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A lengthy critique of anarcho-capitalism


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31 replies to this topic

#1
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

First, a few preliminaries:

 

There are two basic types of anarchism, “anarcho-capitalism” and “anarcho-socialism”. 

 

A “government” is “a group of people which claim to hold a legal monopoly on the initiation of the use of force in a geographical area”. 

 

The “non-aggression principle” (NAP) states that aggression is inherently illegitimate (i.e. that the initiation of the use of force is immoral).  Another way of stating this principle is by saying that “all decisions in life should be voluntary”.  In certain very special situations, even ardent supporters of the NAP will recognize that a violation of the NAP may be acceptable (imagine pulling your friend back when he’s about to mindlessly step in front of a moving bus).  But the feeling among these people is that violations ought to be very rare and that they ideally could be prevented with better foresight.  In general, both types of anarchists feel that the NAP should be adhered to, but that self-defense is acceptable.  Instead of using force, anarchists typically feel that social pressure and ostracism are more effective at dealing with the few people in any society whose behavior causes harm to innocent others. 

 

What really distinguishes the “anarcho-capitalists” from the “anarcho-socialists” is their feelings regarding “property rights”.  In order for capitalism to function as the capitalists intend, it is necessary for them to be able to vigorously defend their property rights.  On the other hand, people can afford to take a more lenient approach towards violations of property rights in a socialist society.  Thus, it isn’t surprising that capitalists and socialists put forth different philosophical arguments in regards to property rights in order to affirm those sentiments.  Here is the typical philosophical argument given by capitalists in order to make the point that it is valid to use force to defend one’s property (I think that John Locke may have been the first to put this forth): People own their bodies, and assuming that free will exists, people are responsible for their actions.  So it would seem to follow that people own the effects of their actions.  Thus, if a person finds a stick in the woods and carves it into a flute, then that person has mixed their labor with the material in the stick, and so thus now the person “owns” the flute.  Similarly, if one goes out into an unoccupied territory and tills the field and grows a garden, then that person “owns” that garden.  Likewise, if a person works in a different occupation, and then trades their labor in that field for some land (with or without the use of money as an intermediary), then that person “owns” that land, even though they haven’t actually mixed their physical labor with it, because the exchange was voluntary and a prior owner presumably mixed their labor with the territory.  Furthermore, the contention of capitalists is that this land is “owned” in the same way that a person “owns” their kidney.  A person’s kidney needs nutrients provided by the person in a similar way that a garden does, and so a person’s “internal labor” is mixed with their tissues in the same way that a person’s “external labor” is mixed with their property.   Thus, it seems to follow that one’s property is simply an extension of oneself.  Therefore, capitalists see violations of property rights as being equivalent to initiations of the use of force on the person directly, and so capitalists’ stance is that it is valid to use force to defend their property rights (and justify this by claiming self-defense).  In their view, trespassers are in violation of the NAP, and so it is valid to forcibly remove them from the property if the landowner asks the trespasser to leave and they refuse.    

 

Many people, and especially socialists, will reject this argument given by advocates of capitalism regarding property rights (read, for example, this http://dbzer0.com/bl...moral-guideline).  The conclusion that a person’s property should be regarded as an extension of themselves seems to be particularly troubling.  Is your computer a part of your body?  Everyone would reject this.  To me the most obvious critique of the capitalist argument is that the assumption that people have free will is invalid.  After all, a person is made of matter.  Matter behaves according to physical laws which are very well understood.  Thus, free will is an illusion.  Since the scientific evidence indicates that there is no free will, what are the implications?  To me, it means that we ought to be a whole lot more compassionate.  Why?  Because it’s not their fault.  So anyway, socialists reject the capitalist conclusion that it’s valid to use force to defend their property.  Instead socialists would tend to use social pressure against individuals who take things from others.  Inherent in the NAP is the notion of self-defense.  Capitalists tend to think of this self-defense as being applicable in a broad way, since they see their property as being part of themselves.  Socialists, on the other hand, feel that self-defense is only valid when the concept is used in a more narrow sense of the word, which only includes their physical bodies.  Given that I’m well aware of the unintended harm that the use of force can have, I definitely favor the socialist position on this issue.  

 

Summing this part up…

Anarchists can thus be seen as simply promoting “Kindergarten ethics”: don’t hit unless in self-defense, and don’t steal.  They take these principles taught to young children and merely advocate that they should be extended to society as a whole.   The difference between “anarcho-capitalists” and “anarcho-socialists” is that the capitalists generally feel that stealing is as bad as hitting, and so it’s acceptable to hit someone if they’ve stolen from you.  Socialists, on the other hand, tend to feel that although stealing is wrong, that stealing is not as bad as hitting, and so you ought not to hit someone if they’ve stolen from you. 

 

The goal of the next several paragraphs is to clarify the differences between capitalism and socialism.  Supporters of anarcho-capitalism generally give the usual economic argument that if everyone makes voluntary decisions based on their individual self-interest, then everyone will be better off.  Adherents of anarcho-socialism, on the other hand, think that individuals should take a more humanitarian approach to their decision making (more on this below). 

 

The next thing to notice is that “pure capitalist” and “pure socialist” are two endpoints on a spectrum, and there is a continuum of possibilities between the two extremes.  My wife was born in the countryside of Communitst China in the mid 1970s, and she points out that, even there, it wasn’t entirely communist.  They still used money, each family got a piece of land, and of course they still had possessions (clothing, etc.).  What they did do is that each family in the village pooled their crops together when they were sold at the market, and each family was repaid an amount proportional to the number of people in that family.  But she points out that there were still additional ways for people to make a little bit more money, as individuals.  Money as an intermediary of exchange is likely to exist at all point along the spectrum except for the “pure socialist” endpoint.  At this point we have what is known as a “gift economy” (which is the ideal of anarcho-socialists, with no money, no markets, and no central planning).  Personally, I see the elimination of money as being a worthwhile long-term goal of the human species. 

 

A voluntary transaction between two parties is an integral aspect of all societies.  How society chooses how to manage (or not) this transaction is fundamental to how it operates.  If there is a government, the government can use force to stop transactions which would have otherwise taken place, or to force transactions to occur which wouldn’t have happened in the free market.  In a voluntary society, this is not an option. 

 

The main role of government in a capitalist system is to deal with market failure.  Market failures mainly include: externalities (which is the effect that voluntary transactions have on a third party – banks giving out risky loans which can disrupt the entire system is an example; the banks takes into account the effect the loan not being paid off will have on themselves, but not for the market as a whole), information asymmetries (when one party involved in a transaction has more information than the other), non-competitive markets, public goods (items such as roads and national defense which can be shared and for which exclusion is difficult, often resulting in “free rider” problems), instability (periods of high unemployment have plagued modern economies in the past; the extent to which the government can reduce the length and severity of these periods is debatable), and income inequality (or lack of a safety net).  The most common objection to anarchism, namely that there would be nothing to stop armed thugs from taking over the neighborhood, can be seen as one possible market failure, although there are ways of dealing with this (anarcho-capitalists often discuss private defense companies in competition with one another).   

 

Let’s look at externalities, as an example.  Externalities can be positive (inventions) or negative (pollution).  Government plays the role today of managing negative externalities with regulation and taxes, and encouraging positive externalities with subsidies, intellectual property protection, etc.  How are externalities handled in anarcho-capiltalism?  Force can’t be used, but incentives or discouragement from the rest of the population can be, either financial or with good or bad publicity (the internet can be helpful here…lists of people who contribute to this or that, for example).  Firms want to stay in business, and people generally don’t want to be regarded as outcasts.  This societal persuasion will sway participants in transactions to not strictly do what would be the best for themselves without the pressure, but rather to take the opinions of others into account.  This societal pressure should mostly eliminate the market failures.  But now, look at what we have here.  People and firms are taking public opinion into account when making decisions.  This is socialism.  And the solidarity the people are displaying in their teamwork to influence the decisions of the capitalists makes them look like one big union.  It would seem that in order for public opinion to be taken into account and for the transaction to still be voluntary, it must be that the parties involved in the transaction have grown to become more concerned about their fellow human beings (otherwise there would be “unchosen positive obligations”).  But this is not necessarily the case, because of the societal pressure that can be given in order to make it in their own long-term best interest to behave this way.  This is an aid in dealing with the “bad apples” who aren’t motivated by humanitarian concerns.  The word “democracy” is often taken to mean that individuals should have some control over aspects of their environment which affect their lives.  Anarcho-socialists often say that there should be “democracy all the through”, at all levels of organization.  I agree with this, and it seems that an anarcho-capitalist society could lead to the same result, but only if the people demanded it.  The capitalist / socialist dichotomy is traditionally seen as a trade-off between efficiency and equality.  The history of the 20th century indicates that when people do what is best for society instead of themselves, they have less incentive to work hard (they become “free riders”), and this leads to economic hardship for the society because less gets produced.  My thought is that this is because socialism has always been applied with force in the past.  If they are voluntarily making the choice, the incentive to work hard will still be there, and their incentive may even be increased like how many today are driven to voluntarily do inspiring feats when raising money for a charity.   

 

It is also helpful to point out the distinction between the “free market” and “capitalism”, because socialists are in total opposition to capitalism but not to all aspects of the free market.  The free market includes all voluntary exchanges, such as your oranges for my apples.  The free market would exist in anarcho-socialism, to the extent that it didn't violate the freedoms of others.  If you grow some vegetables in your garden and exchange them for some of the fruit off your neighbor’s tree, that is not capitalism.  But if you own 100 acres of land and pay 100 people a daily wage to tend crops on the land and you then sell the crops to make a profit, that would be capitalism.  Essential to capitalism is the ownership of property (or means of production) that is not intended for one’s own personal use, but rather to be used by workers that are paid a wage.  Socialists in general are not opposed to possessions intended for personal use (including houses and small plots of land for gardening).  But their belief in general is that whoever uses an item, owns it.  The feeling is that there is no reason for people to own stuff beyond that which they can personally use, and that past that they are just taking from others. 

 

And last, it’ll also be helpful to have in mind the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

 

 

All of the above in this post was the “review”.  It’s been leading up to this critique of anarcho-capitalism that I want to make: an anarcho-capitalist society would actually consist of a bunch of small governments.  Thus, anarcho-capitalism is not true anarchism, and the main criticism that anarchists make of statists societies, namely that they are excessively violent due to the fact that the initiation of the use of force is legal for a certain group of people in a statist society, also applies to anarcho-capitalist societies.  Why is this the case?  Because every landowner in an anarcho-capitalist society would be its own government.  According to anarcho-capitalism, property owners, and only property owners, have the right to initiate real physical force against someone on their property (to get them to leave). This is a legal monopoly with the right to initiate force in a geographical area. In other words, this is a government.  Furthermore, in an anarcho-capitalist society, and particularly in a city, everyplace is owned by someone.  There is no “public space”.  Thus, if you’re not wealthy enough to buy your own property in a city there, you’ll always be on someone else’s property.  In that scenario, the landowners have the right to initiate force against you at any time, if you’re unwilling to leave their land.  So in other words, travelling from property to property in an anarcho-capitalist society would resemble travelling from government to government today.  Now, of course, often this right to initiate force won’t be utilized by the landowners, but in principle, the right is still there.  You can also consider the extreme situation where a group of wealthy individuals collude and buy up all the land in an area.  Then the unfortunate people living there will be under their rule: obey us or be evicted.  A person would have no rights on other people’s property.  You would have no freedom of speech or assembly (see the text of the 1st Amendment up above), and you can’t move around much without having some money.  If everything is private property, you have no guaranteed spot where you can espouse controversial ideas.  The landowners in an anarcho-capitalist society would have a great deal of freedom.  But the renters would basically have no rights at all and ultimately their situation would seem to resemble slavery.  Anarcho-capitalists often assert that their conception of a society would result in the “most freedom”.  However, I think it is clear from this discussion that this is only true for the wealthy.  The poor may have more freedoms in our current statist system than they would in anarcho-capitalism.  An anarcho-capitalist society has the potential to be quite terrible for them.  Whether the wealthy would actually act as cruel as they theoretically could act in this system remains to be seen, but the mere fact that they would have the right to do so is frightening. 

