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Author Topic: How does ancap deal with an oil spill?  (Read 4906 times)
grantbdev
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July 18, 2012, 06:19:14 PM
 #1

Let's make a hypothetical. Imagine a completely anarcho-capitalist world. I guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

A firm is operating an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and it explodes.

What happens? Who pays to clean up? Who pays reparations to all of the people affected (e.g. fishermen who just lost their jobs)? Would their be any concern for all of the life destroyed?

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July 18, 2012, 06:21:58 PM
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Let's make a hypothetical. Imagine a completely anarcho-capitalist world. I

 guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

A firm is operating an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and it explodes.

What happens? Who pays to clean up? Who pays reparations to all of the people affected (e.g. fishermen who just lost their jobs)? Would their be any concern for all of the life destroyed?

Heads would roll.

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July 18, 2012, 06:38:53 PM
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I guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

You should not attempt privatization of fluid and complex interdependent resources which have great extent.
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July 18, 2012, 07:11:18 PM
 #4

Let's make a hypothetical. Imagine a completely anarcho-capitalist world. I guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

A firm is operating an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and it explodes.

What happens? Who pays to clean up? Who pays reparations to all of the people affected (e.g. fishermen who just lost their jobs)? Would their be any concern for all of the life destroyed?

Oceans can, and would be, owned just like land is. A large area like the center of the gulf would probably be owned by a large company, or perhaps jointly by several, each using the sea for one type of activity or another. Let's say the patch where the oil rig was is owned by the oil company, a fishing company, and a shipping company. Each uses a different part of the waters, so nobody really gets in anyone's way, and they have a pretty happy partnership.

Until the oil rig goes BOOM. Now, the oil is spilling into the fishing company's waters, possibly mucking up the motors of the shipping company, and that's just it's immediate neighbors. As the oil reaches the shore, more and more people are affected by the spill.

Now for the big question: Who pays? The oil company will pay for cleanup, and for any damages done by the oil. Those damages would include any marine life harmed, for instance, to the fishing company that shared the oil rig's waters, as well as lost wages to the fishermen, not to mention death benefits to anyone who didn't make it off the rig.

It's likely that the oil company goes out of business, paying all this, and everyone up the chain of command from the safety inspector at the rig (assuming he didn't pay the ultimate price) up to the CEO would probably go broke, paying restitution. Pretty big incentive for safety.

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July 18, 2012, 07:13:50 PM
 #5

Let's make a hypothetical. Imagine a completely anarcho-capitalist world. I guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

A firm is operating an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and it explodes.

What happens? Who pays to clean up? Who pays reparations to all of the people affected (e.g. fishermen who just lost their jobs)? Would their be any concern for all of the life destroyed?

Oceans can, and would be, owned just like land is. A large area like the center of the gulf would probably be owned by a large company, or perhaps jointly by several, each using the sea for one type of activity or another. Let's say the patch where the oil rig was is owned by the oil company, a fishing company, and a shipping company. Each uses a different part of the waters, so nobody really gets in anyone's way, and they have a pretty happy partnership.

Until the oil rig goes BOOM. Now, the oil is spilling into the fishing company's waters, possibly mucking up the motors of the shipping company, and that's just it's immediate neighbors. As the oil reaches the shore, more and more people are affected by the spill.

Now for the big question: Who pays? The oil company will pay for cleanup, and for any damages done by the oil. Those damages would include any marine life harmed, for instance, to the fishing company that shared the oil rig's waters, as well as lost wages to the fishermen, not to mention death benefits to anyone who didn't make it off the rig.

It's likely that the oil company goes out of business, paying all this, and everyone up the chain of command from the safety inspector at the rig (assuming he didn't pay the ultimate price) up to the CEO would probably go broke, paying restitution. Pretty big incentive for safety.

And when that still doesn't cover it (or they refuse to pay since there is no state to enforce payment) heads will roll.

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July 18, 2012, 07:16:07 PM
 #6

Let's make a hypothetical. Imagine a completely anarcho-capitalist world. I guess all the oceans and seas have been somehow privatized (how?).

A firm is operating an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and it explodes.

What happens? Who pays to clean up? Who pays reparations to all of the people affected (e.g. fishermen who just lost their jobs)? Would their be any concern for all of the life destroyed?

Oceans can, and would be, owned just like land is. A large area like the center of the gulf would probably be owned by a large company, or perhaps jointly by several, each using the sea for one type of activity or another. Let's say the patch where the oil rig was is owned by the oil company, a fishing company, and a shipping company. Each uses a different part of the waters, so nobody really gets in anyone's way, and they have a pretty happy partnership.

