- Capitalism and Alternatives -

You're referring to oligopolistic behavior

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 19, 1999 at 12:06:15:

In Reply to: Now, about anarcho-capitalism. posted by Red Deathy on March 18, 1999 at 15:51:40:

: 1:How can such people account for the state being a particular manifestation of Rentierism, After all the British state evolved through the remnants of aristocracy, and the Rentier powers of erecting tarifs on use of teh nation state- what would stop groups of land owners, under anarcho capitalism, using their rentier powers to erect trade tarrifs,:

You're referring to oligopolistic behavior, which historically has shown to disintergrate quickly. If one oligopolist pulls out then the whole structure evaporates; and parties always think other co-conspiritors are going to do this and try to beat them to the punch.

: and extort surplus value

You mean profit? There is no such thing as "surplus value" it's mere metaphysical make-believe.

: out of the capitalists in the form of rent? What about the road owners? How can you account for the state having a necessary monopoly on violence, or would anyone be allowed to resort to violence, in the free market of force? These issues need to be considered.

Actually, they need to evolve. And yes there would be limits on violence. The Icelandic Sagas are perfect examples of markets supplying law-enforcement.

: 2:Given that crisis is inevitable under capitalist functionings,

First, the term "capitalism" is pure idealist definitionism. Second, "crisis" is a value judgement by the speaker of the term; what you speak of as "crisis" may be nirvana to someone else. So I guess it's up to you to give a detailed analysis of what will happen instead of alluding to vague generalities such as "crisis".

: what is to stop the equally inevitable concentration of property into fewer and fewer hands

But it's not inevitable. See above.

: (when a firm crashes, another fills the market, and buys up all its stock, etc. Or firms merging)?

Yes, but firms are continuously starting up. Such competition is necessary for the continuing process of finding better ways of doing things (i.e. competition).

: What happens when one firms 'wins' the competition, and achieves monopoly? How will they be stopped from, like Stagecoach here, using anti-cmpetative pricing (predatory pricing, i.e. going well below the odd, because you can afford to, to drive competitors out of business). or like Microsoft, just buying out, or smashing smaller competition. Once firms achive monopolies, what is to stop them behaving like a minature state?

Read the history of trust-busting and you'll find that the type of monopoly you're referring to is impossible without psychologistic non-market forces. Contrary to revisionist historians companies like Standard Oil were prevented by the marketplace from engaging in such behavior. A perfect example of this is the case of Dow Chemicals. The only supplier for several chemicals was a German cartel that declared a price war on the miniscule Dow. By the end of the price war Dow had acquired 30% (or so) of the world market in those particular compounds. Companies taht behave in the manner you are reffering to, like Apple Computer, simply shoot themselves in the foot.

: 3:Given that the wages system requires at the least, the compulsion of relative poverty

"Relative" being the key word that pretty much negates the next few sentences.

: to make workers sell their labour powe,

labor, labor power; semantics (I'm aware of the Marxian distinction but find it irrelevant)

: and further, requires a reserve army of labour (pool of unemployment),

Why? Where? This is just speculation, which I feel is pretty much empirically falsified.

: and further, reduces the number of workers needed through automatisation (creating 'surplus population')

The whole structure of the arguement was destroyed by the term "relative". And this automization takes place over time which allows populations to stabilize and adjust.

: 4:Further, since folk accept that being born rich gives advantages of education,

This has not been proven. And even if it does make significant differences that still is not a mark against it.

: and status, and that such advantages continue and re-enforce class divisions (with only a tiny amount of movement, for every rags to riches story there are ten or more rags to rags stories),

Only relatively. In absolute terms there are many more rags to riches stories than vice versa.

: how can the society be said to be fair (considering that social systems are human constructs, and not non-human processes, such as skin colouring, or hieght).

(serious)First, systems are not human constructs. They are products of actions of myriads of human actors each with only a tiny portion of 'the big picture'. You are implying 'will' where there was none. (parody)Second, how can you question society? You are, after all, merely an abstraction of the relative absolute of the world-spirit in its self-negating triumphal glory (there's some Hegel for ya). What is real is rational . . . what is rational is real.

: How can freedom exist under such a system, or even 'fair' competition?

"fair" and "freedom" are value judgements encumbent upon human beings to give them meaning.

: 5:If access to the law involves taking cases to 'Justice Bob's Law Emporium' doesn't that mean it'll be one law for the poor, and as many laws as money can buy for teh rich? Wouldn't equality before the law disapear?

Okay, this relates to the fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of the word 'competition' in relation to economics. You are confusing 'absolute' competition such as in sports where one wins and the other loses with 'social' competition where different alternatives are explored. A monopolist does not pay $1000 to Bob's in order to get an extra dollar out of Jim; such behavior would be unprofitable. And isn't the focus on profit something you're always harping on?

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