MAKING INFRINGERS PAY - LITERALLY
By seizing their property
Once a person has infringed the Master Contract, this person’s rights are revoked (except for the condition 2a) and becomes indebted to the owner of the infringed property. This means that this person has no rights to their own property to the extent of their debt. As such, the owner of the debt could just walk into the debtor’s place and take property until the debt is settled. This is most certainly allowed by the Master Contract.
However, it is not the preferred way because it is aggressive towards the other person. In the process of seizing their property you may damage other property whose value is above the debt. Or you may damage their body (in a fight), which is still their property. Or you may take too much property from them.
If this happens, then you are indebted to this person and now your rights under the Master Contract are rescinded.
For example, let’s say that somebody destroys my car in a traffic accident. And let’s also suppose this person has a second car. I can take this second card as debt settlement; but what happens if the second car of this person has a higher value than my car? Now I have a problem because I am entitled to his money but only to the extent it pays his debt. However, if I take more money than what I am entitled, then I am in breach of the Master Contract myself, and I become indebted to this person. Then, this person will be entitled to seize my property. In other words, it would not be the most brilliant idea to just seize his car because there is going to be an issue with valuation.
This person will argue that his car was more valuable than my car and I will say that it isn’t so. This means that we will have to reach an agreement amongst ourselves or, more likely, get it mediated (which adds another expense). Your objective is to recover your property as best as possible, not to get tangled into more problems.
So, how would you proceed? You could go to a mediator to get the debtor’s property valued in advance of the seizing, to make sure you are not seizing too much. This is insurance if the other person brings a mediation claim against you for excessive seizing. You may then seize the property yourself with utmost caution or pass the task to a company.
Is this farfetched? Not at all. Today there are many companies offering “Debt Recovery” services. The same principle applies under an Absolute Austro-Libertarian way. Nothing unusual here.
Another way of settle with the infringer is by voluntary contract. Although the infringer lacks most rights under the Master Contract, this does not prevent you from reaching an agreement (or contract).
Typically both parties would sit down and determine the extent of the damage, calculate the reparations and agreed to means and timelines for payment.
The advantage of this process is that it is agreeable to both parties. In addition, the debtor has the incentive to fulfill the contract because the debtor understands that you could just get the property seized and he knows it.
Again, this works in both of our favour because we can settle our debt in a peaceful an equitable way.
The infringed person can negotiate the settlement and its terms and conditions anyway it so desires. There is no limit as to what can be negotiated. For example:
- I want my money back, all of it.
- I am happy with 80% of my money over 4 months.
- I don’t want my money back, but in return I want to use your apartment close to the beach for the next 5 years.
- You can’t pay me because you are broke, but I’ll accept you keep my garden in top shape for the next 3 years.
- You can’t pay me, but you when you get a job you will repay the full debt plus 10%.
The terms and conditions of what’s negotiable are only limited by the imagination of the parties.
By extracting value from their labour
This is the most difficult option.
In the Master Contract, it is clearly stated that if you infringe it, you are responsible for the infringement to the full extent of your property. The issue we are discussing here is that property also includes your body, to which you are forfeiting all your rights under the Master Contract except the right not to be enslaved.
But what happens if you don’t have any property other than your body and you or your creditor is unwilling to agree to any terms? Then, your creditor is entitled to the use of your body until it generates sufficient profits or properties until the debt is paid. This would seem a little bit harsh, and it may be; but that’s precisely the biggest incentive a debtor has to sign a contract and come to and understanding.
In principle, this would seem strange because it would seem it leads to slavery or something similar to it, but that’s not the case.
This does not constitute slavery. A creditor cannot sell the debtor or do anything to harm the debtor’s body. The reason is because the debtor is not the creditor’s slave and therefore the creditor does not own the debtor’s body. That would constitute a creditor’s breach of the Master Contract because he does not have a voluntary agreement to harm the debtor’s body. Remember that the debtor may not be under the Master Contract but the creditor still is, therefore being forbidden from enslaving.
Furthermore, the creditor must take care of the debtor’s body, because if by action or inaction the creditor harms the debtor’s body, the creditor becomes indebted to the debtor. Therefore, the creditor has a large incentive to take good care of the debtor’s body.
