11 October 2008

Pillar Perfect: Commentary on an irrational interpretation of anarcho-capitalism

one dollar bill burnt istock photo anarchy
This is a commentary on a post by a self-styled anarchist. You can find the entire post here: Pillage Perfect.

I have taken quotations from that page for commentary, much like I did for the tragically lacklustre Serj essay.


As it stands, my understanding is that Anarcho-Capitalists believe that no business shall be regulated by laws, however the Rule of Law would still apply to individuals.

As it stands, my understanding of anarchism is that nobody shall be regulated by a government. The free market is allowed to operate freely, because all affairs of man should be determined by the entities (be they individuals or businesses) concerned on a voluntary basis.

There is no clear definition of anarcho-capitalism used in this post - not even an outside link for reference. The closest to a definition this post gets is the above.

Contrast this definition with a standard definition of anarcho-capitalism, namely a society without any government where the free market rules. The private sector would enforce law. Note that natural law would still apply to both businesses and individuals. The differences are that the law industry is privatised and not ruled by a central monopoly like the state, and that economic practices are not artificially regulated.

Also note that the absence of government is precisely the scenario that anarchism suggests. Anarchism is defined as a society where government is abolished. To criticise Anarcho-Capitalism for not having a regulating agency like the government is to criticise the basic tenet of anarchy of any flavour.


History has shown us that businesses, corporations, land owners (the original "business owners" pre-capitalism), and the like are not, in fact, prone to ethical behavior. If they were, slavery would never have existed. Child labor would never have come about, and worker's rights would never have been an issue.


Capitalism is a system where property is privately owned and where the basic means of production is privately owned. For a business owner – original or not – to exist, capitalism is an a priori.

The original business owners pre-capitalism? That's a contradiction. There can be no business owners pre-capitalism, because owning a private business implies that capitalism is already established.

If one looks at the history of businesses, corporations and land owners, one finds no clear conclusion as to their propensity for ethical behaviour.

The Enron scandal is often sited as an example of the horrors of an unregulated market. This is nothing but an argument from ignorance. Picture a scenario where governments regulate markets absolutely. Would Enron be bankrupt today? No, of course not. They would still be up and running, with no stockholder any wiser as to their dirty tactics.

South Africa's Eskom is an example of the horrors of a regulated market, where competition is kept out and monopolies are kept in place by the divine rule of the government. In an unregulated market, Eskom would - just like Enron - be bankrupt today for exactly the same reason, namely selling commodities they did not have.

In short, having a massive corporation like Enron go bankrupt for not playing nice is an argument for deregulation, and not an argument for regulation. A company that doesn't deliver the goods should go bankrupt, like Enron did. A company that is friendly with the government does not go bankrupt in a regulated economy.

Slavery is a system whereby persons are deprived of personal freedom (including property rights) and forced to perform labour or services. Note that slavery is a pre-capitalist era practice. In fact, depriving individuals of private property rights is the first requisite for slavery to take hold. As a notion that brought about private ownership, capitalism actually brought the end of slavery.

Capitalism is not a system where human beings are held as property. Historically, big businesses and corporations never kept slaves. In fact, big businesses and corporations only came into being with a large dose of deregulation after the Industrial Revolution. Less government control gave rise to more individual autonomy, which gave rise to private ownership.

Slavery thrives in conditions where there are few land owners and a low level of technological development. This is precisely the kind of conditions which are a result of socialism. In African society, which has never been noted for its high level of private ownership nor its high level of technological development, African tribes such as Ashanti of Ghana and the Yoruba of Nigeria historically relied solely on slave trade.

Note that without a government, there would be no slave trade. The slave trade became established when slaves were captured and sold between African governments and their mostly Spanish and Portuguese counterparts. It is thus inaccurate to presume land ownership and slavery go hand in hand, as historically the exact opposite rings true.

In a society where you own the means of your productive capabilities and the means to sell them in a voluntary way, worker rights can never become an issue.

Of course, monopolies are good for the giant business that succeeds at crushing out the competition, but it is inherently bad for individuals, and yes, small businesses.

Not necessarily. A monopoly that is artificially kept in place is bad for everyone. Monopolies do however come and go when they are subjected to the laws of a free market, and by extension the law of supply and demand, as the Enron scandal showed.

A monopoly that is not regulated is actually good for individuals, and yes, small businesses, because of the resulting gaps in the market and because nobody can be kept out of the market by regulation.

There is a huge difference between a monopoly as part of a business cycle and a monopoly that is artificially created and kept in place by regulation. The former is inevitable and transient, the latter is artificial and leads to bad things like a credit crunch. Regulation doesn't solve business cycle problems, it only prolongs them and makes their impact worse.

Taxation is, actually, the largest group plan with the greatest group rate available. Regardless of your opinion about how budgets are made, and if we should have more say in how our taxes are used, you can't argue that the benefits of taxes give us the best bang for our buck.

You could, actually. We are agreed that artificial monopolies are bad? Then we have to conclude that a monopoly of taxation is bad, as it is monopolised by the government. We already established that private ownership leads to personal freedom and wealth. We already established that slavery is a state where your means of production is owned by someone else. How is taxation different? Does the end justify the means? That's like looking at the majestic pyramids and saying slavery is a good idea, because it gets results.

