The main mode of the survival for human individuals is cooperation. It occurs across time and space in the form of materials and/or information transfer from person to person and from generation to generation. This transfer is always two-way exchange when one person gives something to another person in exchange for something – either material or non-material. It could be gold for bread or labor for water. It could be lesson for nothing more then opportunity of feeling good about this lesson. In short it could be anything in exchange for anything.
I look at it as constant exchange which is 99% non-material, represented by verbal and non-verbal communications and coordinated actions that result in change of individual condition from one status to another. This exchange always happens because individuals participation in exchange believe that they will be better off as result of exchange, otherwise they would not participated in this exchange. However it makes a lot of sense to differentiate between violent and non-violent exchange.
I would define non-violent exchange as exchange in which individual believes that he/she will be better off if exchange occur, but will remain in the same condition if exchange will not occur. I would define violent exchange as exchange in which individual believes that he/she will be worse off if exchange will not occur and has no option to avoid the damage.
The non-violent exchange always occurs on the free market regardless of money being involved or not. The violent exchange always occurs when one individual has power to cause pain and suffering to another individual if exchange did not occur.
To illustrate this I’d like to use a type of exchange that had always been with us – sex. The voluntary exchange includes but not limited to love and prostitution. In case of love we have complex and continuous long-term exchange of pleasures, emotions, friendship, and huge increase in quality of life. In case of prostitution – quick, easy, and sometimes dirty exchange of physiological pleasure for money.
Violent exchange includes direct use of violence – rape, or indirect use of violence when one side can deprive another of necessary resources if exchange would not occur. In both cases one side has superior ability to inflict violence either it is direct muscle force of rapist or complex multilayer organization of society and state that assures unavailability of necessary resources for another side.
The Solution we need in order to dramatically increase our ability to pursue happiness is to limit use of violence (government) only to prevention of violent exchange and minimization of government involvement in voluntary exchange to informational support. Individuals should make all exchange decisions, while bureaucrats would at most provide information and nothing else.
The way Solution could work is not complicated logically. The government will collect information from all parties that initiate exchange before and after exchange occurred. It maintains database for all individuals about previous history of exchanges and makes it available to everybody at any time on demand. As result every individual would be able to have necessary information to make decision and enjoy or suffer consequences of this decision without interference from any third parties such as government bureaucrats. With technology we already have this solution quite feasible, even if it would take a considerable effort to implement.
Let’s just go through a hypothetical example of buying car. The first step could be to look at existing cars. Remember, we limited government to the role of information collector and provider, so there are no government regulations. Whoever manufactured car does not have to comply with anything except to provide characteristics of the car for government database.
However it is not all. Everybody who ever bought or used such car would leave a trace in database even if he/she would do nothing. In case of doing nothing the assumption would be used that it is average car for its class that would provide average level of satisfaction for user of your age, type of personality and so on. By continuing transaction person would confirm that average level is acceptable, or could specify in which way his/hers specific expectations are deviate from average. When one done with the car either after many year of happy use or after couple hours of rent, the result of meeting / not meeting expectation would be added to database. All this information would be available to buyer/renter together with detailed statistics for this type of car including incidents and so on. With all this information at one’s fingertips the decision would become more difficult, but it would be individual’s decision not some bureaucrat’s who would decide that this car is good and save for use.
The same method would apply to people. Instead of granting doctor’s license government would just collect information about activities and results of individual who offers medical services. Whether one prefers to use services of experienced graduate of the best medical school or local voodoo practitioner, as soon as information about previous history of practitioner and outcomes of his/her previous effort are easily available it is a fair play and there is no need in any other government intervention.
Obviously either in case of car or case of medical services some people will try to cheat as some people always do. In this situation it would be a task for government violent machinery and the cheating would be much more difficult to do with abundant information about individual past.