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Amish people who refuse to abide by lesser punishments are excommunicated, though they can be un-excommunicated if they change their minds and agree to follow the court’s orders.Amish congregations are nominally democratic, but in practice Friedman calls them dictatorship-like because everyone votes the way the bishop wants.Prosecuting took a lot of time and money and was generally a thankless task.And the government didn’t want to go to the expense of imprisoning people, so they usually just hanged convicted offenders (if the crime seemed really bad) or pardoned them (if it didn’t seem to merit hanging).also live under the authority of a foreign culture and have settled on a similar system, with a twist.The basic unit of Amish society is the church congregation; Amish settlements big enough to support multiple churches will have many congregations mixed together.
So the Vlach Rom – Romanian Gypsies – organize courts called kris which enforce their sentences with threat of banishment from the community.
It’s only society as a whole that wants to make sure criminals are reliably punished and the innocent consistently safe.
This is the classic situation where economists usually recommend government intervention. Maybe you live in an area like Somalia or medieval Ireland without a strong centralized government.
But they are a “competitive dictatorship”; since there are so many different congregations in the same town, an Amish family who doesn’t like their congregation’s leadership or legal system can move to another congregation and agree to be bound by their laws instead.
This makes it a rare remaining example of a polycentric legal system outside anarcho-capitalist fantasies or Too Like The Lightning: Such a system can be viewed as a competitive market for legal rules, constrained, like other competitive markets, to produce about the product that the customers want.