The benefits of Voluntarism are just too numerous to fit into a top ten list! Too many times those who want more liberty are focused on the negative (i.e. “The govt shouldn’t be doing X,” “The govt is making our lives worse”). And also saying that the govt shouldn’t be involved leaves open the question of what will fill the gaps, leaving people to speculate about evil boogeymen running sweatshops, gangs running roughshod, roads falling into disrepair, and tenements filled with uneducated, untreated sick people with no savior. This list is meant to simultaneously asuade people’s fears over the state leaving affairs alone, and to provide a vision of what could exist without the interference.
#13 – Due Process Would Actually Have Meaning
Without a monopoly on justice, there would be no protected classes in the dispute resolution/justice systems. If there were evidence that a party in a case had some influence or relationship to the judge, it would be ripe for another judge to overturn the result. So even if a judge was being paid off by a dirty litigant, there would be an incentive to be as impartial as possible, lest the decision be overturned by a fair court on appeal.
There would be market pressures to ensure that even the most banal procedural requirements of a court were the best practices in the field, to save the litigants money and to improve the reputation of the court. The distribution of fees would evolve toward the most equitable levels for plaintiffs and defendants depending on the validity of the claims presented.
Criminal law, to the extent it it would exist, would focus on restitution and the safety of society – including those who frequent the specific court issuing the judgment and those who seek judicial services elsewhere. To seek more punishment from a defendant than is necessary would open the court up to claims of cruel and unusual punishment of the convicts.
Because competing courts would need to reach decisions that every other court can find tolerable, each market actor would have it in their best interest to disclose their practices and values. This means…
#12 – You Would Know Who You Are Dealing With
To serve customers, someone offering a product or service must meet their demands. They must live and die on their reputation among potential customers. They can’t hide behind laws that require them to treat trade partners equally and stew about them behind their back. They can’t hide behind licensing laws that protect them even though they barely passed the qualifications and don’t really keep up with best practices.
Services like Angieslist and Consumer Reports would compete to provide the best information about providers, employers, and traders in the market. People that don’t meet your standards, professionally or socially, would suffer economically until they learned their lesson.
If you don’t like the owner of a company, or how they act…
#11 – You Could Start a Business to Compete With the Poorly Run Corporations
If you think you can run a business better than some particular mega-corporation, there would be nothing to stop you from competing against them to provide a more desirable product. There might still be a place for massive chain stores, but mom-and-pop small businesses and artisans would find the lack of meaningless and restrictive regulations a great benefit, and to get your business they would have to pass inspection from your chosen rating service, mentioned above.
The policies of your business are yours to choose, win or lose. Which is how…
#10 – Guns Would be Restricted in a Smart Way
You get to set the rules on your property, and business owners get the same leeway. If you want to frequent a bar, library, church, or a friend’s home that allows or disallows guns – that’s your decision. I, personally, don’t trust “Gun Free Zone” signs to keep bad actors with guns from bringing them in. So if there’s not a bouncer or some other means to ensure that everyone else is disarmed and safe, I’m hesitant to give up my right to meaningful defense.
You may have faith in the power of these signs, or faith in anything else, so…
#9 – Religious People (and non-religious people, too!) Would be Free to Live According to Their Norms
You get to decide, based on whatever information you have available and trust, how to organize your life. If you believe that there’s some eternal consequences to wearing clothes of mixed materials, you are free to wear 100% cotton. You also must be prepared to bear the material costs of these choices, like all choices for all people. If you decide that’s it’s a sin to fly on a fixed-wing aircraft, you have to bear the cost of renting a helicopter or balloon to fly.
And if you run an organization (either a church or business) where you have employees, you should be free to provide or refuse to provide health insurance or other benefits as part of the compensation for employment that is in accord with your religion.
Because this choice of what benefits could be provided by employers is made voluntarily …
#8 – You Would Have Access to Affordable Healthcare
Insurance plays an important market function, but it is no more a necessity for health than is a warranty on your new stereo. It spreads the cost of a potential disaster across many people and over time, taking a premium for the comfort it gives it’s purchaser. If you are living on a shoe-string, you may want to protect against large, unexpected costs. If you have personal savings or are okay going into debt to pay necessary bills, you may choose to go without.
Insurance plans would not be mandatory, but they would compete for your business. They would offer more competitive rates, and would pride themselves on being able to negotiate for the best care from doctors.
With this added choice in insurers, and a more direct relationship with healthcare providers, the consumer would more directly influence the production of technology that meets their needs: cheap tests and treatment for ailments, and more personal relationships with doctors that can holistically treat underlying problems, rather than symptoms.
This dramatic change in the nature of your relationship with healthcare providers would also take place with other professionals that would rely on reputation more than licensing. Which brings us to…
#7 – You Would Have an Education That Caters to Your Life’s Goals and Society’s Needs
While some people may go through their whole life without seeing the inside of what we today call a “classroom,” people would be given the incentive to develop relationships with people that can help them reach their life’s goals.
Being able to read, do math, and write would undoubtably be learned by anyone wishing to do commerce or to socialize on the internet. Beyond these basic lessons, people will learn what they need for their life via new, cheap, market-tested means. There are already freely available college courses in every curricula available online to meet this need.