 

Since I have a deep admiration for human rights and civil liberties, I consider the above criticism of anarcho-capitalism to be tremendously significant, and thus I consider myself to be an anarcho-socialist.    

   

And finally, the capitalist system has a number of other flaws.  A big problem I see with capitalism is that it encourages consumption with the advertizing.  This has harmful effects, particularly on children. The message is: more goods is always better, more goods mean more happiness.  This is not eco or human friendly, nor is it even accurate – surveys indicate that, above a certain income level, happiness is independent of wealth.  Capitalism fails to recognize that human desires are of a social nature, and thus rising wages may not produce greater satisfaction if the standard of living of the capitalist has risen even more.  The competition in capitalism can be ruthless, and never lets one relax.  Given the vast improvement in worker productivity over the past several decades, people ought to be working fewer hours, but instead they are working more.   Socialists point out that there is less need for defense agencies in a socialist system than in a capitalist one.  Most crimes are property crimes, and arise from class conflict.  Many anarcho-socialists see voluntary socialism as being inevitable.  The feeling is that it will be a natural result of the continued progress of the human species.  There are too few controlling the majority today.    Socialists feel that the large inequality in income inherent in capitalism is despicable.  The fundamental moral principle often mentioned is that of universality – that we should hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others.  The hierarchy and inequality inherent in capitalism seems to encourage violations of this principle.  Always looking for profit, a capitalist society can be driven towards imperialism.  Capitalism can exploit the poor in other nations, mainly by gaining access to their natural resources.  This undermines local development (the profits going overseas to wealthy firms lessens the degree to which these resources improve the lives of the locals).  Isn’t employing a person just a voluntary transaction?  It is, but the problem arises when the firm is very powerful and the person is very weak.  If people choose to work for low wages and in unsafe conditions because it is their only alternative to starvation, this cannot be seen as a genuine "free choice”.  Also a poor person is limited to the extent that they can participate in a democratic system, due to the fact that they likely don’t have the time to read up on the issues and also are driven by hunger to make decisions based on their immediate self-interest.  Does the social mobility in capitalism imply that there is freedom?  No, because it is competitive, it is thus exclusionary.  Plus, if a homeless person became a Fascist dictator, that wouldn’t justify Fascism.  Capitalism encourages oppression to the extent that it rewards firms who give their workers the market minimum.  Human beings are treated as commodities to be rented as workers.  Human beings ought to relate to one another cooperatively, not competitively.  The aim of world history is human freedom.  Anarcho-socialism will reach this goal. 

 

P.S. -  

 

In regards to free will…

Given that I’ve acknowledged that people don’t have free will in this post, why bother to write it in an effort to influence them?  After all, people are just going to do what they’re going to do, right?  Isn’t it a waste of time to try to change the minds of people?  Not necessarily.  If there is a running computer program and it is given a new piece of information midway through its computation, the program may end up with a different final result than it would have otherwise.  Also, just because free will is an illusion doesn’t mean that the universe is completely deterministic.  Furthermore, recall that I too lack free will.  So, don’t blame me for my hypocrisy.  :)

 

To elaborate, suppose some morning I have the option of either peaches or persimmons for breakfast.  And suppose I choose the persimmons.  Afterwards, it would seem to be quite natural to say something like “I could have had the peaches instead.”  The questions to ask here are: what does “I could have had the peaches instead” mean, and is it true?  It is certainly true that if you had chosen the peaches, then you would have had them.  But that is not what “I could have had the peaches instead” means.  Part of what it means is that you feel that it wasn’t determined in advance what you would do.  And it also means that you think that, if everything else had been exactly the same up to the point where you made your decision, that you actually had the option of picking the peaches.  The “free will position” here is that the result was not determined in advance and that you really did have the option of picking the peaches.  The “determinist position” is that the result was predetermined and that you actually didn’t have any choice in the matter (although it appears to you as though you did).  Most world religions would lead one to take the “free will position”, whereas a study of classical physics would lead one to take the “determinist position”.  However, I feel that both of these positions are wrong.  The world doesn’t obey the laws of classical physics.  The universe obeys the laws of quantum mechanics instead.  And, a degree of randomness and unpredictability is built into quantum mechanics.  So, my position is that the result wasn’t completely predetermined, but also that you had no real choice in the matter.  If you imagine a thought experiment consisting of two identical universes leading up to the moment in which you make the choice, it is possible that you’d make a different choice in each universe.  But that wouldn’t be a result of your “free will”.  Instead that would be a result of the randomness of quantum mechanics (Note: according to the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, this thought experiment actually does indeed occur.  This results in a possible solution to the free-will conundrum since each copy of yourself would have a perfect illusion of free will in that you’d never experience a universe other than that which you chose, but every other copy of you in other universes chose something else. According to this scenario, there is no free will because you actually chose all of the possibilities.).  I think that people have confused correlation with causation when they believe that a conscious feeling of choice is the reason for the body's movement.  I believe that the ultimate source of both the conscious feeling and the body’s motion is physical law.  


  • -2

#2
MarkIX

MarkIX
  • 740 posts

why do you imagine pulling your friend back when he’s about to mindlessly step in front of a moving bus, is a violation of the NAP?


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#3
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

If you yank his arm without his prior consent, I would call that an initiation of the use of force.  Of course, he'd thank you afterwards, but I still think that this action is a violation of the NAP.  


  • 0

 


#4
Pepin

Pepin

  • 542 posts

I've been reading the post and forming a rebuttal, and I don't feel at all like the negative rating on it are warranted. So far, this is one of the best criticisms I've read. It is obvious that a lot of effort is put into understanding the opposition and it is quite well written.


  • 1

#5
MarkIX

MarkIX
  • 740 posts

If you yank his arm without his prior consent, I would call that an initiation of the use of force.  Of course, he'd thank you afterwards, but I still think that this action is a violation of the NAP.  

well when you are required to restitution for your violation, which you are obviously required to deliver, because we are in the realm of moral requirements not aesthetics. You can simply cap his arse, returning him to the condition that your incredibly heinous moral violation deprived him of. It's lucky because now no one will ever discover that you also left a six pack of beer in his fridge as a surprise present.

 

Humour aside, I didn't see where you reveal the An-Soc solutions to the An-Cap problems. Sure An-Cap has problems but that doesn't mean An-Soc wins by default.

 

@Pepin. I'm not responsible for any negative reputation this thread has acquired. I don't know how to do that. And I think it's a bit herd mental.


  • -1

#6
Rollout

Rollout
  • 8 posts
A socialist attacking capitalism due to market failures is very ironic considering a socialist economy can't even sustain itself. Socialism is just a fairy tale belief system that can never be translated into reality. It fails before it even begins.
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#7
RoseCodex

RoseCodex
  • 140 posts

  There were some interesting points in your critique, but I wasn't sure of your premise.  You say you agree with the NAP and anarchism, but at some points you talk about the good things that government does.  Also I didn't understand your position on property.  Can you distill the anarcho-socialist position in a few sentences?

  It seems like you don't throw out the idea of property altogether, but I am not sure what it is you are really saying about property.  One thing that has helped me to understand this stuff more clearly, is that issues around property really come down to conflicts over property.  the question is, when does one person have a legitimate claim against another person's use of property?  If I chop down trees and stack up wood to build a house, and you come along and build your own house from the wood I collected, you have stolen time and energy from me.  If your neighbor dumps trash in the river you drink from, I think you have a valid claim against him.  Intellectual Property is not considered valid by most anarcho-capitalists, although some aspects of it could be dealt with through contracts.  There are many examples, this is the function of case law or common law, but I think you get the idea.  So my question for you is -- are there situations in which you think there is a moral problem with the exercise of property that the anarcho-capitalist excludes or overlooks?

  The main point I would ask you to consider is that most uf us here would not wish to impose some kind of system on everyone else.  I tend to avoid the term anarcho-capitalist -- I prefer voluntarist, which I think is more clear.  I think many of the things you advocate, are consistent with voluntarism.  You can live in a community, pool resources, vote on their allocation, enforce community rules with ostracism/freedom of association, etc.  All of these things are essentially an exercise in property rights.  Many of the things you are talking about deal with aesthetic or cultural values, such as the danger of advertising, welfare of the community, or a concern for the environment.  All of these things are important to talk about, and you are right to be concerned about them.  Often people confuse the word "capitalist" for a set of cultural values to do with greed, selfishness, social and ecological irresponsibility, etc. which is why I don't like to use the word.  We just don't think the best way to deal with these things is to give a small group of people the weapons and the legal right to use force against everyone else. 

I hope that makes some sense.  Thanks for your curiosity.


  • 0

Well, I try my best

To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

 

#8
ewl

ewl

  • 3 posts

What is the difference between property and possession?  Am I allowed to charge "rent" on a hammer, if a hammer, thanks to entropy, has limited use?  Could this rent compensate me for the time I would normally spend using it on something else that will give me value?  I would want to make sure I recover the opportunity costs that are lost if I were to just give it away.

How about a carpenter's lathe, or my entire shop for a period of time?
 
How about a car for transporting people?  Am I allowed to charge "rent" on that?  How about a truck for transporting stuff?  What if I own several trucks that I want to rent?  A house?  Several houses?
 

In a capitalist/free-market world, one is rewarded for finding ways to meet demand of others.  Demand is dictated by circumstance. I can even turn a toothbrush into a rent-charging, profit making "personal possession"if I am the only one with it in a village that wants to keep their teeth clean.  Is that toothbrush now subject to collectivized/socialized ownership? 

 

I know this is ridiculous, but I would hate to have to be the one in a socialist system, to take away that toothbrush and dictate who gets second-use of it.

 

Where is the line drawn, and how does an anarcho-socialist system do that without violating the NAP?  If I am charging rent, you can just not use my possession/property and find someone else who is giving it away free, right?  Perhaps you can make one yourself, but only if you have the time, resources, and knowledge.  Good luck finding help, since people will be asked to lend their limited time, talents and tools for your sake when they have their own priorities.  Telling them that they are being selfish for having other priorities than helping you (or "society"), would be a selfish act in and of itself.

 
Also, it may not be a violation of the NAP if you don't pull the guy's arm, but in a free world, your private insurance company could require you to lend assistance to others if you are in a position to do so.  This could be a condition of membership, and in return, they lower their rates.  If you were found to be at a time, place, and circumstance where you willfully neglected help and could have, then the insurance company may find you at-fault and you could be subject to paying for damages.  But you would be okay with that, since you voluntarily signed up for this insurance company over another one that may not have a "good samaritan" clause.


