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Is anarcho-capitalism an anarchist school of thought?

0 votes
There are many different anarchist schools of thought in anarchism. One that was in the list on wikipedia was anarcho-capitalism. Is anarcho-capitalism really part of anarchism?
asked Jul 19, 2016 by Zer0 (260 points)

funny. in my reading of perlman 'economics' and 'business' didn't appear as the forefront of perlman's critical story, but that which always contextualizes them: the perennially violent process (which many have and do equate this to Progress) we refer to as 'civilization.' you know, that which razed the forests and paved the ground upon which they become workable at all.

Dang it! That post by Marv had me riled up enough to write this, but by the time I finished, the moderators had taken down the post after only 20 minutes. Didn't want my mini-rant to go to waste, so here it is.

Marv, you need to ask a question instead of making a series of statements based on a complete misreading of actual history, and an absurd denunciation of anti-capitalists as "commies." With a few outlying exceptions who have had scant influence on almost every actual anarchist throughout history and contemporarily, anarchists have been explicitly anti-capitalist since the 1840s. Please read about this one-time member of the American section of the First International (not exactly a hotbed of "free trade"...): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysander_Spooner  See especially the problems he had with setting up a private mail service (obviously an example of "free trade") that was crushed by the US government. Even though Spooner is claimed by right-wing so-called Libertarians, his views on capitalism were ambiguous at best, but negative for the most part -- especially as the rich benefited from various interventions taken by the state.
lawrence, the rothbardian influenced libertarians (ex: mises.org) make exactly the same points you do here regarding spooner and his mail service as well as the effects of state interventions into 'the market.' in fact, they often utilize new-left author gabriel kolko's 'triumph of conservatism,' (a history of the progressive-era) to back their assertion of the latter so they can spread the word that what we're living isn't 'true capitalism' and say 'see!? even the new-left agrees with us to some extent!'

by the way, who's marv?
lawrence  please post this information in a way that makes sense to future readers, not as a response to a flash in the pan troll who is already gone.
So, it turns out the consensus is "No" on this question.

1 Answer

+4 votes
For the sake of having an actual posted answer:

Here is what Murray Rothbard, the father of Anarcho-capitalism, has to say on the matter:

"We must therefore conclude that we are not anarchists, and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical. On the other hand, it is clear that we are not archists either: we do not believe in establishing a tyrannical central authority that will coerce the noninvasive as well as the invasive. Perhaps, then, we could call ourselves by a new name: nonarchist. Then, when, in the jousting of debate, the inevitable challenge 'are you an anarchist?' is heard, we can, for perhaps the first and last time, find ourselves in the luxury of the 'middle of the road' and say, 'Sir, I am neither an anarchist nor an archist, but am squarely down the nonarchic middle of the road.'"

Furthermore, Capitalism requires private property rights (as distinct from personal property) *and* requires a legal or de facto obligation to work for someone else, whether through the prevention of homesteading, slavery, or some other means (see Marx Capital Vol. 1 for the full explanation and extensive historical demonstration) *and* alienated value synonymous with currency, and all these things require a monopoly on force synonymous with statehood to be realized.

So, no, it isn't.

Edit:
For more information on the need to force people into the wage labor relationship, I recommend Marx's Capital Vol. 1. The whole, iirc, last section is not economic theory but rather actual historical examination of what had to be done in the United States, Australia, and Scotland to make it possible for capitalist farmers and workshops to exist with repeated examples of how time after time capital holders found themselves unable to establish themselves in these places until the State intervened explicitly on their behalf.

For more information on the necessity of the State to establish and maintain currency, see Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years.
answered Aug 29, 2016 by StrawDog (1,370 points)
edited Aug 30, 2016 by StrawDog
sd, since this is a 101 site, can i suggest a citation for that quote?
The quote from Murray Rothbard SD gave is from the book, Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard.

The quote is on page 32 of the book.

Murray Rothbard was comparing his libertarianism with mainstream anarchism. After reaching his conclusion that anarchism is contradictory, he concludes that since his libertarianism is different from what mainstream anarchists believe, it would be inaccurate to call them anarchists. 

