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Author Topic: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism  (Read 93018 times)

RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #45 on: April 24, 2006, 01:31:33 pm »

It is no coincidence that "anarcho"-capitalists try to limit the definition of anarchy or anarchism purely to opposition to the state or government. This is because capitalist property produces authoritarian structures (and so social relations) exactly like the state. By focusing on "government" rather than "authority," they hide the basic contradiction within their ideology namely that the "anarcho"-capitalist definition of private property is remarkably close to its definition of the state.

This is easy to prove. For example, leading "anarcho"-capitalist Murray Rothbard thundered against the evil of the state, stressing that it "arrogates to itself a monopoly of force, of ultimate decision-making power, over a given territorial area." Then, in the chapter's endnote, he quietly admitted that "
  • bviously, in a free society, Smith has the ultimate decision-making power over his own just property, Jones over his, etc." [6]


Opps. How did the editor not pick up that one? But it shows the magical power of the expression "private property" - it can turn the bad ("ultimate decision-making power" over a given area) into the good ("ultimate decision-making power" over a given area). For anarchists, "[t]o demonise state authoritarianism while ignoring identical albeit contract-consecrated subservient arrangements in the large-scale corporations which control the world economy is fetishism at its worst." [7] It should also be stressed that capitalist authoritarianism is dictatorial in nature, with significantly less freedom than that in a democratic state.

Anarchists, obviously, wonder what the difference actually is. Why is the authority of the state considered anti-anarchist while that of the property owner is not? Rothbard did provide an answer: the state has got its land "unjustly." Thus the answer lies in whether the state legitimately owns its territory or not. If it did, then "it is proper for it to make rules for everyone who presumes to live in that area . . . So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property." [8]

So if the state were a legitimate landlord or capitalist then its authoritarianism would be fine? Sorry? This is an anarchist analysis? The question is, ultimately, one of liberty. Anarchists simply note that Rothbard himself shows that capitalism and the state are based on the same authority structures and, consequently, neither can be considered as anarchist.

But then again, anarchists are not surprised. The liberal tradition "anarcho"-capitalism happily places itself in has a long history of sophisticated defences for autocracy based on consent. Anarchists, in contrast, have always stressed that the internal regime of an association which is the key.

That is why anarchists support workplace co-operatives as the alternative to capitalist hierarchy. Proudhon, for example, argued that employees are "subordinated, exploited" and their "permanent condition is one of obedience." Capitalist companies "plunder the bodies and souls of wage workers" and are "an outrage upon human dignity and personality." However, in a co-operative the situation changes and the worker is an "associate" and "forms a part of the producing organisation . . . [and] forms a part of the sovereign power, of which he was before but the subject." Without co-operation and association, "the workers . . . would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two industrial castes of masters and wage-workers, which is repugnant to a free and democratic society." [9]

cont'd
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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #46 on: April 24, 2006, 01:31:58 pm »

The contrast between anarchism and "anarcho"-capitalism could not be clearer.
Free to choose . . . a master

The final defence of "anarcho"-capitalism is that authority associated with capitalism is voluntary, that workers consent to it. Of course, the same can be said of any democratic state. No one forces a citizen to remain within its borders. A defence of capitalist hierarchies in terms of consent logically means a defence of the state in the same terms -- particularly as capitalist property is as much the product of coercion as the state is. Moreover, given that Somalia is touted by some "anarcho"-capitalists as an example of their system, they have the same choice they usually give striking workers - if you don't like your current master, find a new one.

Yet there is a deeper objection to the "consent" argument, namely that it ignores the social circumstances of capitalism which limit the choice of the many. Anarchists have long argued that, as a class, workers have little choice but to "consent" to capitalist hierarchy. The alternative is either dire poverty or starvation. "Anarcho"-capitalists dismiss such claims by denying that there is such a thing as economic power. Rather, it is simply freedom of contract. [10]

Anarchists consider such claims as a joke. To show why, we need only quote Murray Rothbard on the abolition of slavery and serfdom in the 19th century. He argued, correctly, that the "bodies of the oppressed were freed, but the property which they had worked and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their former oppressors. With economic power thus remaining in their hands, the former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more of what were now free tenants or farm labourers. The serfs and slaves had tasted freedom, but had been cruelly derived of its fruits." [11]

To say the least, anarchists fail to see the logic in this position. Contrast this with the standard "anarcho"-capitalist claim that if market forces ("voluntary exchanges") result in the creation of "free tenants or farm labourers" then they are free. Yet labourers dispossessed by market forces are in exactly the same social and economic situation as the ex-serfs and ex-slaves. If the latter do not have the fruits of freedom, neither do the former. Rothbard sees the obvious "economic power" in the latter case, but denies it in the former.