Until the oil rig goes BOOM. Now, the oil is spilling into the fishing company's waters, possibly mucking up the motors of the shipping company, and that's just it's immediate neighbors. As the oil reaches the shore, more and more people are affected by the spill.

Now for the big question: Who pays? The oil company will pay for cleanup, and for any damages done by the oil. Those damages would include any marine life harmed, for instance, to the fishing company that shared the oil rig's waters, as well as lost wages to the fishermen, not to mention death benefits to anyone who didn't make it off the rig.

It's likely that the oil company goes out of business, paying all this, and everyone up the chain of command from the safety inspector at the rig (assuming he didn't pay the ultimate price) up to the CEO would probably go broke, paying restitution. Pretty big incentive for safety.

This is a somewhat sensible post. Certainly the best I've seen from the Libertarian camp regarding ocean ownership. At least it beats the absurdities proposed by others, which have included nets in the ocean to demarcate property borders, and the laughable concept of herding whales. A thumbs up to myrkul for not exploring such ridiculous ideas when compelled to address private ownership of the oceans.
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July 18, 2012, 07:16:39 PM
 #7

The company pays because if it doesn't the victims' protection agencies will attack the company.

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July 18, 2012, 07:37:01 PM
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Nobody would be forced to pay. The price of ocean property would fall and people would eat steak instead of lobster tail. No problem. In fact it would be a good idea to get rid of those sharks that kill surfers. Besides fracking turned out to be a good thing because it adds free fuel to our drinking water and who doesn't want free fuel amirite? Freedom is great for everyone!

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July 18, 2012, 08:11:47 PM
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How would the victims' protection agency attack the company, specifically? And how is this victim's protection agency formed/funded?

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July 18, 2012, 08:52:54 PM
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Now for the big question: Who pays? The oil company will pay for cleanup, and for any damages done by the oil. Those damages would include any marine life harmed, for instance, to the fishing company that shared the oil rig's waters, as well as lost wages to the fishermen, not to mention death benefits to anyone who didn't make it off the rig.

It's likely that the oil company goes out of business, paying all this, and everyone up the chain of command from the safety inspector at the rig (assuming he didn't pay the ultimate price) up to the CEO would probably go broke, paying restitution. Pretty big incentive for safety.

But in a voluntary system, the oil company does not have to pay for anything. Say the company does not pay, it was the company's property and it was just trying to make a profit. Why should they care about the fish, the fishermen, the workers, and the surrounding environment?

That seems like a pretty big injustice to everyone affected. Since their is no government to ensure that justice is done, does it really go to what theymos suggested? (Literal) corporate warfare? Heads will roll? Potentially innocent people will die?

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July 18, 2012, 09:05:36 PM
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Adding to that, if came down to corporate warfare, you have corporations extracting money with the barrel of a gun... If they have to capabilities of actually getting restitution this way, what's to stop them from extorting money from anyone, anytime?

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July 18, 2012, 09:05:55 PM
 #12

How would the victims' protection agency attack the company, specifically? And how is this victim's protection agency formed/funded?

This explains it well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTYkdEU_B4o

Sorry it's long'ish.

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grantbdev
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July 18, 2012, 09:31:49 PM
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Oceans can, and would be, owned just like land is. A large area like the center of the gulf would probably be owned by a large company, or perhaps jointly by several, each using the sea for one type of activity or another. Let's say the patch where the oil rig was is owned by the oil company, a fishing company, and a shipping company. Each uses a different part of the waters, so nobody really gets in anyone's way, and they have a pretty happy partnership.

This is a little off-topic, but I think a relevant question:

How do oceans come into private ownership?

The Enlightenment view (or at least according to my reading of the works of Thomas Paine) of property is that initially the world's land and resources are in the commons. However, property comes into being when labor is used with land/resources. For a basic example, in the beginning of the world this forest belongs to no one human being, but if I chop down an area of the forest and build a house, that part of the land comes into the ownership of me because it was my labor that transformed that land.

This definiton works pretty well for claiming land, but how does this apply to the ownership claims of oceans in anarcho-capitalism?

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July 18, 2012, 10:08:58 PM
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But in a voluntary system, the oil company does not have to pay for anything. Say the company does not pay, it was the company's property and it was just trying to make a profit. Why should they care about the fish, the fishermen, the workers, and the surrounding environment?

That seems like a pretty big injustice to everyone affected. Since their is no government to ensure that justice is done, does it really go to what theymos suggested? (Literal) corporate warfare? Heads will roll? Potentially innocent people will die?