The creditor is entitled to extract the full amount of the debt from the debtor’s work, but it is not entitled to the debtor’s body.
Furthermore, the creditor wants to get the debts settled as soon as possible. This is another incentive to make sure the debtor makes as much money as soon as possible. The debtor must be in the best of physical and mental conditions to do so.
In addition, the creditor may wish to provide the debtor with the tools to earn value. These tools may not have to be restricted to menial jobs, such as laundry or licence plate manufacturing. The creditor’s incentive is to provide as highly paying tasks as possible to the debtor. Even better, there is no limit to which jobs can a debtor perform and in which conditions. There are no arbitrary limits or terms. Debtor and creditors are free to negotiate freely.
And so some debtors may choose to work in a standard office and live in their houses under minimal supervision. Others may choose to cook for the facility where they live. Some may choose to work with computers and some may choose to repair cars. Imagination is the limit.
This has another beneficial side effect. The debtor is learning a useful skill that may serve him well once the debt is settled.
The debtor is well motivated to earn money to pay the debt. Because there are no arbitrary determinations equivalent to “jail time” or “good behaviour”, the debtor is fully in control of the time it spends in this condition. The debtor knows exactly how much value needs to generate. The debtor can free himself from this condition by earning more value. It is entirely to the debtor. Generate value will make the debtor free.
This process may seem similar to the old concept of the Debtor’s Jail, but the old concept is obsolete, In the old system if you were in debt you would be thrown in some sort of jail where you would have to pay for your accommodation until your debt was settled. If you could not pay, you would be enslaved. This is not the case here. The objective is to get you out of your situation as soon as possible.
On the logistical side, the most likely solution the market will offer will be companies that specialize in holding up or monitoring people until they pay their debts. But these companies will also want to get paid for these services and will most likely charge the debtors. These companies will have the same incentives and restrictions as the creditor. This is, to get the debtor to make as much money as soon as possible to get the debt settled.
We must also address a specific scenario. What would prevent a company from trying to exploit debtors through continuous increases in their debts? For example, a company wishes to keep debtors for as long as possible because they are profitable for them. In order to do so, they increase their expenses to the point where the debtor’s debt increases instead of decreasing. This would, in theory, keep the debtor working in the company forever. And let’s assume the very worst case scenario. Let’s assume that the company has a business that requires a large number of unskilled workers with low pay. They restrict the workers to that job only and do not provide any other incentive or means to earn more. What would prevent this scenario?
Simple, the creditor. In this scenario the creditor will receive very little compensation over long periods of time. Would you be satisfied if you have to wait many years to get your value back? Very unlikely. So creditors will be very dissatisfied with this option and would not choose it.
But let’s get even more extreme. Let’s say that the company purchases the debt from the creditor in full and in cash. Now the debtor is fully indebted to the company and only to the company. What would prevent this scenario?
The debtors themselves. Think about it. If you are a debtor who works in menial tasks every day and everyday your debt increases, you realize that you could just stop working with the same effect. For you, that is. For the company, they still have to take care of your body. This means that if you refuse to work, you are a pure expense for the company and they won’t be able to afford you. Therefore they will cancel your debt and lose their investment, which is not good business.
Therefore, in reality they have no choice but to play by market rules. They either provide and encourage debtors to work hard and pay their debts as soon as possible or they go broke.
But what would prevent all debtors to refuse to work for any company? Simple, the company has an operative budget that enables them to provide basic care a person needs, and nothing more. If a debtor refuses to work, they will still be housed properly and cared for, but at the most minimal level. Furthermore, this state of affairs can last a very long time because the debtor knows its debt is only increasing. In other words, the debtor is kept without hope of ever getting out of this situation. Just ask anybody in any prison anywhere in the world if they would prefer to work hard to get out as soon as possible or rot in jail without hope of ever getting out. This is, of course, a rhetorical question. Any inmate will tell you that they will do anything to get out as soon as possible. And that’s the biggest incentive there is. To regain freedom by our own means.
As we have shown before, there is no such thing as a “crime”, but we thought that calling this section Personal Infringements would be misleading. So we made use of a poetic license.
What happens if a person maims or kills somebody? Rapes? Strangles? Beats? Or any other act against our body, without having a voluntary contract?
