It’s recently been reported that the Boy Scouts of America is filing bankruptcy.
Now, I don’t know many details about the Scouts; I was never in the Scouts as a kid, and I don’t have kids of my own, so I haven’t participated as an adult, either.
My point is, I’m not posting this news item in order to comment or opine about the policies the Scouts have recently adopted that precipitated their approximately 50% drop in membership, and subsequent bankruptcy.
Instead, I’d like to use this unfortunate event to point out the beauty (and civility) of the free market.
When a [insert organization, institution, association, etc. of choice here] fails to serve those that it was originally established to serve, or begins making policy decisions or conducting itself in such a way that angers or alienates its members or patrons, and people have the choice as to whether or not to support, participate, patronize, and thus pay for it—then said organization/institution/association, if it doesn’t correct course, faces bankruptcy and ultimately dissolution.
All we anarchists (or, as I prefer, autarchists) want is for ALL organizations/institutions/associations, across the whole of society, to be thusly subject to free market forces, i.e., ALL patronization of them to be non-coerced and voluntary.
That way, whenever such organizations/institutions/associations stop serving their patrons, or begin adopting policy decisions or taking actions that angers or alienates its patrons, then their patrons can stop supporting the organization, and it’ll be faced with either correcting course, or going out of business, or being replaced by a competing organization. Organizations generally fail because of human nature: individuals naturally act in ways that benefit themselves.
And the only check on human nature is free market forces: namely, financial incentive (profit/loss) and social pressure (accountability/competition).
And individuals in groups will do the same, act in ways that benefit the group (organization/institution/association), and thus also benefit themselves, and the patrons that support the institution slowly become relegated, and over time begin to cease their support, and elect to seek those products/services elsewhere.
Thus the slow, spiraling death of any institution which loses its way, and is subject to free market forces—regardless of the level of its success in the past.
On the other hand, when an institution is established which is NOT exposed to market forces—i.e., has the option of using force or violence to achieve its ends—and is thus NOT held accountable, NOT subject to competition, NOT held to equal standards under the law, and its patrons have NO option but to continue supporting it, even at the cost of their own demise—well, we see all around us the catastrophic results of the establishment of such institutions. Instead of going bankrupt, they bankrupt entire nations.
With anarchism (autarchism), such violent, insulated institutions would not, could not, exist; and if that were the case, just imagine the amount of force, coercion, conflict, and violence that would simply vanish from society as a result.
This is why anarchism (autarchism) is such a simple and beautiful concept…and yet, so few seem to understand it.