Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.


–5 votes
You mention that " This ownership is sanctioned and guaranteed by the state."
I may be wrong in assuming that the argument against taxation as a violation of equal liberty would not be argued against here... but, who knows.
I will just assume you understand that taxation is compulsory, and that this "power" is delegated to the state; that is, the state demands everyone "pay to live/trade here," essentially, and removes those who do not by force, and no other group is perceived to be "higher" than the state in this regard, as they would be the perceived state.
So, if the state is "sanctioning ownership" in the first place, "zoning" all property, demanding duties from all for "protection" or what have you, regulating all manner of 'the market' to begin with, what people can/cant create trade, who can/cant be in so-called "business," etc-
Who exactly are "the capitalists" ?
Does "private property" for anyone other than the state exist?
Under "statism," does "capitalism" exist?
If the "capitalist owns the means of production," it would sure seem that "the state" is claiming to be the only "capitalist," and is claiming everything, including "[all of] the people," as it's "capital."

edited to fix a tag
by (70 points)
edited by
Too many quotation marks, too little understanding of the nuances of liberal-democratic capitalism.
OP, you took a nice 8 month break since your last inflammatory posts, I was starting to think we'd seen the last of you...
P.S. You forgot to put quotes around "property".
"If the state does not sanction and guarantee this kind of ownership but instead entitles itself to monopolistic ownership over production and property"     --- the state doesn't guarantee "that kind of ownership."
 the state 1 cannot logically "guarantee" anyones "ownership," - the state doesnt "guarantee" anything- the concept would be turned on it's head. The State commands everyone else to obey, everyone is meant to obey the state, to say the state "guarantees" anything for anyone but the state is absurd. it is inherently aggressive against all others.  
2 isnt even "legally" obligated to protect anyone, by their own courts rulings- (again, the state being obligated to the citizen is contrary the entire concept... the citizen is obligated to obey the state, so they claim, not the other way around).

 the state entitles itself to monopolistic ownership over production and property. that (along with peoples belief in authority) is what makes it the state. the only difference is in degree and style of propaganda, that of how openly brutal the state is, how "subtle" and manipulative (propaganda, see, or "relaxed" ("limited/small government"), it is.
If the capitalists own the means of production, the state acts as if it's the only capitalist. It claims the right to regulate society in the first place.

1 Answer

+1 vote
If the state has ultimate authority and power over society, then it can guarantee anything it likes. The individual or group ownership over the means of production is guaranteed by the state in most Western countries. Not in any 'ultimate' sense which superceeds the state's authority (yes, that would be absurd), but in the prosaic sense of every day normal expectations it does. You can test this idea of guarantee out for yourself by trying to rob a business, for example.

At any rate, you may be misinterpreting my original comment, which was a response to the question:"Was the economy of the USSR "state capitalist"?"

Capitalism, as a type of economic relationship, was incubated within the state. There has never been capitalism without a state. So the term 'State Capitalism" is not only redundant, but kind of an oxymoron, at least strictly speaking. That was my point. In the West, the state keeps a more or less 'hands off' approach towards ownership and profits (as well as  prices and wages). The state still heavily regulates and subsidizes industry, however, because otherwise no regulations would simply destroy a country, and along with it the state.

In the USSR, all industries (with more than 5 employees) were ultimately under the ownership and control of the Soviet Government. Farms were collectized and nationalized, and prices and wages for everything were set by the government. In addition, production output levels were also determined by the government. The degree and the kind of state controls became less under the reforms of Gorbachev.

I'm not sure if you're implying this means that therefore the Soviet government was the 'real' or 'only' capitalist, for this would be to misunderstand the nature of capitalism. Capitalism doesn't mean the mere existence and use of money or assets (i.e. capital) for exchange. It means the private ownership of the means of production, and usually includes the right to keep the profits of production. That's how most people use the word. We call nation states that allow this kind of ownership "capitalist", and those nation states that do not, "socialist" or "communist" (these terms are also highly misleading). State (i.e. public) control or ownership of the means of production is therefore, by definition, not private, and thus not capitalist.

The notion of a distinction between personal/private commercial activity and state activity (even state commercial activity) is inherent to the usage of the concept of capitalism. It can be tempting to think of a state like the former Soviet Union as one big society-wide corporation, however, capitalism is a little more complicated than that.
by (170 points)