Rothbard's position is untenable. A simple analogy shows why. Let us assume that someone kidnaps you and places you down a deep (naturally formed) pit, miles from anyway, which is impossible to climb up. No one would deny that you are unfree. Let us further assume that another person walks by and accidentally falls into the pit with you. According to Rothbard's logic, while you are unfree (i.e. subject to coercion) your fellow pit-dweller is perfectly free for they have subject to the "facts of nature" and not coercion.

It is only Rothbard's ideology that stops him from drawing the obvious conclusion -- identical economic conditions produce identical social relationships and so capitalism is marked by "economic power" and "virtual masters." The only solution is for "anarcho"-capitalists to simply say the ex-serfs and ex-slaves were actually free to choose and, consequently, Rothbard was wrong. It might be inhuman, but at least it would be consistent!
Conclusion

As Kropotkin noted about a previous generation of free market capitalists, the "modern Individualism initiated by Herbert Spencer is, like the critical theory of Proudhon, a powerful indictment against the dangers and wrongs of government, but its practical solution of the social problem is miserable -- so miserable as to lead us to inquire if the talk of 'No force' be merely an excuse for supporting landlord and capitalist domination." [12]

Much the same can be said for "anarcho"-capitalism. Anarchists would not bother themselves with it except that it calls itself anarchism. Yet, as shown, "anarcho"-capitalism makes as much sense as "anarcho-statism" -- an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. The idea that "anarcho"-capitalism warrants the name "anarchist" is simply false. Only someone ignorant of anarchism could maintain such a thing. While you expect anarchist theory to show this to be the case, the ironic thing is that "anarcho"-capitalism itself does the same.

Anarchism, as a political theory, was born when Proudhon wrote "What is Property?" specifically to refute the notion that workers are free when capitalist property forces them to seek employment by landlords and capitalists. He was well aware that in such circumstances workers sold their liberty and were exploited. His classic work is a lengthy critique of the kind of apologetics for landlord and capitalist power and property Rothbard espouses. It seems ironic, therefore, that "anarcho"-capitalism calls itself "anarchist" while basing itself on the arguments that anarchism was created in opposition to.

Ultimately, Rothbard himself proves the anarchist case that workers may be formally free under capitalism but their economic circumstances are such that freedom becomes little more than being "free" to pick a master. Capitalism, in other words, is based on economic power, which ensures that people "consent" to be subjected to authority structures identical to those created by the state. This means that a consistent anarchist, as Chomsky noted, must oppose both state and capitalism.

Opposing the latter does not mean opposing the market. Not all anarchists are communists (although most are). Capitalism is just one form of market system, one rooted in specific property rights and social relationships. For those "anarcho"-capitalists who genuinely seek a free society and still think that markets are the best way to organise an economy then the ideas of anarchist mutualism should be of interest. This is a socialist system based on "occupancy and use," where self-employed workers and co-operatives govern themselves and sell the product of their labour to their fellow workers. A society without hierarchy, exploitation and oppression -- a genuine anarchist society rather than a system of mini-states.

What will it be? Capitalism or Anarchism? As "anarcho"-capitalism itself proves, it cannot be both.
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2006, 03:09:57 am »

Bravo, Ralph! You have presented the case correctly, in my mind, and did more to flesh out the issue than my throw-away line of Anarcho-Capitalists being Republicans-in-disguise.

Interesting passage here:

"Anarchists have long argued that, as a class, workers have little choice but to "consent" to capitalist hierarchy. The alternative is either dire poverty or starvation. "Anarcho"-capitalists dismiss such claims by denying that there is such a thing as economic power. Rather, it is simply freedom of contract. [10]

Anarchists consider such claims as a joke. To show why, we need only quote Murray Rothbard on the abolition of slavery and serfdom in the 19th century. He argued, correctly, that the "bodies of the oppressed were freed, but the property which they had worked and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their former oppressors. With economic power thus remaining in their hands, the former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more of what were now free tenants or farm labourers. The serfs and slaves had tasted freedom, but had been cruelly derived of its fruits." [11"]


Which speaks directly to my unanswered questions about Property being Essential to Liberty...

1) If Property is essential to Liberty, and Property is only something you can buy, in the Capitalist system,  can something that you buy confer Liberty?

2) If it Liberty is a Commodity, is it really Liberty?

3) If a person cannot "buy" Property," how can we confer Liberty to him?


Anybody?

These questions cannot be answered by anarcho-capitalists, Libertarians, or your run-of-the-mill Republocrat. These questions are mind-poison to these folks. They'd rather not think about it. 

And this deserves a replay,also:

"Capitalism, in other words, is based on economic power, which ensures that people "consent" to be subjected to authority structures identical to those created by the state. This means that a consistent anarchist, as Chomsky noted, must oppose both state and capitalism."

