Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ostrafers Fill a Need

I know a guy here in Libertopia who has an interesting job. A job I would hate, but interesting, nonetheless. He is an "ostrafer". What is that, you may ask?

Let me explain. Long ago, back in the days before Libertopia, there were people who hunted down "fugitives from the law" and handed those they captured over to The State. They were called "bounty hunters".

Now that there is nothing really like "the law" anymore, and no "State" (not in this part of the world, anyway), and since there is no "bounty" to collect, and since forcing someone to comply with arbitration (when there is no aggression involved) is still normally seen as an initiation of force, bounty hunters are no longer needed. Dangerously violent aggressors on the loose are a different matter- perhaps I'll talk about that some day- but those cases are extremely rare due to the fact that there is no longer any State protecting aggressors from the consequences of their actions.

In our free society, after a person has been ruled against in arbitration, what happens if they still refuse to cooperate? How do you encourage compliance when enforcement isn't a legitimized option?

For that small percentage of individuals who refuse to abide by the decision of the arbiters there is the last resort of shunning. Freedom means no one can force you to do business with anyone, nor can anyone forbid you from trading with whoever you wish. Everyone has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, and a shunned person is facing a very hard life.

Those who refuse to live up to the obligations they brought upon themselves through aggression, damage to property, or theft/fraud are not generally people you would want to be involved with lest they do the same to you. It can also be damaging to your reputation if it is known you continue to trade with people who reject arbitration. So arbitration providers employ people to make it costly to refuse to abide by arbitration.

These people, known as "ostrafers", will follow, literally or virtually, a shunned individual and inform his prospective associates of the fact he is being shunned, and why. They publicize the offense in every way imaginable, without using force, without violating property rights, without deception, and without coercion. Ostrafers will also post announcements to let others know, and will inform ostrafers in another region if the shunned person tries to flee in order to escape.

I guess much of the thrill of chasing down a fugitive, and tackling him when he tries to run, is missing from the job of the ostrafer, but a free society has other thrills available.


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