Further, you would be more free to take an apprenticeship in an industry that anticipated the need for skilled labor. This helps to ensure that…
#6 – Jobs Would be Avilaible and Well Paying
Labor, either skilled or unskilled, is part of the production process that thrives when compensated handsomely. Employers seek to compensate laborers as best that they can to secure the best talent for the position, and would be free to innovate in workplace safety, compensation, and hiring practices.
Today’s goal of “more jobs” is misguided, as who really wants to work endless hours to live? The real goal is for people to be able to make a living with as little work as possible – and this is precisely what the numerous laws on wage labor inhibit. They excuse bad behavior by employers and prop up large, impersonal, employers who treat their employees without empathy for the human condition.
By being allowed to experiment with the production structure of a business without worry, employers would find the most efficient way to make the consumer happiest – leaving the best life for the most people. Part of this efficiency process would ensure that…
#5 – Human Innovation Flourishes
The technological innovations of the last century pale in comparision to the exponential growth that will occur in the future. The discovery of new and better ways to meet human goals will evolve in a safe and distirbuted manner without government involvement.
Specific markets will be able to offer incentives to producers to overcome a lack of patent systems. An innovative health insurer can agree to only cover the treatement produced by a sponsored inventor. An online retailer can agree to only sell authorized copies of an author’s book. Convenience stores can agree to only sell officially distributed Coca-cola, and can advertise their loaylty. There should be no fear over the compensation of those who develop new things, as there are many ways to ensure that innovation pays beyond the personal satisfaction of innovating.
But that might be enough satisfaction for some inventors or producers. Who wouldn’t want to be the guy remembered in history as the one who developed the means for curing cancer, for making real healthy food available to the world at half the production cost as currently exists, or for bringing the cost of space travel within the reach of the middle-class?
As a result of these innovations…
#4 – The Environment Would be Healed
With interest rates being set by market forces and with private property being the rule, people would have the incentive to make the most of their land, not just for the short term, but for the long term. In other words, production would evolve to be naturally sustainable.
And with the gains in efficiency made possible by the great inevitable innovations, there would be much less demand to draw resources from the land in an unsustainable manner. You could get more from less. Not only will we get more energy from less coal, sunlight, or fissionable material, but less enegry would be required to satisfy our immediate needs.
The decision to drill for oil, to strip-mine a mountain, or to clear-cut a forest would be made only by the private landowner, who would rationally wish not to do these things if less intesive and less costly options were needed or if less materials were demanded to produce consumer items.
And many industries can turn to the scientiffically proven crop of hemp to produce paper, plastics, ethanols, and oils. These are just the industrial uses of the fact that…
#3 – Cannabis Would be a Smart, Safe Alternative
Industrial, Medicinal, and Recreational endeavors would be much more efficient, healthier, and safer for the user and those around them if cannabis were used for hemp, a medicine, or a recreational drug. Certainly the plant is not a cure-all, but, well, it’s a cure-all. As outlined above, it will replace may industrial crops to better the environment, but current research also shows it’s effectiveness as a replacement for cabinet-fulls of industrial pharmaceuticals, and that recreational users are much better off than recreational drinkers.
The freedom to cultivate, sell, and use cannabis in whatever ways you like, even though others may disapprove, would also extend to any plant, chemical, substance, device, tool, or machine. The only limits are those things that harm or threaten the person or property (not the sensabilities) of others.
With the freedom to grow crops according to the needs of consumers and without artificial subsidy, the agricultural market provides that…
#2 – Food Would be Cheap, Healthy, and Nutritious
Leafy greens, healthy oils, sustainable meats, and all other healthy foods would be able to compete in price with those foods that are too common today, and would be able to reach more people. In general, more people would be able to live healthier with less of their resources going to getting a daily meal.
Aside from clean water, which would also be more available, food is the most important part in a person’s ability to live freely, to stay healthy, and to develop culture surrounding their local produce. The freeing of the food market would allow a great uptick in the personalization of foods, the availablility of ingredients, and the ability for people to make their own diet choices, even on fixed incomes.
And with food choices being set free, the last reason to be a Voluntarist is clear:
#1 – You.
You are stifled in life by all sorts of things that are determined by others. Usually the worst parts of your day are dealing with rules, structures, fines, and opinions that are forced on you without choice. You know how to best govern your checkbook, your social life, your diet, your beliefs, and every other choice that you make.
Certainly you can turn to others for help, and you can cooperate with others to achieve goals that are unattainable on your own. But just like you don’t want to be forced to pay for a war, a faith-based program, a science program, a lottery system, unjust laws, unreasonable land conservation schemes, or anything else, you shouldn’t want to force others to support your projects.
You make your future, by allocating your resources to your goals. You can choose to not spend as much on food this month so that you can start your own art boutique. You can choose to eat into your savings account to buy a new ORV. You can choose to get together with a group devoted to eradicating racism. You can choose to abstain from supporting a local carnival. Whatever you want to do, you can try. Unless it encroaches on other people’s life, liberty, or property, I’m not going to stop you.