Sorry Libertarian Anarchists, Capitalism Requires Government

“Anarcho” capitalists do not object to private property, to class distinctions, social stratification, concentrated wealth, and other bourgeois trappings in society. Their idea of a utopia is a world of unaccountable, unfettered corporate power where literally everything is up for sale and is negotiable. Another book which proved influential was The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill, written with all the zeal of new converts after the Tannehills had discovered, and eagerly devoured, the works of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. Somehow in the process of studying Rand and Mises, the Tannehills seized upon the idea that government itself should be abolished. It was from the Tannehills’ book that the early development of such ideas as private defense agencies and marketplace systems of arbitration and restitution began to take form. As the early libertarian movement was getting off the ground during the 1960s, libertarian interest in anarchism as an antecedent was sparked by James J. Martin’s history of early American anarchism, Men Against the State.

Galambos felt that even scientific insights (such as Newton’s theory of gravity) were intellectual property whose uses required permission from the owner. Rulers are taken as the state, whilst the term ‘capitalism’ included is taken to coincide with the liberal definition of capitalism as opposed to the Marxist one. He recommends a form of ‘instant direct democracy’ based on a system of ‘voting machines’ in every home linked to a computer in Washington. Each Bill would then be voted on by all the people after it had been discussed by their representatives in a national assembly. But such a system could easily lead to representatives manipulating their votes as they do in existing parliamentary democracies.

Why Should One Consider Anarchism In The First Place?

“Competition” refers to the voluntary exchange of values, not to the exchange of gunfire. There is no competition until there is a free market, and some agency has to protect its condition as a free market by the use of retaliatory force. Anarcho-capitalists generally see every reduction in government power and activity as a step in the right direction. In consequence, they usually support any measure to deregulate, repeal laws, and cut taxation and spending . Similarly, they can only hail the spread of the underground economy or “black market,” tax evasion, and other acts of defiance against unjust laws. The Enclopedia Brittanica article on Anarchism gives at best a cursory summary of anarchist theory, but does contain useful information on the history of left-anarchist political and labor movements. Tolstoy particularly emphasized the immorality of war, military service, and patriotism, challenging Christians to live up to the radical implications of their faith by withdrawing their support from all three of these evils. Tolstoy’s essay “Patriotism, or Peace?” is particularly notable for its early attack upon nationalism and the bloodshed that usually accompanies it.

Anarcho-capitalists tend to concur with free-market environmentalists regarding the environmentally destructive tendencies of the state and other communal arrangements. Air, water, and land pollution, for example, are seen as the result of collectivization of ownership. Central governments generally strike down individual or class action censure of polluters in order to benefit “the many”, and legal or economic subsidy of heavy industry is justified by many politicians for job creation within a political territory. The primary premise of anarcho-capitalism is that one’s labor should be entirely one’s own. One difficult application of defensive aggression is the act of revolutionary violence against tyrannical regimes. Samuel Edward Konkin III also feel that violent revolution is counter-productive and prefer voluntary forms of economic secession to the extent possible. Anarcho-capitalist libertarians believe that the only just way to acquire property is through voluntary trade, gift, or labor-based original appropriation, rather than through aggression or fraud. Murray Rothbard coined the term anarcho-capitalism to distinguish it from anarchism that opposes private property.

What Are Some Major Anarchist Writings?

Because good government depends upon these voluntary donations, the public goods argument for government falls apart. Either unpaid virtue can make government work, in which case government isn’tnecessary to solve the public goods problem; or unpaid virtue is insufficient to make government work, in which case the government cannot be trusted to solve the public goods problem. In short, much of the public goods problem is an artificial creation of economists’ unrealistic assumptions about human nature. Anarchists would surely disagree among themselves about human nature, but almost all would agree that there is more to the human character than Hobbesian self-interest. Moreover, charitable impulses can even give incentives to uncharitable people to behave fairly. If the public boycotts products of polluters, the polluters may find that it is cheaper to clean up their act than lose the public’s business. The concept and uses of Pareto optimality in economicsThe most widely-used concept in theoretical welfare economics is “Pareto optimality” (also known as “Pareto efficiency”). An allocation is Pareto-optimal iff it is impossible to make at least one person better off without making anyone else worse off; a Pareto improvement is a change in an allocation which makes someone better off without making anyone else worse off. As Hal Varian’sMicroeconomic Analysis explains, ” Pareto efficient allocation is one for which each agent is as well off as possible, given the utilities of the other agents.” “Better” and “worse” are based purely upon subjective preferences which can be summarized in a “utility function,” or ordinal numerical index of preference satisfaction. “In an anarchist society in which both systems X and Y existed, X would inevitably outcompete Y.”

