Anarchy and Haiti
Mises Daily: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 by Robert P. Murphy
Whenever a natural disaster or violent insurrection causes the downfall of a corrupt government, various commentators cannot resist labeling the result “anarchy” and then citing the chaotic situation as an apparently obvious refutation of the ideas of Murray Rothbard.Download PDF Critics of Rothbardian anarchocapitalism often point to mafia-infested Sicily, gangland Chicago, modern-day Colombia, Somalia, and of course now Haiti, as ostensible examples of a free market in police and law.
The week after the earthquake hit, commenter “Greg” posed this typical question on my blog: “How’s that anarchy thing working out in Haiti?”
Here is my response. When Rothbardians say that they favor anarchy, what we mean is that for any given society, with all else held equal, a government monopoly on legal rulings and police enforcement will make the society worse off. (I am here focusing on the pragmatic claims rather than ethical considerations.)