Wednesday, 7 January 2009

capitalism and the state as fundamentally one and the same.

Government breeds hierarchy. It does. The second you centralise all power into the hands of a small group and get them to control the broad mass of people, you get hierarchy. Hierarchy is exploitative and oppressive. capitalism is a natural offshoot of the state. A small group live off the toil of the vast majority of people. It is a system that encourages selfishness and creates class systems.

Governments never truly represent the people and are not (by definition) equal to the rest of us due to the fact they have the power (armies, law making abilities etc) . They take half our incomes by force, start wars for money, using false threats and perpetuating hostile and petty notions such as nationalism(all the while doing things that are against the interests of the nation, such as joining organisations such as the UN or the EU. This steers us towards world government) .

Governments bring death and poverty. They bring inequality and tyranny. As does capitalism. you could say they are the same.


freefarmgeek said...

It seems like folks forget the voluntary nature of capitalism. Punching a time clock is not tyranny, it is voluntary unlike, say, paying taxes or conscription.

Certainly, big business interests combined with the corruption and coercive nature of the state have produced some very evil things - this is not capitalism but fascism.

I'd like some examples of _capitalism_ bringing poverty, death, tyranny and inequality.

On another note, we can certainly agree on the evils of the state so kudos for pointing them out to the world!

mike cannell said...

capitalism isn't volentary, though is it? you may be able to leave one job for another, but you are still required to take employment to survive, arn't you? You still have to take part in the capitalist system. The very fact you have someone above you, exploiting your labour is tyranny. The company gets most of the profit of the workers, giving out only a relativly small amount of it to the lowley employee. sure you could get promoted but what about the people below you? and there are still people better off then you.

This creates a hierarchy, with the the rich at the top and the less fortunate down below. the lower down you are on this social scale the closer you are to poverty and possible homelessness. homelessness can lead to illness,drug addiction and ultimatle suffering and death.

as for the difference between fascism and capitalism, it's roughly the same as the difference between battery farming and free range. it's all people farming.

capitalism primarly benefits the capitalists. thats why some people live in huge mansions, while others have council houses and apartment blocks.

systems of hierarchy are fundemently unequel by their very nature. how is this NOT tyranny?

I would suport a system by which the workers own the means of production, and make Decisions fairly. everyone should be on a level playing field.

when the bosses use the stick it's fascism and when they use the carrot it's "democracy".

freefarmgeek said...

In a free society, there are two ways to acquire what we need to survive (property, particularly food and shelter).

One is through voluntary transactions, whether that is working for food and shelter, working for money to buy food and shelter, asking for someone to give you food and shelter, trading for food and shelter - the list goes on.

The alternative is through coercion and aggression. You can steal, murder or otherwise involuntarily take property (in this case food and shelter) that does not belong to you.

Folks are certainly not required to take employment to survive, although in a mature market economy that is certainly an efficient way of doing so.

The employee has a higher time preference (probably because he/she needs to get food and shelter in the near term), so he voluntarily exchanges his labor for payment. The owner (capitalist) has a lower time preference, preferring the interest gained (paying the laborer upfront to be able to sell the laborer's product at a profit). This motivation for profit is what benefits society - the laborer is able to feed his family, the capitalist can invest and grow his business (able to hire more laborers) and society benefits by being able to purchase whatever is being sold.

I may have the high/low backwards, this is getting into the law of marginal utility and out of my comfort zone but I think I've got the basic points down.

I would caution you on equality. By our very nature we are not equal (we look different, have different tastes, different dreams, different desires, etc.), and to "make" things equal you have to violate individuals property rights. Poetically put in the trailer to 2081, "nobody is better, everyone is worse."

I am a laborer, I do not own my own business or hire employees. I also spend every extra hour of every day working on putting together a farm (not a people farm :) ) so that one day I may be self employed, perhaps hiring workers and selling my produce to the local community. I'm working hard to be able to change my time preference from paycheck (high) to profit (low). The fact that I am punching a time clock in the mean time does not hold me to that.

Thanks for hearing me out, interested in your thoughts.

mike cannell said...

Firstly, I would point out that a society is not truly free if there is a government or any form of hierarchy and secondly how do you define property (I kind of hate to split hairs but would suggest you read “what is property by Pierre Joseph Proudhon (link on my blog) and look at ). Property should be based on personal use and should be the product of labour and not coercion. Natural resources are everyone’s. How can one own a piece of land other than by occupation? How does the average person survive without a job? Live off another? Yes in capitalism people are free to be self-employed, but not everyone has the means to do so. Some people have no other option. In the form of anarchism I advocate, mutualism, self employed individuals would own private property though use, if the enterprise is small, such as a window cleaner or handyman. If the operation is a farm or factory for example(necessitating more people) individuals would come together voluntarily to form cooperatives in which the materials of their trade would be owned collectively, with every employee having an equal say in decisions that are made. There would be no bosses. The employee/employer system would be eliminated. The cooperatives would then trade with other cooperatives voluntarily on a free market, making deals based on what is mutually beneficial to both parties. The true profit should the product of one’s labour. I support the formation of a decentralised non- hierarchical society based on voluntary cooperation, mutual aid and workers self-ownership.
When it comes to equality I am aware that there is no such thing as biological equality, but I do believe that everyone has a right to social, economic and political equality, something not possible in today’s system which has an vertical structure, where as the one I’m talking about is more of a horizontal structure, with everyone on the same level. No rulers, no subjects, no rich/poor discrepancies.
"The liberty and security of the rich do not suffer from the liberty and security of the poor; far from that, they mutually strengthen and sustain each other. The rich man’s right of property, on the contrary, has to be continually defended against the poor man’s desire for property." Pierre Joseph Proudhon
This should be a helpful read:
Thank you for your input.

freefarmgeek said...