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#9
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

Okay, based on the comments, it seems like it’ll help to clarify several things here:

 

First, note that, if you accept the NAP, then you are an anarchist, at least in principle.  Both the anarcho-capitalists and the anarcho-socialists want “voluntarism”.  So "anarcho-capitalists" want "voluntary capitalism", and "anarcho-socialists" want "voluntary socialism".  “Anarcho-capitalists” want to remove the state.  “Anarcho-socialists” want to remove the state and capitalism.  And to go one step further, “anarcho-primitivists” also exist who want to remove the state and capitalism and modern technology (http://en.wikipedia....cho-primitivism).  All of these people want a society free of coercion.  Anarchists believe that all problems in society can be addressed with voluntary associations of people, and in fact that doing it this way is preferable. This all anarchists have in common, but beyond that, there is a lot of variation within anarchism.  So the real question here is this: what might be the best way to structure a society based on voluntarism?  This is the most important question in this field, but how to answer it?  We should use the tools that we always do: reason and evidence.  But there isn’t a whole lot of data out there in social science to indicate which way might be best.  So, in the absence of much evidence, we rely on reasoning.  This forum is filled with anarcho-capitalists, and you’ve got reasons for believing why this type of society would be best.  I’ve brought to your attention some reasoning which indicates that anarcho-capitalism may not be the best after all, and now we can have an intellectual debate as to the validity of these arguments.  But in the end all of this will ultimately be determined once people actually get a chance to do some real experiments in this area.  I think that the best chance we have of getting some genuine evidence one way or the other in the semi-near future will be with seasteading (http://en.wikipedia....iki/Seasteading).  The best historical example of an anarcho-socialist society was in Spain in 1936 (http://en.wikipedia....rchism_in_Spain).  However, this old social science experiment from the Spanish Civil War didn’t last long because it was crushed by a government.  But for a while, things seemed to be functioning pretty smoothly.  A good book on this is George Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia”.

 

And obviously, landowners in “ancapistan” do not have to choose to defend their property.  In other words, people who own land in that sort of society have the option of “acting socialist”.  However, people who don’t own land wouldn’t have that option.  And, up above in my initial post, I was being a bit too casual at times.  For example, I said that there would be “no public property” in “ancapistan”.  I should have said something like "there is no guaranteed public space".  It's not hard to imagine someone setting up a self-perpetuating non-profit organization to own a public space in “ancapistan” which is designed to be a safe haven for the protection of the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, etc.  But, that’s still somewhat different than being assured that a place like that will exist. 

 

 

I was asked “Can you distill the anarcho-socialist position in a few sentences?” 

 

Okay, I’ll collect a couple of things I said from up above: “Socialists reject the capitalist conclusion that it’s valid to use force to defend their property.  Instead socialists would tend to use social pressure against individuals who take things from others… Socialists in general are not opposed to possessions intended for personal use (including houses and small plots of land for gardening).  But their belief in general is that whoever uses an item, owns it.  The feeling is that there is no reason for people to own stuff beyond that which they can personally use, and that past that they are just taking from others.”    

 

And RoseCodex commented “I tend to avoid the term anarcho-capitalist -- I prefer voluntarist, which I think is more clear.” 

 

Anarcho-socialists are also voluntarists who don’t want to impose their vision of society on people.  The hope is that, after people see how it works on a small scale, people will want to do it.  How would it be organized?  In anarcho-socialism, there likely would be something like “nested councils” – here is political science professor Stephen Shalom discussing the concept: http://www.youtube.c...YY&feature=plcp.  But this is just a possibility.  It wouldn’t have to work that way.  And any edicts proclaimed by this council would not be enforceable with violence.  If they were, that would be a government.  Instead, the council would simply offer suggestions as to what should be done, and people would have the option of following them or not (and presumably they would experience a degree of social pressure if they didn’t follow them). 

 

Also RoseCodex said "at some points you talk about the good things that government does".  Yes, of course, the government does do some useful things in our current society.  As anarchists, we need to replace the useful stuff that the government did, and do so without using the threat of force.  There are a variety of different ways of doing this, and the different approaches is what this thread is about.  

 

Ewl – in an anarchist society of any sort, you’re allowed to do whatever you want, as long as you don’t initiate force on other people.  Based on your questions, it seems as though you misunderstand anarcho-socialism.  Your questions imply that I’m advocating some form of central planning, like what used to happen in the USSR or China, but that is not the case.  Hopefully what I’ve written earlier in this comment has cleared this up for you.  Nobody is going to take away your toothbrush.  :)  And in “ancapistan”, your private insurance company cannot “require” you to do anything.  They can, however, encourage you to do things.  But I still think that yanking on someone’s arm without their prior consent is an initiation of the use of force (and a violation of the NAP), regardless whether your insurance encourages you to do such things or not.    

 

 

And one final comment on “free will”: The point is that the brain is made of matter. It's just a bunch of quarks & leptons. We understand how these interact. I'm certainly not the first scientist to conclude that free will is an illusion. For example, Stephen Hawking has made it clear that he shares this view. I feel that every person who understands physics should feel this way.  I think that Stef has said that he’s a big fan of the scientific method, but the view that he espouses on this issue is unscientific. 

 

And, speaking of Mr. Molyneux, if you think that this is an interesting critique of anarcho-capitalism, perhaps some of you could ask him to comment here.  When lots of donators ask him to address something, I think he’s usually pretty good about doing it.  I’m honestly curious to see what his response might be. 


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#10
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*
So the real question here is this: what might be the best way to structure a society based on voluntarism?  This is the most important question in this field, but how to answer it?

 

I will assume you are serious in presenting the foregoing quote.

 

This is a perfect example of arrogance. It might not be intended, but it exists, nonetheless. Arrogance is not always some in-your-face presentation of demanded privilege. It can be insidious, as this quote represents. (No attack on JeffA intended here. The problem is far greater than any specific instance.)

 

The answer is quite simple: who is anyone to claim that there is a best way, and why does there need to be one? The "best way to structure a society based on voluntarism" is a contradiction. Voluntarism is not about structure, it is about people making their own decisions, right OR wrong. Additionally, structure implies control (a polite version of "rule over"). Anarchy means "without rulers". If there are no rulers, who will be in control to provide said structure? The contradiction is to conflate "anarchism" with "control".

 

To me, this seems so fundamental to the concept of liberty, freedom, whatever term is the current fashion-of-the-day. No one is entitled to be in charge of anyone other than themselves. The possibility that some require care does not present an entitlement; it is, in fact, an assumed obligation: one is not "entitled" to care for their child, they are obligated. And they are obligated by their own actions, or circumstances, not by some general obligation to all.

 

Anything other than complete freedom for all, to whatever degree, and whatever circumstance, is a variant of "Freedom for me, but, not for thee." This is the defining position for the Non-Agression Principle. "Freedom for all" appears, to the short-sighted, as chaos; where murder, theft, etc., are rampant. A closer look reveals that, if my concept of freedom involves impinging on your freedom, then it it not, truly freedom, as it violates the NAP.

 

How hard is that? Do what you want, as you see it, as long as it does not prevent another from the same.

 

There's the rub. (Possibly archaic colloquialism.) We have people that have decided, been conditioned, etc., that they know better than others.

 

Does anyone, truly, want ME to tell them what they should do? If not, then stop thinking that YOU have the answer.

 

I will finish by taking what RoseCodex stated about labels to its "logical" conclusion. I accept NO labels, except one: I AM A HUMAN! The rest is hubris.


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#11
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

darkskyabove,

 

Some of what you said I agree with, but some of what you said confused me.  You wrote that “the ‘best way to structure a society based on voluntarism’ is a contradiction.”  What do you mean by this?  Do you mean that you think that anarchist societies consisting of adherents of capitalism, socialism, and primitivism will all lead to the same result?  You seem to be hung up on my use of the word “structure”.  You can replace that with the word “organization”.  The point is that, if we want to maintain an advanced technological society, then we need to have some way of figuring out what needs to be done.  Capitalists prefer the price mechanism, and socialists may prefer “nested councils”.  To me these seem to be two rather different frameworks for addressing the issue, and I don’t think it is at all obvious that they would lead to equivalent results.  In fact, the available data we have from statist societies seems to indicate that what you said is incorrect.  After all, countries which are relatively more capitalist (such as the United States) seem to have rather different societies than countries which are relatively more socialist (such as Sweden).  Granted, these observations from statist societies may not carry over very well to anarchist ones, but still it seems to indicate that capitalism and socialism are distinct entities.  And, if they are indeed distinct, then it is entirely reasonable to think that one of them might be “better” than the other.  What would “better” mean in this instance?  There are a variety of ways of measuring human well being (http://en.wikipedia....Quality_of_life), and there is room for some debate on this, but nevertheless there is near universal acceptance that it is “better” to live in the US than in Somalia, regardless of the specific way that people choose to measure it.  You said that my post had a degree of “arrogance”, but since you seem to think that it is obvious that there is no difference between capitalism and socialism, then it would seem to me that your quote is the one exhibiting arrogance, not mine. 

 

You also you wrote that “(voluntarism) is about people making their own decisions, right OR wrong”.  And, I agree.  But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give others some suggestions.  In an anarchist society, engineers should suggest that bridge builders construct their bridges in a particular way, otherwise there will be an increased likelihood that innocent people will be harmed.  And hopefully the bridge builders would face a degree of social or financial pressure if they choose to ignore the recommendations of the experts in this area.  Likewise, it may be in the long-term best interest of everyone to listen to the suggestions of social scientists when it comes to determining what should be done in what way.  As in the bridge example, if people ignore these suggestions from the experts, there likely will be an increased probability of innocent people being harmed.  Thus, it is very important for us to have an intellectual discussion here about what the best way to organize such a society might be, because the welfare of innocent people is at stake.     

 

Furthermore, you wrote that “structure implies control”.  I interpret this to mean something like “structure implies a lack of freedom”.  Since you are on this forum, I figure that you most likely agree with the tenets of anarcho-capitalism.  But capitalist firms have a great deal of structure, and yet anarcho-capitalists still claim that this type of society would be “free”.

 

You also wrote “stop thinking that YOU have the answer”.  I think I made it clear earlier that I don’t feel this way when I wrote “I’ve brought to your attention some reasoning which indicates that anarcho-capitalism may not be the best after all, and now we can have an intellectual debate as to the validity of these arguments.  But in the end all of this will ultimately be determined once people actually get a chance to do some real experiments in this area.”

 

In addition, I find it interesting that you point out that anarchy means “no rulers”.  You see, anarcho-socialists often say that anarcho-capitalism is not “real anarchy”, for two main reasons.  First, it seems as though most people in anarcho-capitalism would still have a boss, and a boss is something akin to a sort of ruler.  The feeling of socialists is that capitalist firms are intrinsically hierarchal, whereas the spirit of anarchy runs in opposition to this (“an-archy” and “hier-archy” both include “archy” meaning “ruler”).  Second, historically the notions of government and private property are closely intertwined.  “The great and chief end therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government is the preservation of their property.” – John Locke.   Anarcho-socialists argue that an anarcho-capitalist society is not sustainable.  Their feeling is that either the competing private defense companies would coalesce to form a new government, or the workers would unite to transform the anarcho-capitalist society into an anarcho-socialist one.

 

And, there are many examples of harm caused by “capitalism run amok”.  In fact, cases of this are in the news almost daily.  But consider two tragedies that happened earlier this year (2013): the deadliest garment-factory accident in history (http://en.wikipedia....ilding_collapse) and the explosion of a fertilizer company building in Texas (http://en.wikipedia....mpany_explosion) which killed at least 15 people.  Both cases are examples of capitalist bosses being compelled by the profit incentive to skimp on employee safety.  Stefan Molyneux didn’t address either of these events in a “True News” segment, presumably because the fact that they happened doesn’t fit in well with his ideology.           

 

 

I have two final questions for you to consider:

 

-Would you prefer it if you did not have a boss?

 

-Suppose you had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life.  In that case, would you still choose to help out in your community in some way? 