To answer this question truthfully, we would have to compare "anarcho-capitalism" ideology to anarchism. Unfortunately, this site is against anarcho-capitalism being anarchism, so you have to reject it on here. 

"Furthermore, Capitalism requires private property rights (as distinct from personal property) *and* requires a legal or de facto obligation to work for someone else, whether through the prevention of homesteading, slavery, or some other means (see Marx Capital Vol. 1 for the full explanation and extensive historical demonstration) *and* alienated value synonymous with currency, and all these things require a monopoly on force synonymous with statehood to be realized."

Private property rights is simply words on paper and enforced by the state. Private property is individually owned property, you don't need a state for individual ownership. 

Anarcho-capitalism would be voluntary, so there would obviously be no legal/de facto obligation to do something for someone. As for currency, all anarchists oppose the current monetary system, but they disagree on whether there should be a monetary system. Voluntary exchange doesn't require a totalitarian monopoly on value. 

You sound like a Marxist, so it makes sense that you think this.

Private property rights is simply words on paper and enforced by the state. Private property is individually owned property, you don't need a state for individual ownership. 

Anarcho-capitalism would be voluntary, so there would obviously be no legal/de facto obligation to do something for someone.

You come off as sounding like an ancrapper, Zer0. Do explain how the state is not needed to enforce private property? Just saying they're not needed doesn't say anything. Next, can you explain how capitalism and ancapistan would be voluntary? Finally, why does StrawDog "sound like a Marxist?"

" Private property is individually owned property, you don't need a state for individual ownership. "

i disagree. "ownership" is a concept defined by law (requiring a state of some sort) and economics (arguably ditto). it is not synonymous with "possession", which i find much more applicable in an anarchist context.
I don't know what to tell you, Zero, I'm certainly not going to devote effort to arguing against your counter-assertions beyond pointing back to my answer which I will edit with some more references and explication.

"Do explain how the state is not needed to enforce private property?"

Individual property is of the people using it and not of the state. It is really not so hard to understand. 

"Just saying they're not needed doesn't say anything." 

Sure it does, it says what I am trying to express.

"Next, can you explain how capitalism and ancapistan would be voluntary?"

Voluntary would be an action not influenced by coercion. There is no coercion inherent in capitalism. There being no coercion and exchange without coercion. The system of capitalism is without coercion in itself, but the state has coercion(like through taxes, regulations, and laws). It would be better for you to point out where it isn't voluntary(if you think so) since I can't go through everything in the system and point it out not being coercive. 

"Finally, why does StrawDog "sound like a Marxist?""

It is really up to StrawDog what he(or she) is, but I guessed that SD was a Marxist because he accepts Marx's demonstrations. 

StrawDog,

Say what you think, but I still may respond with disagreement/rebuttals.
For starters, I'm not a Marxist, hell, I'm not even a Social Anarchist. Secondly, the Capital series of books are not Marxist as such, they are books on economic theory and history which are widely taught in pro-capitalism economic curriculums as being generally correct understandings of how capitalism works.

From Wikipedia on Private Property:
"Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities.[1] Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective (or cooperative) property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities.[2][3] Private property is further distinguished from personal property, which refers to property for personal use and consumption. Private property is a legal concept defined and enforced by a country's political system.[4]"

I'm not going to argue against your assertions, and certainly not as regards your use of the word voluntary, which is both effectively meaningless to me and irrelevant to the definition of anarchism, which abjures all hierarchies however they came to be.
Zer0, redefining terms to mean whatever you want it to mean, doesn't make it so. StrawDog provides the meaning of private property above.
Well, I don't have a problem with redefining terms so long as the actual work of doing so occurs and equivocation does not. That is, if Zero wants to use the Anarcho-capitalist definitions of property then that is fine to me, so long as it is clear to everyone that such a definition is not what "traditional" anarchists mean by such things and in turn recognize in these differences of definition both political and ontological differences between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism.
I beginning to think Zer0's question wasn't asked in good faith, but to argue for anarcho-capitalism.
I just wanted to add that ancaps don't seem to mind any sort of social hierarchy.
Totally. They're anti-statists, but not opposed to any other hierarchies of which I'm aware.
they seem to me they desire the state out of the way in order to more fully enact their favored hierarchies...with 'natural law' as apologia.
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