How a 3D model scared the state.

I came across an article linked off of Bing News that was headlined:

US: Security fears over how 3D gun developed by Texas anarchist could play into hands of Isis

Already skeptical, since the word “anarchist” was used (the media loves to associate anarchism with things that fear you), I dove into the article with my eyes open.  I immediately look for the article they source the information off of, as this is generally a tactic used to put some sort of spin on a pre-existing article or report.

The source is from The Daily Mirror, which is a UK based news outlet.

The Yahoo article describes how:

Cody Wilson, 27, says he has developed the 3D modelling process which allows gun parts to be created from a digital file that can be downloaded anywhere.

There’s a whole bunch in the article, and it’s all designed to make you afraid. Look at some of the triggers used in the Yahoo article: US Security fears, airport scanners, ISIS. All the spooky things you’re told about daily.

The article even goes so far as to say

British security experts told the paper that it posed a risk for the UK given how fears are growing that Isis could launch a Paris-style massacre in London.

Here’s the best line out of the whole thing:

And revealing his contempt for potential victims, the anarchist law student said he was “not really” ­bothered if the weapons, which cannot be picked up by airport scanners, fell into the hands of terrorist gangs.

So let me get this straight: a guy makes a 3D model that lets people anywhere make terrible quality weaponry where the firing pins actually have to be constructed with shoddy home equipment, and I’m supposed to believe that the reason this man isn’t bothered if the weapons fall into their hands is that he has contempt for potential victims? I’m not buying that bridge you’re trying to sell.

The real reason, if he truly is an anarchist, that he doesn’t feel at all bothered by the idea of his weapons going to ISIS, is because the US government supplied ISIS with all of their weapons already. These toy 3D printed models are nothing compared to the massive amounts of firepower that they have been provided with by the very government that uses them to instill fear in its populace. ISIS has no interest in using anything but fine American firepower, paid for with printed petrodollars stolen from the very citizens at the receiving end of this propaganda.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Your government created a boogie man. Now, they’re taking your guns away under the guise of progressivism and warning you that any attempt at circumventing their tight controls might make the boogieman scarier.

Oh, and if you disagree with any part of the idea, you must be scum who has “contempt for potential victims.” All of this scary stuff is associated with Anarchy, since they wouldn’t want you believing you don’t need them.

Give me a break. What they’re really saying is, they don’t want everyone to have access to weapons, because then they lose control.

Market Failure Explained

What is market failure?

In the words of David Friedman,

“Market failure sounds self explanatory. It sounds as though it’s about markets and about their failing, but in fact, while it is about a kind of failure, it is not particularly about markets.

A great analogy that Friedman uses is to imagine you are one of many soldiers in a line with spears pointed in one direction. There are a bunch of other solders on horseback, also with spears, charging towards you. If we hold our ground, planting our spears, we stand a chance of breaking their charge. If we all run, most of us will die, since the other army is on horseback. We ought to stand still, since if we break their charge, most of us will live.

The problem with this situation is that you do not control the other soldiers standing with you. If you run and everyone else stays, surely you will be more likely to live. If you stay and they run, you will surely die.

No matter what they do, you are better off running.

Everyone else makes this same calculation, of course, and everyone runs, so most of you die.

This scenario is for illustration only, and it is useful if only to define the term: market failure.

Market failure, therefore, can be defined as:

Those situations in which individual rational behavior doesn’t lead to group rational behavior.

In this example above, rationally speaking, the action that best preserves your life is to run away. The system breaks down because the individual’s rational behavior (I should run) is at conflict with the group’s rational behavior (We should stand our ground).

From wikipedia’s page on market failure:

Market failures can be viewed as scenarios where individuals’ pursuit of pure self-interest leads to results that are not efficient – that can be improved upon from the societal point of view.

How does one improve upon a situation where there is inherent market failure? The answer is incentives. Incentives can be used to bring the individual’s rational behavior in line with the group’s.

To illustrate, consider another of Friedman’s examples: a congested traffic light. Imagine a light where several lanes of oncoming heavy traffic continually jams the intersection. Experiencing this type of traffic at an intersection is proof enough that the individual drivers are acting in their self interests. What do they do? They do the very thing that causes the problem in the first place: each one zooms across the intersection in order to be in the middle while their light is green so they don’t miss their chance. Why don’t the individual drivers just wait at the green light until the intersection is empty enough to go through completely, thus not “blocking the box.”

Waiting at the green light is obviously an unpopular choice among drivers, as any experienced driver can most likely attest. Taking this action does not fit with your own self interests, since likely the rest of the cars will zoom around you, or the light will turn red before you’re able to get a turn to go across, or probably both.

How can incentives help?

The natural incentive is to get into the intersection as quickly as possible, since the chance to make it through are raised. If perhaps the intersection was changed to instantly vaporize any cars stuck blocking the other direction, incentives are naturally altered.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy getting vaporized. The new individual rational self interest is to avoid getting stuck in the intersection, thus solving the problem of aligning the self interest with the group’s interest: Instead of rushing across and getting stuck in the intersection, drivers would tend much more strongly towards waiting at the green light, thus improving the entire group’s behavior as a whole.

In order to explain why government/political systems have a much more serious market failure problem, a new economic term must be introduced: public good.

The definition of anarchy. What do you mean without rule?

Without Rule is a blog dedicated to spreading the philosophy that no one is fit to rule any given person except that very person.

In order to speak to this philosophy, one must first consider the word: anarchy.

Popular culture (and some dictionaries) would suggest that anarchy is a state of disorder or chaos. Both Google and Bing give the following definition as a search result:

Anarchy – a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority:
“he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy”

  • absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

It is the bullet point that strikes me as closer to the unbiased definition. The initial definition implies the outcome of anarchy, as opposed to simply defining the term.

In order to explain the actual meaning of the word, one must only look to the root words that when combined form the English word itself.

  1. an – without, no, none of, etc. Used to make words that have a sense opposite to the word (or stem) to which the prefix is attached.
    1. E.g. anterior, anharmonic, anechoic
  2. archy – a combining form meaning “rule” or “government,” forming nouns
    1. E.g. monarchy, oligarchy

One can clearly garner the definition of anarchy from the root words.

It simply means: without rule. Anarchy is not lawlessness, nor is it implicitly chaotic.

The absurdity of the definition provided by dictionaries is more than apparent given the basic definition. The assertion herein, is that governmental rule is not required for orderly society.