Daily Anarchist Forum

Questions And Challenges => Questions About Anarcho-Capitalism => Topic started by: Rattlesnake on September 20, 2010, 01:39:55 PM

Title: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: Rattlesnake on September 20, 2010, 01:39:55 PM
Alright, maybe I shouldn't be posting in the newbie board, but if there's one thing I can't stand it's an empty bookshelf. So here's a topic I've been considering for awhile. I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear others first.

How would an ancap society deal with a large scale epidemic of a potentially fatal disease? Unlike today, there would be no single national authority (i.e. government, specifically CDC, NIH, etc.) to quarantine entire populations. It would also be difficult to quarantine people on legal grounds such as endangerment, since you would have to prove that the individual is a carrier and poses a risk. Even assuming you could quarantine people, you could not force the infected to accept treatment, or the healthy to accept vaccination. How would you contain the outbreak?

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: Seth King on September 20, 2010, 03:17:24 PM
This is a tough one and it would probably take A LOT of writing to get a complete answer. It's a question I haven't fully answered myself and may ask somebody from the Mises Institute next time I do an interview. But I do have a couple things to say that might fill in a couple of the pieces.

#1 Inoculations: The excuse for forced inoculations is that you're a threat to society if you aren't inoculated. Pardon me if I am wrong, but if I am not inoculated yet YOU ARE, how am I a threat to you? It seems I am only a threat to others who choose not to get inoculated as I chose.

#2 Quarantine: As nice as it might sound to have a government quarantine, I really don't think the same institution that cannot stop people from crossing the border with Mexico, or drugs into prisons is going to effectively maintain a quarantine. You see it all has to do with the approach. For the government, a quarantine prevents people from LEAVING, whereas in the market-place, people would be prevented from TRESPASS. 

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: JustSayNoToStatism on September 20, 2010, 05:01:11 PM
Seth nailed this one. Forgive me for reiterating some of his points, but I'll put my own spin on the subject.

If I go out and about when a deadly disease is going around, I'm risking my own health and those who also took that same risk by going outside and being near people. We voluntarily chose to do it, instead of staying on our own property away from everyone or just isolating ourselves. If you isolate yourself, then my behavior does not affect you, so there's no real reason to waste time coercing others.

Most importantly, the government couldn't stop it. Period. Even though they already control so much of our resources, it wouldn't be enough to absolutely prevent this from spreading. Soldier on every street corner ordered to kill anyone who comes out of their house? I don't think they could do it. Someone would slip through, people would still mingle, and the disease would still spread at least a little. The people who isolated themselves best would fare just as well with or without government, and those who wanted to go outside were coerced out of doing what they thought best for themselves. Government is a huge net negative here (consider all the resources wasted in the act of coercing as well).

Each can look after his or herself better than someone else can look out for all of us...this is always true. It seems obvious stated this way, but centrally-planned disease control won't work for the same reason a centrally planned economy won't work or anything else. There's too much to consider, and even if it could be considered, they wouldn't get it right. Human action under novel circumstances is still human action.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: helio on September 20, 2010, 06:13:03 PM
Like most statist objections, 'How ever will we be able to do X without our almighty Nation to come to the rescue', it is founded on fear, and supremacy.

Without a fearmongering Supreme Savior that cries wolf every time someone in china has a sniffle, and without a journalism cartel supporting the whole, corrupt institution,  people might be more receptive to journalists reporting a potential outbreak.  If we are correct, and the most accurate, trustworthy, journalists with proven track records rise to the top of the media market, then reports of an outbreak would be taken seriously.

People will feel naturally afraid, and opt for strategies to limit their exposure and impact provided by trusted experts who attained their credentials by merit and not state entitlement. Without goons threatening to cage everyone who coughs, people will be more open to self quarantine.  Spontaneous order without aggression.

If Dispute Resolution and Reputation services exist, people who buck the pleas to change behavior will be shunned, their insurance rates raised to compensate for their new risky behavior, and even boycotted.

The answer is simple: people aren't retarded, they'll make the right choice.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: Seth King on September 20, 2010, 07:03:13 PM
Helio makes a good point. If our current government/media complex came out and said there was an outbreak and it required quarantine I would say it's time for hell to break loose. This is because our current media hypes everything up as catastrophes like the Swine Flue, which is total B.S. just in order to line the pockets of MegaCorp.

But if we had honest media and a real outbreak happened, people would be much more inclined to do what was necessary, such as evacuate, quarantine, inoculate, whatever.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: randallstevens on September 21, 2010, 07:30:58 PM
My 2 cents on the topic is that both Helio and Seth are correct. I think that people would try to get immunized against potentially deadly diseases just out of self preservation, so long as they valued the disease resistance more highly than the risks that come with getting it (rare side effects). The markets would take care of the rest. If I want to go shopping at Big Box Store #1 and they require proof of immunization from disease X before I am allowed to enter, then I will either get the immunization or go to Big Box Store #2 that does not require the proof. No need for government.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: Veritas Justitia on November 12, 2010, 08:13:59 PM
I think, not to put it too simply, that people would voluntarily find a solution that would be much more efficient than anything the state could ever pull off. In a natural society, solutions would come about naturally.
First off, considering how much our current state of affairs (sorry for the pun) slows down any type of medical progress, in a truly anarchic society I think it would safe to assume that many and most diseases would be cured or on the road to a cure a lot faster than they currently are.
Second, if an epidemic were to sweep the world, I believe that a medical field un-encumbered by the state's shackles would be able to respond much faster and prevent the spread by probably nipping the epidemic in the bud before it spread to far.
Third, unlike our current "law" system, in a society based on the true law of inalienable property rights, I believe an invisible process would lead to a voluntary quarantine. Since roads would be privatized and we would all own our land without any control by any government, I think it's safe to assume that those who don't wish to be sick would either close off any incoming traffic, or group together and do some kind of screening process to allow migration through their roads. This invisible hand would keep any disease from spreading into an epidemic.
In conclusion, I'd have to say that between the invisible hand of the market, and the medical advances that will only be possible in a more peaceful existence, the idea of an epidemic would surely be a thing of the past. besides, whenever there is an "epidemic' nowadays, nothing happens besides the media being overly dramatic and the government seizing more power. THAT is the true epidemic and the disease that must truly be stopped from spreading, the lies, violence, and other moral evils so often perpetrated in our world by criminals in the "public" and the private sector.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: JustSayNoToStatism on November 12, 2010, 08:32:35 PM
Government as an epidemic. Said like a true anarchist.

Title: Re: How do we deal with epidemics?
Post by: helio on November 15, 2010, 02:33:54 PM
Well said!  A mind virus.