I will read the links you have provided. I do have some questions for you regarding your latest comment:

"Property should be based on personal use and should be the product of labour and not coercion. Natural resources are everyone’s. How can one own a piece of land other than by occupation?"
If I am no longer using the property, or if I am in-between uses, is it no longer mine? In the case of natural resources, how do multiple individuals utilize the same resource at the same time? How is occupying previously unoccupied land (or buying/trading from the previous owner) coercive? If I find wild fruit and eat it, surely no one can use it again. It does not belong to everyone, I have acquired it and used it. As I understand it, that is empirical proof of private property in the classical liberal sense.

"If the operation is a farm or factory for example(necessitating more people) individuals would come together voluntarily to form cooperatives in which the materials of their trade would be owned collectively, with every employee having an equal say in decisions that are made. There would be no bosses."
This sounds suspiciously similar to democracy. If democracy fails to peacefully govern, why would it be successful at running a business? If a laborer disagrees, do they take their portion of the method of production and leave or are they forced to give it up whether they want to or not?

The real question of freedom, I think, is this - if we were living in your ideal society, and a group of non-violent folks wanted to voluntary form a system with which you do not agree (a village, town or city of anarcho-capitalist types for example) would they be free to do so?

Thanks again. I look forward to your response.

mike cannell said...

1. If you no longer use it, why should you own it? If you abandon a building, then anyone has the right to occupy it. However, if you are in-between using it, then make it absolutely clear that it is occupied. Multiple individuals could use resources at the same time by either:
a) Forming a voluntary association/cooperative
b) Coming to some form of fair agreement. Part of the whole point of anarchism is that people can come and talk like reasonable humans. We don’t need the state to decide things, we can organise ourselves.

If you eat an apple you may not be able to use it again, but you can use the tree. Perhaps you could form a cooperative and sell apples (creating an orchard). Anyone wanting apples could form an agreement. You would be using the orchard regularly and there would be a reasonable right of property there. Occupying previously unoccupied land is fine and not at all coercive for the same reason that unoccupied buildings being appropriated by other people is fine. Now if you “owned” a building and paid someone else to use it, that would be wrong because they would not be profiting fully from their work because you would be stealing off them through rent. This is the same reason why tax is theft. They should get the full benefit of their labour, which should be shared equally amongst them. They would own the building, not you. You would only be able to get rent through coercion i.e. “pay up or get out” and also this would create a hierarchy and it would no longer be anarchy. You would in effect be a boss over them, whereas in mutualism everyone is essentially their own boss. When I talk about property I am meaning it in the Proudhonian sense, as I am a mutualist (Proudhon was the first person to call himself an anarchist).

2. The type of democracy we live in is a capitalist statist representational democracy. Anarchism is a type of socialism (opposed to state socialism). Just because the one type of democracy we have now fails, does not mean the idea of everyone having a fair say (which is not what happens now. Special interests control the government, it’s one of the MANY reasons that form of democracy fails. There are many forms of democracy. In a society without hierarchy and state there would not be a representative democracy in the sense we have now. In times when the cooperative needed to speak to outside parties a spokesman could be chosen, but he would not have more or less authority than anyone else. He would simply be a mouthpiece representing the views of the cooperative, which he would share. If a labourer disagrees he can argue his point of view and take part in a discussion with the rest of the group. If he talks them round, then they follow that decision. If he is talked round to their point of view then they take that one. If no agreement in the matter was found alternatives would be sought. If he wants to leave then he would say so, he would be given enough to survive for a while and he would be able to either set up as a single self employed individual or join/form another cooperative. Society would be fluid and free. With no class system, manoeuvrability would be easier.

As for other systems, I would say that anarcho capitalism is not anarchism. Capitalism is hierarchical, exploitative and requires a state. In an anarchist society people would want to avoid that.
Anarchism is a part of the broader socialist tradition and has always been anti-capitalist.
Other communities could indeed form other forms of anarchism however, and could theoretically coexist because anarchists do not believe in coercion. Experimentation is good, because society must not stagnate. This is happening at the moment.

The term “anarcho-capitalism” is an oxymoron; the ideology itself appeared because of basic errors made about what anarchism is, how it works and how capitalism works. It is both impractical, impossible and it would lead to tyranny and civil war even if it could be carried out. It is not anarchy. It is wolves in anarchists’ clothing.

I am fine with pluralism in true anarchism as long as it doesn’t lead to sectarianism. I believe that people can come together and be reasonable. A lot of inventors of anarchist schools started off their ideas either from Proudhon or from people who did. Mutualism was the original form of anarchism. States do not want to coexist with anarchist ones. They would want to control. Create nation states etc. It would not be a question of anarchists coexisting with them. They would inevitably try to take over. That happened in anarcho-syndicalist Spain( mind you they were trying to fight the fascists at the time, but all forms of state are bad, fascism is just the stick instead of the carrot)

As long as the opposing system was anarchist co-existence could work.