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The 'no government' movement.
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#14242003
Eran wrote:What if our starting point was one of full redistribution of current assets?

How would capitalists come to control most of the capital, if workers consistently prefer working for syndicates?

From a position of equal distribution of assets, then, would you relax your opposition to private ownership of the means of production?


How does this even happen?

To be clear we are talking about transforming the existing world in a realistic way.

How do you explain the fact that most new businesses are started on the capitalist, rather than syndicate model?

If capitalists controlled most of the capital, how is it that new entrepreneurs are able to raise capital, but new syndicates aren't?


New syndicates do start up, so I'm not quite sure where you're going with this.

Fine. So you would have no objections to capitalists enterprises being allowed within your society?


Oh, I might have my objections. But it is not entirely up to me. What I am questioning is how this actually happens in a socialist world. Similarly to how a redistribution of justly acquire possessions happens. You seem to want to gloss over the fact that socialist anarchism begins as a movement by the people and that is worked out by those people for their own destiny. It is not some idea that is dropped on their heads. So presumably, as has happened in every socialist revolution and strike, there is a considerable amount of education, solidarity, and commitment to worker control. Presumably the institutions they create are democratic and controlled by workers themselves. So not only has private property been abolished, but so has an entire class of wage labor.

I am prepared not to make any assumptions, but rather to let events unfold naturally, without interference.


What events, Eran? What events are you going to just let unfold? The current state of affairs as they are now? A social revolution? Or are we still just talking about an abstract ideal situation where we are all equally without context and simply decide on what state of affairs we want? Or do you have in mind some kind of Lockean thought experiment of the original human being rummaging around and claiming his/her own land and resources?

Since you obviously find such scenario threatening, I would be happy to discuss a democratically-controlled minimal state, engaged exclusively in prevention of crime and maintaining security, but dis-engaged from the economic sphere (as current governments are dis-engaged from the sphere of religious practice).


Isn't this what the US and England claimed to have had in the 20th century? At any rate, as an anarchist, I view the state as both a symbol of existing hierarchical power structures and as a tool to enforce them, as well as enrich itself. This is why anarchists are against the state, and also why they have traditionally rejected the institution of private property, because in some way or form it seems inevitably linked to enforcement and centralized control.

I will grant you your wishes, but then explore the potential for further evolution from there.

Previous conversations explored how small capitalist enterprises might start even from a perfectly socialist starting point.


OK--I grant evolution, in fact welcome it. But don't you see why I would find it strange to call capitalist development "evolution" when that is the very thing we revolutionized from? From my perspective it would be an anarchist society gone wrong, just as if some form of Feudalism developed. We have to be clear here: in the case that authoritarian relations develop, that does not make them any more valid given they derived from a set of voluntary circumstances. Something has gone wrong, particularly because we work from the assumption that humans do not naturally want to be in bondage. But, as I have said before, authoritarian relations can never be entirely overcome. There is always a risk of them cropping up, and we have to deal with them as a community.

You also have to keep in mind the difficulty for capitalist start ups that I mentioned in my previous post. You may want to assume that these things would naturally occur, but there is no reason to assume this just because it is your ideological belief that capitalist practices are natural.
#14242082
New syndicates do start up, so I'm not quite sure where you're going with this.

Hence my use of "most".

Most new start-ups are capitalist-owned rather than syndicates. Even those start-ups initiated by people who were previously themselves
workers. This proves that access to capital is not the explanation for the predominance of capitalist vs. syndicalist new enterprises.

So not only has private property been abolished, but so has an entire class of wage labor.

Are you confident that, once abolished, and allowing people to behave freely, while respecting their property rights, the class of wage labour will not re-emerge?

If you are confident, you would have no problem agreeing with the legitimacy of capitalist attempts to tempt workers.

If you are not confident, please explain how you foresee exploitation re-emerging.

