Entropic Property

The typical right-libertarian approach to property norms goes something like this:

Alice and Bob both exist in anarchy without a soverign to ensure proper behavior. Instead they are locked in a prisoners dilemma that can be described as the following:


The reward goes from B>A>D>C

Each player can choose to either cooperate or defect. In a single instance of the game the optimal strategy is to defect, always.
However over a long enough period cooperation yields a superior payout to short term defection (assuming that once you defect the other actor will also defect).

Such an approach can be described as building reputation which can carry over to interactions with others. If you cheat others too many times you'll have a bad rep and as such people will refuse to do business with you, no longer respect your property, refuse to let you near them, etc. The potential negatives of having low rep in the future mean that others will automatically distrust you and you will suffer as a result.

So far so good. But what happens when we overlay actually existing capitalism on top of this simple model of reality?

Well first of all we see that the levels of wealth inequality massively distort such a landscape. Rather then the payout being A,A for both players it's significantly slanted in the favor of the rich. Consider the following:

Alice and Bob live in an anarchy without a soverign to ensure proper behavior (the sovereign was overthrown a week ago). Alice inherited a billion dollars from her father, invested it and now has 6 times what she started with. Bob works minimum wage in a workplace Alice has partial ownership over.

They are locked in a prisoner's dilemma that looks like the follwing:


The reward goes from B>A>D>C > B'>A'>D'>C'

The gap between the two players means that there is less reason for the less affluent player to abide by the emergent social contract. If the gap between B' and A' is particularly stark due to the sheer amount of wealth available to Bob should he decide to steal something then the motivation for theft increases as the amount of time required for A' > B' increases. Also if there exists a large underclass who are in a similar situation Bob need not worry about reputational issues as the underclass are less likely to care about theft from Alice assuming they feel the same way.

Furthermore the problem cannot be easily solved through the use of survelliance and monitoring technology. Such solutions require resources to be used and as such inccur an entropic effect on accumulated property regardless. Also, as the old adage goes, an attacker only needs to succeed once whereas the defender must succeed every time. Therefore even if there exists one thief with undefined skills in the local area Alice must protect her fortune against a variety of threats.

When the state is no longer subsidizing the defense of the property of the rich suddenly material forces make being uberrich very difficult indeed. That's not to say it couldn't happen - extreme workaholics might still be a thing, but in order to become as wealthy as god you also need to not step on anyone's toes while you do so which makes it extremely difficult.

And that's why, historically speaking anyway, if someone has amassed a great fortune you'll find a history of violence in their wake. Capitalism requires a state.