Anarcho-capitalism argues for private ownership of services like law and security precisely because it believes private ownership would greatly increase the efficacy of these services.

The main idea of anarcho-capitalism is to ensure that our governance becomes subject to the rules of perfect competition. This implies that we do not have one centralised government monopolising certain services, but many buyers and sellers who offer the same services, thus resulting in many substitutes for the government.


But who will pay for all of these services? You will! On a higher cost, single payer rate to a privatized company. Leaving the vast majority of people who cannot afford these services out in the cold, and with no access to programs that defend or protect their human rights.


Not exactly. We already established that competition is bad for monopolies, but good for us as individual consumers and small businesses. Instead of a government granting a tender to a company based on favour, tenders would be based on pure economic matters such as cost effectiveness and service delivery. Since there is no monopoly of your tax money and taxation is voluntary, the rates would actually go down (more competition, remember?).

Even if the rates go up, there would be more means to create wealth. In effect, escalating rates would have less effect on the average Joe on the street, because the average Joe on the street would be more wealthy.

Consider the state of the average Chinese person, where the government artificially keeps rates low, with the state of the average Hongkonger, who is largely subjected to the laws of the free market. The average Chinese person still can't afford the subsidised rates, yet the average Hongkonger can afford their largely exorbitant rates.

Since there is more competition, there would be more programs that defend or protect human rights. This means those who cannot afford these services in a monopolised system, would be more likely to afford them in a system with more competition – or start their own such systems!


To whom will the poor complain to about dangerous working conditions? To whom will the employees complain to about not being paid fairly, or at all? To whom will the workers turn to to stop exploitation? Will they complain to the company? Ha! The company will simply fire them, end of problem. Then what will they do?


This is based on several flawed assumptions. Some of these include:
  1. The poor necessarily have dangerous working conditions.

  2. Employees have no way to raise grievances in a system without regulation.

  3. Workers necessarily get exploited and companies will not hear these grievances unless they are required by regulation to do so.

Naturally, in a system with no regulation and thus more competition, for a monopoly to take root would be far more difficult than merely adhering to government regulation and getting on the good side of the one big monopoly.

Secondly, if a worker has grievances, such a worker has several other competitors for which he could work. Besides, we already established that an anarcho-capitalist system prescribes private ownership of property and the means of production – in other words, precisely the private rights that we are without in a centrally controlled or regulated economy. The law in such a system would not collapse, merely the system whereby the government determines law by its own decree and interpretation of the law.

Thirdly, since all workers privately own the means of their production and the fruits of their labour, exploitation can not occur without mutual consent. This is not the case in a regulated system, where you are often forced to belong to a labour union or pension plan against your will or better judgement. Again, the end does not justify the means.


Would this not then, put the corporations into the position of power known as the State? If they are creating, enforcing, and interpreting law, as well as controlling currency (and said value), creating and enforcing policies regarding individuals, does this not make the corporations a government by default?


It simply cannot, because there are no regulations which would grant sanctity or immunity to any one controlling agency. Any such a state would have to remain in place by remaining the most cost effective and delivering the best possible service for the price we as individuals are voluntarily contributing, amidst competition from other suppliers.

We have already seen that – contrary to the interpretation here – anarcho-capitalism is not about the abolishment of individual rights. Instead of promoting one agency to protect individual rights, anarcho-capitalists promote the competition of several such agencies to provide this service.

The poor will actually become poorer, and everyone knows that poverty breeds crime, so they will now be wide open for further victimization, by default. We had might as well close the poor communities in, and spray paint a giant bullseye and an "Open for Pillaging" sign on the walls.

Again, several flawed assumptions in this paragraph, namely:
  • The poor will become poorer.

  • Everyone knows that poverty breeds crime.

  • The poor will get pillaged by the wealthy.


The poor cannot become poorer. You can't take something away from someone who has nothing.

There is no direct link between socio-economic circumstances and crime. There is more evidence to suggest a link between innate intelligence and criminal activity, and broken homes and criminal activity, than between socio-economic circumstances and crime. Everyone simply does not agree on what causes crime and it is misleading to suggest this. It is mere speculation at best.

This paragraph suggests that the wealthy have nothing better to do with their time than to pillage the poor. It is suggested that the poor are lead to crime due to their socio-economic circumstances. If this were true, we would have to hold the converse to be true, namely that desirable socio-economic circumstances would completely get rid of crime. This implies that the wealthy – with advantageous socio-economic circumstances – would not be criminals. Since the wealthy would be the only class who is not inside the closed poor communities, they are the only class who would be in a position to pillage the poor. But then, the supposed cause of the criminal intent of the wealthy is non-existent, because they are in comfortable socio-economic circumstances.

I believe the contradictions are clear.

For all of the complaints about government restrictions on businesses, I read them while shaking my head. Let's look at these restrictions, minimum wage, any business complaining about minimum wage is an admission of guilt, of sorts, of wanting to pay employees less than the minimum amount.