What events, Eran? What events are you going to just let unfold? The current state of affairs as they are now? A social revolution? Or are we still just talking about an abstract ideal situation where we are all equally without context and simply decide on what state of affairs we want? Or do you have in mind some kind of Lockean thought experiment of the original human being rummaging around and claiming his/her own land and resources?

I am willing to grant you your ideal society.

Once your society has been established, I am asking that you allow individuals, if they so wish and able, to acquire property and use it as means of production, making offers of employment to others upon any mutually-agreeable conditions.

The "events" I am referring to are the initiatives, actions and choices of individuals within your society.

Having achieved your goals of both equitable distribution of access to resources and appropriate education of the masses, and if you are correct about the relative merits of capitalist and syndicalist enterprises, you would have nothing to worry about. Workers in your society are highly unlikely to agree to work as wage slaves for capitalist exploiters. They will always have many syndicates (as well as a yet-to-be-specified social safety net) to fall back on.

Thus, in the (unlikely, in your opinion) event that they do choose to accept employment, it will not done due to lack of alternatives (as you claim is the case today). Right?

Isn't this what the US and England claimed to have had in the 20th century?

By the time the 20th century started, progressive tendencies on both sides of the Atlantic have taken root, with a series of laws and regulations.

Prior to the 20th century, land grants, monopolies, regulation of banking, subsidies to railroads, protective tariffs, etc, all had the result of material government interference in the economy.

OK--I grant evolution, in fact welcome it. But don't you see why I would find it strange to call capitalist development "evolution" when that is the very thing we revolutionized from?

Frankly, you have no idea what you are revolutionizing from. To be precise, you are revolutionizing away from state-capitalism. I am suggesting that stateless capitalism may be very different from state-capitalism.

In particular, with your ideal society as a starting point, I have still not seen any coherent argument from you as to the moral dangers of stateless capitalist enterprises.

We have to be clear here: in the case that authoritarian relations develop, that does not make them any more valid given they derived from a set of voluntary circumstances.

The question is whether voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations in the context of known, viable alternatives ought to ever be considered "authoritarian".

When faithful Catholics submit to the word of the Pope, is that an illegitimate, authoritarian relation? How about university students submitting to the authority of their teachers? Or members of a voluntary organisation willingly submitting to their leader?

Surely you can see that the human tendency to willingly submit to authority is as natural as it is benign, provided only that the submission is truly voluntary (i.e. done in the context of viable alternatives).

You also have to keep in mind the difficulty for capitalist start ups that I mentioned in my previous post. You may want to assume that these things would naturally occur, but there is no reason to assume this just because it is your ideological belief that capitalist practices are natural.

This is not a question we need to decide on. I am perfectly happy to stipulate neutral rules, rules that equally accommodate capitalist as well as syndicalist production options.

If you are right, no capitalist enterprises will evolve. I would be absolutely fine with that. If you are wrong, some capitalist enterprises will emerge, but the truly voluntary (in the context of viable alternative) choice made by the workers will surely relieve you of any moral concerns.

In other words, I am willing to allow syndicalist enterprises, even dominance of such enterprises. Why aren't you similarly open-minded about capitalist organisations?
#14242098
Eran wrote:If you are confident, you would have no problem agreeing with the legitimacy of capitalist attempts to tempt workers.


Sorry...I'm not quite sure what's being missed here. What you have to start grappling with is the basic idea that the conditions for capitalists to develop is no longer existing. It's not just that "workers now have it good". It's that we are all now workers. The fact that, out of the blue, you think a viable system of private property for private wealth production can now occur is utterly strange. This has always depended on an enforced system of private ownership of the means of production. It has always depended on a large mass of wage labor ready to be rented out. Neither of these conditions now exist. Why are you so confident that capitalism will simply naturally develop? What would a capitalist even be able to get out of this system?

I am willing to grant you your ideal society.

Once your society has been established, I am asking that you allow individuals, if they so wish and able, to acquire property and use it as means of production, making offers of employment to others upon any mutually-agreeable conditions.