Do Libertarians believe in free will?

Libertarians believe that free will is incompatible with causal determinism, and agents have free will. They therefore deny that causal determinism is true. Non-causal libertarians typically believe that free actions are constituted by basic mental actions, such as a decision or choice.

Anarcho-capitalists counter that the capitalist system of today is, indeed, not properly anarchistic because it is so often in collusion with the state. According to Rothbard, “what Marx and later writers have done is to lump to­gether two extremely different and even contradictory concepts and actions under the same portmanteau term. These two contradictory concepts are what I anarchocapitalism would call ‘free-market capitalism’ on the one hand, and ‘state capitalism’ on the other.” 19th century interpretation of the Althing in the Icelandic Commonwealth, which authors such as David Friedman and Roderick Long believe to have some features of anarcho-capitalist society. Some anarcho-capitalists are also anarcho-pacifists, but most anarcho-capitalists are not.[source?

How Would Anarchists Handle The “public Goods”

Others seem to intend to maintain modern technology and civilization but end private ownership of the means of production. “Liberty is the Mother, not the Daughter of Order” wrote Proudhon, and most anarchists would be inclined to agree. Normally, anarchists demand abolition of the state because they think that they have something better to offer, not out of a desire for rebellion as such. Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution series looks at the future results of the breakdown of today’s political systems during a revolution. The second novel of the series, The Stone Canal, deals with an anarcho-capitalist society and looks at issues of self-ownership, privatisation of police and courts of law, and the results of a contractual society.

  • Samuel Edward Konkin III’s position is difficult to discern; he doesn’t appear to have taken one directly but published his books under copyleft.
  • The American isolationists were probably influenced by this broader classical liberal tradition, but placed more emphasis on the idea that foreign wars were at best a silly distraction, and at worst a rationalization for tyranny.
  • Belgian political economist Gustave de Molinari is often considered to be one of the first anarcho-capitalists in the modern world.
  • Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism.
  • Finally, some argue that this is simply another sophistical argument for giving the rich and powerful the liberty to take away the liberty of everyone else.
  • Anarcho-capitalists believe that there is nothing morally superior about the state which would grant it, but not private individuals, a right to use physical force to restrain aggressors.

Under some very common circumstances a right to defend oneself will necessarily imply a right to exact reasonable and proportionate vengeance for offenses committed against one, to prevent and deter repetition. Of course a right to oneself punish offenses against oneself is a dangerous and not very useful right. If one wins, others will find it hard to tell who is the offender, and one’s own idea of “reasonable and proportionate” is apt to be unexpectedly different from other’s ideas of “reasonable and proportionate”. Murray N. Rothbard notes that the capitalist system of today is, indeed, not properly anarchistic because it is so often in collusion with the state. According to Rothbard, “what Marx and later writers have done is to lump together two extremely different and even contradictory concepts and actions under the same portmanteau term. These two contradictory concepts are what I would call ‘free-market capitalism’ on the one hand, and ‘state capitalism’ on the other.” Carlo Lottieri director of the Political Theory department of the Bruno Leoni Institute, a libertarian think-tank based in Turin and Adjunct Faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. “It is all the more curious, incidentally, that while laissez-faireists should by the logic of their position, be ardent believers in a single, unified world government, so that no one will live in a state of “anarchy” in relation to anyone else, they almost never are.” In Matt Stone’s (Richard D. Fuerle) novelette On the Steppes of Central Asia an American grad student is invited to work for a newspaper in Mongolia, and discovers that the Mongolian society is indeed stateless in a semi-anarcho-capitalist way.

