Monday, April 14, 2014

Theft in Libertopia

If I remember correctly, April 15 used to be a day to celebrate thieves or something. We don't do that anymore.

It's not that there is no theft in Libertopia- the thieves just no longer have the luxury of calling theft "taxation". And, "taxation" was always the most common excuse for theft back during the "Age of Authority".

How is theft dealt with in Libertopia? Quite handily, thank you.

In fact, there are lots of people who get their inspiration from the Robin Hood of legend. He's the guy who retrieved stolen property and returned it to its rightful owner- even though I have heard that truth was perverted into "he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor" for a time. But not anymore.

Our robinhoods retrieve stolen property and return it to its rightful owner, and only ask for a small percentage of the value of that which is returned. And they only ask for that in cases where the owner can afford it. Although most people are so grateful to get their stuff back that they'd pay the robinhood even if he didn't ask.

The way this usually works is that arbitrators will put out a list of those who have refused to abide by the outcome of arbitration- or have refused arbitration at all. This list is used to inform others of people who they may want to shun, or publicize as untrustworthy. Some, such as the robinhoods, take a more active approach.

Robinhoods will look at the list and decide if any of the cases would be something they'd like to pursue. Most robinhoods limit themselves to stolen property cases, but some will take on other types of damage that resulted in a monetary judgement- that's just up to the individual.

In cases of stolen property, the robinhood will try to get the actual property back. If that's not possible, he will try to get something from the thief of equal value. This is then turned over to an arbitrator- preferably the one who oversaw the original dispute. The arbitrator then contacts the interested parties and facilitates an arrangement between them. The property may be sold and the theft victim paid, with any amount above that going back to the thief. Robinhoods try to be very careful to not go too far, lest they find themselves on the wrong side.

Sometimes the robinhoods will still find themselves called into arbitration on accusations of theft or trespassing, but unless the robinhood was unusually "zealous" in carrying out his job, the case doesn't normally go far.

As you may see, theft doesn't pay here unless you can hide what you have done so well that even people with expertise in solving the case can't find you. And that is extremely rare.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The fate of the Warlord

Once, years ago, here in Libertopia there was a guy who decided he could use his wealth to his advantage in a way some would once have called becoming a "Warlord".

It didn't turn out well for him.

What happened was that he was a very successful business owner who got a little too ambitious. He hired a large security force and sent them out to intimidate his competitors. He tried to force his will on everyone around him and extort protection fees from everyone he could.

But people who have tasted real liberty aren't so anxious to give it up.

Even though he often got his way, through force, word began to spread. More and more people stopped doing business with him and his profits began to fall. He tried to ramp up his intimidation of his competitors, but that only went so far. Some went out of business, some moved, and other new competition sprung up- started by people not so easily intimidated.

He refused to abide by arbitration, and eventually started ignoring all requests for arbitration at all. He thought he was powerful enough to do whatever he wanted to anyone. He got quite a surprise.

Quietly those he was violating began to pool resources to fund a bounty on him. As word got around, more and more people contributed and pledged their help. After all, this guy wasn't just bluster, but was actually initiating force, fraud, and theft. He was a real and imminent threat to everyone.

It didn't take long until the bounty was large enough that it couldn't be kept secret, and he began to fear his own security forces. He started purging the ranks of anyone he doubted, which backfired and destroyed the loyalty of those who would have otherwise remained loyal. The guy got so paranoid he withdrew to his underground bunker. He wouldn't have contact with anyone, and was trying to check any food, water, and air coming into his bunker for poisons- which consumed his time and energy. His remaining security forces began to feel the pressure of being shunned. What good is money when no one will do business with you? The same went for those who helped keep his bunker running. It was mostly self-contained, but repairs still need to be carried out.

Before long, he didn't have enough supporters to keep going. His life support systems failed and his bunker became uninhabitable. In fact, he couldn't get out and he died there in his secure fortress. No one knows- or cares- if he starved or suffocated. But his life is a warning to all who get the idea to follow in his footsteps.

And the bounty was never even paid out. Some was returned to the original donors, some was used to help those he had harmed, and some- the majority- was rolled over into a fund to pay a bounty on any future would-be warlord.