Well, firstly, the fishing company and the shipping company aren't going to buy the waterspace in partnership with the oil company without knowing that something like this might happen (that you are able to predict the possibility makes that quite clear). So, they'd have a contract requiring damages to be paid in the event of an accident (This contract would go both ways, of course - should the shipping company run into the oil platform, or the fishing company tangle something up with their nets, they would be required to pay damages, too).

Even without that agreement, the oil company surely realizes that literal corporate warfare is much more expensive than dealing with problems peacefully, and so they have an agreement that any disputes they have with other people would be handled by arbiters. In arbitration, the two parties come to an agreement, with the help of the arbiter, and the settlement is decided that way.

If the company decides that paying out settlements will indeed break them, and they refuse, and also refuse arbitration, then yes, it might indeed come to corporate warfare. Innocent lives might indeed be lost. Both sides know this fact, though, so it gives them incentive not to push it that far. The damaged parties might take smaller settlements, or split it up into payments, so that they get them, rather than running the company into the ground.

Violently extracting payments from people who have damaged you is inefficient and dangerous, and everyone knows this, so it's not too likely to happen. It might, but it's far from the first option.

How do oceans come into private ownership?

Well, you bring up a good point. You can't really do much to "mix your labor" with the sea to get something new, which you own. You can, however, mark it off, and there's always the seabed that you can transform, in almost every way you can transform dry land. And just like in dry land, you can claim ownership of the livestock on that land - or in this case, the sea - and mark off the range with buoys. The water is, in this way, similar to the air above your land - if you could walk up into the air and fly around, and so could your cows.

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July 18, 2012, 10:44:48 PM
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The company pays because if it doesn't the victims' protection agencies will attack the company.

There are plenty of scenarios where the damage done far outweighs the capital of all the companies and people responsible. From a drunk homeless guy destroying your brand new car, to an oil company having a worst-case-disaster oil-spill during a hurricane, near a priceless nature reserve. Then what?

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July 18, 2012, 10:57:41 PM
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The company pays because if it doesn't the victims' protection agencies will attack the company.

There are plenty of scenarios where the damage done far outweighs the capital of all the companies and people responsible. From a drunk homeless guy destroying your brand new car, to an oil company having a worst-case-disaster oil-spill during a hurricane, near a priceless nature reserve. Then what?

I just addressed this...

If the company decides that paying out settlements will indeed break them, and they refuse, and also refuse arbitration, then yes, it might indeed come to corporate warfare. Innocent lives might indeed be lost. Both sides know this fact, though, so it gives them incentive not to push it that far. The damaged parties might take smaller settlements, or split it up into payments, so that they get them, rather than running the company into the ground.

Basically, if you want to get your damages out of the company, or the drunk homeless guy, you have to take some over time. In the case of the homeless guy, you might have to improve his life somewhat, give him a job, and get the damages out of him from the proceeds of that job.

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July 19, 2012, 12:21:18 AM
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The company pays because if it doesn't the victims' protection agencies will attack the company.

There are plenty of scenarios where the damage done far outweighs the capital of all the companies and people responsible. From a drunk homeless guy destroying your brand new car, to an oil company having a worst-case-disaster oil-spill during a hurricane, near a priceless nature reserve. Then what?

I just addressed this...

If the company decides that paying out settlements will indeed break them, and they refuse, and also refuse arbitration, then yes, it might indeed come to corporate warfare. Innocent lives might indeed be lost. Both sides know this fact, though, so it gives them incentive not to push it that far. The damaged parties might take smaller settlements, or split it up into payments, so that they get them, rather than running the company into the ground.

Basically, if you want to get your damages out of the company, or the drunk homeless guy, you have to take some over time. In the case of the homeless guy, you might have to improve his life somewhat, give him a job, and get the damages out of him from the proceeds of that job.

But all the incentives for all the people are completely wrong! And in the meanwhile nothing gets solved, damaging the "victims" even more.

Why the hell would the homeless guy even bother getting a job now? I didn't have one, and now that (at least!) his first dozen paychecks will hardly benefit him at all he's sure as hell not going to get one now.

Corporate warfare ... that really helpful, during that time nothing gets solved (or cleaned up in case of an oil-spill) Lot's of people will be dead after a while, (including undoubtedly a lot of innocent people) and when that's all over, nothing even remotely resembling justice has been done, the damage has been much greater than when it all kicked off, and on top of that the oil spill has worsened and now there isn't even anyone left to who could be held responsible. If there were other companies willing to stick out their neck and pick up the bill in the meantime, hoping they would get something back in the long run, they sure as hell won't lift a finger now.

