By Stuart C.
Nobody would be so naïve as to claim that things are “good” in Somalia. But, there is evidence to suggest that things are better without state monopoly on violence. The correlation between an increasing quality of life (life expectancy for example), and an absence of the state, is strong. As anyone who has taken intro to statistics knows, “correlation does not imply causation,” but I will offer some arguments that this absence of state is not only correlated, but also causal in the improving standard of living in Somalia.
To summarize Peter Leeson, in many under-developed states government plays a predatory role, as opposed to a more “benevolent” one in more developed nations. This tips the scale in favor of abolishing government and embracing anarchy (a dirty word, I know..)
“Most depictions of Somalia leading up to the 2006 period grossly exaggerate the extent of Somali violence. In reality, fewer people died from armed conﬂict in some parts of Somalia than did in neighboring countries that have governments. In these areas security was better than it was under government” –Peter Leeson
This comparison to the other states in the region, which operated under similar climates and with similar resources to Somalia, is key to proving the causal nature of anarchy in improving quality of life. The Independent institute put it quite plainly after releasing their study on Failed States: “Far from chaos and economic collapse, we found that Somalia is generally doing better than when it had a state… Urban businessmen, international corporations, and rural pastoralists have all functioned in a stateless Somalia, achieving standards of living for the country that are equal or superior to many other African nations.”
I suggest reading Leeson’s report, it goes into great depth, but if long reports aren’t your thing (lets say you listened to harry potter on tape instead of lugging around a big unwieldy book), you might want to listen to Dr. Ben Powell discuss stateless Somalia; check out this series of videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15Zdlv1onlc