This implies that minimum wage is determined objectively and fairly. For a business to complain about minimum wage is not an admission of anything.

In economies where labour laws are stringent, we find that it is more difficult to find work. This is the case in South Africa, were the desperately poor are not allowed to be hired legally by a business who honestly can't afford minimum wage. A bad job is better than no job. Minimum wages and labour laws keep a large contingent of people outside of the labour market.

If we look to history, what we see is that excessive poverty, plus excessive wealth equals market meltdown.

At what level does wealth become excessive? I can understand that any level of poverty is excessive, but certainly the precise definition of wealth as the state of having a plentiful supply of material goods and money implies excess.

This is actually an admission of guilt: labourers want a plentiful supply of material goods and money by virtue of the fact that they do not understand how someone who works smarter instead of harder is more wealthy. They see surplus, and they want some of that surplus, by nook or by crook. This is a logical fallacy based on the notion of positive rights.

In economics, excessive wealth is an amount of wealth that is accumulated by a person or group that goes so far above the normal amount of wealth it can no longer reasonably be used to purchase items, and thus, sustain an economic market. In other words, the uber-wealthy can only buy so many products, and when they stop buying products because they already have everything, their wealth becomes useless, thus excessive.

Yet more contradictions. In a society where the majority of people live in poverty and the minority is wealthy, any amount of wealth is above the normal level of wealth.

It is also a misnomer to suggest that money in the bank is useless or excessive. We all know how money in the bank contributes to keeping inflation low, because the money supply is down. Less inflation means that the poor do not become poorer (for lack of a better expression), because the value of their money doesn't drop. It follows that a society with the excessively wealthy is actually supporting those in excessive poverty, even if they never spend all their wealth, because they support the overall value of currency.

Historically speaking, those who earned unthinkable amounts of money on their own steam actually dispersed their wealth in reasonable ways before they passed away. Andrew Carnegie is perhaps the most famous example. Bill Gates is another such an example, as is his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

If the poor don't have enough money to continue putting currency into the market, and the wealthy have nothing to buy, what you have is a market failure

Market failure results when optimal allocation of a resources is not attained. It is important to note the difference between optimal allocation and mere allocation as in sharing among everyone with a need for that resource.

In some cases, market failure is a result of minimum wages. Because employers are expected to pay x amount for wages, regardless of what the market demand for the performed labour is, we have a supply of labour without a demand for that labour. This is a market failure, because labour is a resource which is not allocated optimally. Labour is shared, as in allocated indiscriminately, without giving heed to supply and demand.

It is thus a misnomer that market failure implies that a resource like money is hogged by one particular group of a society, because the opposite does not necessarily imply optimal allocation of that resource. Market failure implies an allocation of resources which is not optimal, and has nothing to do with the wealthy with nothing to buy, or the poor with no money to spend.

Because of the law of supply and demand, the prices of goods and services would fluctuate. This means that such an equilibrium, where the poor have nothing to spend and the wealthy have nothing to spend on, is not an undesirable nor permanent state. It also does not imply a market failure.

Either that, or the people pushed into poverty will not try to "climb ladders" but rather stage a revolution, and put a stop to it, anyway.

And cause everyone to be poor. Revolutions like these merely put a stop to wealth, and not to poverty. The good kind of revolution is the kind that takes an economy away from centralised regulation towards a free market. The examples are too many to list. For recent examples, start with Poland and Ireland. For older examples, start with Germany and Austria.

Capitalism should never, under any circumstances, exist without the checks and balances of a State. Which is why Anarchists oppose both State and Capitalism, because the two are linked at the hip.

Actually capitalism and the notion of a state as a controlling enterprise are irreconcilable. To suggest that they are joined at the hip testifies of ignorance with regards to the role of the state and a basic definition of capitalism.

There is also a clear contradiction in claiming to be an anarchist, who calls for the abolishment of the state, and then calling for the regulation of an economic practice like capitalism by a state-like entity. The closest anarchism has come to answering this question is with the minarchism movement, which acknowledges that we do need a state. Kinda doesn't make it anarchy then, which explains why they called it something else.

"No gods, no masters. Against all authority"

While sloganeering like this is likely to impress Che Guevara fans, it is irrational to claim that capitalism should be regulated, then claiming that one is against any gods or masters or authority.

If capitalism is to be regulated, it implies an authority that could regulate it. What makes one an anarchist then, if one calls for such regulation? Isn't a capitalist by definition an anarchist?

12 comments:

Anok said...

I only have time to address a portion of the essay right now, but I'll be back for more ;)

As it stands, my understanding of anarchism is that nobody shall be regulated by a government. The free market is allowed to operate freely, because all affairs of man should be determined by the entities (be they individuals or businesses) concerned on a voluntary basis.

That's true, but Anarchism also rejects capitalism as a defacto State, and thus, the capitalistic system would abolished with Governments. The "free market" would then be turned into smaller collaborative efforts on a gift or barter economy.

There is no clear definition of anarcho-capitalism used in this post - not even an outside link for reference. The closest to a definition this post gets is the above.

