flipping through the “news”
“Capitalism” which we live under is oppressive due to the intervention of a coercive government.
Now tell me, if you removed the collection of power and used as force (government) would the idea of voluntary exchange still be corrupt?
You’re an AnCap, let me throw some Rothbard at you: suppose that the government is about to be dissolved, but their last act before this dissolution is to seize and hand over all of the property of Manhattan to the Rockefeller family.
Now, there’s no more GOVERNMENT, so all exchange from hence forth would be “voluntary”… but the property itself is the result of artificial privilege and injustice.
So before we can call a system of voluntary exchange “not corrupt” we have to account for injustices in the distribution of property based on the State privilege we both admit exists.
I think that overtime, it will correct itself and that possession will change hands and dilute and perhaps others will come to own a large share of property or that we might have times of equal ownership and so on. But the markets will remain in flux in terms of who actually holds money simply because life is finite and all of us have a scare amount of time in the planet.
I posit that, more or less, everything should be possessory. All property titles should be “invalidated” and be subjected to the homesteading principle or whatever, so that houses belong to occupants rather than banks, companies belong equally to laborers, all primarily taxpayer-funded projects (including roads, public hospitals, the internet infrastructure, etc) are turned over to the communities utilizing them, etc., and all vacant and unimproved land is immediately declared “unowned”.
I agree and I don’t agree. I think in our current system no one owns anything because there are still property taxes. If these taxes were finite, okay, but they aren’t. I can own a house for 150 years and I’d continue to pay property taxes, which is bullshit.
I also agree that all tax-funded assets should be returned to the public giving all that paid ownership.
But you shouldn’t dissolve property ownership simply because the events leading up to this point were corrupt. #1, that’s the core principle of libertarianism, if you want to eliminate it than you’re not a libertarian. #2 Why not give the market time to correct the previous mistakes that no longer have a corrupt system which is they only way they would be sustainable.
I mean, that’s some murky water, but you see my point. The current distribution of property is fundamentally tainted with the blood of injustice and it cannot be allowed to stand if justice is to prevail; we cannot kill the State but let remain the shadow of its artifice. It’s not a load-bearing boss and tearing it down won’t make its injustices crumble.
You’d have a point if people lived forever and never made mistakes, took risks, leveraged assets but they don’t. People are fallible and that’s why there is income mobility even in our “unjust” system that we currently live under. Yes, even millionaires and billionaires fall off their high horses, even when government helps keep them strapped in.
Now, let’s propose instead that we have this “fairness”, this “justice”.
You are asking me: if I have a loaf of bread and I want to exchange it for, like, a gold coin that you’re willing to give up, or whatever, is this system of true voluntary exchange corrupt?
Nope. I’m down with that.
BUT! That ain’t capitalism.
Yes it is. You created bread decided on a value for it, found a partner for exchange who agreed on your prescribed value and have a good or service to exchange for it. That’s capitalism.
Surprise you though it might, Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand are not the progenitors or curators of the word “capitalism”.
It was Proudhon, Marx, and others who really brought the term into its own. What they meant by the term was “a socioeconomic system where the owners of capital are in control, and obtain profits by using this control to exploit those without control”.
That’s capitalism. It is characterized by hierarchy, wage-labor, absentee-ownership, and economic exploitation.
cap·i·tal·ism/ˈkapətlˌizəm/ Noun: An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.
Not mutual exchange.
Now, if you want to redefine “capitalism” to mean “free exchange, and free exchange alone”, I guess you could say “I support capitalism”, but that is not what capitalism is generally understood to mean. You can call our economy “corporatist”, though it isn’t (corporatism is a fascist idea based on the dividing of the body politic, or “corpus”, into contingent parts such as labor, church, agriculture, investment, blehblahbluh).
If you tell me “I am against power and exploitation and in favor of free and mutual interaction”, then you and I share a philosophy.
Like I said, we agree on a lot of things. We just need to get our definitions paired out to move forward.
But, perhaps we don’t share it all the way.
Suppose, in a free society, we should see that one man, through luck or skill or anything else, has come to dominate the productive capacity in an area. We see that others, desperate to survive, are forced to turn to him by these circumstances, to be paid a wage and obey his orders to produce more wealth for him.
Do you object?
If the people wanted to, they can hold out, collectively. Force the market to come to equilibrium. But if people are willing to enter and stay static at a wage point, that’s their choice.
You can also argue that disgruntled employees are less likely to create wealth for you compared to well compensated employees. Also, without gov’t granted monopoly or a gov’t created barrier to market entry, competing businesses who don’t have the same quality of product but do provide a more attractive employment situation will be created.
I didn’t do a good job formulating this argument because I’m watching the game and my wife is talking to me about why dancers wear stupid close (don’t ask) but I hope you get my point.
Now, if he truly amassed this wealth and conditional power without any compulsion or violence, I’m not gonna go crack his skull and rob him or seize his factory or anything else.
Of course not, they earned it and are entitled to their keep.
But I will support action which frees workers from their dependency on him, whether it is the creation of a cooperative alternative, a commune, or any other system of promoting the independence and autonomy of these workers. I object to the involuntary subordination of his wage laborers; I do not believe that “work or die” is any kind of meaningful choice, and I believe greater choice should be the focus of ALL true anarchists.
But that dependence goes both ways. If they depend on him for wages than he depends on them for their labor/skill.
I think what we disagree on is that no one is forced to work somewhere just like no one is entitled to a specific job.
This isn’t work or die, it’s work or go find another thing to do to survive. But the flip side of it is hire me or find someone else who is as capable at my price level.
I do agree that sometimes the business owner has the market advantage and sometimes the laborer does. Given the specific situation, one will be in a position of power when negotiating wages. However, a business doesn’t exist in a bubble, in the market place, there are seemingly endless employment opportunities. If you can’t find a job which satisfies your income needs with a company, you can move on to another company or you can go at it on your own or you can take a job and work your way up or collectively, with other employees, ask for changes. A lot is possible.
Also, I think you’re disregarding the fact that those business owners don’t maintain monopolies forever (let alone live forever, as discussed). In fact, if you study corporate life spans, most are no different than humans, they grow, maintain and then decline and eventually disappear. How many 100 year old companies exist today, even with the corrupt gov’t-business relationships? What about 200? 300? What about the other way, how many actually last an entire decade? 20 years? 50 years?
Businesses come and go, even with artificial capital infusion. This is a fact.
I don’t think it’s sufficient to simply handwave the circumstances as “voluntary” because “this proto-capitalist hasn’t coerced anyone”; perhaps he has not, but his workers are still getting a bum deal and they deserve better, and conscious and active anarchists should be working to change that.
So my critique of capitalism beyond the State is twofold: first, that the system of power and privilege will be perpetuated long after the coercion stops unless it is corrected, and two that even when a weakened form of that privilege emerges in a truly free and just society, it should be combated, not in a way that harms the emergent proto-capitalist forcefully but in a way that offers greater choice and freedom to those who have become dependent on him.
If you’re down with those two critiques… you’re an anarcho-“capitalist” who is just stuck on a problematic word and there’s hope for you yet, and not an “anarcho”-capitalist who is hopelessly devoid of any common sense.
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- negropean said: ~BUT CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS WROTE A BOOK CRITICIZING ISRAEL. THAT INVALIDATES UR POINT~
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- luchadoreofliberty said: read electronic news. television news is for advertising and ratings.