06/03/09

Pandemics, epidemics and anarchocapitalism

por Larry Correo electrónico  756 palabras

How would an anarchocapitalist society deal with a potential pandemic that menaces the very existence of human race? This is an interesting question that surfaces from the recent mania that the porcine flu outbreak in Mexico and the US has caused. The WHO tells us that the flu is not porcine and the poor and discredited little pigs are not to blame. The official name of the supposedly lethal virus is influenza A H1N1. But in any case the governments of the world have made sure to increase their power once again taking advantage of collective hysteria encouraged by the sensationalism of the media.

To respond to the initial question it is worthwhile to clarify what is the ideal society we anarchocapitalists dream of. In this society there is no state, understood as the criminal organization that has institutionalized the use of violence and assigns itself the monopoly of jurisprudence in a determined territory. Additionally and as a consequence of the latter, in the society of the natural order (as Hans-Hermann Hoppe calls it) all the land is in private hands, there is no public land, freeways, nor airports. All of them are private.

In consequence you have no "right" to circulate wherever you please, in the same manner you don't have the "right" to settle and watch TV at my house, without me having invited you first. It is then foreseeable that in an anarchocapitalist society the owners individually or collectively would establish clear rules to control access to their property. In this particular case, in the event of a pandemic or epidemic outbreak, the owners of commercial establishments, ports or airports, could demand, for example, that a non-carrier of the H1N1 virus certificate is presented to allow access of determined people to their facilities, for example, all those coming from the origin of the epidemic outbreak, in this case, Mexico.

Who would emit these non-carrier of the H1N1 virus certificates? The Department of Health, of course. Oh! But there is no state; therefore, there is no "department of health", therefore, no one to emit such certificates. Well, nothing stops insurance companies to take care of the task. Insurance companies would play an important role in the anarchocapitalist society. They would provide many of the services that are now poorly provided by the states. They would do it better and cheaper.

Let´s say that you own an airport in which many people coming from Mexico circulate. If you let a virus carrier pass and this person then infects one Mr Smith, who dies from the disease, there is a very good chance that Mr Smith´s family will then sue you for negligence. You would be acting in your personal interest if you hired a medical service company to evaluate the passengers in transit through your airport and discard the virus' presence on such people.

Another possibility is that insurance agencies would obviously not like to lose their clients in the hands of a deadly virus. In addition, dealing with thousands of ill people is an expensive activity which will interest the insurance companies in minimizing the costs, like every company trying to make a profit. In that sense the insurance companies would take preventive measures like informing the clients of the real risks of the disease in detail (and not the collective hysteria caused by the state and its acolyte means of communication), increase the investment of capital in the development of possible cures or vaccines, etc.

Those people that are not insurance policy holders and fell ill would be cared for by charitable organizations, which there would be many more than in the present statist society, because every individual would be more productive and wouldn't have to stand the current predations that it suffers at the hands of the state.

Obviously the insurance companies or private security agencies could not implement the draconian measures that attack individual freedom of their own clients, as the state does currently. If they did they would be at risk of losing clients rapidly (who would migrate to friendlier companies) and would face the prospect bankruptcy, a limit that no state wants to consider, given that we can always turn to the institutionalized loot that are taxes.

Is this the panacea for every possible epidemic? Of course not, but in my way of seeing things it would be a much better situation than the one we live today, where we have to blindly obey a string of inept bureaucrats, whose only argument is the possession of war weapons.

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