What most Anarchists (save the Republican-"anarcho"-"Capitalist" types) want is an equitable, free, and just society, where basic Human Rights are respected. I don't give a crap about Property as long as everyone has access to that sacred engine of Liberty.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2006, 03:13:46 am by kid mongo »
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" Resistance to tyranny is man's highest ideal. "
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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2006, 05:34:15 am »

Quote
what most Anarchists (save the Republican-"anarcho"-"Capitalist" types) want is an equitable, free, and just society, where basic Human Rights are respected. I don't give a crap about Property as long as everyone has access to that sacred engine of Liberty.

Are there any positive obligation around human rights?

If so what are they and how are they justified?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2006, 05:38:36 am by RalphBorsodi »
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2006, 01:12:15 pm »


Are there any positive obligation around human rights?
Obviously. Ask any Humanist.

Quote
If so what are they and how are they justified?

Critics of Anarchism believe that left alone, Man would destroy civilization. Perhaps this notion is fed by by the religious idea that Man is flawed and born naturally evil. But these ideas exists in the minds of religious fundementalist all over the world. This hasn't helped civiliaztion mauch, if you ask me. 

I need not mention that the state of the world is in dire straights politically, economically, ecologically, with poverty causing many deaths by hunger and malnutrition every day. With poverty, the causes range from exploitation to fraud to suppression of these basic Human Rights. But surely, if you are a landless peasant in some Third World helleole, you probably don't have money to "buy" food, and you might be the target of some eugenic/death-squad campaign.

So, the problem concerning ibasic Human Rights, taken for granted by those living in the First World, is that the Consensus doesn't realize that these rights to access food, shelter, education, and health, are actually commodities to be purchased. I say they are not.

And if everybody on the planet had real access to these Rights, wouldn't we all benefit?

« Last Edit: April 25, 2006, 01:15:18 pm by kid mongo »
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UCCO2004

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2006, 01:14:08 pm »

KidMongo,

As someone who has read a great deal of Murray Rothbard, Roderick Long, and David Friedman, I would like to add another question to this debate:

Suppose that a group of 100 Libertarians proclaim themselves "anarcho-capitalists".  They believe in the "anarchist" concept of NO GOVERNMENT, but they also believe in the "capitalist" concepts of productive effort, selfish gain, and voluntary exchange with each other.  The description of "anarcho-capitalists" is therefore accurate.

Now, suppose that these 100 "anarcho-capitalist" Libertarians move onto an uninhabited ocean island somewhere outside the effective jurisdiction of any country on Earth, and they create an "anarcho-capitalist" settlement.  None of the 100 "anarcho-capitalist" Libertarians has a landlord, because each owns the land on which his or her house sits.  None of the 100 "anarcho-capitalist" Libertarians has a boss, because each refuses to employ others for wages or be employed by others for wages.  All of the 100 "anarcho-capitalist" Libertarians are self-employed businesspeople, operating everything from solar panels to sushi bars to medical practices, each of them exchanging voluntarily with the others for the goods and services they either do not know how to produce or do not feel like producing.

Is there anything wrong with their living arrangement?  And do you consider it anarchism?

--UCCO2004
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2006, 01:21:20 pm »


"Suppose that a group of 100 Libertarians proclaim themselves "anarcho-capitalists".  They believe in the "anarchist" concept of NO GOVERNMENT, but they also believe in the "capitalist" concepts of productive effort, selfish gain, and voluntary exchange with each other.  The description of "anarcho-capitalists" is therefore accurate."

No it is not. And you forgot "acquisition of Property."  The idea of "Ownership" would be moot in your scenario. And the idea of equtible co-existence is a worthy one. But I think maybe we have different ideas about what "Capitalism" means.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2006, 01:24:55 pm by kid mongo »
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UCCO2004

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2006, 01:29:25 pm »

KidMongo,

I believe that capitalism means, above all else, "private ownership for private profit".

I privately own my computer, and I should be allowed to use it for my private profit if I want to.

Jason privately owns his mind, and he should be allowed to use it as a psychic if he wants to.

Amanda privately owns her body, and she should be allowed to use it as a pornstar if she wants to.

[She may be offended by that suggestion, but she considers herself an "anarcho-capitalist"...]

If you own something, you get to decide what to do with it.

--UCCO2004
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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2006, 04:35:24 pm »

Quote
So, the problem concerning ibasic Human Rights, taken for granted by those living in the First World, is that the Consensus doesn't realize that these rights to access food, shelter, education, and health, are actually commodities to be purchased. I say they are not.

And if everybody on the planet had real access to these Rights, wouldn't we all benefit?

I am going to generally agree with you but draw a very careful distinction that is usually lost on most.

