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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stuff and Things

So on Freeman, I read about MDM's response on Upaya, to a blog post on Liberty and Power by Gus DiZerega. (all of these are worth reading, and are necessary background for my post below. In fact this is an expansion of my comment in freeman's blog.)

Mr. DiZerega makes a criticism of "Anarcho-Capitalism", and is sort of taken at face value, then argued around... (personally, it almost seemed as though people were treating him with kid gloves)

To some extent though, I think almost everyone involved in this debate is being very nitpicky about making this distinction between "the market" and ... other things (notable exception being Stephan Kinsella, not someone I usually agree with much). I guess one way that I would put it is that "there's no such thing as 'the market'".
My first gut-level response to Mr. DiZerega's Disney example is that, in a free society, something like Disney wouldn't exist to do that.
To be more technical, in a "homesteading" society, anyone who wanted to buy up large tracts of land would have to buy them from the local community itself, so if none of them wanted to sell that land, the would-be 'developer' wouldn't get it. These 'holdout' cases happen so frequently even in our corrupted system of property that there is an "eminent domain" controversy. Without eminent domain and with stronger property definitions, those sort of undesirable development projects just can't happen, unless large numbers of local inhabitants are willing to let them, in which case, where's the beef?
I think a lot of these criticisms of free-market anarchism underestimate the effect that our current monetary/credit system has in facilitating large-scale economic behavior.
IMO, a free society couldn't sustain large monolithic organizations, but spontaneous networks would develop when people needed/wanted to work together on larger projects, and then dissolve when no longer necessary/desirable.

I also disagree strongly with his caricature of anarcho-capitalism. Market anarchism is not a political philosophy cobbled out of bundles of contradictory beliefs, in order to promote the interests of a certain class. Most others are. This may be why he describes it in such a way, from certain conclusions that some market anarchists come to, instead of the essential framework of its definition.

I quote:
" As an ethical system, anarcho-capitalism depends on the following assumptions, all of which are wrong:
1. The market is a neutral means for facilitating voluntary exchange, and so simply reflects the values of those entering into voluntary transactions.
2. People's values are adequately reflected in the exchanges they make within a market order.
3. Some non-controversial theory of property rights is possible that is able to make all possible voluntary exchanges into either market exchanges or simple verbal agreements (science, marriage, etc.)"

My immediate response to that is:
1. My above post covers that a bit. What is this market you speak of, Kemosabe?
2. Impossible that it can be otherwise, in a FREE market. In a "market order"?? well, that can be used to describe a lot of things... Certainly all of my values are not currently expressed in my voluntary transactions, but that's because a bunch of thugs are distorting my options.
3. Anarcho-capitalism doesn't rely on this assumption at all. (or the other two for that matter, but there are stronger criticisms for the other two)
In fact, property will be defined by the people as they go along, as they desire to. The difference is that no one definition will be forced on anyone who rejects it.
The other part of the statement is also not necessary. As long as a transaction is UNANIMOUSLY voluntary, it really doesn't matter one bit what it "looks like", which seems to be what Mr. DiZerega is spending a lot of time arguing about...


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