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Halloween: An exercise in the Merits of Anarcho-capitalism

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Taking concepts a bit too far IMO, but I believe we need more of this capitalist bullsh*t posted in here.


To the free-market anarchist, Halloween is a perfect example of a non-coercive display of voluntary goodwill. Critics of anarchism typically showcase the Hobbesian idea that without a coercive monopoly, people would rob, rape and kill one another. Yet, what is Halloween if not free-market anarchism? There is no central bureaucracy dictating what kids should dress up as, where they should go or at what time and for how long. Likewise, there are no bureaucrats telling adults what types of candy they should offer (“the Davidson’s are giving away Kit-Kats, so the Gibbons’ should offer M&Ms”).

Every Halloween any person giving away candy is an entrepreneur; the individual must decide how much candy to stock up on and how much to give away to each child. These decisions may be influenced by past experiences and future uncertainties. A neighbourhood with fewer children may warrant fewer candies, or a larger supply of individual candy units to each child. It can even be explained by marginal utility: If the supply of candy at the Davidson’s house is fixed at x, then the marginal utility of each candy unit will rise as more kids arrive and the supply dwindles. Likewise, if fewer children are visiting, the utility of each candy unit will fall, allowing the Davidson’s to give two or more units of candy away to just one child. This, of course, assumes the Davidson’s don’t want the candy for themselves. Fewer children and a large stock of candy may rest higher on their value scales than vanquishing their supply of Halloween candy by the end of night.

Halloween mirrors the principles inherent in free-market anarchism through its spontaneity. There is no fixed time when to start or stop, but clearly there are limits to when one can or can’t trick or treat. There are no candy cops, testing candy or pre-approving adults who are giving away candy. There are no licences or regulations involved with Halloween. And yet, despite some fear-mongering, the candy given away by strangers to be consumed by children is poison-free.

A dedicated Hobbesian will denounce a stateless society as unrealistic and at odds with human nature. Yet what is more unrealistic than children dressing up in costumes, visiting stranger’s doorsteps, getting free candy, and then consuming that candy without it being laced with poison. Not to mention that the ritual happens every year, without any central authority forcing it on people, without any detailed plan on who will supply candy, what types of candy, how much per household, how many kids per street at a certain time, etc, etc.

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Sorry, can't hear you over all this prosperity that came from the last time we removed regulations on Wall Street.

Despite your usual snippy tone, I agree. If you're going to meddle with a market, you need to meddle in all facets.

Selective de-regulation itself is a form of government intervention in the markets itself and almost always doomed to failure.

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in my day big kids would roam the streets beating the crap out of little kids and stealing their candy... Likewise, anyone not giving out candy (or even giving out poor candy) may have their houses vandalized. i think this bears mentioning somewhere.

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what's scary, pardon the pun, is how much jase and i think alike. i saw this today and almost posted it but alas a similar thread was started.


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Cause we're talking about candy that you can buy for $5 a truckload.

Start handing out twenties to kids on Halloween and see how wonderfully self regulated it all is.

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