7.2.2 Economic Self-Protection

Individuals can obtain a degree of economic self-protection by being cautious, even in transactions which are inherently risky.

Markets involve peer-to-peer negotiation, but they are not examples of self-protection in the terminology of this book because they comply with the relevant economic regulations; the Economic Dimension of governance accommodates them as part of its structure.

A policy of buying at one’s own risk – ‘caveat emptor’ – is, though, a practical agreement to use economic self-protection for the governance of some trading.  A common example is in selling, where an attempt to introduce a system of guaranteed rights for the buyer would, in many cases, make the transaction process more costly than the value of the items being sold – to the disadvantage of both buyer and seller.

There are also some types of international transaction which fall outside the reach of existing economic governance.  Some types of transnational fraud for example, particularly on the Internet, are impossible to prosecute – so people can only protect themselves by exercising vigilance against Internet scams.  For example, a websiteplanet.com article, Identifying Fake News in the Time of Corona – Ultimate Guide to Avoid Panic and Indifference, shows how false information is being used to sell fake remedies for coronavirus; it also offers some tips for detecting fake news.


Next Section

This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/722.htm.