"Little Guy" hedge fund. If things don't go my way--high inflation, rising cost of credit, risk of unemployment, sons get conscripted, wife isn't allowed to re-enter at the border--make sure my portfolio compensates me accordingly.

The Path to Anarcho-Capitalism

John Robb maps it out at Global Guerrillas.

AnCap Products I'd Like to Buy #2--Insurance against Crime

This product occurred to me as I was listening to a podcast of Chapter 13, "Punishment and Proportionality", of Murray Rothbard's "The Ethics of Liberty". I was contrasting Rothbard's discussion of criminal punishments to Randy Barnett's examination of restitution. Why can't I simply use an insurance policy to determine whatever restitution I deem appropriate if I am the victim of a crime?

I would expect to have a list of crimes--robbery, kidnapping, assault, rape, embezzlement--each with a benefit payable that I determine. If I find the thought of being raped particularly heinous, I would choose a larger benefit (with a proportionately larger premium) if I were a victim of that crime. If being the victim of auto theft did not particularly bother me, I could insure for a smaller benefit.

The insurance company would have to base its premium on the risk of the crime occurring, its ability to investigate the crime, to apprehend and prosecute the criminal, and to receive compensation from a convicted criminal. The company would not make guarantees of conviction or punishment to me, in order that they can negotiate a plea bargain with the criminal to recover the maximum compensation from him. The company may be fortunate enough to recover my benefit from the criminal, or they may have to make up the difference from collected premiums.

My benefit should include a lump sum for "psychic damage" which included any desire I had to see the victim punished. The benefit should also include a varying payout related to the financial costs I incurred from the crime--damage to property and medical costs. An administrative cost could be added according to the number of hours I had to spend assisting the insurance company with investigation and prosecution (perhaps in the standard contract I have to provide "all assistance as required by the company" and I can purchase an optional rider to compensate my time above, say, six hours per claim).

I would expect the jurisdictions I was traveling in to also affect the premium. Premiums may be higher in New York State if they had a legal system that was uncooperative to insurance companies, focusing only on making criminals pay "debts to society" and may be lower in Florida if their judges were willing to enter arbitration with the insurance companies more readily. Premiums on the high seas would be related to the insurance company's ability to privately apprehend and recover compensation from criminals.

If insurance companies were motivated to prosecute crimes for the benefit of victims, would victimless crimes be crowded out of the courts? Would insurance companies provide competitive pressure to make government law more efficient?

Would insurance companies become powerful enough relative to governments that they could provide protection against crimes committed by governments?

Would such organizations become coercive? The easiest way to become coercive would be for the insurance company to lobby for licensure and a mandatory market from the government, then use a monopoly position to prosecute "criminals" in such a way as to maximize their profit. What safeguards could protect against this?

Are there laws today to prevent me from insuring myself against criminal injury? Or could insurance companies be a bridge from the punishment/rehabilitation model provided by governments today to a victim restitution model independent of government?