Actually, I used, and linked to, the Rothbard essays on the Mises institute page directly. So are you saying you disagree with Rothbard's definition of Anarcho Capitalism?

Also note that the absence of government is precisely the scenario that anarchism suggests. Anarchism is defined as a society where government is abolished. To criticise Anarcho-Capitalism for not having a regulating agency like the government is to criticise the basic tenet of anarchy of any flavour.

And again, Anarchism rejects any State, economic and government alike. Anarchists routinely accept that if one exists, so too must the other to avoid a Fascist state. Only Anarcho-capitalists believe that you can have one without the other.

The original business owners pre-capitalism? That's a contradiction. There can be no business owners pre-capitalism, because owning a private business implies that capitalism is already established.

Are you saying that Kings, and Nobles did not own land and "businesses" and enforce Feudalism as the main economic practice? They had no private ownership - ever - prior to Capitalism? Really?

The Enron scandal is often sited as an example of the horrors of an unregulated market.

I did not state Enron as a major critique of unregulated markets, but it isn't a horrible example, either.

South Africa's Eskom is an example of the horrors of a regulated market, where competition is kept out and monopolies are kept in place by the divine rule of the government.

A totally regulated economy isn't good either, and I never said otherwise. When you have a total marriage of government and Capitalism you have Fascism - regardless of whether or not the government is running it, or the businesses are. Do you think your corporations there would act anymore ethically if all laws were suddenly dispensed with?

Slavery is a system whereby persons are deprived of personal freedom (including property rights) and forced to perform labour or services. Note that slavery is a pre-capitalist era practice.

Amazingly enough, capitalism didn't spring up after slavery was abolished. Capitalism was the economic premise in the US prior to the abolishment of slavery.

Are you saying that plantation owners, bankers, lenders, railroad tycoons et al did not exist, and, did not own slaves?

Really?


As a notion that brought about private ownership, capitalism actually brought the end of slavery

You need to take another look at history, FP. Capitalism did not end slavery at all. A civil war, and proclamation by a president did.

Historically, big businesses and corporations never kept slaves.

Feudalism (Capitalism's forerunner) kept slaves, and, in the US under capitalism railroad companies used slaves, plantation owner used slaves, etc and so forth. Slaves were used as household help by wealthy owners of businesses and so forth. Do you deny the existence of this?

In a society where you own the means of your productive capabilities and the means to sell them in a voluntary way, worker rights can never become an issue.

you mean, like the abysmal working conditions and human rights atrocities committed by big businesses in the US prior to the 1930's?

Are you saying there was no slavery, no child labor, no abuse of workers, no unsafe working conditions? Ever?

You need to look at history, FP.

The US economy has been eth closest to unregulated capitlaism as tehre ever was - and it failed msierabley, and teh government had to step in because people were not earning enough to live, children were being worked to death, and work conditions were so nasty that workers were sick and sying, they lost limbs and fingers due to teh conditions of tehir work with no legal recourse or safe guards pu tinto place.

Matter of fat, US companies are still using migrant (illegal) workers and paying them below minimum wages, if at all. Right now, to this day. Right here, in the US. By giant companies.

That is reality, FP.

Not necessarily. A monopoly that is artificially kept in place is bad for everyone. Monopolies do however come and go when they are subjected to the laws of a free market, and by extension the law of supply and demand, as the Enron scandal showed.

The monoploies in the US were never artificially kept into place - and had to be forcefully disbanded by law.

Although you are right about one thing, at some point, something will or could happen to a giant company that would force it to crash and burn - and so too, will our economy. This is not a good thing. Self regulation in a a dangerous cycle of massive highs and serious crashes does nothing for a country it's economy, and certainly not it's inhabitants.

There is a huge difference between a monopoly as part of a business cycle and a monopoly that is artificially created and kept in place by regulation.

And again, you need to take another look at the giant monopolies created in the US - without regulations in place.

They exist, they happen without a State, and with a State, and companies do everything in their power to remain the top without competition.

There isn't a company out there that likes competition. Competition hurts their bottom line, and threatens their existence.

I'll be back to look at the rest of the article, which, so far, has not even proved to be historically accurate, or economically factual.

Garg the Unzola said...

That's true, but Anarchism also rejects capitalism as a defacto State, and thus, the capitalistic system would abolished with Governments. The "free market" would then be turned into smaller collaborative efforts on a gift or barter economy.

You can't call for the abolishment of government (like anarchism does), then claim that there will be some government-like institute in place to check capitalism. Woops!

Gift or barter economies are not a good idea, because you can't go back to being a child once you've reached adulthood. We simply can't go back to a barter or gift economy, because the world is more complex than trading home made pies and home grown food. It's naive to think that most people would choose to collaborate in such a manner. I for one would not.

Zimbabwe is next door from me. What do you think happened when their economy collapsed? They have a thriving black market, which relies largely on bartering. Are they happy people? Judging by the amount of Zimbabweans flooding out of Zimbabwe, I would have to say that a barter economy leaves much to be desired.

Actually, I used, and linked to, the Rothbard essays on the Mises institute page directly. So are you saying you disagree with Rothbard's definition of Anarcho Capitalism?

