The Wealthy Live Without Government

Previously by Bill Walker: If You Want Electric Cars, YouNeedElectricity

New Hampshire's judicial branch recently announced an attempt to recapture business law from private arbitration. It's quite hopeless; even the one judge assigned to the quixotic charge of this judicial Light Brigade admits that he doesn't expect many businesses to use his court. And they won't.

Why would anyone leave the relatively rational, honest, quick world of private arbitration for the endless delays and corruption of government courts? They wouldn't. Even if they disagree with any one decision of a private arbitrator, at least the case will be OVER and they can get on with their business. That doesn't happen once you sink into the tar pit of the US judicial system (ask my brother-in-law about his four-year divorce case…) As one of the NH Supreme Court judges said, "businesses don't use state courts."

But it goes further than that. Wealthy people and corporations don't use state facilities of any kind when they can avoid them. The wealthy, including those in charge of inflicting government programs on the rest of us, use private services for themselves:

First and most important, the wealthy send their children to private schools. Even the Clintons and the Obamas sent their daughter(s) to private school, while talking loudly about the importance of keeping school vouchers away from working people. Many private schools may cost less than public schools, but they're far better for the students in any measurable outcomes. And of course it's easier to stay wealthy if you have a decent education.

The wealthy don't get felt up by TSA or blasted with x-rays; they use private aircraft. Because of course private jets [or private suborbital rockets] could never be loaded with explosives and used to take down a skyscraper… errr, um….

The wealthy don't depend on government police. They have bodyguards and private security for their homes. Private guards, of course, enforce private law… the wealthy don't have to fear the Drug War unless they forget themselves and stray into "public" territory.

The wealthy may claim to be for gun control, but their guards are their weapons… and their guards are armed. Even when they go overseas in government service, the wealthy are protected by Xe ("the company formerly known as Blackwater") or some other mercenary group.

The wealthy don't depend on government health services. They don't go on two-year waiting lists for treatments or transplant organs. They just fly to wherever the medical services are available. They don't wait all night to beg a doctor to prescribe an antibiotic for their strep throat, either… they just have a private doctor get out of bed and get them some, or they fly to a country where the pharmacists are actually allowed to practice.

Some of the wealthy even travel to the future for better medical care… of course they may become some robot's pet, but is that worse than the emergency room at Parkland?

The wealthy don't depend on government fiat money or bonds for their savings. They diversify into assets in different countries. Even their accounts are hidden in the Caymans or other havens. Inflation can only affect the small amounts they keep for everyday use; most of their money is in ownership of companies with real assets, or in hedge funds. And of course many have an emergency stock of gold.

Unless victim of temporary hormonal insanity (which of course does happen), the wealthy don't end up in four-year divorce cases. They write their own contracts, pre-nups, specify private arbitration, etc.

The wealthy, obviously, don't depend on Social Security, or unemployment, or the rest of the supposed "safety net." And that makes them a lot safer.

So the wealthy live as anarcho-capitalists, even those dependent on corporate welfare or even holding official positions within a government. They get by without all the "vitally important government services," even those of the central banks, courts, police, and armed forces. Perhaps this is why so many of the wealthy advocate more socialism; they don't live under it.

Don't Envy the Wealthy, Join Them

My point is not that we should all stand around consumed by envy and bloated by cheeseburgers like Michael Moore. It doesn't hurt me if someone else has more money…in fact it helps me a whole lot. It's really hard to sell products or services to poor people, and fundraising from them isn't that productive either.

And while the wealthy live with more private services than we do, they only live in ersatz anarcho-capitalism. They may have private airplanes, but they can still only go as fast as our grandfathers did in 1960 in 707s. They may go to private doctors, but overall medical progress is still held up by the FDA, so they still get cancer. They may have private security against carjackers, but governments still have nuclear weapons, nerve gas, Ebola/flu, and billions of dollars' worth of lethal pro-war propaganda.

However, joining the wealthy is a worthy goal (assuming we do it by producing a good or service and not by rent-seeking). Being wealthy may not guarantee you a life free of government interference, but it does mean that you'll have the resources to make an impact on the world. Web publishing is cheap, but it's hard to get people to listen to you if you're poor… they assume that if you knew what you were doing, you'd be better off. You don't have to spend money to have credibility, you just have to accumulate it.

You may say that "wealth is relative." Not really. If you're a millionaire, some billionaire may have a thousand times your wealth, but you can still afford private schools, private arbitrators, and private medical care. Once you escape dependence on government services, you are "wealthy" in an absolute sense.

Most of us can reach the level of productivity needed to escape most government "services." It just requires that we live the economic lessons that we supposedly learned from all those free-market economics texts on our shelves. That means that we don't become hermits and ignore the division of labor, comparative advantage, and the necessity to live by the sweat of our brows. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Ron: it's time for you to give up lion taming and go back to chartered accountancy!)

Anyway, even the "socialists" nowadays have mastered the practical ways of capitalism and live in a relatively free-market world. It's time more libertarians joined them.

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