 

If you answered “yes” to both of these, then it is my contention that you are a socialist at heart.  J  


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#12
James Dean

James Dean

  • 60 posts

I don't think the systems come into particular contention if we're all practicing volunteerism. An anarcho-socialist society could exist within or alongside an anarcho-capitalist society in which they pool resources, have nested councils, etc. So some people, in the absence of a state find it more beneficial to practice a system of free trade, others want to be communal. as long as no one is forcing them to do these things and they've choose to do them, I don't see the conflict... Correct me if I'm wrong :)


and again, be careful drawing examples from the current mixed semi-fascist hell hole that we enjoy today and saying that represents capitalism or the free market. Current events must always be taken in the context which they occurred and the fact is, since the state is so pervasive, they're almost always the results of statism, not really capitalism. For example in poor working conditions in sweatshops, people often say that it's the capitalist's fault for exploiting the workers because their labor is so cheap and effective. really what is happening behind the scenes is that the garment factory or whatever is bribing the government to use the army and police forces to keep out competition, and because there is no competition for the workers' labor, their wages stagnate. In a free society, that adhered to capitalism, more factories would move in and bid up the labor of the workers until an equilibrium was reached where the workers were being paid the highest wages possible.


with regards to your point about anarcho-capitalism having rulers because we have bosses in a company, you are missing something crucial.... bosses and employment relationships are voluntary interactions, no one is forcing you to work for them and no one is forcing you to work for anybody. Like I said earlier, if people wanted to get rid of capitalism all together and live within or alongside a capitalist society, as long as they were not violating the NAP, and everyone was in those societies by choice, there is no problem... at least in my view.


The big thing here is that we need to get rid of the state, and I think debates on how best to self-organize in the future can be helpful, but the truth is we have no idea what society will look like in the absence of violent coercion. People may start out with DRO's and being totally capitalist then realize DRO's are more trouble then they're worth, and that "a handshake is always enough." people might choose not to be capitalists in some areas because of a small group or living in isolation etc, in the absence of a state and the collective genius of the human race, we really can't know what will happen, only that whatever does will (hopefully) be completely voluntary. I think when talking with anarcho-socialists, or anarcho-syndicalist, or anarcho-eat my shorts... we need to focus on similarities rather than differences in the long run. Though I'm not saying this kind of discussion is not helpful.. because it is, and I thank the OP for his intellectual curiosity. 


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VI VERI VENIVERSUM VIVUS VICI.

"By the power of knowledge, I, while living, have conquered the universe."

 

ALMS FOR AN EX-LEPER!! 

 

125ht8U8fHJusigoQCDdF3DE2hFBtem5Vt

 

#13
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

...The point is that, if we want to maintain an advanced technological society, then we need to have some way of figuring out what needs to be done.

 

...Thus, it is very important for us to have an intellectual discussion here about what the best way to organize such a society might be, because the welfare of innocent people is at stake.

 

...You said that my post had a degree of “arrogance”, but since you seem to think that it is obvious that there is no difference between capitalism and socialism, then it would seem to me that your quote is the one exhibiting arrogance, not mine.

 

...You also wrote “stop thinking that YOU have the answer”.

 

...In addition, I find it interesting that you point out that anarchy means “no rulers”.

 

...And, there are many examples of harm caused by “capitalism run amok”.

 

I have two final questions for you to consider:

 

-Would you prefer it if you did not have a boss?

 

-Suppose you had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life.  In that case, would you still choose to help out in your community in some way? 

 

If you answered “yes” to both of these, then it is my contention that you are a socialist at heart.  J  

 

Points 1 & 2:

 

The current state of technology exists, not because of control, structure, or planning, but in spite of it. Same for the marketplace, whether of goods or ideas. It can be shown, and has been, that the freer the market, the more benefits arise, resulting in the so-called "spontaneous order" effect. The more control, structure and planning applied to the market, the less benefit that accrues.

 

And who is this "we" that "needs" to figure out what "needs" to be done? There is no physical entity called "we". When it comes to action, there are only individual actors. A group is a concept; at its core it consists of specific individuals. If the individuals refrain from action, how can the group act in their place? If the individuals do act, then the "group" is a convenient placeholder to conceptually account for the combined actions of the individuals.

 

I have already addressed the issue of obligation. It applies to the "welfare of innocents". Why can't these innocents be as responsible for their own actions as the ones who are supposedly looking out for their welfare? Who are the lookers and who are the lookees?

 

Points 3:

 

I do apologise for my lack of clarity on the arrogance thing. I did not and do not mean to imply that you, or your posts, are arrogant. My issue is with the, seemingly, universal position that some people can tell others what should be done. I see this as arrogance.

 

Point 4:

 

What I wrote was: "Does anyone, truly, want ME to tell them what they should do? If not, then stop thinking that YOU have the answer." I do not see where this applies, specifically, to you. It is a conditional generalization, applying equally to anyone, or to no one.

 

Point 5:

 

Because that is the definition, regardless of how many times said definition has been "adjusted".

 

Point 6:

 

There are, exactly, zero honest examples of capitalism run amok. There are an enormous amount of examples of "crony capitalism" and "mixed capitalism" run amok. But to even use the term capitalism in the description of said events is to mangle the definition of capitalism.

 

The Questions:

 

Short answers: maybe and maybe.

 

Real answer: both these questions are "leading", which is a polite way of saying they are invalid traps.

 

No matter what my answers would be, it would be a stretch, and highly unfair, to jump to a conclusion about my political philosophy. But, nice try. :P

 

Afterword:

 

As I alluded to in my prior post, my position is for liberty. Totally, and uncompromisingly. I do not claim that liberty will produce some utopian dreamworld. Liberty carries risk, as well as reward. True freedom includes the freedom to fail. To date, I have heard many, many variations on the theme of "control". Some are blatant, some well-camoflauged to sound all warm and cuddly. Every single one involves control by some over others.

 

You can have liberty, or you can have "something else". I'd much prefer liberty over any of the "something elses".


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#14
waywardvariable

waywardvariable

  • 14 posts

I don't think the systems come into particular contention if we're all practicing volunteerism. An anarcho-socialist society could exist within or alongside an anarcho-capitalist society in which they pool resources, have nested councils, etc. So some people, in the absence of a state find it more beneficial to practice a system of free trade, others want to be communal. as long as no one is forcing them to do these things and they've choose to do them, I don't see the conflict... Correct me if I'm wrong :)

Great point James Dean and you express what I've often wondered when I encounter the anarcho-capitalism vs. anarcho-communism arguments, to whit, if it's an anarchist society why would they be mutually exclusive? Even within our highly statist societies we have communal societies operating just fine (for example the Amish and the Hutterites) so why would anyone think that this couldn't be the case in a broader anarchist society?


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#15
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

James Dean,

 

You wrote “really what is happening behind the scenes is that the garment factory or whatever is bribing the government to use the army and police forces to keep out competition, and because there is no competition for the workers' labor, their wages stagnate”.  This I find hard to believe.  Have you read articles which provide evidence that indicates that this is actually going on?  If so, I’d appreciate it if you could provide a link.  In fact, I found some evidence that this is not going on…instead the Bangladesh government has taken steps to improve the lives of its garment workers in recent years (www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/29/bangladesh-garment-minimum-wage).  A more likely problem with the government in the collapse of that building in Bangladesh, I think, is that it was the job of government inspectors to check the safety of the facility, and I think it is entirely likely that these inspectors were bribed.  Perhaps the inspectors in an anarcho-capitalism society would be harder to bride than those in the current statist system. 

 

You also wrote “you are missing something crucial”.  No, I don’t think that I am.  I was perfectly aware of the fact that the employer-employee relationship is a voluntary one when I wrote “a boss is something akin to a sort of ruler”.  Again, the real problem arises when we are talking about the employment of the destitute poor.  In this case the employment can hardly be seen as voluntary, particularly in places without a social safety net. 

 

Although the discussion about what variety of anarchism will be best is pretty theoretical, anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-socialists do tend to take different stances on the current political environment.  These can have measurable effects in terms of what they support with their money, petitions, or votes (although of course some anarchists don’t do any of these things). 

 

Supporters of anarcho-capitalism are generally regarded to be on the “far right”, and tend to want minimal taxation while the state continues to exist, usually at a flat rate, with the typical economic argument that the rich are “job creators”.  Anarcho-capitalists generally want the state to be as small as possible, as long as it continues to exist.  For this reason, they tend to support libertarian governmental policies, and favor Ron Paul, etc.  Adherents of anarcho-socialism, on the other hand, are considered “far left”, and generally favor progressive taxation while the state continues to exist, and justify this stance by pointing out that it is precisely government protections such as that of their property (including intellectual) and corporate rights which led to their wealth.  The faction of anarcho-socialism known as “anarcho-syndicalism” holds that the best way to achieve the kind of solidarity which is needed for this sort of society to occur is through the labor movement.  Unions have a long history of being at the forefront of progressive causes. Anarcho-socialists tend to feel that, once a high degree of solidarity with others is established, that the state can be safely abolished because it will no longer be playing a useful role in society.

 

So, I think the capitalist / socialist distinction does matter somewhat today, despite the fact that the discussion of how to organize a voluntary society is strictly theoretical.      


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#16
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

There are many reasons for poverty, and much of it is not their fault.  Since I don’t think people have “free will”, I actually don’t think any of it is their “fault”.  But even if you do believe in “free will”, I think I degree of sympathy is justified once you realize that sometimes people wind up poor because of things which couldn’t  be foreseen or avoided.  Suppose someone is in the working class, and then they have a kid with some medical problems.  Suppose the child gets medical care, but then they cannot find a daycare that will accept him because of his condition, so their options are to stay home with the child or leave him home alone.  Or suppose they themselves have multiple health issues which make working consistently difficult, if not impossible. Or maybe they had a good job and the plant closed and they can't get another. Moving isn't always possible because they might not have the money and/or they have family in the community who depend upon them. Some people work 2 or even 3 jobs while also trying to help an aging parent or struggling child.  I had a friend growing up whose brother was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (http://en.wikipedia....cular_dystrophy).  Because of his condition, his family suffered great financial hardship for 20+ years.  In a civilized society, families like this should not have to struggle to afford the basic necessities of life.  When it comes to issues like poverty, conservatives like to stress the importance of “personal responsibility”, but it is clear to me that emphasizing “personal responsibility” is a cop out for those who don’t want to help.    

 

Also somewhat related to this is an article I read in the New York Times this morning.  According to some recent social science research, what you read can have an effect on your degree of compassion for your fellow human beings: http://well.blogs.ny...i-read-chekhov/ .   In truth, this result isn’t very surprising, although I do find it interesting to learn that now there has been some real research in this area.  This is another way, in addition to peaceful parenting and veganism, to obtain a more empathetic population.  The lesson is that there is a value in studying the humanities.  There may be nothing better than literary fiction for illuminating the human condition and enlightening us about why people behave as they do.  But if reading great literature can help you to care more about your fellow humans, then I also worry about the flipside – that reading Ayn Rand, watching Fox News, or exposing yourself to other sources which accentuate a “me first” worldview,  may be contributing to a lack of unity in our society. 


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#17
xelent

xelent

  • 2183 posts

The trouble with left minded thinking is that they always assume that any other kind of thinking is inherently 'selfish', or 'me first' as you put it. Ayn Rand played rather well with the term in her book, 'The Virtue of Selfishness'. Of course many from the left never bothered to read it and just took the title on face value, as if some how it proved their point.

 

Private charities, mutual associations and friendly societies abounded throughout the 19th century and even into the early part of the 20th century too. These organisations were born out of a 'me first' mentality, as people sought protection from unemployment, sickness and death. On the flipside these organisations brought greater value to the wider communities as doctors and hospitals had to compete much harder with better and cheaper services.

