Chapter 9 On Cooperation, Tribe, City, and State

"'Experience teaches us that this condition--higher productivity achieved under division of labor--is present because its cause--the inborn inequality of men and the inequality in the geographical distribution of the natural factors of production--is real.  Thus we are in a position to comprehend the course of social evolution.'" Hoppe quoting Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

Hoppe acknowledges the foregoing quote from Mises is a rather thick passage that needs some unpacking in order to appreciate its full meaning.  First, inequality of humans and resources is a given, but they are not sufficient to cause human cooperation.  They are necessary (for if everyone had the same talents and resources there would be no need for cooperation), but not sufficient. Cooperation is the result of "purposeful individual actions."  Cooperation is constantly threatened by the "possibility of disintegration."  A necessary precursor to cooperation is the "mutual recognition of private property" as opposed to "agression, depredation and domination," i.e. it is better to trade than to pillage.

Hoppe goes so far as to say that a person lacking in this innate capacity to understand the nature of private property and the benefits of division of labor is not properly a person, "but falls into the same moral category as an animal."

Part II

When this basic understanding is present, then and only then is the possibility of social interaction and human cooperation possible. Hoppe recognizes that man naturally experiences feelings of both attraction and repulsion. Division of labor and free trade allow people to trade with each other through a merchant class without having to live side by side and without having to resolve between themselves conflicts in their manner of living.  He anticipates in such a social order that most people would choose to segregate themselves among those like themselves (of course there would be no requirement they do so) and would interact with those of different ethnicities through the merchant class, most of whom would reside in large cities. 

Hoppe sees the large cities as the areas of most integration and highest forms of civilization, but he doesn't envision that a monopolist government is required to maintain order.  Instead, a network of "jurisdictions, judges, arbitors and enforcement agencies" protecting persons and property will arise. Should a monopolist government arise, it will immediately increase tribal and ethnic tensions since the monopolist must, by necessity, be perceived to be a part of one ethnic group.  The monopolist will seek to increase his support among certain segments of the population by raising the ethnic, racial, tribal consciousness of the people.

Part III

When a monopolist form of government is established (which will likely be the form following from a democratically elected government, see Chapter 2 for a fuller discussion of this process), it will use its monopoly powers to "engage in redistributive policies in favor of its own ethnic or racial constituency."  The result of that policy will be to attract more of those races and ethnicities from other areas and to increase racial tension.  

By conferring benefits on certain classes based upon their race, those classes will grow size, which will lead to the next predictable outcome, which is that "government rulers...will no longer rely exclusively on their ethnic, tribal, or racial appeal and support, but will [increasingly appeal to feelings] "of envy and egalitarianism....The increasing admixture of egalitarian class politics to the preexisting tribal policies...[will lead] to even more--racial and social--tension and hostility...."

The growth of the tension and hostility will cause the merchant class to flee the city, leaving in the end the bureaucrats who work for the city and the beneficiaries of the redistributive policies of the monopolist government.

"When one would think that matters could not possibly become worse, they do. After the race and class card have been played and done their devastating work, the government turns to the sex and gender card, and 'racial justice' and 'social justice' are complemented by 'gender justice.'"  At this point, the monopolist government will force its way into families and seek to monitor and decide all proper roles and activities of family members.  "[I]nvariably the authority of the heads of families and households and the 'natural' intergenerational hierarchy within families is weakened and the value of multi-generational family as the basic unit of human society is diminished."

Accompanying the foregoing decay will be in an increase in legislative law.  Law will not longer be seen as something universal to be uncovered, but as something to be created.  Rising uncertainty about what the changes the law will effect, will increase people's time preference (see Chapter One). The end result will be that cities will become centers of decay as opposed to centers of civilization.

Part IV

Hoppe does not end the Chapter on an optimistic note.  He sees the process of decivilization as quite advanced and people (even those understanding the nature of the decivilizing forces) as largely unwilling to act .  He sees the greatest possibility for change in a positive direction as lying in the countryside.  Finally, he calls for certain ideas to be recognized as necessary to a civil society. Among these are:  "that states do not create law and order, they destroy it. Families and households must be recognized as the source of civilization....[S]egregation, and discrimination [are] ...not bad but good things that facilitate peaceful cooperation [and finally w]elfare must be recognized as a matter exclusively of families and voluntary charity."

 


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