Balkan Vice: How Cigarettes Funded War

Black Flag of AnarchyLet me see if I understand this argument correctly.

A criminal organization seizes control of the distribution of a product, charging "fees" to the end user for the service of supplying him under effective monopoly conditions. The end user, by paying these additional fees and costs, supplies the criminals with the guns and weapons they use to carry out their attacks on territory they wish to control. Once in control of the desired territory, the criminals then use the fees on these products to maintain it.

So what, exactly, is the difference between a "legitimate government" and this criminal gang? Do they not both do exactly the same thing? Can anyone explain to me the difference between these "fees" and taxes?

Lysander Spooner nailed this one:

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

'Nuff said. These were indeed criminals - they were a government in training. It's the same thing...

How the illegal cigarette trade fed the Yugoslav wars.

(link) [BBC News]

07:06 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link