 

Fast forward to the future and we now have a dreadful NHS system which just ends up costing more and more with a service record that gets worse and worse. The left needs to really answer to this turnaround, since they were the ones insisting the state takeover. And as an aside they may also want to reflect on their incessant accusation of everyone else as being selfish. I find it a rather redundant term given the history.


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#18
Josh F

Josh F

    Thought Terrorist


  • 766 posts

I think it is telling that AnSocs have a vast list of resources that others own, to which they feel entitled.  The list of things they have and are willing to give away is much smaller.  There is no way to make the trade voluntarily between people who have things of value with people who don't, so the only conclusion is to take the things they own from them by force. 

Private Property exists within nature.  Many animals are territorial, meaning they claim land, use it for hunting, and keep out competition.  Monkeys who fashion tools will often keep them, defend them, and even trade them for things like sex.  Humans private property happens spontaneously all the time.  For example, there is no law that says you can't cut in line at McDonalds, but everyone respects the order people line up in.  If you go to the beach and you see some chairs and a blanket, you don't just start using it, you assume it is someone else's and if you want to use it you'll ask.    If a woman doesn't own her clothing, can't I just start taking it off her without her permission?  And yes that is absurd, but it is an absurd reflection of a system without private property.

 

Now, many socialists believe in private property for everything except the means of production.  They believe those things (like water, land, gas, factories, etc) should be held in common.  This is the Robin Hood syndrome.  People romanticize robbing the rich to feed the poor.  They believe in the fantasy of the noble theif, which simply doesn't exist.  Any system in which someone risks their life or time or well being to secure the property of another person they're NOT going to give it up to people for nothing.  They're going exercise their own control over the resources.  I cant imagine living in a world where if I want to use food from a farm I need to consult some DMV type bureaucracy.


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#19
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

On this thread, my positions have been misrepresented repeatedly.  I don’t consider charitable donations to be an example of “me first” behavior; instead I would call it the opposite.  We obviously don’t know yet how charitable people will act in an anarcho-capitalist society.  Instead, two of the main points I’ve made in this thread are the following:

 

-that if people don’t act compassionately in “ancapistan”, then it will be a terrible place for many people to live,

 

-and that the typical capitalist mindset (that society runs best when people make decisions based on their own self-interest) encourages people to behave in exactly this kind of selfish way.   I feel that an anarcho-socialist society has a greater chance of being nice place to live mainly because socialism is more supportive of a humanitarian mentality.   

 

Here’s a couple Ayn Rand quotes:  

 

“It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”

 

“Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.”

 

If Rand’s mindset were widespread in an anarchist society, would that cause major problems for a large number of people?  For the reasons I explained earlier in this thread, I am certain that it would. 

 

It is also a fact that the health care system in the US has been dreadful for a whole lot of people in recent years.  In fact, a 2007 study by Harvard researchers found 62% of bankruptcies filed in the U.S. were for medical reasons, and of those, 78% had medical insurance: http://www.businessw...064_666715.htm/.  Clearly, something must chance in the health care system in the United States.  What to do?  For a clue, I think it’ll likely be helpful to look towards how most other advanced industrial nations have addressed this issue.  Now I do agree that part of the solution when it comes to health does have to do with “personal responsibility”.  I mentioned veganism in my last post.  I’ve been a vegan for about 6 years.  Part of the reason why I’m a vegan is because I think that there is a lot of evidence which indicates that vegan diets are more health-promoting than omnivorous ones (the other two reasons for my veganism are environmental and out of a concern for the welfare of animals).  In addition to eating more plants, I think it’ll be good if people try to exercise more and strive to keep their weight down.  Nevertheless, not everyone will be able to do this, and some health conditions are unavoidable.    

 

ThoughtTerrorist said “the only conclusion is to take the things they own from them by force”.  No, that is not anarcho-socialism.  Statist socialism will use force, yes, but not anarchist socialism.  If they used force, that would be a government.  I also never said that I, or anarcho-socialists in general, want a society completely “without private property”.  And, I agree with you that stealing is wrong, and I don’t want any “DMV type bureaucracies” either.  Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote, and instead have set up a straw man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).  Furthermore, I find it interesting that you bring up the behavior of other animals in making an argument for private property.  It turns out that our closest animal relatives, the bonobos, are quite communal (http://www.plosone.o...al.pone.0051922, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-dawn/201202/7-things-bonobos-can-teach-us-about-love-and-sex).    


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#20
xelent

xelent

  • 2183 posts
Here’s a couple Ayn Rand quotes:  

 

“It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”

 

“Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.”

 

If Rand’s mindset were widespread in an anarchist society, would that cause major problems for a large number of people?  For the reasons I explained earlier in this thread, I am certain that it would.

Those quotes tell me everything about what we actually do in real life. This feigned charity the left likes to pass of as some kind off virtue isn't believable frankly, however noble it may appear.

 

I also explained to you in my last post that mutual associations were enormously successful. They weren't regulated (or funded) by the state and proved to be highly efficient organizations during the 19th century. The assumption that self interest is some kind of dog eat dog relationship with the world is entirely naive. These organizations are clear example of people coming together voluntarily in their own best interests. Really, read up about it, they are a no brainer and entirely led by the free market back then.

 

I certainly understand that anarcho socialism will endeavour not to use force and in that regard, I'm fine with folk sharing that ideology amongst themselves peacefully. I just get tired of the self righteous rubbish from the left that assumes it has cornered virtue, with what has been force up until this date.


  • 1

#21
Josh F

Josh F

    Thought Terrorist


  • 766 posts

ThoughtTerrorist said “the only conclusion is to take the things they own from them by force”.  No, that is not anarcho-socialism.  Statist socialism will use force, yes, but not anarchist socialism.  If they used force, that would be a government.  I also never said that I, or anarcho-socialists in general, want a society completely “without private property”.  And, I agree with you that stealing is wrong, and I don’t want any “DMV type bureaucracies” either.  Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote, and instead have set up a straw man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).  Furthermore, I find it interesting that you bring up the behavior of other animals in making an argument for private property.  It turns out that our closest animal relatives, the bonobos, are quite communal (http://www.plosone.o...al.pone.0051922, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-dawn/201202/7-things-bonobos-can-teach-us-about-love-and-sex).    

Capitalism is extremely communal.  The Bonobos do not use tools in the wild, so they're not really relevant to the example.  They share lovers, this is not an economic situation, it is sexual, and more akin to having orgies than following Karl Marx.

 

As to the straw-man, you've said you don't advocate force, yet you do advocate central resource control.  How can YOU reconcile this.  that is to say, it is your job to simply explain how people will be encouraged to voluntarily give up their resources. 

Without writing pages, if you are interested in explaining this to us AnCaps at all, you need to clearly answer this question:

 

If you advocate for centralized resource control, how do you acquire those resources from parties who currently own them and are unwilling to give them up?

Please keep your answer down to a simple statement or two, I don't want evidence or proof or links to understand this question I just need to hear what has been proposed to solve this potential problem, and I cant find the answer anywhere.
 


  • 0

#22
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

xelent,

 

I think that an objective life form, looking at planet Earth from the outside, would conclude that the human species is a sort of evolutionary error which is bound to destroy itself.  We, as a people, are faced with a choice: do we accept the fate that we are designed in such a way that we are doomed to make ourselves extinct, or do we do everything in our power to avoid this scenario?  In other words, do we make the choice to show that what looks like a rational conclusion is nevertheless mistaken?  Fortunately, many people feel that we should make this effort.  To start, I’ll mention the selfless acts of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.  These people gave up everything so that we could have a better place to live.  And then you can look at humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.  They are funded primarily by charitable donations, their goal is to help people, and organizations like this are widespread.  On a much smaller scale, I myself am a homeschooling stay-at-home dad with two kids.  I spend most of my time doing things for people other than myself.  I find it enjoyable, and I don’t think that I am particularly unusual in this regard.  As parenting gradually improves, and hopefully as people continue to get smarter (http://en.wikipedia....ki/Flynn_effect), I expect the degree to which people are charitable to increase in the future.  Furthermore, it is a whole lot easier to be charitable to others if your needs are met and others are being charitable to you.  This is the thought behind the anarcho-socialist ideal of having a “gift economy” (http://en.wikipedia....ki/Gift_economy).    

 

I think I thoroughly explained in the initial post on this thread about the problems that can arise in a society where everyone acts solely in their own self-interest.  And I still don’t think I’ve read a solid argument yet as to why my reasoning might be wrong on this. 

 

ThoughtTerrorist,

 

You wrote that “the Bonobos do not use tools in the wild”, however I read that “some examples of tool use in wild bonobos include using leaves as cover for rain, or the use of branches in social displays” (http://www.clemetzoo...ag/Bonobos.html).  And the link I provided in my last post does indicate that bonobos share food too, in addition to sex.  In fact, not only do bonobos share, but they prefer to share with strangers before acquaintances (http://today.duke.ed.../01/sharinghare). 

 

You also wrote “you do advocate central resource control”.  No, wrong again.  I’d ultimately like to live in a “gift economy”.  If you happen to live in a society where all you need to do is ask for things and people give them to you for “free”, then why wouldn’t you follow suit and give some of your labor away for free as well.  In such a society, there would be no need for money.  One of the main purposes of the price mechanism in capitalism is that it is used as a tool to ascertain how much of what should be produced.  But notice that, most of the time, producers of goods are pretty good at estimating how much of that good will be consumed in any given year.  They arrive at these estimates by looking at last year’s consumption, and having a knowledge of population growth, and perhaps in doing some modeling of expected consumption.  Also, the fact that the supply of a good is running low is an indication that more of it is desired, regardless of whether or not that good has a price attached to it.  Now difficult cases may arise where this mechanism of estimating the expected demand of an item doesn’t work well, and in an anarcho-socialist society, something like the “nested councils ” probably could be used to help out here (and ideally externalities such as environmental effects will be taken into account in such discussions).  But then, when it comes time to distribute those goods, hopefully they will simply be given away to anyone who feels that they need them (one of the other roles of the price mechanism is to determine who wants the good the most…in a gift economy, people ought to be sufficiently compassionate to realize the degree to which they themselves need an item relative to others in their community).  The councils, I think you imagine, would be some formalized thing.  It might be that way.  But it also might just be casual gatherings of people to discuss concerns in their community.  And most anarcho-socialists think that the ultimate goal would be to have no councils either.  Now, of course, I’d say that this is the ideal, and that realistically quite some time will be needed to reach this point.  I expect that, if the state is ever removed, that money would continue to exist in the short run.  From there I’d wish to gradually transition to a more socialist society.  The goal is to reach a point where everyone is satisfied with the amount of goods they receive, but yet there is no central planning, and no money.    


  • 0

 


#23
xelent

xelent

  • 2183 posts

xelent,

 

I think that an objective life form, looking at planet Earth from the outside, would conclude that the human species is a sort of evolutionary error which is bound to destroy itself.  We, as a people, are faced with a choice: do we accept the fate that we are designed in such a way that we are doomed to make ourselves extinct, or do we do everything in our power to avoid this scenario?  In other words, do we make the choice to show that what looks like a rational conclusion is nevertheless mistaken?  Fortunately, many people feel that we should make this effort.  To start, I’ll mention the selfless acts of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.  These people gave up everything so that we could have a better place to live.  And then you can look at humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.  They are funded primarily by charitable donations, their goal is to help people, and organizations like this are widespread.  On a much smaller scale, I myself am a homeschooling stay-at-home dad with two kids.  I spend most of my time doing things for people other than myself.  I find it enjoyable, and I don’t think that I am particularly unusual in this regard.  As parenting gradually improves, and hopefully as people continue to get smarter (http://en.wikipedia....ki/Flynn_effect), I expect the degree to which people are charitable to increase in the future.  Furthermore, it is a whole lot easier to be charitable to others if your needs are met and others are being charitable to you.  This is the thought behind the anarcho-socialist ideal of having a “gift economy” (http://en.wikipedia....ki/Gift_economy).    

