Here’s a list of possible ways I’ve thought of or heard to fund government, without the government initiating force to collect taxes:
- Fees for government enforcement of contracts. This was Ayn Rand’s idea.
- A lottery.
- If a court finds a party at fault in a civil judgment, it collects a small fee from that party to help pay court costs.
- Courts impose fines on those who are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies.
- Imprisoned convicts work and help maintain prisons in order to receive food and luxuries above a bare minimum to keep them alive. The best-behaved might work on/maintain other government buildings.
- A small annual fee might be required for someone to maintain citizenship. Non-citizens would still be protected by the government in its jurisdiction, but would not be able to vote for government officials, and wouldn’t receive US government protection when traveling internationally.
These are, of course, in addition to any straight donations, which Yaron Brook discusses in this video:
Feel free to leave any other ideas in the comments.
How to Show That Taxation is Robbery
Wealth is Created by Action Based on Rational Thought
An Objectivist Refutation of Anarcho-Capitalism (Market Anarchy)
Why Moral Theory is Needed in the Fight for Liberty, Not Just Economics and the Non-Aggression Principle
Socialism and Welfare vs. Justice: Why Inalienable Private Property Rights are Required for Justice
These ideas could work if, and only if, the government’s powers were limited to a military force, a police force, and a system of courts. I doubt that In today’s America, there is the will “…to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….”. The enemies of the mind of Man have largely succeeded in rendering millions of young people incapable of using their natural ability to think. A rebirth of Reason is called for but hurling Logic at Emotions has the same effect as does spitting upwind.
I note Joseph’s comment in passing and note that evil requires the sanction of the victim, so it doesn’t matter what young people (or the elderly) think or feel. Putting that aside and assuming that Sword genuinely solicited alternate means of funding government, I call your attention to The Constitution of Government in Galt’s Gulch, which proposes to fund the Executive with an annual rights “cash call” on institutional shareholders of a publicly-held corporation. https://www.amazon.com/Constitution-Government-Galts-Gulch/dp/1499550456 WRT courts, I follow Ben Franklin’s solution proposed at the Federal Convention of 1787.
Instead of an annual fee, a poll tax may work better. That way it is opt in and not opt out.
My favorite solution is to use assurance contracts, which are the mechanism used for making crowd funding websites like kickstarter and indiegogo work.
Basically, the contract is binding if-and-only-if a certain number of people sign the contract. That way, there is less concern over free riders taking advantage of other people’s contributions.
Generally, crowd funding campaigns only require a small number of people to contribute to a project as compared with the number of people who will benefit from it, but if everyone is *really* unwilling to tolerate free riders, the assurance contract can require a very high percentage of the population of people who would benefit to sign the contract before it is binding. You can imagine a “market rate” which is an expression of people’s willingness to tolerate free riders (i.e. a population that has little concern for free riders would have a low rate of required signers and a population that has a high concern for free riders would have a high rate of required signers).
By using such contracts to fund the provision of government services and public goods in general, all funding is entirely voluntary and contractual. There is some overhead associated with creating such contracts, of course, but these overheads are much smaller in the digital age.
Wikipedia has a brief article on assurance contracts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assurance_contract
I always liked the idea of say limited taxation for keeping Citizen status and vote right. It does sound kind of startrooperish, but I think it is one of the more stable ways of ensuring steady government funding.
Sell certain products like passports, visas/work permits, even citizenship at a higher prices.