- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Loudon Head, phony radical

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on February 02, 19100 at 11:51:52:

In Reply to: The machine rages on. posted by Loudon Head on February 01, 19100 at 10:41:50:

: You might look into libertarianism a little deeper. Libs want to get rid of a lot more than government rules on corporations. In fact, most libertarians want to get rid of absolutely everything the government does except for defense.

SDF: Defense of the corporations, that is.

: Anarcho-capitalists wouldn't have the government do that either.

: Basically, an anarcho-capitalist is someone who would do away with government all together (which would seem implicit in the term "anarchy"), but understands that private property is simply a fact of life which a.) doesn't need government

SDF: This is false as regards capitalist economics. The day-to-day operation of a capitalist economy within a capitalist society leads to a society governed by the state because the owners of property can most profitably conspire against those who have nothing but the potential of their bodies to perform labor, labor which profits the "masters" of labor crews. This conspiracy is the real power behind bourgeois state government, and it is not going to go away because some phony radical like Loudon Head fantasizes that capitalism "doesn't need government". The owning classes will never willingly cease to express a DEMAND for such government when its profitability is so self-evident. From Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations:

We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Master are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to his master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. Masters too sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometines the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, their are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters upon these occasions are just as clamourous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen. (my emphasis at the end -- SDF)
(from the U of Chicago Press edition edited by Edwin Cannan, pp. 75-76)

Even Adam Smith, bourgeois apologist extraordinaire, recognized that the state is the inevitable referee in the class struggle that accompanies capitalist society. In reaction to this recognition, the anarcho-capitalist retreats into fantasy, regressing behind Smithian economics to something even more retrograde and reactionary.

: and b.) can't be gotten rid of,

SDF: No, property can be democratized, as it is in communes and as it was in some pre-capitalist societies. More anarcho-capitalist fantasy, only it's fantasy of the bad kind, fantasy that tries to deny us the right to fantasize about a world of democratized property.

: and any attempt to do so necessarily involves an expansive totalitarian government. See Russia, Cuba, China, and well hell, anywhere the socialist experiment has been seriously attempted.

SDF: See any of Nikhil Jaikumar's real-life examples of democratically-run modern socialist government for prima facie evidence that the above "necessary" is a delusion.

: No, that would be a government. The best thing to do is to let people's freely chosen market transactions allocate the scarce resources.

SDF: As we can see from the above Adam Smith quote, "freely chosen market transactions" separate out the public into masters and workingmen, and the conflict between the two classes over the sum of their acts of wage negotiation will impel the masters to invoke government as an ally in forcing down the amount the working class is to be paid.

Anarcho-capitalism is the equivalent of advocating total war while at the same time proposing a ban on guns.

: I'll concede that one involves a relationship between two people and one between a single person and forces of nature. But, a boss can't threaten you with starvation.

SDF: Again, from Adam Smith, pp. 74-75 of the above:

A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment...

: He can threaten to stop exchanging with you (fire you), but that should be everyone's free right. (What is freedom if not the right to decide whom you are going to deal with?)

SDF: Smith seemed to dawningly understand that capitalism reserves such a freedom for the bourgeoisie, denying it to the working class. Why Loudon Head can't understand that, must therefore be a matter of wilful ignorance.

: If, after being fired, you sit on the street and starve instead of either finding a new job, creating your own job, or growing your own food, that's not the boss' fault.

SDF: The fact of the matter is that everywhere capitalism has been imposed upon a people, the "commons," the ground upon which people have generally created their own jobs and grown their own food, has been abolished and the public has been required to work in factories through government coercion. See for instance E.P. Thompson's THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS. The abstraction of "freedom" is here being used to wilfully ignore the real historical and material development of capitalism.

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