You are not entitled to anything provided by anyone else's labor as a positive right as that violates their right of self-ownership.

But what you are owed is free and clear access to both the natural (land for food, clothing, shelter) and social commons (knowledge for health and education) so long as your use/access does not infringe on the equal access opportunity rights of any other individual to the same.

Because if you had access to both then you could ATTEMPT to sustain your own life via your own labor.

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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2006, 04:55:07 pm »

Quote
Is there anything wrong with their living arrangement?  And do you consider it anarchism?

I would consider it individualist anarchism with a little more information on money, corporate rights and intellectual property laws but whatever it is called it will all fall apart as you add people as the supply of land is fixed and eventually the absolute rights to labor and self-ownership will be violated.
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2006, 11:56:17 pm »

KidMongo,

I believe that capitalism means, above all else, "private ownership for private profit".

I privately own my computer, and I should be allowed to use it for my private profit if I want to.

Jason privately owns his mind, and he should be allowed to use it as a psychic if he wants to.

Amanda privately owns her body, and she should be allowed to use it as a pornstar if she wants to.

[She may be offended by that suggestion, but she considers herself an "anarcho-capitalist"...]

If you own something, you get to decide what to do with it.

--UCCO2004
I'm a bit offended for Amanda. Maybe you should let her speak for herself  instead of shamelessly objectivfying her with a less than auspicious example.

So you want to make "Profit." Hey, whatever rocks your world. But do me one favor. Answer the three questions I posted repeatedly in this thread. How 'bout it?
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #56 on: April 26, 2006, 12:10:56 am »

Quote
So, the problem concerning ibasic Human Rights, taken for granted by those living in the First World, is that the Consensus doesn't realize that these rights to access food, shelter, education, and health, are actually commodities to be purchased. I say they are not.

And if everybody on the planet had real access to these Rights, wouldn't we all benefit?

I am going to generally agree with you but draw a very careful distinction that is usually lost on most.

You are not entitled to anything provided by anyone else's labor as a positive right as that violates their right of self-ownership.

But what you are owed is free and clear access to both the natural (land for food, clothing, shelter) and social commons (knowledge for health and education) so long as your use/access does not infringe on the equal access opportunity rights of any other individual to the same.

Because if you had access to both then you could ATTEMPT to sustain your own life via your own labor.



Nobody is OWED anything. Everybody is ENTITLED to the best civilization can offer. Sounds crazy? You bet! Capitalism is a dry, waterless canal which cannot sustain itself for long without further destroying the planet. Cooperation is the core value of what economic system succeeds Capitalism. All the crap we consume we take for granted. These precious resources will not last forever, and I can see wars being fought over oil and water in the near future being a distinct possibility.
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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2006, 08:56:44 am »

Quote
Nobody is OWED anything. Everybody is ENTITLED to the best civilization can offer. Sounds crazy? You bet!

If you are entitled to something then somebody must grant you permission to have it and if that something was prodoced via labor you are appropriating that persons labor.

If you are owed something it is reciprocity from having established ownership (same root as owe) of something that is to be shared equally because no person labored to create it.

Quote
Capitalism is a dry, waterless canal which cannot sustain itself for long without further destroying the planet. Cooperation is the core value of what economic system succeeds Capitalism. All the crap we consume we take for granted. These precious resources will not last forever, and I can see wars being fought over oil and water in the near future being a distinct possibility.

Yes - I agree except that I believe we have created a system of privilege that so incentivizes rent-seeking behavior via enclosure of what are common assets that thieves the labor product of those being excluded it can never tell the ecological truth about what our labor products actually costs.

That is why I am an advocate of free market anti-capitalism (mutualism).
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 08:58:28 am by RalphBorsodi »
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kid mongo

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #58 on: April 27, 2006, 12:06:06 pm »

Ralph, are you surprised that  none of the so-called "anarcho-capitalists" reading this thread won't answer my questions? 
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RalphBorsodi

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Re: Anarchists/Anarcho-capitalism
« Reply #59 on: April 27, 2006, 01:08:53 pm »

Ralph, are you surprised that  none of the so-called "anarcho-capitalists" reading this thread won't answer my questions? 

No I am not but then again you are not privy to the fact that there was a long running debate that happened on this forum between a "left" anarchist (one) and the "right" anarchists (many) that got pretty ugly and the "left" anarchist eventually got banned.

Just do a search on "Green" which was his profile name.

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?action=profile;u=3424

These forums have changed and have been changed drastically since those rip roaring times just before and just after the NH vote was taken. Many people complained that it distracted from the main mission of the FSP.

Many people moved the discussion to www.nhfree.com where you will find many people who call themselves "anarchists" but have no idea that the term described in the past people on the left.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2006, 01:21:41 pm by RalphBorsodi »
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