You link to part 12 of Rothbard's "For a New Liberty", which deals with the public sector. It does not contain Rothbard's definition of anarcho-capitalism.

This is from your link:
"The point is that the government has no rational way to make these allocations. The government only knows that it has a limited budget. Its allocations of funds are then subject to the full play of politics, boon­doggling, and bureaucratic inefficiency, with no indication at all as to whether the police department is serving the consumers in a way respon­sive to their desires or whether it is doing so efficiently. The situation would be different if police services were supplied on a free, competitive market."

This is a Murray Rothbard quote:
"Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism."

Here is the interview with Rothbard, where he also claims:

"As far as I'm concerned, and I think the rest of the movement, too, we are anarcho-capitalists. In other words, we believe that capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism. Not only are they compatible, but you can't really have one without the other. True anarchism will be capitalism, and true capitalism will be anarchism."

It is thus clear that your definition of anarcho-capitalism and Rothbard's definition of anarcho-capitalism are incompatible, which makes your post a straw man argument.

And again, Anarchism rejects any State, economic and government alike. Anarchists routinely accept that if one exists, so too must the other to avoid a Fascist state. Only Anarcho-capitalists believe that you can have one without the other.

But your anarchism does not reject a state-like body which would exist to keep checks on capitalism in place? Enough of that, I'm sure you get the picture.

A fascist state is a socialist dictatorship. Since anarcho-capitalism opposes any centrally controlled state or economy, a fascist state is impossible.

Since your anarchism allows private ownership, provided that one does with your private property or enterprise exactly what the government allows you to do with it, your anarchism and fascism sound very much alike.

Are you saying that Kings, and Nobles did not own land and "businesses" and enforce Feudalism as the main economic practice? They had no private ownership - ever - prior to Capitalism? Really?

Feudalism was not a capitalist practice. Feudalism was a barter economy whereby warriors exchanged their military services for land rights as allowed by the king.

It is thus not private ownership of land, it is land privileges granted to you in exchange for military and other services. If the king decided that the country needed all your apples during war times, you had no say in the matter, despite living and working on the land and despite already having paid for such privileges with your service.

To compare feudalism and capitalism is comparing apples and oranges.

You need to take another look at history, FP. Capitalism did not end slavery at all. A civil war, and proclamation by a president did.

It might hold true in America, but there's an entire world outside of America where neither a civil war, nor a proclamation by a president ended slavery.

Slavery was abolished at different times and for various reasons in different parts of the world.

Feudalism (Capitalism's forerunner) kept slaves, and, in the US under capitalism railroad companies used slaves, plantation owner used slaves, etc and so forth. Slaves were used as household help by wealthy owners of businesses and so forth. Do you deny the existence of this?

Feudalism and capitalism have nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with each other.

Slavery was largely a government run trade. Those wealthy owners and businesses you refer to were government officials, or government regulated enterprises, not privately owned businesses.

And again, you need to take another look at the giant monopolies created in the US - without regulations in place.

Strange, because Lysander Spooner tried to start his own postage company in the time you claim there was no regulation. Guess what? The government stopped him.

There has always been regulation! It seems that your brand of anarchy, with the absence of state yet with the regulation of capitalism is exactly what we currently have.

Anok said...

FP sweetie - what part of all or nothing do you not understand?

It's either you have two forms of State - government and economic to balance each other out and keep each other in check - or you have neither.

One without the other equals the consolidation of both economy and government, which is the definition of Fascism.

And you really, really need to go back over your history lessons. Feudalism is the forerunner of capitalism - and yes, feudalists privately owned their land - the people who worked the lands did not own it - the "payed rent" with their crops, and the noble/owner left them enough to live on, and that was it.

That's the same thing as capitalism, without the stock market. You have wealthy and upper eltiate or social aristocracy who own the means of productrion, an dteh workers who "earn" their keep by way of manking teh products that keep teh owner in business.

Same thing, with single currency instead of barter.

Listen, I know you're smarter than this. I know you know history, I know you understand greater ramifications. I'm not going to debate this with you however, if you pull the same kind of arguments out as the other ancaps have.

Which is to utetrly ignore history.

And, "Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism." as a definition is like saying a rose is the fullest expression of red and red is the fullest expression of a rose. That doesn't tell you jack about any of it, except that roses and red go together, no matter how poetic.

The explanations of how a rose grows, and what makes it different via details, however, is the definition. And what I posted IS the details. It i the framework, and the plan.

Furthermore, Anarchism is almost EXPLICITLY about equality. The very roots and foundations of anarchy is equality. Inequality is inherent in the capitalistic system, ergo, it cannot be the fullest realization of Anarchism whatsoever.

The two definitions directly contradict each other.

And one more thing - because for whatever reason you seem to negate, ignore, or not comprehend the privatization of legal system, LAW enforcement, and lawyers etc...Anarcho-capitalism, as described by Rothbard still engages in a rule of law - and not a natural one. It still requires the law of contracts, privet property laws, laws regarding social ethics and safety. Only this time, the laws governing people are controlled by businesses, and not an elected government body.

