before reading this post it would be instructive to read these first: "the state and the justice market", "the state and national defense" and "the police market".
a common question in theorizing the stateless, or anarchist, society is that of the "final arbiter". the question revolves around the scenario of a dispute that arises between two parties. one claims that the other has violated his property. nothing has been proven, so no force may be used. the plaintiff's dispute resolution company calls the defendant's company, but the defendant refuses to go to arbitration for the charges. he has not been proven to be responsible for the violation of anything.
what to do?
first, let's find out what the incentives are. if the companies involved are unable to cooperate, then what good are they? if your cell phone company can't connect you to your contacts on other carriers, what good is a cell phone? the incentives are for the various companies to cooperate with each other. in agreeing to provide service to people, they must draw up the conditions for such service and have the customer agree to abide by the contract. in such contracts will be stipulations concerning which arbitrators will be used, how many appeals may be made for a given decision, etc.
the defendant, by refusing to honor the arrangements of his provider, runs an almost certain risk of being dropped by that provider, leaving him without protection. if he is able to get coverage with another provider, his costs will be much higher. for in the anarchist society, reputation is everything. once he is identified as a high risk, everything becomes more difficult. by complying with the arrangements made by his company (which would almost assuredly include compensation for his time by the plaintiff if found innocent), he may, if found guilty, pay for the damage done and be on his way with the minimum amount of damage done to his reputation.
this is instructive, but none of it answers the question of the who the final arbiter is. as mentioned above, reputation in the anarchist society is everything. it must be known in order to secure protection, so that agencies will know who is a risk and who isn't, by banks for the same reason, by employers, by insurance companies or even by those simply wishing to do business with the best customers. in the anarchist society, the reputation business is big.
needless to say, those who monitor reputation will know who is refusing to comply when charges are brought against him. every time such infractions are made, it makes life more difficult. the more serious the charges that are not answered to, the more one's reputation is hurt. a person with a bad reputation is squeezed to the margins of society and is less and less able to afford his own protection - leaving him open to attack by his unsatisfied accusers.
there need not be an authority with the power to force people to answer for crimes. such things can be handled in a much more effective and civilized manner by voluntary means. it is in everyone's interest, individually, to participate.
who is the final arbiter? society itself.