Thursday, 5 April 2012

What happens if we are able to eradicate force?

Quote: If we could remove force in its true sense from the world, we would solve 95% of the world's problems. 
Quote made by Harry Binswanger, a philosopher of Objectivism (the philosophy of Ayn Rand) at a lecture to which I had the privilege of being invited to about ten years ago.
The quote had a very profound impact on me when I understood it in its full context. Imagine for a minute that we could somehow eradicate ALL forms of force. This would include all criminal force, all physical force and all forms of coercion from people, entities and most importantly from Government. 
Now this concept is obviously impossible as we as humans have free will; we are volitional. However, if it could be accomplished somehow, it would leave the people to deal with one another by only one method - voluntary association.
The impact of this would be immense. It would immediately stop all violence (except sport), all fraud, theft and criminal activity in general. That in itself would be a true miracle. What a better place the world would be. 
Now for the very sensitive and debatable topic… Government and its role in economic and social life. The Government systems vary around the world from Democratic to Socialist. Typically as evidence indicates, the more social or communist a Government, the more force they use to control the country and the more capitalist the more free that country is. I just listened to a very real and powerful story from my fianc√© about her life in Ukraine when she was a child. The Government had just broken away from Soviet Russia and was going through its initial transition to a new state. At that time, the country was still very much a socialist country and its future was very uncertain. Elena told me that as a child she would wake up at 5am every morning before school and stand in a very long line at the bakery with a special card from the Government to collect her family's weekly allotment of bread. In order to receive this bread her parents had to work all day every day FOR FREE. There was no pay. AT ALL. The Government had no money and therefore could not afford to pay the people. Instead, they FORCED the people to work their farms and factories to provide for everyone. Elena also told me that the people in the village would steal milk from the Government factory because they were not provided enough on a monthly basis for their family. Anyone caught stealing would be banned from working and would not receive the special cards to get the very necessary food they required for their family. Eventually the milk factory closed down and the country went into temporary bankruptcy until they began to function more like the western world.
A stark contrast from the very privileged life we live here. Because of a somewhat free economy, we enjoy the fruits of our labor and have the freedom to excel in virtually any area we choose. However, can we go further? The original comment came from the philosophical question of removing force. Can we do more to create a country whereby we only deal with one another voluntarily and does this mean smaller Government and a Laissez faire (hands off) Government, where the Government's role becomes the servant of the people as opposed to the dictator and we create a system based on individual rights?
A very thought provoking question and a very sensitive one. I am interested in knowing your thoughts on this in the context of business and even in our social affairs. Can we help to eradicate force by changing our Governments

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