Lessons of Russia’s Gas Attacksby Kevin Boyd
Today in St. Petersburg, Russia attacks using gas IEDs were launched against several hardware stores. Fox News is reporting that the Russians suspect that a rival hardware chain store may have launched the attack as part of a dispute the two businesses were having.
The lesson is that capitalism and the free market cannot exist without a rule of law that applied equally to all. The laws and the judicial system provide a means for entities and individuals to solve disputes peacefully. In Russia, according to the World Bank, Russia has high levels of corruption, respect for the rule of law is low, Russians have a difficult time expressing their opinions and having influence on their government, and the Russian government is unstable among less than ideal conditions for capitalism to thrive. Without the protections of the rule of law and a government whose sole role is to protect life, liberty, and property; anarchy prevails and anarchy, despite what many anarcho-capitalists would like to you to believe, usually leads to the rule of the gun where property rights are non-existant (ie. Somalia). The rule of the gun leads to tyranny as people cry for someone to restore some resemblance of order, such as the Russian people demanded Vladimir Putin restore order after the near-anarcharic rule of Boris Yeltsin. I think we can safely call Putin a dictator.
What Russia must do is combat political corruption and restore the rule of law, not the rule of a tyrant and the mafia in order to combat incidents like today’s gas attack. It also wouldn’t hurt for the Russians to develop a truly free and democratic system of government. Freedom makes people wealthier where as tyranny and anarchy keep people poorer.