Sunday, 3 February 2013

Which type of violence is the state?

As Barack Obama said, a state is a legal monopoly on violence.

Well said. But which type of violence? There are four major types of violence: resource predation, process predation, monkey dance and group monkey dance. So which one is the state?

Let's look at the example of the American federal government.

I think we can safely discard the monkey dance option. At least in theory, a good policeman or soldier is expected to deeply regret that violence is "necessary" as he is applying it. His violent triumphs are not his own, but the state's.

So the people who call themselves "the state" must be something between resource predators (aiming at controling vitim's stuff and otherwise leave the victim free) and process predators (aiming at controlling the victim itself). Let's see where the major executive departments and agencies sit on the spectrum.

Pure resource predators

Department of the Treasury. That's an easy one to classify because they run the IRS. The video below shows that people operating the tax system think about it as a tool for efficient resource extraction from the population.

IRS is the enabler of all the predations of the government.

Department of Veterans Affairs. Takes money from one group of people and gives it to 
another group of people so a clear resource predator.

Department of Agriculture. As above.

Social Security Agency. As above.

Department of Housing and Urban Development. As above, except they take money from one group of people and give houses to another.

Both resource and process predators

Department of Homeland Security. Customs Service, which is a part of this department, is a resource predator like the IRS. Uniformed people telling others where they are allowed to live and how they must travel are process predators.

Department of the Interior. Their function is to manage selected natural resources. Their involvement in managing lives of the Native people seems like process predation.

Intended to be process predators but with a resource side-effect

Agencies in this category have an official mandate to be process predators. However their actions result in cartels which makes them enablers of resource predation.

Federal Reserve. Their objective is to coordinate productive efforts of the population using monopoly money.The wealth transfers they create as side effect makes them the champions of this category.

Department of Commerce. They collects data on people's productive activities to intelligently coerce them to achieve Department's aims. This is so process.

Department of Labor. As above

Department of Health and Human Services. They coerce people into using methods of medical treatment the Department prefers (including limiting access to medicines), which is a process predator thing to do.

Department of Transportation. They coerce people into using methods of transportation the Department prefers. Control of transport routes results in control of movement which is a form of process predation.

Pure process predators

Agencies in this category are not completely pure process predators, because they draw salaries from the federal budget and also they monopolise any useful services may render. They are also openly used as tools by resource predators (for example by enforcing tax laws). But the functions they perform are as close to process predation as it gets.

Department of Justice. They will prosecute you if the instruction say so, regardless if it makes any sense or makes anyone any money.

Department of Education. They do not run schools directly (its state level counterparts do). But the compulsory schooling they represent is a particularly ugly form of process predation because it applies to children.

Department of State. The executioner of foreign policy. Uses all available means to make people who live in designated locations behave in the way which serves other people's objectives.

Department of Defense. An extension of the Department of State so the same logic applies. It applies additional process predation during drafs when it enslaves people into the military. But even during "normal" times it applies a lot or process predation towards its own people. The video below shows what I mean.

Department of Energy. They produce nuclear weaponry so they belong to the same category as Department of Defense.

So overall, the American federal government is a half way house between a resource predator and a process predator.

The largest difference between different states on the planet is location on the resource / process predation scale. The best ones are limited to efficient resouce predation and run reasonably free economies with low taxation. The worse ones, like Pol Pot's Cambodia or North Korea, are more into pure process predation regardless of the economics of it.

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