Then that person has committed an infringement of the Master Contract. They have interacted with somebody’s property (our bodies) without having a voluntary contract. Hence, they have forfeited their rights under the Master Contract and are liable with all their properties for the full amount of the debt.
Sounds strange? It is not.
The process is exactly the same as with any other property. The infringement is calculated and the total is due.
What? How dare we? All life is sacred? We are all worth the same?
Well… actually no. Under most labour laws in most “civilized” countries lives of workers are not the same. They are tabulated based on statistics that consider age, occupation, life expectancy, family to support and many other factors. It is guaranteed that almost all lives of dead workers are not worth the same. This may come as a surprise to you but in reality it is nothing but routine.
If this is routine in today’s world, there is no reason whatsoever, none at all, it cannot be implemented for all people in an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system.
However, there is a catch. In our system we not only estimate and tabulate what life and body parts may be valued at, but also how much profit is lost by other people because of this damage. In other words, we also add losses to supermarkets and movie theatres, doctors and mechanics, schools and farms, window repairs and painters, shoe manufacturers and electronic stores, psychological damage and drop in productivity. We sum the entire economic loss that was produced by this damage. By the time we are done, the numbers are quite large.
Because of these large numbers there are huge incentives not to commit personal crimes in an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system. Even for the most trivial of them, the financial repercussions can be severe.
Beyond that, there really are no differences between a Personal Crime and any other infraction to the Master Contract. In the end, a property is a property, is a property. If you damage it, you are liable for all the repairs.
Simple, clear, neat.
IN-JUSTICE SYSTEM IN DEMOCRACY
Now that you have some idea as to how Justice works in the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system, we can go back and critique the current options. We mentioned:
- An eye for an eye (vengeance)
- Punishment (vengeance)
- Rehabilitation (prevention)
An eye for an eye
As we can deduct from above, under Master Contract rules we cannot inflict physical damage to a debtor, just because it is indebted to us. However, we can destroy his property up to the value of the debt. Since that property is now our property (for example because we seized it) we have absolute rights over it. We are free to destroy it. Of course, it would be incredibly stupid to do so because we are destroying our property and only gain vengeance while at the same time having lost twice the original value. But, it is theoretically possible.
The concept of an eye for an eye does not provide any sort of retribution beyond the satisfaction of a vengeance. It does not prevent further infringements and has no incentive value other than pushing the infringers to do anything not to be caught. It is a stupid idea, it does not work and do not restore the damage that was done.
This notion is about the same as an eye for an eye, except by the replacement of physical retribution with jail time. It has no deterrent value, no positive incentive value and therefore it does not work. It does not repair the damage that was done and it further injuries the victims by forcing them to pay through taxes for jailing facilities and services to punish the assailant.
This notion is about the same as Punishment, with the distinction that now assailant’s brains are supposed to be somehow re-wired so that they won’t harm society, “society” being understood as politicians understand it. It has no deterrent value, no positive incentive value and it does not work. It is just another mask on top of the old Punishment philosophy. However, for the victims, it is even more aggravating, since they are now not only paying for jailing facilities and services but also for rehabilitation ones. Talking about adding insult to injury…
Settlements are usually only applicable to “civil” cases. This process is somewhat similar to the notion of “reparations” that the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system believes in. The problem is that they are too convoluted. It is true that if today you want to settle with somebody, you can do it by yourself, hire a mediator or go to a small claims court. However, for anything larger than that, you will need a lawyer… which gets very expensive very rapidly.
In the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system, there are no idiotic procedural rules and no limitations to what you can or cannot do. Furthermore, you can reach a settlement even for so called “criminal” cases, since from our point of view they are all property damage.
The Absolute Austro-Libertarian system is a much more efficient system because allows the person who is in debt to create wealth for his own sake and at the same time for the owner of the debt.
Meaning that this person actually becomes part of the economic activity in general and helps elevate the standard of living for the entire group of people at no cost to them.
In other words, in our system we do the utmost to get things the way they were, we help people through increased economic activity and there is no cost to us. In addition, the entire system is based on self-interest, which is the most powerful incentive there is.
So, yes! Our system is much, much better.
In so doing, justice will be served. Up to you now.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.