 

I think I thoroughly explained in the initial post on this thread about the problems that can arise in a society where everyone acts solely in their own self-interest.  And I still don’t think I’ve read a solid argument yet as to why my reasoning might be wrong on this.

 

That's because you are a leftist, which holds the inherent belief that humans will destroy each other, unless their urges and desires aren't regulated.

 

You then contradict yourself when you mention charitable organizations like doctors without borders, that are funded by 'private' donations. Since when is this any different from mutual associations or any other privately funded charity. This is what the market provides, because people care enough about the plight of others. These things happen, not because people are ancaps or ansocs, it's because many people (of both persuasions) have empathy enough to fund such projects.

 

It's kind of insulting to have a socialist (given that ideologies history), suggesting that those that affiliate themselves with the free market are somehow incapable of having empathy with the plight of others. But hey, I repeat myself of course.


  • 0

#24
Josh F

Josh F

    Thought Terrorist


  • 766 posts
ThoughtTerrorist,

 

You wrote that “the Bonobos do not use tools in the wild”, however I read that “some examples of tool use in wild bonobos include using leaves as cover for rain, or the use of branches in social displays” (http://www.clemetzoo...ag/Bonobos.html).  And the link I provided in my last post does indicate that bonobos share food too, in addition to sex.  In fact, not only do bonobos share, but they prefer to share with strangers before acquaintances (http://today.duke.ed.../01/sharinghare). 

 

You also wrote “you do advocate central resource control”.  No, wrong again.  I’d ultimately like to live in a “gift economy”.  If you happen to live in a society where all you need to do is ask for things and people give them to you for “free”, then why wouldn’t you follow suit and give some of your labor away for free as well.  In such a society, there would be no need for money.  One of the main purposes of the price mechanism in capitalism is that it is used as a tool to ascertain how much of what should be produced.  But notice that, most of the time, producers of goods are pretty good at estimating how much of that good will be consumed in any given year.  They arrive at these estimates by looking at last year’s consumption, and having a knowledge of population growth, and perhaps in doing some modeling of expected consumption.  Also, the fact that the supply of a good is running low is an indication that more of it is desired, regardless of whether or not that good has a price attached to it.  Now difficult cases may arise where this mechanism of estimating the expected demand of an item doesn’t work well, and in an anarcho-socialist society, something like the “nested councils ” probably could be used to help out here (and ideally externalities such as environmental effects will be taken into account in such discussions).  But then, when it comes time to distribute those goods, hopefully they will simply be given away to anyone who feels that they need them (one of the other roles of the price mechanism is to determine who wants the good the most…in a gift economy, people ought to be sufficiently compassionate to realize the degree to which they themselves need an item relative to others in their community).  The councils, I think you imagine, would be some formalized thing.  It might be that way.  But it also might just be casual gatherings of people to discuss concerns in their community.  And most anarcho-socialists think that the ultimate goal would be to have no councils either.  Now, of course, I’d say that this is the ideal, and that realistically quite some time will be needed to reach this point.  I expect that, if the state is ever removed, that money would continue to exist in the short run.  From there I’d wish to gradually transition to a more socialist society.  The goal is to reach a point where everyone is satisfied with the amount of goods they receive, but yet there is no central planning, and no money.    

So you've never run a business or created a project or managed a company, right?  I don't mean to be dismissive, but these are just the economic perspective of a young child living with their parents.  Everything should be free because you'd like for a gift economy?  You also don't understand how businesses make their estimates, and how without pricing, it would be impossible to determine the cost of supplies. 

 

This is what you completely don't understand and why what you're espousing isn't feasible or describable or optimal.  Businesses are created by RISK.  For example, I am building a business right now.  I've had to invest thousands of dollars already, hundreds of hours of my own time, and have had to live a lower standard of life to afford to do so.  I am making a risk.  I a risking my money, my time, and a potential income to build a business where will service a market demand.  I don't know if it is going to work.  It might or might not.  I suffer those consequences if it fails, no one else.  Thus if it succeeds I reap the benefits.  In this fantasy gift economy, I would NOT work for free, no one else would work for free, no one would risk their capitol, and no one would waste time being productive.  Its childish and thats the most honest argument you're going to get, it is the economy of a small child dependent on their parents with no idea how money or businesses work or where product come from. 

Let me walk you through your own idea.  Zietgiest says hey everyone lets have a gift economy.  Everyone in economics and business ignored you 100%, as they are right now, they will always ignore you because they know it is absurd.  Now what?  Thats it.  End of the line.  No productive people are part of the Zietgiest movement, none of them are giving away anything for free, and nothing you personally are doing demonstrates this would work.

 

So, if you believe in this, be the first one to put your money where you mouth is and try starting a business where u dont spend money, and then give away your stuff.  GOOD LUCK!

 

Otherwise all I hear is "mommy buy me that toy", either it works, in which case you can compete right now, or it doesn't in which case its just a movement of dependents crying about not having free stuff online.


now, to help me understand.  NO ONE is going give away their labor or products for nothing.  That being a fact, how then does Zietgiest get started? 

So you made the videos and stuff saying free gift economies are ideal, yet no one is jumping to this new business model.  Why?  Why would they ever jump to this business model if it cant compete?  They won't, right?  So, now that we're in reality world, when NO ONE wants to give away themselves of the product of their labor, wht do you do?  How do you gain control of the resources? 

 

Now, let me talk to you about the FREE MARKET invention called OPEN SOURCE.  Open Source is much like the gift economy you described.  However the only reason it functions is because it is an information technology.  It isn't actual real property.  The state and IP laws called it property, intellectual property, but it isn't.  It is none physical, can be copied without cost, can be created without material resources, requires no physical distribution, requires no manual labor, etc.  Do you see how the FREE MARKET will happily create FREE whenever possible?  That is why my business is about giving customers a FREE service, much like Google or Facebook.  It is free information, not free food or tangible goods. I still plan to earn money though.


  • 0

#25
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

There is a very simple explanation for the unresolved issues in this, and every other, debate about "what humans should, or should not do".

 

Rational people "attempt" to look at the big picture, while incorporating the little things where they fit.

 

Irrational people focus on some little thing and try to beat others over the head enough to prove that their "thing" explains everything.

 

The fundamental issue is CONTROL.

 

Rational people learn that their own sense of freedom is limited by their lack of ability to apply control to others without contradicting their own freedom.

 

Irrational people are stuck on the concept of control. (And it doesn't matter how rational one may be on most fronts, irrationality as regards the freedom of other people is decisive.) They blind themselves to the truth of their ideology, giving themselves free rein to claim that this, that, or the other, control is acceptable.

 

It's one thing to advocate some authoritarian control from the anonymity of the web, or some book, or some newsletter, or some government office. It's quite another thing to have the same advocacy when standing next to a person who advocates freedom, and can, decisively, protect themselves from CONTROLLERS, in any way, shape, or form required. I introduce this aspect because I have been witness to its reality as both a participant and a bystander. When confronted with me (6'2", 220 lbs., and not afraid), people DO NOT advocate control issues with any sense of committment. When confronted with a less-intimidating person, the CONTROLISTS have no limit; they will attack, attack, attack.

 

Lest anyone assume I am trying to make a "might vs. right" argument: first, I am one of the most non-violent people I have ever encountered. Second, reality should never be subjected to fear as an arbiter. Third, it is the "CONTROLLERS" who are practicing "might makes right".

 

Fear. That is what irrational people use as a wedge to insinuate their ideas. It is the dominant propaganda of religionists, statists, dictators, and so-called humanitarians.

 

The only people I have found who do not use fear as their primary, if any, argument are individualists (actual, not claimed without verification, whatever the current label-of fashion). To be an individual, and confront reality as a given, requires relegating fear to a manageable distraction.

 

So it boils down to the difference between those who wish to live their lives, granting others the same opportunity, and those who wish to meddle in the affairs of others. (For any pseudo-intellectuals that wish to claim "either-or" fallacy, check your premise: the alternative of doing neither is incorporated into the "leave people alone" premise. )

 

I think it is a fair question to ask: Which side are YOU on?

 

Think carefully, for those of us who have honestly, and fully, embraced liberty will see through a charade almost as soon as a faker opens their mouth (or, their keyboard).

 

This is not some new youtube trend; this issue as been around for centuries, and some of the brightest minds ever have sunk an enormous amount of thought into the details. Anyone who has failed to recognize, and failed to do the homework, deserves little, if any, symapthy for ignorance. They deserve zero sympathy for rigid adherence to some "control" idea.

 

Of course, that all might be irrelevant. For it is a very simple proposition: either you are for liberty, or you are not. (Again, for the pseudo-intellectuals who like to quote fallacies they don't understand: if the preceeding is an "either-or", what's the alternative?)

 

Which side are YOU on?


  • 0

#26
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

xelent,

 

You wrote that I have “the inherent belief that humans will destroy each other.”  If you spend time reading about some of the nuclear weapons incidents that have occurred over the past 60 years, I think that you’ll reach that conclusion too.  Try starting out with this: http://en.wikipedia....Vasili_Arkhipov, http://en.wikipedia....tanislav_Petrov, http://en.wikipedia....rocket_incident, http://en.wikipedia....AD#False_alarms, http://en.wikipedia....accidents#1980s.   

 

You also wrote “You then contradict yourself when you mention charitable organizations like doctors without borders, that are funded by 'private' donations.”  Contradict what?  I have said in this thread repeatedly that people may act charitably in “ancapistan”.  And I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “mutual associations”, but if you’re talking about something like this http://en.wikipedia....conomic_theory), then that’s fairly close to what I’d like to see. 

 

You also wrote, when speaking of charity that “these things happen, not because people are ancaps or ansocs, it's because many people (of both persuasions) have empathy enough to fund such projects.”  Yes, I agree.  But, people are more likely to be compassionate in a society which is not capitalist (a piece in the New York Times yesterday backs me up on this: http://opinionator.b...just-care-less/).  You also wrote “it's kind of insulting to have a socialist (given that ideologies history), suggesting that those that affiliate themselves with the free market are somehow incapable of having empathy with the plight of others.”  Well, there is some real psychological data, explained in the NYT article, which back up this position.  So apparently you are just insulted by real scientific facts. 

 

 

ThoughtTerrorist,

 

You wrote “In this fantasy gift economy…no one else would work for free”.  Many counterexamples prove this to be false.  Here’s the most obvious: the internal workings of most families.  Sure, today someone in the family needs to go out into the world and contribute in the capitalist sphere, but currency is generally not used much within families.  My wife doesn’t pay me to do her laundry.  Instead, I do that as a gift to her, and she’ll repay me in the future with a gift of her own.  So, in anarcho-socialism, the aim is to extend the way that we interact with our loved ones to everyone in the world.  Would this be the best possible society?  It seems that it would.  But is it obtainable?  We’re not going to know unless we try. 

 

I, like you, don’t think that the “Zeitgeist movement” will work.  My understanding is that the movement basically wants central planning with a supercomputer.  My feeling is that this will fail.  No program in the foreseeable future will be able to effectively simulate human minds. 

 

I also never said that starting a business based on the principles of giving gifts and not spending money would be an effective way to make progress in the area.  This is another example of you setting up a straw man.  I get the feeling that you take what I have had to say about this too personally.  Given the current economic system that we exist under, I don’t see anything wrong with starting a business, as long as the employees are treated humanely.  As an example of acceptable business practices, I think that what is done at Costco is a whole lot better than how the Walmart workers are treated (http://www.forbes.co...at-you-pay-for/).    

