Somalia is such a horribly flawed argument that I don't even know where to begin. First of all, I guess, the best idea would probably be some context.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that you can't compare a East African nation which has been at constant civil war with would-be governments for the past two decades with a thriving developed state, so let's start by drawing our comparison between Somalia now and Somalia in 1991 when it had a state.
What's changed? Well according to this article
, much has changed. This table is sourced with data from the BBC article linked:
|Life Expectancy||46 years||50 years|
|GDP per capita||$210||$600|
|Access to Safe Water||35%||29%|
Aside from the drop in access to safe water which is clearly a bad thing, I would say that Somalia has actually improved in its stateless condition. The average citizen is three times wealthier than he was in 1991, even accounting for inflation, he is twice as wealthy. He will live four years longer than he would have in 1991, he is 50% more likely to be able to read and write than he was in 1991. These are not signs of a country on the decline.
Here are some other choice quotes about Somalia from the article:
1. "Common sense dictates that security and stability are the necessary preconditions to economic development.
Since 26 January 1991, most of Somalia has had neither, yet the economy has not only been resilient, some sectors have shown remarkable growth."
2. "now someone can make a mobile call from anywhere in the country.
There are nine networks to choose from and they offer services from texting to mobile internet access."
Peter Little, in his 2003 book 'Somalia', notes that "there are still fees to be paid to greedy faction leaders and militia at ports and roadblocks, but levels of taxation and trade restrictions are considerably below what they were pre-1991"
, set up in 1997, now employs 45 teachers, has 1,000 students and a library of over 100,000 books. It is respected as one of the best Universities in the Horn of Africa.
This table is produced from data from the Independent Institute's paper, comparing Somalia amongst 42 sub-Saharan countries. Statistic is a rank so higher is better (bold indicates improvement, or top 50% on a new measure):
a. Ranking out of 36
|Death Rate (per 1000)||17||37|
|Telephone Main Lines (per 1000)||8||29b|
|Mobile Cellphones (per 1000)||16||N/A|
|Internet Users (per 1000)||11||N/A|
|Households with TV||27c||N/A|
|DPT Immunisation %||41||38d|
|Measles Immunisation %||42||38d|
|Access to Sanitation||24||N/A|
|Access to Clean Water||41||N/A|
|Tuberculosis Cases (per 1000)||31||40|
b. Ranking out of 41
c. Ranking out of 40
d. Ranking out of 39
Somalia does have private defense firms, you call them out as an extortion racket because they charge for their services? Last I checked, the government don't work for free. They have a working currency and a (primitive) legal system. The biggest issue with Somalia is inherent mistrust of the outside, their laws only extend to Somali citizens, so their chances of globalising are a flat zero. This is not consistent with libertarianism at all.
Having said that, there must be something the Somalians like about not having a state, or they wouldn't have successfully opposed every single one that tried to set itself up on their land in the past twenty years.
When you stop trying to compare imperfect anarchism with a perfect state, your arguments might make sense and have coherence. All forms of sociopolitical structure are imperfect, compare relevant shining beacons of the state like Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and DR Congo with Somalia. Compare pre-1991 Somalia with Somalia.
I would recommend that people actually take the time to understand the situation there
before jumping for joy when they find an 'anarcho-capitalist' state which happens to be performing in a less-than-stellar manner.