Monday, October 22, 2012

Anarcho-Capitalism: a Facebook Reply to detractors and supporters

[A reply on Facebook to those who are critical of "anarcho-capitalism" and the supporters of "anarcho-capitalism"]

I would like to contribute to the discussion here. I would like to start off, requesting some patience with my presentation and expression of my thoughts in the context of this discussion. I would like to request some temporary amnesty for using Rothbard as an avatar picture; Rothbard represents for me, an economist who I respect, though I may not find agreement with all of Rothbard's thoughts.

I am not overly fond of labels for my own self-identification, and though I hesitantly confess to at one-time identifying with "anarcho-capitalism", I have since distanced myself from such an identification as I recognize some of the strengths to the criticisms of "anarcho-capitalism". If pressed for a self-identification, I now self-identify as "radical liberal"

I recognize that the traditional/historial owners of large capital accumulations have always done so under the arm of the State; therefore I recognize how it would seem like a hopeless endeavor to many to unravel such an insidious conflagration of the State and its "capitalists" and therefore I think I understand the appeal to toss the entire nest of vipers into the flames.

But I would also like to recognize, that "anarcho-capitalists" do not use the term, "capitalism" in the same way as Marx would have used it; that "anarcho-capitalists" have an independent theory of economics, and within the context of that theory, "capitalism" does not *necessarily* imply the institution of domination/violence/coercion.

I feel that the "anarcho-capitalist" theory of "property" needs some revision, or rather, it has need to reinterpret its theory of "property" as a theory of possession or just-use; I would like to recognize that the "anarcho-capitalist" theory of "property" actually implies, not property as is employed by institutions of domination, but just-possession/just-use. I believe that the implications of a Lockean/Rothbardian "property" theory, do not actually imply "property" but rather imply a claim to the just-possession of the transformation by labor of material "stuff" and the just-possession of the exchange of the transformation of that material "stuff".

"[E]very man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, an left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men." ~ John Locke

"Nowhere and at no time has the large-scale ownership of land come into being through the working of economic forces in the market. It is the result of military and political effort. Founded by violence, it has been upheld by violence and by that alone." Ludwig von Mises

“There are two types of ethically invalid land titles: 'feudalism,' in which there is continuing aggression by titleholders of land against peasants engaged in transforming the soil; and land-engrossing, where arbitrary claims to virgin land are used to keep first-transformers out of that land. We may call both of these aggressions 'land monopoly'–not in the sense that some one person or group owns all the land in society, but in the sense that arbitrary privileges to land ownership are asserted in both cases, clashing with the libertarian rule of non-ownership of land except by actual transformers, their heirs, and their assigns.”
–Murray N. Rothbard

"Anarcho-capitalists" can sometimes be found to support arms of institutions of domination such as legal-entities known as "corporations". "Anarcho-capitalists" often do not recognize that their theory of "free-markets" actually implies that large-accumulations of capital are less likely under voluntary-market exchange systems; that rather than a few wealthy "capitalists" directing factors of production, if there was an absence of institutions of domination, then the barriers of market competition being removed, would imply that the forces of production would be in more hands, rather than fewer; that there would be a much greater distribution of wealth, not just because of an increase in production, but because each person would be an independent producer, as well as consumer of goods produced.

Yet, the definition of "capitalism" as "the ownership of the means of production" also has its limitations. What is the "means of production" other than those means by which goods are produced? Can any goods be produced without any labor inputs? Even a machine which automates some of the production processes, requires labor inputs to produce the machine, to maintain and repair the machine, as well as labor inputs to feed the machine raw-materials (those materials themselves requiring labor-inputs).
If labor is a necessary condition for production to take place, which is to say, without labor, no production is possible, then labor is the primary means of production; it is the mode by which production is possible.

For labor to take place, a mind or consciousness must direct the body to act in meaningful and purposeful ways; therefore without mind/consciousness, no labor is possible and therefore the mind/consciousness is likewise, the means of labor.

I reason that mind directs labor in purposeful action, in order to satisfy human-needs, either for one's self or for the needs of others in gift or exchange for the products of labor of others.

Therefore, each individual, possessing a mind and a body by implication of their mind directing their action in labor to satisfy needs, possesses in themselves the [primary] means of production. Through these means, they may fashion labor-saving devices in order to increase either their production or their recreation; these additional but secondary or tertiary means of production may become increasingly complex but they all fundamentally proceed from the individual's control or possession of their own body by their consciousness. Therefore, all persons by their minds' control of their bodies, possessed to the exclusion of others, the means of production.

This reasoning would imply that the definition of "capitalism" as something separable from labor-forces themselves, is a misnomer, and an arbitrary definition/distinction.

But, I for one, would prefer to live in any society, be it Proudhonian, Rothbardian or any other, that would be absent institutions of domination.

I recognize that there is much disagreement of ideas, but I would like to see more cooperation in finding agreement on how we might defeat/bring-down institutions of domination and I am hopeful for a day when we may all be free-people and live our lives in peace and prosperity in common sisterhood/brotherhood of our common humanity.

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