 

But even with the Costco example in mind, it remains clear to me that capitalism has a number of serious flaws in the way it is structured.  I explained these in my initial post.  Thus far, no one has been able to refute them.  So, given that capitalism is defective, we have two choices: either we accept to live in a society which is unjust and destructive, or we seek something else which doesn’t have these problems.  Given that the people who suffer in capitalism are mainly the poor, you have apparently decided that the problems with capitalism are no big deal since it probably won’t affect you personally, and so thus you feel that people shouldn’t spend time thinking about or experimenting with alternatives to capitalism.  I, on the other hand, have among other things decided that the unjust treatment of the poor is unacceptable in capitalism, and so I cannot personally accept capitalism given its faults, and think that we as ethical people need to seek to find something better.    

 

Am I a utopian?  No, the only true utopia is to believe that things can continue as they are now indefinitely, or that the problems we face today are solvable in the current framework.  It is utopian to believe that by punishing the fraudulent today will result in significant change, because the capitalist system itself rewards people who behave fraudulently. 

 

 

darkskyabove,

 

I’m an anarchist.  I think that authoritarian control is bad.  And I feel that being stuck in a low-paying job without health insurance is not freedom in any real sense of the word, regardless of whether or not there is a government.  


  • -1

 


#27
Rene Kejlskov Jorgensen

Rene Kejlskov Jorgensen

  • 4 posts
"The conclusion that a person’s property should be regarded as an extension of themselves seems to be particularly troubling.  Is your computer a part of your body?  Everyone would reject this".
 
This is a bit of a strawman argument. Off course any sane person rejects that any external object (X) is part of his/hers body. It is a figure of speech. The whole point is that if a person has used his labour productively on some object, it has likely risen enough in value (desirability) that someone else would prefer the object in its new form, rather than in its original one. Nobody claims property rights of air, since it is abundant and everyone can use it just by being alive. No "additional labour" (apart from breathing) is necessary (no mixing of object and labour). If no one ever labored, no property rights would be necessary. Property rights are an effect of (productive) labour. If you were not going to labour in any way, why would you, say, claim rights to a certain land area? You would not. The point is, it is not the land, but the produce you can make of the land that you claim property rights to. And you can be very productive in a small area, while you can also be unproductive in a very large area. USSR had tons of land !! But no real productive labour. If two persons go out in the wood and homestead each an equal, neighboring land area. One person just shuffles a few sticks together and some leafs so sleep on. The other guy labours for days creating flint axes, felling trees, collecting and preparing stones for a floor etc... he creates a nice sturdy house all by himself. Now would it not be fair to say that the guy building the house had earned his "right" to live in that house? He has only used his own hands. He has only used goods found on his own land or maybe goods he has voluntarily traded with others (and that trade would never have taken place if he had not produced anything of value to others). The guy with the house has, as a figure of speech, mixed his labour with nature and they must be his property. If he had chopped all the wood up in small no good chunks, it would not have been of value to anyone, not even himself. So his neighbour would just have shook his head and never minded his "work". Property rights are really about taking responsibility. Of the billion dollars, maybe only a few millions is actually in the hands of the owner. The rest is out in the market working as capital for other entrepreneurs who will satisfy some other markets, like through shares, bank loans or direct capital investment
 
---
 
"The assumption that people have free will is invalid.  After all, a person is made of matter.  Matter behaves according to physical laws which are very well understood.  Thus, free will is an illusion"
 
Your will is only as "free" as your genes lets it be. We are containers for the survival of our genes. They define our will. So no - a free will does not exist, in my opinion, and that might be a good thing. The genes are a library of millions of years of trials and errors, so you´d better let them do their thing :) ... let the will of your genes be free - as long as they do not want to aggress against others. Thats where morality comes in !! (UPB).
 
---
 
"Capitalists tend to think of this self-defense as being applicable in a broad way, since they see their property as being part of themselves.  Socialists, on the other hand, feel that self-defense is only valid when the concept is used in a more narrow sense of the word, which only includes their physical bodies.  Given that I’m well aware of the unintended harm that the use of force can have, I definitely favor the socialist position on this issue."   
 
So you are saying that anyone can take anything from anyone all the time, except except for bodyparts - and that is moral? 
This is a contradiction. Why would anyone be interested in any object that is placed in closer proximity to me and that i may also have spent my labour on? .. because it has value to that other person. Otherwise he wouldn´t care. If another person moves that "valuable" obejct to be in closer proximity to his body than mine and he now has the benefits of the value and i do not. That is stealing - not of the object but the value. No matter how many political ideologies you throw in the mix. This is stealing. And two persons cannot steal from each other simultaneously and both be moral. One of them by definition must be a victim.
 
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"Anarchists can thus be seen as simply promoting “Kindergarten ethics”"
 
Kind of sophist argumentation. Trying to indicate that NAP is childish. Kindergarten ethics should off course be identical to ethics in any other place i society.
 
---
 
"Supporters of anarcho-capitalism generally give the usual economic argument that if everyone makes voluntary decisions based on their individual self-interest, then everyone will be better off.  Adherents of anarcho-socialism, on the other hand, think that individuals should take a more humanitarian approach to their decision making"
 
Manipulation of concepts and lack of argument. There is no logical or imperical way to deduct that socialism is more "humanitarian" than capitalism/voluntarism. That is pure prejudice and/or indoctrination. It is not enough to state implicit that "socialism is more humanitarian" - that does not make it true. All empirical data you can dig up points in the opposite direction. Take China as a glaring example. 30 years ago it was a hole in the ground, now it is the biggest wealth boom in history. The receipe is so simple ... just let people be and let them keep what they produce. The state (socialism) does not produce food (at least not where i come from). And still there are plenty of shops with all kinds of foods, i can hardly imagine, that some people produce voluntarily for me!!!  
 
---
 
"The next thing to notice is that “pure capitalist” and “pure socialist” are two endpoints on a spectrum, and there is a continuum of possibilities between the two extremes"
 
NO. That is a false "dichotomy". There is "non-agression" and then there is "some degree of agression". There is "Individualism (freedom)" or " degrees of collectivism". Freedom is NOT an extreme. Freedom is the real state of nature. It would be akin to say that having no cancer at all is extreme. Infact no cancer is the optimal condition while 100% cancer is the extreme. 
 
---
 
"My wife was born in the countryside of Communitst China in the mid 1970s, and she points out that, even there, it wasn’t entirely communist.  They still used money, each family got a piece of land, and of course they still had possessions (clothing, etc.).  What they did do is that each family in the village pooled their crops together when they were sold at the market, and each family was repaid an amount proportional to the number of people in that family.  But she points out that there were still additional ways for people to make a little bit more money, as individuals"
 
So you are basically saying that socialism is not desirable. "They had some freedom". It makes no sense at all to claim socialism works, because people had some freedom? As i stated above, the fasle dichotomy of this pragmatic "middle of the road" mixed economy" is not correct. If just a little freedom is preferable to force, then all force must be eliminated. It is a logical inevitability.
 
---
 
"Money as an intermediary of exchange is likely to exist at all point along the spectrum except for the “pure socialist” endpoint.  At this point we have what is known as a “gift economy” (which is the ideal of anarcho-socialists, with no money, no markets, and no central planning).  Personally, I see the elimination of money as being a worthwhile long-term goal of the human species"
 
I have always found this demonisation of money strange. Money is just a practical arrangement, nothing more. Money is not moral. A "gift economy" - what is that??? A gift is one person handing over (some of) HIS PROPERTY to another person voluntarily, without any expectance of reprocity in form of trade. In other words, there has to be property rights in "gift economy", otherwise it is just "everything is up for grabs". That always ends up with the few in power having all the rights to property and everyone else have none. Take any of the old communist regimes as empirical data.
 
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"How society chooses how to manage (or not) this transaction is fundamental to how it operates"
 
Society is a concept. It cannot choose, manage, operate or transact !! 
 
---
 
"If there is a government, the government can use force to stop transactions which would have otherwise taken place, or to force transactions to occur which wouldn’t have happened in the free market.  In a voluntary society, this is not an option.  
 
Government is a concept, it can not stop or force transactions. Only persons can do that, by using force. And how do these people (in "government") know if a "transaction" is desirable or not? That would take the knowledge of the personal desires of millions of people.
 
---
 
"The main role of government in a capitalist system is to deal with market failure"
 
What ?? Capitalism and Governement is like oil and water. Government can ONLY destroy something in the market (in short or long term). Market failures are a symptom of government involvement in the market. State coercion always distorts the market and sometimes crashes it. The market functions best in total freedom because it IS freedom. Capitalism is not an ideology like socialism is, thats why the afore mentioned capitalism-socialism dichotomy is false.  
 
---
 
"Market failures mainly include: 
 
1. externalities (which is the effect that voluntary transactions have on a third party – banks giving out risky loans which can disrupt the entire system is an example; the banks takes into account the effect the loan not being paid off will have on themselves, but not for the market as a whole)
2. information asymmetries (when one party involved in a transaction has more information than the other), 
3. non-competitive markets, public goods (items such as roads and national defense which can be shared and for which exclusion is difficult, often resulting in “free rider” problems), 
4. instability (periods of high unemployment have plagued modern economies in the past; the extent to which the government can reduce the length and severity of these periods is debatable) 
5. income inequality (or lack of a safety net). The most common objection to anarchism, namely that there would be nothing to stop armed thugs from taking over the neighborhood, can be seen as one possible market failure, although there are ways of dealing with this (anarcho-capitalists often discuss private defense companies in competition with one another). 
 
==> 
 
1. Ask yourself why banks are giving out risky loans? Could there be some state monetary interventions in the economy?
2. That is mostly the case in every transaction. One of the downsides of the statist indoctrination mentality is that people are pulled away from contact with the market and thus have less insight into value/prices etc. Expansions of the money supply/inflation makes it harder to keep track also. 
3. Strawman. In a free market everything is competitive as long as someone competes for market share. Often that is a good place to look for new profitable business. Look for monopolies and compete with them.
4. Who creates "un-employment" .. well the state, who else. The market creates employment. Is that so hard to grasp?
5. Arghh .. come on. Armed thugs !!? What about those who steal 50% of your income !!! Are they armed? Could they be classified as thugs? You gotte do better than that mate :)
 
 
These Keynesian "market failures" are always pulled out to justify state intervention in the market. But then - why do you care? If you need something - go make it yourself. Why stick guns in peoples faces, who VOLUNTARILY produce things for YOU in the first place?? Why do you care if their market may crash now and then? That is not your headache anyway. Who the heck do you think you are?
 
---
 
"If you grow some vegetables in your garden and exchange them for some of the fruit off your neighbor’s tree, that is not capitalism"
 
Well i dont care if you sling that ideology called Capitalism on some voluntary transaction in a free market, be that with money or by barter. You simply do not understand money. I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding this concept. Money has been around for thousands of years and still most people have no clue what it really is. Its a disgrace. And it is in my opinion the one of the biggest problems for humanity.
 
---
 
"Essential to capitalism is the ownership of property (or means of production) that is not intended for one’s own personal use, but rather to be used by workers that are paid a wage" 
 
oohh .. "profit is bad". If you produce more than you can eat yourself and try to sell it to help others, then you are a "bad person". Ok so that means that everyone should each produce everything they need themselves? Do you have any idea how inefficient that is? And this is ONLY because you do not understand money and you likely have been indoctrinated to think that profit is immoral. But if profit is immoral, then why do you work? Work is profitable compared to lying in bed all day. 
 
