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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 9, Issue 10: March 5, 2007

  1. New Book Examines Anarchy and the Law
  2. Containing Iraq’s Civil War Is Not the Answer, Eland argues
  3. Colombia and Venezuela: Lands of Contrast
  4. Young Professors: Win up to $10,000

1) New Book Examines Anarchy and the Law

Could society function without a state to provide courts and police? Is it possible for private institutions to be the sole providers of law and order, justice and security? If so, would they be subject to the same competitive forces that are indicative of a free-market, private-property economy? How can the delivery of law and order be improved upon by incorporating into them the responsiveness of market processes and customer-service orientation of market-based institutions? The questions are intriguing, and because they touch upon many disciplines—law, philosophy, economics, history, and more—there seems to be no end to the intense debate they have sparked.

Another reason for the controversy is that the classic texts on non-state legal systems are scattered across several books and hard-to-find journals, making it difficult to study this provocative idea in much scholarly detail. Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice, edited by Edward P. Stringham, co-published by the Independent Institute and Transaction Publishers, remedies this deficiency by assembling many of the major studies that explain and debate the theory and practice of law and order under a rule of law without the State.

Part 1 shows how influential advocates of non-state legal systems, from the 1970s to the 1990s, have argued their case. In part 2, philosophers and economists debate the morality and viability of non-state legal systems. Part 3 looks at the history of anti-statist legal and political thought and includes classic writings from the 19th century. Part 4 presents historical case studies from medieval England, Ireland, and Iceland; the Law Merchant; and dispute resolution during the settlement of the American West and elsewhere.

Praise for Anarchy and the Law:

“Finally, a fit rejoinder to people who begin sentences with 'There ought to be a law...’”
—P. J. O'Rourke, author, Parliament of Whores and On the Wealth of Nations

“With meticulous scholarship, Edward Stringham offers a splendid collection. Anarchy and the Law is a skillful blend of the philosophy, political theory, history, and economics which constitute the framework of one of the least understood political traditions. The book is quite simply a tour-de-force.”
—Wendy McElroy, editor, Liberty for Women

Anarchy and the Law is an essential book on the theory and history of ‘non-state’ legal systems in which law enforcement is privatized, including essays by both proponents and skeptics.”
—Lawrence H. White, Friedrich A. Hayek Professor of Economic History, University of Missouri, St. Louis

Purchasing information on Anarchy and the Law

Summary of Anarchy and the Law

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2) Containing Iraq’s Civil War Is Not the Answer, Eland argues

Many opponents of the Bush administration’s plan for a troop surge in Iraq propose this alternative: withdraw U.S. forces to Iraq’s sidelines and use them mainly to prevent the sectarian violence from spreading throughout the Middle East. Although this idea recognizes realities that the Bush administration seems reluctant to admit, it too is seriously flawed, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty.

In his latest op-ed, Eland argues that the U.S. economy could cope reasonably well with oil supply disruptions, if it came to that. In addition, if Iraq were to become a haven for al Qaeda, the U.S. needn’t worry much because the Sunni-oriented terrorist group would have its hands full fighting the country’s Shiite majority. Israel is well armed with 200 to 400 nuclear weapons, so its security doesn’t depend to a U.S. presence in the region.

“The best bet is to use an impending complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq to pressure Iraqi groups to negotiate a decentralized form of governance: either a loose confederation in which the factions govern their own areas autonomously, or an outright partition,” writes Eland. “At this late date, however, the Iraqi factions may be too splintered to reach or to honor such a settlement, even if negotiated. It’s still worth the attempt. But whether it is successful or not, U.S. forces should be withdrawn before the tidal wave of a full–blown civil war hits.”

“Containing Iraq’s Civil War Is Not the Answer,” by Ivan Eland (3/5/07) Spanish Translation

The Emperor Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, Director)

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3) Colombia and Venezuela: Lands of Contrast

A political storm has hit Colombia—one that implicates members of President Alvaro Uribe’s regime in the illegal operations of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia—a.k.a. the AUC—a right-wing paramilitary group formed to combat the left-wing narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Consequently, many commentators have heaped mounds of criticism on President Uribe, but they are neglecting to see the essential truth of the “para-politics” scandal—namely, “that it was Uribe’s success in pushing back the FARC and demobilizing the AUC that allowed the information about the latter’s links with prominent politicians to come out,” writes Alvaro Vargas Llosa in his latest op-ed.

The cathartic process the country is experiencing now could never have been possible under General Videla (Argentina), General Pinochet (Chile) or Alberto Fujimori (Peru), to mention three autocrats who used the presence of Marxist terrorism as an excuse to remain in power,” he continues. “We don’t yet know whether Colombia’s establishment will learn the lesson. But so far the judicial system has taken bold steps without political interference. And that’s not a bad thing.”

Meanwhile, in neighboring Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has made it clear that he will be making it less possible for scandals involving his regime to come to light, according to Independent Institute Adjunct Fellow Carlos Sabino.

“There will be no renewal of broadcast licenses for one of the opposition’s private TV channels to remain on the air; the principal electric and telecommunications companies will be nationalized; and the state sector as a whole will grow until Venezuela's private businesses have been reduced to a marginal position,” writes Sabino in a recent op-ed.

“Through an ‘enabling law’ passed by the Congress he controls, the President has obtained the power to legislate. Soon the Constitution will be reformed, with the unrestricted support of Parliament, to include unlimited reelections of the President, and Presidential power to change the nation's political-territorial structure. The latter will cause the independence of city and state governments to be lost completely to the central power. Also expected to be approved is an education law that’s raising much concern because it would impose harsh state control over private schools.”

“Colombia’s ‘Para-Politics,’” by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (2/28/07) Spanish Translation

“Venezuela’s Uncertain Future,” by Carlos Sabino (2/8/07) Spanish Translation

Liberty for Latin America, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Director)

El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute

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4) Young Professors: Win up to $10,000

Although the Olive W. Garvey Fellowship Competition is well known for its college student essay contest—which awards $2,500 for the 1st Prize essay—the competition also has a faculty division. Untenured college professors no older than 35 years of age can win $10,000 for their 1st Prize essay!

This year’s topic is foreign aid.

“Is foreign aid the solution to global poverty?”

A 2005 United Nations report called for a doubling of foreign aid to poor countries as the means to reduce poverty. Yet the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a for-profit microloan bank and its founder, an apparent vindication of the ideas of Peter T. Bauer, Henry Hazlitt, Deepak Lal, and others. As Bauer wrote, “Development aid, far from being necessary to rescue poor societies from a vicious circle of poverty, is far more likely to keep them in that state.…Emergence from poverty requires effort, firmly established property rights, and productive investment.

The deadline for essay submissions is May 1, 2007.

More details on the Olive W. Garvey Fellowship Competition

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