This lesson will focus on issues dealing with damaging other people’s bodies specifically with the most serious one: death. However, in order to be able to arrive at meaningful conclusions, we need to determine what is the value of a life in an Austro-Libertarian system.
As Libertarians we promised that we won’t lie to you and we are honoring this promise. Be aware that the contents of this article will probably go against all that you have been taught and your religious beliefs. We do so because we are trying to establish a common ground that everybody can abide by. If you wish to elevate yourself above this ground level, there is nothing stopping you from doing so, as long as you are not forcing other people to do the same.
The concept that every life has equal value is a total, complete and utter fraud.
Politicians enjoy speaking about this subject because it sounds good and it makes us feel well and decent, but the reality is that every life has a different value; and that value can be calculated.
It can be calculated because it is done every day. This again, may come as a surprise to you.
If you take a look at pretty much any labor legislation in any first, second or third world nation you will see that penalties or restitutions for workers that were injured or died, is calculated all the time. Employers do pay. It’s nothing more than the cost of doing business.
Therefore, calculating how much is a live worth or a finger or a fingernail or half a leg it’s being done every day. Its routine. In fact it’s so routine that is banal.
So the concept that everybody’s life is worth the same it’s not only bogus but it is insane. Typically, this value it is calculated considering the age of the person, profession, average salary, average life expectancy and maybe a few other minor variations. The Absolute Austro-Libertarian system actually goes a step further. The calculation of how much financial damage has been done in case of death, is performed somewhat differently because it incorporates all of the economic activities of the deceased person.
This incorporates all the profits that this person could have generated just by living and being a consumer. It is possible to calculate how much profit would this person generated for him or herself through investing. In addition, we must account for lost profits to different companies such as groceries or shoe or cloth retailers or any other type of store where we buy necessities. This would also include leisure and any other economic activities, which are not necessarily vital.
We must also factor in the psychological damage to the deceased’s relatives. People may have problems adjusting. Maybe they won’t be able to perform their job properly and their income will decrease. Maybe they will be in need of psychological treatment and medications. Then, there are also other considerations such as burial expenses and home tasks that the deceased used to perform, lost business opportunities and other plans that will never come to fruition. The whole of the economic activity that this person would have done had it lived must be taken into consideration. That’s how somebody’s life value is truly calculated.
It is certainly impossible to know the exact wealth a person could have generated had it lived. However, it is possible to calculate the statistical average of most economic activities and their profits. In addition, we can certainly estimate the wealth potential of business opportunities or investment strategies over the remaining of the deceased lifetime. The Absolute Austro Libertarian system does account for individuality.
This grand total it’s what’s imposed to the person responsible for the death. In this respect, death is just like any other property that was destroyed, for which the culprit must pay its full value.
We must also consider that the younger the life, the more potential it had. Therefore, the higher the price it will have to be paid in the event of such a death. If we continue with this logic, it is clear that the most expensive death is the death of a child. Which only makes sense, since the higher the price of a life, the more protection it affords to the person in terms of discouraging a potential killer or careless employer. Most people will agree that a child’s live should afford a greater protection, and our system comes to this very same conclusion without the need of further laws or regulations.
It is also to be noted that from an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system it is irrelevant if the death occurred due to a straight kill, unintended death or an industrial accident with only one exception: self-defense. The consequences are the same. Because of this, employers will have very good incentives to safeguard the lives of their employees and most people will be very careful not to cause a death.
It is also reasonable to expect that employers will be insured and they will request that employees sign waivers relating to their health and/or potential death. This would free employers from any responsibility. However, any such employer will have a very difficult time finding employees and will probably go broke in a rapid manner. This is yet another reflection of how a free market is a balanced mechanism, which achieves the same or better goals than regulation, but without the overhead of a government.
Another side effect of this type of calculation is that employers will be able to moderate by contract the amount of restitution due in the event of an accident or death. Again, this only makes sense since it is risk-related. The chances of somebody dying in a convenience store is much lower than that of a high-rise worker.
Lastly, it is to be noted that in the event of a straight killing, there is no previous voluntary contract that may limit the liability of the assailant. This is also fair. An employee must cover business risks to survive and hence serve the community; a killer does not. Therefore, the financial penalty on the killer will be far superior than the one on the employer.
In the Austro Austro-Libertarian system, the restitution that has to be made is based on reality and not on any other psychological, belief system, or any other subjective measure. It is not based on the decision a judge would determine at some point, based on some sort of subjective call that a politician made in the past.
In addition to all this, the final restitution amount would be significantly large. This means that a killer won’t get off with a slap on the wrist and a token fine. If you consider that most of the killings are done by people that has the same or lower economic level than the victim, this means this amount of money will be a severe punishment for the culprit. This is a side effect or a different point of view if you prefer to look at the problem from a “classic” perspective of crime and punishment.
In this matter, our Austro-Libertarian system is based on objective, statistical and demographic measures, which are currently available and will continue to be available even if the governments disappear. This will be so because there will be companies that will make a profit from these statistics. This is nothing new. For example, today we have companies who are making a profit by rating bonds or consulting with companies. In this regards, statistical data providers will be just like any other service company generating information for sale.
There is one question that needs to be answered: what about self-defense? Could you kill somebody in self-defense without being responsible? The answer is yes!
Consider this. If you are in a situation where your life may be in danger, this means that your property (your body) has already been damaged. You are stressed-out and in fear. That is not the natural state of your body. The would be assailant has changed it. This means that under the Master Contract, the assailant has forfeited his/her rights with the exception of slavery and so you may interact with his/her body to the full extent of the damage.
However, the issue does not stop there. Are you allowed to stop the assailant before it produces more damage to your body? The answer is again, yes. This is so because the assailant, by frightening you and placing you in fear is in effect damaging your property on a continuous manner. The assailant is in effect altering your property; and since you have absolute rights to your property, you may choose to stop the assailant or not. It is your choice.
This is a similar to a situation when somebody walks onto your back yard without your permission and starts to chop down your tree. Do you have the right to stop this person? Of course! It is your property and the intruder’s rights have been forfeited.
But what happens if you use deadly force in self-defense and you kill the assailant first? Let’s say that you fear the assailant will kill you at any moment or is already it trying to kill you. Are you entitled to kill him/her first? Again, the answer is yes. The Master Contract indicates that the assailant is responsible to the full extent of the damage, and from this point of view, you are not entitled to damage this person’s property. From this point of view you are only entitled to seize this person’s property or extract labor from this person’s body until the debt is paid off. However, the Master Contract is not a suicide pact. In order for you to be able to claim your debt, you have to be alive. In addition. you still have all your rights under the Master Contract, while the assailant does not. In this scenario, your rights trump the assailant’s and you may kill without further ramifications.
There is also the question of assisted suicide or contracted suicide. A person secures the assistance of another person to commit suicide. Or, a person contracts with another person to be killed. Do any of these acts require reparations according to the Master Contract?
The answer is no.
Our bodies are our properties and we have absolute rights to our property, up to and including destruction. So as long as the contract is a voluntary one and both parties accept, there are no repercussions for either one of them.
In the event of a death, the Austro Libertarian system is a well-balanced system. It yield most of the expected answers that one would expect from common sense, but it also provides for a superior degree of freedom. And it achieves this without the need of laws and regulations.
This is indeed a better system.
The choice is now yours. Live or die, believe in us or not.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.