---
 
"According to anarcho-capitalism, property owners, and only property owners, have the right to initiate real physical force against someone on their property (to get them to leave). This is a legal monopoly with the right to initiate force in a geographical area"
 
Noooh !!! It is he who enters a property (IF THAT IS SOMEWHERE WHICH HE HAS NO RIGHT OR AGREEMENT TO BE IN), who initiates the "violence". Now that does not mean that he should be shot on sight off course, but a threat of retalliation would be proper to start with and then gradually progressing in "violence" until the trespasser either leaves or ultimately is killed for trying to attack the owner. Anyway there is nothing "legal" in anarchy. That is statist concept.
 
---
 
"Furthermore, in an anarcho-capitalist society, and particularly in a city, every place is owned by someone.  There is no “public space”.  Thus, if you’re not wealthy enough to buy your own property in a city there, you’ll always be on someone else’s property"
 
Fallacious argument. That everything is owned does not mean that everyone must own something (ie. land). That is no different from how it is now. You can rent your car, rent an appartment etc.. It is just that SOMEBOBY MUST own it. There must be no "commons" (the tragedy of..) since it leads to neglect. Another fallacy - you are not someone elses property because you rent your car and your appartment??? That is only in a statist society that will tax you at the point of a gun !! Lots of people will probably prefer not to own anything in a free sociaety. Again - ownership is "responsibility" for things of value. It is making shure that it is not squandered and misused. that would clearly show in the missing profits - which again points out the importance of profit.
 
---
 
"You can also consider the extreme situation where a group of wealthy individuals collude and buy up all the land in an area.  Then the unfortunate people living there will be under their rule: obey us or be evicted"
 
My god. Incredible. No one can buy anything unless the SELLER IS WILLING TO SELL. There is no state expropriation in a free society. But if buyer and seller can come to an agreement, then both parties must be satisfied. But then the seller must leave the property, because it is no longer his. Why would that make him a "slave" ???? But why would a potential buyer buy the land in the frist place? Not to harrass the people that are present there now!! That would be just about the worst reason to buy land. No they buy it because the use they can make of it is more profitable than the one who sells it. Maybe he can buy some rocky land fairly cheap and build some homes that those "poor" people can rent. 
 
---
 
"Capitalism fails to recognize that human desires are of a social nature, and thus rising wages may not produce greater satisfaction if the standard of living of the capitalist has risen even more"
 
Wrong . Human desires are limitless in all directions and areas. What makes us happy is truth, love and happiness, but that is up to YOU my friend, not the free market. As i said, capitalism is not an ideology, it is an effect of freedom.
 
---
 
"Socialists feel that the large inequality in income inherent in capitalism is despicable" 
 
So you think that entrepreneurs put all their billions in their pillow and keep them away from the "poor" people? No - they invest them in productivity, that makes even more things that you are interested in. He just has the responsibility for more resources than others. His bonus is that he buys himself a big car, a big house ogr a boat or something - that is his "bonus" for making so many people richer by either creating a job for them or goods they can buy.
 
Rene Kejlskov Jorgensen

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#28
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

@rkj1966: Well done!

 

When will people stop using current and historical conditions as a straw man to attack the free-market?

 

Stefan's recent analysis of the Peter Joseph fiasco --- sorry, debate --- highlighted an important factor in these types of discussion: some people have an emotional attachment to ideas that represent a fix for trauma they suffered in the past. I admit to a lack of consideration for this possibility; I tend to assume that when people enter into a "rational" debate, they are trying to be rational, and have access to the same information as I do, thus I am not very sympathetic to errors in reasoning caused by "unknowable" factors.

 

Might be time for me to fall back to that old stand-by: "Never argue with someone who is convinced they are right."


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#29
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

rkj1966,

 

As far as I can tell, you have rephrased the capitalist argument for property rights that I gave in my initial post (and many others have given before me).  I agree, that is the argument, and I don’t think I have much else to say about that.  And I agree with you that stealing personal possessions is wrong.  I think that if you take the toothbrush of the average anarcho-socialist, that person will be annoyed.  However, they won’t attack you over it.  So, regarding stealing, the question is this: is it valid to use force to protect your property, or is only social pressure acceptable?  Anarcho-capitalists think that it is valid to use force to protect their property, and anarcho-socialists think that this is inappropriate.  You could imagine a website in an anarcho-socialist society of all the people who have taken from others.  Those people won’t be attacked, but they very well may be subjected to ostracism.  This seems more civilized to me. 

 

I’ve actually heard Stefan Molyneux call them “kindergarten ethics” before.  I wasn’t being very original when I invoked that phrase. 

 

You wrote that “It is not enough to state implicit that ‘socialism is more humanitarian’ - that does not make it true.”  The definition of “humanitarian” is “concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare.”  The definition of “welfare” is “the health, happiness, and fortunes of a group.”  In microeconomics, typically there is an assumption of “rational choice”, which in the case of an individual means that the person makes decisions in pursuit of their own self-interest.  This mindset is inherently anti-humanitarian (good examples of this I’ve already mentioned - the accidents in Bangladesh and Texas). 

 

And when you addressed what I had to say about the socialist-capitalist spectrum, it seems as though you missed the point.  When considering only the possibilities within anarchism, any society on the spectrum would satisfy the NAP.   An example on the “far left” would be a “gift economy”, an example on the “far right” would be “anarcho-capitalism”, and an example of an anarchist society in between these two extremes would be one based on “mutualism”.   

 

I mentioned my wife’s background to illustrate the fact that there is a spectrum, and even “communitst” China wasn’t entirely “communist”.  And yes, obviously this is a statist example, and I consider it undesirable to live in a state like that.  At least in the US we have some basic civil liberties.  Last year I gave a talk on anarchism at a festival in the US and my wife said that, if I gave that speech in China, that I’d be arrested.  So yeah, I’m happy to live someplace where we have the freedom of speech, and I think that there might not be a place in “ancapistan” where I could speak my mind freely in this way. 

 

You wrote “A ‘gift economy’ - what is that?”  Well, I already wrote about that a bit and also included a link to a rather lengthy wikipedia page.  The concept of a gift economy is not really that obscure…I know there’s been a couple of TED talks given on the subject.  I encourage you to look them up.  I’ve tried to be informative on this thread, but I also lack the time to explain everything. 

 

You also wrote “Society is a concept. It cannot choose, manage, operate or transact” and “Government is a concept, it can not stop or force transactions.”  I agree.  I was speaking of the people in society and government.  I didn’t realize that I’d need to be so pedagogical in this thread.    You also asked me “And how do these people (in ‘government’) know if a ‘transaction’ is desirable or not?”  I’m not a statist, so I don’t think there’s any need for me to attempt to answer that. 

 

And in speaking of market failures, the evidence that governments often intervene in markets in an attempt to alter their outcome in an effort to satisfy voters is just overwhelming.  A recent example of this that’s been in the news lately is the Affordable Care Act.  And the wikipedia page for “market failure” (http://en.wikipedia..../Market_failure) includes the sentence “the existence of a market failure is often the reason for government intervention in a particular market.”  This fact is very widely accepted. 

 

An “ideology” is “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”  It is clear from the definition that both capitalism and socialism are ideologies. 

 

I don’t think there’s reason for me to comment on your comments on the types of market failures.  Given the fact that there has never been a modern society following the tenets of anarcho-capitalism, we don’t have any real idea how big of a problem these potential failures would be in that type of society. 

 

You wrote “You simply do not understand money.”  What did I write to make you think that was the case?  I feel that I understand money rather well, and I just don’t like it.  I was an economics minor as an undergraduate, and my wife has a master’s degree in the subject. 

 

You wrote “so that means that everyone should each produce everything they need themselves?”  No, not at all.  Apparently you didn’t read the previous posts in this thread.  You also wrote “It is he who enters a property (IF THAT IS SOMEWHERE WHICH HE HAS NO RIGHT OR AGREEMENT TO BE IN), who initiates the ‘violence’.”  I addressed this earlier too when discussing the different interpretations of the NAP.  You also wrote “Fallacious argument. That everything is owned does not mean that everyone must own something (ie. land).”  It really seems like you weren’t reading. 

 

 

darkskyabove,

 

A recent set of experiments by Lafayette College professor Elizabeth Suhay found that inflammatory left-leaning blog comments do more to enrage those on the right than inflammatory right-leaning comments do to enrage those on the left (read about the experiments at http://papers.ssrn.c...ract_id=2301157).  Given the number of times I’ve been insulted here, this thread seems to be a good example of this phenomenon.   


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#30
xelent

xelent

  • 2183 posts

A recent set of experiments by Lafayette College professor Elizabeth Suhay found that inflammatory left-leaning blog comments do more to enrage those on the right than inflammatory right-leaning comments do to enrage those on the left (read about the experiments at http://papers.ssrn.c...ract_id=2301157).  Given the number of times I’ve been insulted here, this thread seems to be a good example of this phenomenon.   

 

A good reason for that I expect, is because the Left continually lie about the motives behind alternative views to their own.


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#31
Guest_darkskyabove_*

Guest_darkskyabove_*

@Jeff A: Fair warning. You have crossed into the realm of trolling. You began this thread with a list of assertions. When your assertions were challenged, you tried to reframe them as questions. When your questions were answered, you restated them again as assertions. Loop the loop. Asked, and answered. Then you make reference to an unpublished paper from some fringe website as evidence of why YOU should be tolerant of insults. Well, I'm not that tolerant. I call things as I see them. You are a troll. I will not engage in further dialogue with you, and if the trolling continues, it will be handed over to staff. (Others have been banned for trolling.)

 

 

Update: The ignore feature works as advertised. Add a member and all their content magically disappears from my version of the forum.


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#32
Jeff A

Jeff A
  • 12 posts

xelent,

 

You wrote “the Left continually lie about the motives behind alternative views to their own”.  I can’t speak for the entire Left, and I imagine that this does happen occasionally.  But, I honestly feel that most anarcho-capitalists think that “ancapistan” would be the best possible society to live in.  I don’t think that they have sinister motives.  Instead, I think that many anarcho-capitalists just haven’t thought much about many of the things that I’ve mentioned on this thread which might cause them to rethink their positions.  I feel that the reason why many of them haven’t been exposed to this stuff is because they tend to get their news from partisan sources.  Thus, I think the insults aimed at me have been unfounded and ultimately counterproductive to the real goal of achieving an increase in understanding.  I really didn’t anticipate that I’d experience such vitriol on a philosophy forum. 

 

I was reminded of the dangers of capitalism this morning when I read the news: http://www.nytimes.c...e-kills-10.html.  “Exploitation” is “the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.”  Accidents of this magnitude are an extreme example of this.  But even under “normal” capitalist working conditions, milder versions of it can still occur.  Someone can benefit from something and still be exploited.  Consider coffee pickers in South America employed by an international company and paid low wages.  Without such employment they may be even worse off.  But if the company is making large profits, it is still exploiting the pickers. 

 

 

darkskyabove,

 

I started this thread with definitions, and made an argument, and reached a conclusion.  I’m not sure what you mean when you say that I “tried to reframe them as questions.” 

 

The website that paper is on is the “Social Science Research Network” (SSRN) - http://en.wikipedia....esearch_Network.  It’s something like the social science equivalent of the arXiv (http://arxiv.org/) in that many academic papers published in those fields are available there as preprints.  I thought that people on this forum had an interest in social science.  Thus, I figured that you probably would be familiar with the SSRN. 

 

I find irony in your claim that moderators may ban me.  I came onto an anarcho-capitalist forum and put forth an argument with the conclusion that the freedom of speech may not be protected in “ancapistan”.  If the argument is then censored it would seem to help validate the point.     


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