This Tolstoyan theme appears most strongly in the writings of Christian anarchists and pacifist anarchists, but it pops up quite frequently within the broader left-anarchist tradition. For example, Kropotkin looked upon criminals with pity rather than contempt, and argued that love and forgiveness rather than punishment was the only moral reaction to criminal behavior. With the self-described Christian and pacifist anarchists, the Tolstoyan position is a firm conviction; within the broader left-anarchist tradition, it would be better described as a tendency or general attitude.Some left-anarchists and virtually all anarcho-capitalists would strongly disagree with Tolstoy’s absolute opposition to violence. (The only anarcho-capitalist to ever indicate agreement with the Tolstoyan position was probably Robert LeFevre.) Left-anarchist critics include the advocates of revolutionary terrorism or “propaganda by the deed” , as well as more moderate anti- Tolstoyans who merely uphold the right to use violence for self-defense. Of course, their definition of “self-defense” might very well include using violence to hinder immoral state actions or the functioning of the capitalist system. Modern neoclassical (or “mainstream”) economists — especially those associated with theoretical welfare economics — have several important arguments for the necessity or desirability of government.

Most of the prominent anarcho-capitalist writers have been academic economists, and as such have felt it necessary to spell out the workings of their preferred society in rather greater detail than the left-anarchists have. In order to best grasp the anarcho-capitalist position, it is helpful to realize that anarcho-capitalists have emerged almost entirely out of the modern American libertarian movement, and believe that their view is simply a slightly more extreme version of the libertarianism propounded by e.g. Many would observe that there is nothing anarchisticabout this proposal; indeed, names aside, it fits easily into the orthodox state-socialist tradition. Bakunin would have probably ridiculed such ideas as authoritarian Marxist socialism in disguise, and predicted that the leading anarchist revolutionaries would swiftly become the new despots. But Wetzel is perhaps right that many or even most historical anarcho-syndicalists were championing the system outlined in his preceding quotation. Among left- anarchists, there are some who imagine returning to a much simpler, even pre-industrial, mode of social organization.

Capitalism And Economic Growth

For example, in Brooklyn, a solar microgrid startup called Transactive sells clean energy to a community via Ethereum. And Toyota just announced a partnership with MIT to develop distributed ledger-based infrastructure for future autonomous vehicle services. Financial payment networks like Visa are corporations, which aren’t much better. They attempt to provide a technological alternative to currency and banking that would avoid tainting the pure individualism of the ancap ideal. Bitcoin is hard to grasp because it’s almost like a technology from an alien civilization. Making sense of it first requires deciphering the political assumptions that inspire it. This has not prevented the anarchists from speaking of “the market for liberty” (i.e., the market for the market). The anarchist idea of putting law on “the market” cannot be applied even to a baseball game. To carry out its function of protecting individual rights, the government must forcibly bar others from using force in ways that threaten the citizens’ rights.

During the California Indian genocide, settlers would routinely exterminate entire families of Indians for stealing livestock. The White settler John Burgess testified that Indians were killed for every beef that had been killed. A White farmer, John Lawson, admitted an attack killing 8 Indians, 3 by shooting and 5 by hanging, after some of his hogs were stolen. The California Indian genocide is estimated to have wiped out 80% of the native population, and as much as 95% or even 100% among the most heavily targeted tribes. 9,400 to over 16,000 of these deaths were caused directly by over 370 massacres perpetrated by settlers. These massacres were sometimes committed in perverse brutality, such as ripping out the hearts of young girls and throwing them into the bushes in which their sister was hiding, and the perpetrators were usually private militas. To be fair, the militias would often kill without justification and were incentivized to kill more to receive bounty payment by the California Statehood, though one may argue a particularly genocidal private company could do that as well.
Meanwhile, Robert LeFevre and Andrew Joseph Galambos were both giving for-pay lectures on political theory in which they began with a set of postulates and then, taking those postulates to their logical extreme, concluded the state itself would have to be abolished in order to have a truly free market. LeFevre’s lectures were influential (and involved, among other associates and guest lecturers, James J. Martin and Rose Wilder Lane); Galambos’ less so due to his crank ideas on intellectual property. Many budding activists on the right moved in and out of political circles ranging from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, to the John Birch Society and Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign during that period, and discovered the LeFevre or Galambos lectures. Anarcho-capitalism is mainly furthered in the public sphere by American reactionary think tanks; its visible supporters mostly congregate online. It has never constituted a socially active movement or organized political power base. It’s one of the youngest philosophies to try to place itself under the umbrella of “anarchism”, having only existed as a discrete philosophy for a few decades, although antecedents date back to the nineteenth century.

Brockwell Smith

Brockwell Smith

Trusted Business Advisors, Counselors, and Litigators for Alabama.

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