- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Fred on January 30, 19100 at 20:32:02:

"Anarcho-capitalism" is self-refuting, a logical impossibility. It's a contradiction like "square circle" so it can't be discovered in any world.

("Purple elephant" isn't a contradiction, it just happens to be that no such thing exists.)

Though my both my original facetious post and the subsequent explanation brought me rebuke from both sides, I think I at least made it clear that I'm sensitive to the vagaries of language. So, you should know that I don't use words like "contradiction" lightly. But the word applies here.

"Anarchy" in the best sense of the word (freedom from coercion and other definitions along those lines) cannot exist with private ownership of the means of production, which necessarily translates to unequal social power which necessarily negates anarchy. And it goes without saying that "anarchy" in the worst sense of the world (the more common one--the lawless one where everyone is raping and killing each other with impunity) negates capitalism.

"Anarcho-capitalism" is sounds like Libertarianism to me, which is simple corporatism. It just wants to do away with that nasty Fedrul Guvmint which stands in the way to the beautiful harmony of the "free-market." It's one of those terms which co-opts the language of the Left and puts it in service of the system. It's capitalism with a heavy-metal t-shirt. Big deal.

As I've mentioned before, the government exists for the long-term survival of capitalism itself, and as such sometimes enact policies which come into conflict with the short-term interests/wishes of individual capitalists. Libertarianism and "anarcho-capitalism" are just corporatist thought experiments carried out on paper. Scratch a "free-market" Libertarian and you'll find a capitalist who needs the guvmint's firepower.

Hey, Dave: I don't agree that the bear-bones definition of capitalism is the only one we should use, because my point was that Betty might play by the free-market rules but the corporations don't. Still, they use the Betty story as a microcosm, and that's not the way they do it at all. This story is pretty much straight out of my Economics 101 class I took before I switched to English literature. And I heard pretty much the same thing from the THREE other economics courses I took as a note-taker for Notes 'n Quotes, a service for truant freshmen for whom I worked to get equal money. And Milton Friedman won the Nobel prize saying pretty much the same thing--conflating the story of small-business owners with capitalism itself.

Hey, Barry: Thanks for the response. Now, don't knock me down for going to college. If it makes you feel better, I didn't learn much and I'm $40,000 in debt, which I'm now struggling to pay back. I don't think I was sentimentalizing small shop owners. Indeed, I was saying that sentimentalizing them is what the capitalist mythology does.

Now, didn't Lenin make some allowances for small-time businesses? I mean, doesn't it all begin with seizing political power, nationalizing the major industries then going from there? (This is more of a question than a challenge.)

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