The "events" I am referring to are the initiatives, actions and choices of individuals within your society.

Having achieved your goals of both equitable distribution of access to resources and appropriate education of the masses, and if you are correct about the relative merits of capitalist and syndicalist enterprises, you would have nothing to worry about. Workers in your society are highly unlikely to agree to work as wage slaves for capitalist exploiters. They will always have many syndicates (as well as a yet-to-be-specified social safety net) to fall back on.

Thus, in the (unlikely, in your opinion) event that they do choose to accept employment, it will not done due to lack of alternatives (as you claim is the case today). Right?


You don't need to act so charitable in "granting my ideal society". In modern history there is much more precedent for what I am calling for than what you are seeking to achieve. That aside, I have no problem with allowing people to make the kinds of transactions they wish. What I am rolling my eyes about is how you think capitalist production is just spontaneously going to develop in this context. Is this yet another example of the inability to deal with context? Or are we confused about what is being discussed? I have not argued, ever, that we jail people who try to become capitalists. I have argued, instead, that there are structural impediments for capitalism to develop. This is not just a matter of random contextless choice, and I think that is the crucial piece you are failing to get. The same is today. Capitalism does not exist as a matter of "free" choice it is a socio-economic institution that we would need to have organized resistance against in order to overcome.

You are, however, of course correct that I have nothing to worry about--so why do you keep bringing it up as if we need to worry about it?

Frankly, you have no idea what you are revolutionizing from. To be precise, you are revolutionizing away from state-capitalism. I am suggesting that stateless capitalism may be very different from state-capitalism.


What do you mean here, Eran. I think I have a fairly good idea what anarchists are revolutionizing from. You are suggesting that the two-headed beast of state-capitalism will be better as a single headed monster. I, obviously, think otherwise. A monster is a monster. It needs to be killed.

The question is whether voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations in the context of known, viable alternatives ought to ever be considered "authoritarian".

When faithful Catholics submit to the word of the Pope, is that an illegitimate, authoritarian relation? How about university students submitting to the authority of their teachers? Or members of a voluntary organisation willingly submitting to their leader?

Surely you can see that the human tendency to willingly submit to authority is as natural as it is benign, provided only that the submission is truly voluntary (i.e. done in the context of viable alternatives).


You ask this question as if it is news to me. Yes, the question is always whether or not authority is justified. In some cases it is. I do not think the cases of contractual wage-slavery is justified. It depends on vast social inequalities which give certain persons more social power creating conditions of those who must live by the permission of others. There is no equality on which to base any justification, except an abstract ideal which has no barring on reality.

In other words, I am willing to allow syndicalist enterprises, even dominance of such enterprises. Why aren't you similarly open-minded about capitalist organisations?


If capitalist organizations were egalitarian I would have no problem with it. But it really does not depend on me, Eran. I think it will be society that you will have to worry about--that very society which overthrew capitalist organization and established a socialist one. I think the real problem here is you not taking that context seriously.
#14286907
anticlumacus wrote:It's that we are all now workers. The fact that, out of the blue, you think a viable system of private property for private wealth production can now occur is utterly strange. This has always depended on an enforced system of private ownership of the means of production.

Your system already allows private ownership of personal goods. As has been shown before, goods do not come labelled with "personal" or "means-of-production" labels. Rather, people naturally make use of whatever means are available to them (including personal goods, self-produced machines, and those traded with others) to advance their goals, including the goal of production.

Suggesting that private ownership of the means of production will not be enforced is equivalent to legitimising the confiscation of property merely because it is used to produce products. Is that your intention?

It has always depended on a large mass of wage labor ready to be rented out.

Not at all. For example, hi-tech companies rely on highly-skilled labour, of which no "large mass" is ready to be rented out. Yet hi-tech companies are organised as capitalist enterprises, albeit with typically very good terms. Thus it is very easy to imagine a society in which labour is well-regarded, highly-valued and thus receives very good terms and conditions in the context of a capitalist system.

