Found in 4 comments on Hacker News
msgilligan · 2021-05-12 · Original thread
The PDF is the 2nd edition. There is a 3rd edition on Amazon:

I haven't read it, but I think I'll read the 3rd Edition.

jdreaver · 2015-05-03 · Original thread
If anyone reading this is genuinely interested in a perspective on how many core government functions (law, police, defense, roads, etc) could work in a society without government, check out The Machinery of Freedom [1] by David Friedman.

Even if you don't agree with removing government 100%, it gives you a new way of thinking about these services. There are a lot of fascinating examples of societies in history where many of these systems were not primarily controlled by the state. It is also a great mind-bending thought game to try and figure out how you would structure, say, a defense organization or a road company if the government disappeared tomorrow.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, and I think it provides a lot of useful ideas for thinking about how government should function.


glenra · 2014-07-03 · Original thread
I believe it is still the case that most fire departments in the US are either for-profit or volunteer. Tax-funded departments tend to be a LOT more expensive and less innovative than private or other voluntarily-funded ones. The best new ideas tend to come out of the for-profit firefighting sector and then spread to the city-run ones.

The chief advantage of paying by subscription in a market for services like fire protection is that you don't have to pay for services you don't need and there is a profit incentive for efficient and effective customer service. Private firms can't just automatically raise their rates and FORCE everyone to pay the new rate, so they have to actively LOOK for ways to save money on an ongoing basis. Police patrols are in a similar situation - when you include building security, most police in the US are privately funded, and the private ones are lot less likely to bust into your house and set your baby on fire and much more likely to be polite and reasonable and helpful.

If you want more info on how either of those work, I recommend to you a book called The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without The State that goes into a fair amount of detail on how much our system ALREADY relies on successful but overlooked free-market provision of police, fire departments, courts and other services.

If you want more on the practical, logical CASE for doing so - including some interesting historical precedents - I recommend a book written by the son of Milton Friedman called The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism - the new updated edition should be out in a few months.

mbrubeck · 2010-03-12 · Original thread
The David Friedman cited here is the son of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, and the father of Patri Friedman (former Google engineer, now director of the Peter Thiel-funded Seasteading Institute:

His book The Machinery of Freedom has a lot more about law without government, both historically and speculatively:

His weblog is pretty good reading for HN fans too:

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