Which is Fascism.

You don't have to take my word on it, just re-read Rothbard's essays. He goes into great detail abotu the private sector would take over all functions of goevrnment and law.

That is, by definition, Fascism.

Oh, and, economists are and have been walking farther and farther away from the ideologies of a totally "free market" for a couple of year now, if not longer.

Including David Friedman, who know has publicly endorsed Obama - and his economic plan (which is a mixed economy - like all of the other developed countries have adopted).

That says a lot.

We've seen two large crashes now due to the deregulation of companies who cannot control themselves. It's not the way to go.

Garg the Unzola said...

It's either you have two forms of State - government and economic to balance each other out and keep each other in check - or you have neither.

One without the other equals the consolidation of both economy and government, which is the definition of Fascism.


Let's see what the definition of fascism is:
"A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism." (From Latin American history - Terms and definitions)

"A political philosophy that became predominant in Italy and then Germany during the 1920s and 1930s; attacked weakness of democracy, corruption of capitalism; promised vigorous foreign and military programs; undertook state control of economy to reduce social friction." (From occawonline)

"A political system that glorifies the nation, minimizes individual rights, and operates through an autocratic central government that tightly controls all economics, political, and social behavior. In the 1930s and 1940s, the term applied to governments under Benito Mussolini in Italy, Adolf Hitler in Germany, and Francisco Franco in Spain. " (From chuckallen)

It is thus clear that no fascist government ever had a free market. It follows that no fascist regime could have been based on capitalism, since capitalism relies on individual property rights, and fascism denies these for the collective greater good - in other words, fascism keeps every member of a chosen group equal.

Any economist who is 'moving away' from a free market is in fact condoning fascism.

By the way, David Friedman is an anarcho-capitalist economist who is part of the Chicago School. You don't get much more free market than that. I suggest you read his 'Machinery of Freedom' to understand how a stateless society - that is, how anarchy - would work.

Feudalism is the forerunner of capitalism - and yes, feudalists privately owned their land - the people who worked the lands did not own it - the "payed rent"[sic] with their crops, and the noble/owner left them enough to live on, and that was it.

I believe the contradictions in this paragraph are clear.

And, "Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism." as a definition is like saying a rose is the fullest expression of red and red is the fullest expression of a rose. That doesn't tell you jack about any of it, except that roses and red go together, no matter how poetic.

It tells you plenty about capitalism and anarchy, if you consider that capitalism relies on private ownership of land and production. If you consider that the government usually limits ownership or means of production, then capitalism and anarchy are virtually the same thing. No matter how un-poetic.

You simply can not have anarchy without capitalism.

A more accurate expression would be that a rose is the fullest expression of flower.

We've seen two large crashes now due to the deregulation of companies who cannot control themselves. It's not the way to go.

Deregulation did not cause either crash.

Deregulation did not cause either crash.

The first crash was caused by the Federal Reserve who pumped money into the system, creating a credit boom, then refused to bail out the economy when things got tough. It's regulation that caused the credit-driven boom in the first place.

The recent crash was caused by - you guessed it - the government pumping money into the system to ensure that each person can be 'equal' and own a house. Of course, not everyone was credit worthy, meaning they couldn't pay their rates. This forced the government-subsidised realty companies to seize the property, which wasn't good property to begin with, meaning they sat with lots of debt that didn't get paid and lots of property that didn't get sold. Hello, credit crunch.

It's abundantly clear that government intervention in the economy prolonged and exaggerated both crashes.

David Friedman said...

"Including David Friedman, who know has publicly endorsed Obama - and his economic plan (which is a mixed economy - like all of the other developed countries have adopted)."

Utter nonsense. As you can easily check by looking at my blog, what I said was that I thought Obama was the least bad candidate--that was back when Clinton was still in the race, so the comparison included her and McCain. I also said that I wasn't planning to vote for him.

I haven't "endorsed" Obama and I certainly haven't endorsed his economic plan, whatever that may be.

For my comments on Obama see:

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/search?q=Obama

Anok said...

From the Times:

Professor David Friedman describes himself as a “classic liberal”, who had a lively intellectual upbringing as the son of Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher’s economic guru.

“I hope Obama wins,” he said. “President Bush has clearly been a disaster from the standpoint of libertarians and conservatives because he has presided over an astonishing rise in government spending.”

Friedman believes Obama’s economic advisers, such as Austan Goolsbee and Jason Fur-man, a new appointee who has defended the giant Wal-Mart superstore chain for supplying cheap goods to the poor, “have new ideas about what it means to be on the left in a free market economy”.

He suspects that Obama is sympathetic to school vouchers, a key demand for supporters of a free market in education, although the Illinois senator kept quiet about them while wooing Democratic activists in the primaries.

Obama was clearly “uncomfortable” about compelling people to buy health insurance, Friedman noted, unlike Clinton, who attacked him mercilessly on the subject in the course of the Democratic election campaign.

Friedman has also been appalled by the erosion of civil liberties under Bush and remains a harsh critic of the Iraq war. So was his father, who died in 2006 at the age of 94. “I was under the impression he was not very happy with the Bush administration and, like me, thought the Iraq war was a mistake,” he said.


