Government vs. Markets

Mark Chen chen at
Wed Oct 5 17:17:01 PDT 1994

I wasn't sure whether to respond to this message, or your other one,
which admonished that this is off-topic.

nelson at crynwr.dom writes:
>    From: chen at (Mark Chen)
>    Date: Wed, 5 Oct 1994 15:57:03 -0700 (PDT)
>    It would be helpful if we could define the word "government."  Is a
>    government any organization of people, or is it any organization
>    wherein some people hold coercive power over others?
> It's any organization that is allowed to have a monopoly on legitimate
> coercion.  When the IRA collects taxes, and provides protection,
> that's thuggery.  When the British Government does the same thing,
> that's perfectly fine.  <cough!>

And within the scope of their operations - among their employees -
corporations have a monopoly on the means of economic coercion
(forgive me if I omit your editorial use of the word "legitimate").
They have exclusive control over livelihoods.

>    In either case, how are corporations different from governments?
> In the main, corporations persuade and governments force.

So maquiladora workers are "persuaded" to work twelve hours a day for
fifteen cents an hour.  Salvadoran workers are "persuaded" (at
gunpoint) to contribute to the welfare of their latifundista
benefactors for either a handful of beans or nothing at all.
Similarly, I am "persuaded" to contribute my labor to the designs of
my employer - truly, because if I don't like it, I can leave.

Perhaps your will elaborate your assertion.

Mark Chen 
chen at
finger for PGP public key
D4 99 54 2A 98 B1 48 0C  CF 95 A5 B0 6E E0 1E 1D

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list