Surrounded by Anarchy

Dave Killion — February 24, 2012

This clip is a compilation of the notoriously frank Chef Gordon Ramsay being rude to some unhappy customers. Please don’t mistake it for being merely entertaining, because it is also a reminder that anarchy (that is, the absence of government) is actually the prevailing condition of many, if not most, of our interactions.

In each each incident, Ramsay is confronted by customers with whom there is an assumed contract. The contract is that in exchange for payment and for conducting themselves appropriately, diners will receive some expected level of quality and service. In each case the customer complains about the breach of contract (food is no good, wait is too long, etc.), and Ramsay fails to deliver satisfaction. The infractions are arguably criminal, yet not even the victims themselves would entertain the notion of taking Ramsay to court. Doing so would be expensive and time-consuming. Ramsay has nothing to fear from the state, and yet his conduct is sufficiently distanced from the norm that most of us are amazed to see it. In the absence of state involvement, why is it that the overwhelming majority of restauranteurs never tell their customers to f*** off?

The answer of course is that when contracts are broken, there are many ways in which the aggrieved can punish the offender without having to resort to the state. In the case of unsatisfactory restaurant service, the client will simply raise complain to everyone who will listen, costing the restaurant future business. Likewise, if a client misbehaves, then they will be banned from returning to the restaurant. Note that this state of affairs is absolutely unaffected by the existence of coercive state power. Ramsay’s conduct is the exception that proves the rule, and this video suggests to me that we live predominantly in a world of anarchy, and we are all the better for it.


David says


— February 27, 2012

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