Dispute resolution organization

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This article is about a conceptual firm operating within a stateless society. It is not to be confused with alternative dispute resolution.

In the context of a conceptual stateless society, a dispute resolution organization (DRO) is a firm that enforces contracts and resolves disputes on behalf of their clients, replacing services previously handled by governments. The firms would be voluntarily contracted to provide, or coordinate with other firms to provide, services such as mediation, reimbursement for damages, personal protection, and credit reporting. In essence, they combine qualities borrowed from modern private defense/police, insurance companies, credit ratings, and alternative dispute resolution.[1]

DRO's would operate under a system of anarcho-capitalism (a type of libertarian anarchism), as a result of broad acceptance of the non-aggression principle ("NAP") and the discontinuation of the government which, by its nature, violates the NAP.[2] The firms would compete within a free market, with their reliability and quality of their service monitored by independent ratings agencies. Customers also would have their reputations reported to ratings agencies by the DROs.[1]

The phrase "Dispute Resolution Organization" used for firms in this context was coined by libertarian philosopher Stefan Molyneux in his 2005 article The Stateless Society: An Examination of Alternatives published on LewRockwell.com and expanded upon in his 2008 book Practical Anarchy.[3][4] The concept is has its roots in the ideas of libertarian theorists like Murray Rothbard, and the concept continues to evolve.


Libertarian and anarcho-capitalist[edit]

Enforceability of verdicts[edit]

Murray Rothbard argues that court decisions need not be enforced by the government in order to be effective. Even before the decisions of dispute resolution organizations were considered legally enforceable in government courts, merchants obeyed them to avoid the risk of ostracism and boycotts. A merchant who refused to abide by the verdict would be blacklisted and thus become unable to avail himself of an arbitrator's services in the future.[5]

Appeals courts[edit]

The anarcho-capitalist book written by Linda and Morris Tannehill, The Market for Liberty, notes that contracts could provide for appeals courts, if the parties were willing to take on the risk of extra expense occasioned by appeals. Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto also cites appeals courts as a means of settling disputes among people who subscribe to different dispute resolution organizations. Thus, if Brown, a subscriber to Metropolitan Court Company is accused of a crime against Jones, a subscriber to Prudential Court, then the case may be heard in both courts; if the courts agree on Brown's guilt or innocence, then that judgment will stand; but if they disagree, then an appeals court agreed to by Metropolitan and Prudential will decide the case.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Molyneux, Stefan (June 25, 2008). Practical Anarchy. The Freedomain Library. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ Block, Walter E. (December 2011). "Toward a libertarian theory of charitable donations to criminals, governments". Economics, Management, and Financial Markets (Addleton Academic Publishers) 6 (4): 9–28. ISSN 1842-3191. OCLC 85794657. "The first is libertarian anarchism, or anarcho-capitalism.[citation: Molyneux Stateless Society, et al.] In this case, there is no justification for the government since it necessarily violates the NAP." 
  3. ^ Molyneux, Stefan (October 24, 2005). "The Stateless Society An Examination of Alternatives". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ Awuku, Christopher (February 11, 2007). "DRO' Protection: An Example of How It Could Work". Strike The Root. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Rothbard, Murray. "Society Without a State". The Libertarian Forum. p. 5. 
  6. ^ Rothbard, Murray. "The Public Sector, III: Police, Law, and the Courts". For a New Liberty. pp. 226–227.