Neither of these conditions now exist. Why are you so confident that capitalism will simply naturally develop?

I am not confident that capitalism will naturally develop. However, if it does, given the benign conditions which do not allow exploitation of those people who do choose to accept offers of employment from a capitalist, are you willing to allow it to exist in peace?

What would a capitalist even be able to get out of this system?

That depends on the overall nature of the economy. In an economy in which people's compensation (whether monetary or not) is independent of the productive success of the enterprise in which they work, capitalism indeed cannot arise. Such system, however, would be heavily dependent on more successful enterprises subsidising less successful ones. Further, such system would lack the strongest and most effective incentives for a successful production (successful here having both an efficiency/quantity dimension, and a qualitative dimension of matching consumer wants).

In a system in which such link does exist (e.g. a free market between employee-owned-and-run-syndicates), a capitalist enterprise may well arise because it better matches the desires of workers. In essence, workers would be offered a choice between being part-owners and being employees. Many would prefer to be employees rather than part-owners, because of the stability of remuneration that being an employee offers.

Capitalism does not exist as a matter of "free" choice it is a socio-economic institution that we would need to have organized resistance against in order to overcome.

As noted above, capitalist production emerges whenever you have tolerably-secure property rights. The only circumstances under which capitalism does not emerge are those in which property rights aren't secure because property is routinely confiscated.

Property can be confiscated in a variety of ways. As part of a revolution, property is confiscated on a one-off basis. Nationalisation is another form of confiscation. Yet other forms are taxes and, less directly, enforcement of various labour laws which effectively prohibit people from freely using their property for peaceful ends.

You are, however, of course correct that I have nothing to worry about--so why do you keep bringing it up as if we need to worry about it?

Because I am yet to hear you say explicitly that should capitalist production arise in your society, that society wouldn't use violent means to suppress it.

You are suggesting that the two-headed beast of state-capitalism will be better as a single headed monster. I, obviously, think otherwise. A monster is a monster. It needs to be killed.

When you have a farm animal infected by parasites, it is better to only kill the parasites than to kill the animal. I view government as the parasite that infects an otherwise-healthy system.

I do not think the cases of contractual wage-slavery is justified. It depends on vast social inequalities which give certain persons more social power creating conditions of those who must live by the permission of others. There is no equality on which to base any justification, except an abstract ideal which has no barring on reality.

Answers like that confuse me. I asked whether voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations in the context of known, viable alternatives ought to be considered "authoritarian".

Your answer refers to "wage slavery".

Please clarify. Do you consider all voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations to be "wage slavery" regardless of the presence of viable alternatives? You answer refers to "vast social inequalities". Are such inequalities prerequisite for employment relations to be considered "wage slavery", and thus illegitimate? Or, in the absence of such inequalities, can wage relationships be voluntary, legitimate and not authoritarian?

If authority is, in some cases, justified, can you explain why, in the absence of "vast social inequalities", the authority into which workers (who have viable employment alternatives) contract themselves, is not legitimate?
#14288232
Your system already allows private ownership of personal goods. As has been shown before, goods do not come labelled with "personal" or "means-of-production" labels. Rather, people naturally make use of whatever means are available to them (including personal goods, self-produced machines, and those traded with others) to advance their goals, including the goal of production

Suggesting that private ownership of the means of production will not be enforced is equivalent to legitimising the confiscation of property merely because it is used to produce products. Is that your intention?


No, the difference between what you are suggesting and what I am saying is that you assume a capitalist economy will naturally develop once the means of production have been socialized. You are correct that there would be no problem with personal property, but incorrect in assuming that that naturally leads to capitalist markets. And we do have laws about property--it is only that they are collectively owned. This could be by those who work them, or by the community, or some mix of the two.

Not at all. For example, hi-tech companies rely on highly-skilled labour, of which no "large mass" is ready to be rented out. Yet hi-tech companies are organised as capitalist enterprises, albeit with typically very good terms. Thus it is very easy to imagine a society in which labour is well-regarded, highly-valued and thus receives very good terms and conditions in the context of a capitalist system.


