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Somalia - a case study in anarchy
from Braincrave Second Life staff
Aug 11, 2010
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People always claim that anarchy will never work. My response is typically "why is anarchy more radical than going into a $14 trillion debt, or starting wars that murder millions of people, or promoting socialism?" The typical retort is "then go live in Somalia." Well, interestingly enough, guess what many studies in Somalia prove? Would you have guess it?

FTA: "Were there such a category, Somalia would hold a place in Guinness World Records as the country with the longest absence of a functioning central government. When the Somalis dismantled their government in 1991 and returned to their precolonial political status, the expectation was that chaos would result - and that, of course, would be the politically correct thing to expect...

If the expectation was that Somalia would plunge into an abyss of chaos, what is the reality? A number of recent studies address this question... Comparing the last five years under the central government (1985–1990) with the most recent five years of anarchy (2000–2005)... "We find that Somalia's living standards have improved generally … not just in absolute terms, but also relative to other African countries since the collapse of the Somali central government." ...Consequently, the United Nations has by now spent well over two billion dollars attempting to re-establish a central government in Somalia. But here is the irony: it is the presence of the United Nations that has caused virtually all of the turbulence we have seen in Somalia... Hence the most violent years in Somalia were the years following 1991 when the United Nations was physically present, attempting to impose a central government. When the United Nations withdrew in 1995, the expectation of a future central government began to recede, and things began to stabilize...

The Xeer is the secret to the whole perplexing question of Somalia's success without a central government, since it provides an authentic rule of law to support trade and economic development... The law is compensatory rather than punitive. Because property right requires compensation, rather than punishment, there is no imprisonment, and fines are rare. Such fines as might be imposed seldom exceed the amount of compensation and are not payable to any court or government, but directly to the victim... Fines are used in another interesting way. It is expected that a prominent public figure such as a religious or political dignitary or a policeman or a judge should lead an exemplary life. If he violates the law, he pays double what would be required of an ordinary person. Also, it should be noted, since the law and crime are defined in terms of property rights, the Xeer is unequivocal in its opposition to any form of taxation... A third point about the Xeer is that there is no monopoly of police or judicial services. Anyone is free to serve in those capacities as long as he is not at the same time a religious or political dignitary.. Fourth, there is no victimless crime. Only a victim or his family can initiate a court action. Where there is no victim to call a court into being, no court can form."

The Rule of Law without the State


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