Were you lying?

Anok said...

FP - after reading what you had to say about the right to live hinged - or was second place to the right of someone to make money or own property, I understand your economic opinion fully. And I no longer have much respect for your opinions.

A person's right to live does not come second place to the acquisition or attainment, or maintainment of property and money simply because they are an immigrant. That is not just bigoted xenophobia, that it the kind of utter greed that compels large companies to go into other countries and use child and slave labor to make their products. Like, you know, Walmart.

Your insistence that these human rights issues don't exist and capitalism refuses to use it is an utter lie, as you seem to think, by way of your latest comments that these lives don't take precedence of the greasing of economic wheels and attainment of property and money.

If you think that money is more important people, then just come out and say it, don't' hide behind the false ideology that capitalism will save everyone. As we have seen, it doesn't.

And no, Anarchism - which DOES NOT recognize private ownership, does not match up with capitalism. Of course, you'd have to know what Anarchism actually means, which is clear you don't.

And yes, when capitalism takes over the functions of a government, it becomes a government, thus it is both the economy and the government of which the people have no right to redress their grievances and no legal recourse unless they have money.

That is Fascism.

If you want fascism and human suffering because you think you might be fortunate enough to be one of the few making money and living a life of luxury, you go on ahead and try it.

But leave the rest of the rational and compassionate world alone to live and prioritize according to human need and no t greed.

Garg the Unzola said...

A person's right to live does not come second place to the acquisition or attainment, or maintainment of property and money simply because they are an immigrant.

That's a different topic of discussion.

Anyway, you clearly misunderstood.

Allow me to say that I agree with you, except that I believe none of any person's fundamental rights are negotiable. This means all of those rights, namely the right to live, the right to own property, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness, the right to freedom of speech and the right to self-defence, are non-negotiable for all and sundry - including immigrants.

When it comes to illegal immigrants, I do not believe they have any rights to property, services or the pursuit of happiness in a foreign country. They essentially jumped the gun, and should be deported to their own countries while being educated in the correct procedure to apply for rightful entry into a country where they haven't contributed in any meaningful way before they actually set foot in that country.

I never said nor implied that they default on any of their rights. I implied that they are infringing on other people's fundamental rights as long as they are illegal immigrants. They have to go through the system chosen by the people of that country to obtain rightful, legal and legitimate entry into that country. After they achieved that, they should enjoy the full benefits of the people of that country.

I hope you understand now. None of these basic rights are negotiable for anyone. The topic there was whether I believed that health care is a human right. I do not.

Health care is a service and you should get what you pay for.

I believe if you can't pay your own way, you should croak. You deserve to croak. Getting something for free is not a right, but a privilege. You can stake no legitimate claim on such a service.

Just to be perfectly clear: I do not have anything against a voluntary charity that is providing health care free of charge to the needy. I am merely opposed to the notion that benefiting from charity or human goodwill is a right.

And no, Anarchism - which DOES NOT recognize private ownership, does not match up with capitalism.

You can't have anarchism that does not recognise private ownership. Such a system is a feudal system, which is not capitalism(which relies on private ownership of property and the means of production, namely those who work the land has to own the land or at least work voluntarily, and still own their labour and the fruit thereof, which was not the case in feudal times) and certainly not anarchism (which is a society without a government).

If you had a government who owned the land that people worked on, you'd have feudalism. Not anarchy, not capitalism, but feudalism.

Of course, you'd have to know what Anarchism actually means, which is clear you don't.

With due respect, your version of anarchism is fascism.

And yes, when capitalism takes over the functions of a government, it becomes a government, thus it is both the economy and the government of which the people have no right to redress their grievances and no legal recourse unless they have money.

Fascism requires central control of the economy along with a dictator. A dictator requires centralised control. This is what Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe was a British colony which declared its independence quite a while ago. The British government had a stiff upper lip over the affair, but they managed to practice a good dose of capitalism - not entirely unregulated, but more or less a free market - and thanks to privately owned enterprise, managed to withstand the coup d'etat of Robert Mugabe.

Then, Robert Mugabe centralised the economy and socialised the privately owned agricultural industry.

Let's be perfectly clear here: they had a capitalist system, during which Zimbabwe was known as the bread basket of Africa. For all intents and purposes, capitalism did lead to freedom for Zimbabweans.

Then, Robert Mugabe brought your brand of anarchy, with its centrally controlled and regulated economy. This destroyed their wealthy capitalist class, which is I believe what you call for, and lead Zimbabwe back to a barter economy, which I believe you think is a bright idea too.

The only difference between your brand of anarchism and Robert Mugabe's fascism is his nationalistic tendencies.

I have seen no definition of anarchism in any standard reference work which claims that anarchism is a system whereby you have a governing body that regulated the economy to prevent capitalism, or private ownership.

Without exception, anarchism is defined as a system without a government. The lack of government makes it anarchism. You simply can't have a government in the picture and still call it anarchism. That's like saying you have a democracy without voting.

Garg the Unzola said...