Then there is also the problem that there are plenty of other examples besides this one where it would be cheaper for large corporations to go into some kind of corporate war, instead of cleaning up some disaster. As long as the victims are few/weak/underrepresented/poor it would be a no-brainer for some multinational to think "bring it on, my corporate army is waiting!".


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July 19, 2012, 12:47:42 AM
 #18

But all the incentives for all the people are completely wrong! And in the meanwhile nothing gets solved, damaging the "victims" even more.

How so?

Why the hell would the homeless guy even bother getting a job now? I didn't have one, and now that (at least!) his first dozen paychecks will hardly benefit him at all he's sure as hell not going to get one now.

No, that would be slavery, or at best, indentured servitude. Payments, my friend. Payments. It extends the timeframe more, but puts the incentives correct: the homeless person gets a job, and the damaged person (eventually) gets paid back the damages. [Russian accent]Everybody happy![/accent]

Corporate warfare ... that really helpful, during that time nothing gets solved (or cleaned up in case of an oil-spill) Lot's of people will be dead after a while, (including undoubtedly a lot of innocent people) and when that's all over, nothing even remotely resembling justice has been done, the damage has been much greater than when it all kicked off, and on top of that the oil spill has worsened and now there isn't even anyone left to who could be held responsible. If there were other companies willing to stick out their neck and pick up the bill in the meantime, hoping they would get something back in the long run, they sure as hell won't lift a finger now.

Which is exactly why corporate warfare will be so rare: it's costly, it fixes nothing, and makes nobody happy.

Then there is also the problem that there are plenty of other examples besides this one where it would be cheaper for large corporations to go into some kind of corporate war, instead of cleaning up some disaster. As long as the victims are few/weak/underrepresented/poor it would be a no-brainer for some multinational to think "bring it on, my corporate army is waiting!".

And how, exactly, are they going to pay that private army? Even the biggest multinational is still ultimately dependent on the consumers of their products. Causing an environmental disaster is seriously bad publicity, refusing to pick up the mess is even worse. There is plenty of historical evidence of companies going out of their way to cultivate a good public image (Dawn's campaign about being the soap used to clean up animals in the gulf spill, for instance).

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July 19, 2012, 02:27:12 AM
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But all the incentives for all the people are completely wrong! And in the meanwhile nothing gets solved, damaging the "victims" even more.

How so?

Exactly in the way I've outlined in the rest of my post, don't be willingly obtuse ...

As for the rest of your replies, they are just childishly postponing the final conclusion; ancap is horribly inadequate in dealing with major problem like an oil-spill.

By introducing lifelong servitude and other forms of slavery and random wars and conflicts as "solutions" to serious problems it should be clear that ancap is at best some armchair ideal which instead of seeing it's fault tries to mask them with ridiculous solutions not even fit for serious consideration. [/rant]

But to see more clearly the futility of what you are actually proposing, you just have to think about one thing; ... the mafia. What you are actually proposing is the ideal breeding ground for well organised corruption. Does the mafia care about bad publicity? Does the mafia ever have problem funding their private army? Does the mafia care that the warfare is costly? Fucking people over is incredibly profitable.

The bottom line is, that yeah, sometimes is better for business the "do the right thing" but many times is better just to say fuck it, whack a couple of guy's, maybe face a retaliation (not even that if you are strong and big enough compared to the people you're fucking over) Leave others with the mess you've made, wait for the people to be forgetful, let the worst of it blow over (again optional if you're powerful enough) ... and do it all again. And if things get REALLY bad, just move to another city, country, continent, and find some new suckers to drench in oil because of your negligence.

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July 19, 2012, 02:39:18 AM
 #20

But all the incentives for all the people are completely wrong! And in the meanwhile nothing gets solved, damaging the "victims" even more.

How so?

Exactly in the way I've outlined in the rest of my post, don't be willingly obtuse ...

As for the rest of your replies, they are just childishly postponing the final conclusion; ancap is horribly inadequate in dealing with major problem like an oil-spill.

By introducing lifelong servitude and other forms of slavery and random wars and conflicts as "solutions" to serious problems it should be clear that ancap is at best some armchair ideal which instead of seeing it's fault tries to mask them with ridiculous solutions not even fit for serious consideration. [/rant]



How did you get from "give him a job, then he can pay you back" to "life-long slavery"?
How did you get from "Corporate warfare is costly, fixes nothing, and makes nobody happy" to "random wars and conflicts"?

Seriously, what alternate universe are you reading this in?

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