Defense Through Free-Market Sport
By Douglas Nusbaum
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[Editor’s note: This letter was stimulated by "Defending
a Free Nation: The Status Economy," by Gary F. York, Formulations
Vol. VI, No. 2 (Winter 1998-99).]
I have given some thought to how a free country may fund defense using the free market. I found [Gary York’s] idea of awarding titles to those who pay for such a defense interesting, but the plan lacks the discipline one sees in a free market. It talks about raising money, but not how it is spent.
I think there is a way, but I have not given it a great deal of thought, and I am sure this is one area where a lot of minds could be very helpful. As you all know, the amount of money spent on sports is probably comparable with, if not greater than, the amount we spend on defense. And many of these sports are just a glorified, sublimated form of war. So let’s abandon the pretense. Make war a sport. Instead of having teams from various regions, states, etc., we would have armies who would continually take part in war games. Those supplying the materials would get advertising rights. You could have college competition, and minor leagues.
A few times a year we could have elimination rounds. Hopefully non-lethal. Or at least no more lethal then current sports.
War has everything that all the other sports have: individual activities, crashes, explosions, team efforts, management skills, planning, tactics, strategy. It should have. Almost all sports are a derivative of war.
Since there is a corporate (insurance) interest in cleaning up after natural disasters and preventing looting, members of the "minor leagues" could pick up extra money acting as the National Guard acts today. We assume that private companies would like protection against pirates. This would provide another source of income to the "sport navy."
No longer would we have politics determining who got the military contracts. Or where women or "minorities" got to serve. The discipline of the market place would be the non-biased objective arbiter.
New tactics would come into play faster, as would optimum use of resources. There would be no fat, useless officer class.
We could even be the world’s policemen. Mercenaries. And if some groups wanted to volunteer to go into such political cesspools as Indonesia, or the former Yugoslavia, or even Iraq, they would be free to do so. They could even keep a part of the loot they recovered from the current despots. The only losers would be the despots.
Note that there would be a great drive to optimize size and skill levels with available resources. And every so often there might have to be a random re-shuffling of the yearly "best armies" to keep it interesting.
While I am sure there are problems with a system as described above,
I think it would probably provide more cost-effective and secure defense
then what we have now, and better serve the rest of the world. Since we
are now the only gorilla on the block, this would be a good time to experiment.D
Douglas Nusbaum became acquainted with FNF in 1995, when he worked in North Carolina as a computer programmer on contract. Now he lives in Las Vegas.
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