If you want fascism and human suffering because you think you might be fortunate enough to be one of the few making money and living a life of luxury, you go on ahead and try it.

I do not want fascism. This is why I am opposed to a centralised economy and why I am all for the maximum rational amount of individual liberty possible.

This includes the right to make shitloads of money of that is what makes you happy. It also includes the right to give away your medical services for free, if that's what makes you happy. It also includes the right to tattoo the inside of your eyelids or commit suicide, if that's what makes you happy, because these do not infringe on other people's fundamental rights.

It does however infringe on other people's rights if I claim everyone has the right to minimum wage or universal health care.

But leave the rest of the rational and compassionate world alone to live and prioritize according to human need and no t greed.

That is just plain irrational. It is just plain wrong to go according to human needs, because what is your standard for determining human need? You can't.

Secondly, that creates the impression that your need somehow entitles you to certain benefits. It simply can't. A cannibal has the need to eat flesh. Is this a virtue? Is this a need that should be considered?

A kleptomaniac has the need to steal your stuff. Should you take this need into consideration?

I have the need to have a job. Is this a realistic measure of my fitness for a job?

There is a system based entirely on need you might like. It quite resembles your version of anarchy: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need". That system was communism. In sheer body count, capitalism has nothing on communism.

Ask yourself this: how many people suffered in Zimbabwe when they were almost capitalist? How many people do you think are suffering in Zimbabwe now that they are under a centrally controlled economy with an inflation rate of more than 2 million?

The facts simply refute your pipe dream of the evil capitalists who lack compassion and who are stealing their wealth from the poor.

Anok said...

Needs and wants are two different things.

Humans have inalienable rights - such as the right to live if they so choose to.

They have real needs such as food, water, and shelter.

They have the right not to be oppressed, used or abused.

They have the right to worship whatever entity they want to.

They have the right to be loved, and not neglected.

They have the right to clean water, untainted food sources, clean air and safe shelters and work conditions. They have the right to defend themselves, and the have the right to safety.

These are human rights. I see that you don't believe in human rights.

And, one last point, since when does putting all government functions in the hands of a private industry with laws, with a State based system that require obedience of the people, legal contracts, crimes, punishments law enforcement and so forth equal a decentralization of a state?

it is an economic consolidation of a State, which is Fascism. I know you hate to hear it, but fascism encompasses more than just a government alone.

And according to you, capitalism ended slavery and abysmal working conditions...except, that it didn't.

Of course, you already knew that illegal immigrants come over the borders at enormous rates and work well below minimum wage for companies who don't feel like employing Americans, and you already knew that US companies routinely go over seas, where laws and regulations are lax and they can use child labor to make their precious profit.

Ending our regulations on basic human rights for companies won't end their use of these services - they're still using them right now! They'll just use them out in the open without fear of punishment, and with the promise of a huge return.

Until the system collapses, of course.

Don't forget corporations like Pfizer's who, when they weren't allowed to carry out human tests on Americans for safety reasons, they went to Nigeria, and caused serious harm to men, women and children by pumping them full of untested drugs.

I'm sure those Nigerians are really happy about that. But according to you, they had no right to complain, after all, they're just Nigerians, right? it's OK to use them like guinea pigs for the sake of a greasy buck.

That train of thought disgusts me.

WIhtout laws in teh US having been encated to protect people, men, women and children here, we would still have slavery, we would still have child labor, we would still h ave abysmal working conditions (we still do, in many industries) we would have human testing of unsafe drugs, we would continue to have marketing and sale of unsafe drugs, foods, and services.

All of which infringe on the human rights of human beings.

Not that you care.

Garg the Unzola said...

Look, read this carefully:

Fundamental, non-negotiable rights.

Which part of fundamental and non-negotiable don't you understand?

Let's take the Pfizer scenario.
Did Pfizer infringe on any of the non-negotiable human rights?

Um, yes.

As usual, you did not do your homework.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1517171.stm

Nigeria had an epidemic and had no means to deal with that epidemic. Pfizer was involved with a government sanctioned orchestration of various international groups who provided aid.

You want regulation, you have regulation.

The Nigerian government gave permission to Pfizer to conduct those tests. Where in the world can you expect a government to have the authority to decide who may conduct tests on its citizens? In a capitalist system, or in a centrally controlled system?

Oh, I forgot. I have to be more clear. The answer is a centrally controlled system.

Pfizer also obtained permission from the parents of those kids to conduct the tests. Woops!

In addition, Pfizer also administered an FDA approved drug to a control group, which also resulted in deaths. I thought the FDA only approves save drugs? Woops!

On the plus side, less people died than usual.

I'm sorry, was this an argument for or against regulation? Because it appears that regulation - by the FDA, in this case - did not prevent anybody from suffering.

In fact, more people died from the FDA approved drug than from the experimental drug. Woops!

Back on topic: You wanted to criticise anarcho-capitalism. This implies writing an informed account of your grievances with such a system. I posted my reasons for claiming that your account was a straw man argument, because your understanding of anarcho-capitalism is spurious.

Trying to paint capitalism as the bad guy is not going to make the facts go away.

Ms. Rory said...

Why are you so smart :)

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