I don't really see how this changes my point at all. Whether on so called 'good terms' or 'bad terms,' there is still a separation between those who need to be 'rented out' to those who own the means of production. You may think wage labor is 'highly regarded', and maybe it is. My point is that it seems to make an authoritarian structure within society and the workplace which disproportionately places power in the hands of those who are owners.

At any rate, Hi-tech companies also depend on low skilled labor, such as phone service operators, which are often outsourced to low wage paying countries and are not necessarily hired on 'good terms'.

I am not confident that capitalism will naturally develop. However, if it does, given the benign conditions which do not allow exploitation of those people who do choose to accept offers of employment from a capitalist, are you willing to allow it to exist in peace?

Your question is will we prevent, through force, capitalist X from attempting to hire wage labor. My answer is no. The difference I am suggesting is that now, in a socialist society, instead of dealing with individual labor that owns nothing but its own labor power, your would-be capitalist now has to deal with society in attempting to gain private profit through the exploitation of labor. That is what transforms the whole vision.

As noted above, capitalist production emerges whenever you have tolerably-secure property rights. The only circumstances under which capitalism does not emerge are those in which property rights aren't secure because property is routinely confiscated.

How is this remotely true?--or maybe I am misunderstanding what you are suggesting. Capitalism emerges, perhaps, when you have tolerably secure rights to private property (and everything that follows, a pool of wage labor, an authoritarian structure to ensure that labor stays in line, etc.). But just because you have laws about property and who owns them does not mean that capitalism naturally emerges.

Because I am yet to hear you say explicitly that should capitalist production arise in your society, that society wouldn't use violent means to suppress it.

No, I know that I have said this--and Red Barn too. If you want to hire somebody to produce some good, there would be no violent force to stop you. But it's interesting that you keep coming back to this as if this is a problem. From my point of view, the conditions for capitalist production has been eliminated. That first. But second, you are not at all worried about the force that capitalist production demands. A whole legal apparatus and centralized power to ensure rights of private property, authoritarian structures in the work place producing order givers and order takers. This is what anarchism seeks to overcome, from my point of view--and that is the real problem that currently exists.
When you have a farm animal infected by parasites, it is better to only kill the parasites than to kill the animal. I view government as the parasite that infects an otherwise-healthy system.


Well, I suppose that has yet to be shown. It seems to me, for reasons I have stated before, capitalism is an authoritarian system that establishes authoritarian structures, like the state, in order to ensure the control and domination of capital over labor. You view it as entirely natural, I view it as entirely antithetical to a free society.

Answers like that confuse me. I asked whether voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations in the context of known, viable alternatives ought to be considered "authoritarian".

Your answer refers to "wage slavery".

Please clarify. Do you consider all voluntarily-contracted, terminable-at-will relations to be "wage slavery" regardless of the presence of viable alternatives? You answer refers to "vast social inequalities". Are such inequalities prerequisite for employment relations to be considered "wage slavery", and thus illegitimate? Or, in the absence of such inequalities, can wage relationships be voluntary, legitimate and not authoritarian?

If authority is, in some cases, justified, can you explain why, in the absence of "vast social inequalities", the authority into which workers (who have viable employment alternatives) contract themselves, is not legitimate?


I answered in terms of context. All other things being equal, truly voluntary relationships and contracts might develop--but I don't see that capitalism has ever worked that way (or that it will work that way ever in the future). My answer was in terms of explaining why I think capitalist contracts are not necessarily voluntary in any meaningful sense of the term, and as you know I view capitalism as inherently being a system that employs unjustified use of authority in order to control labor for the production of profit and capital accumulation.
#14288248
And we do have laws about property--it is only that they are collectively owned. This could be by those who work them, or by the community, or some mix of the two.

Which suggests that your society will effectively expropriate productive property from its original owner into the hands of either workers (even if they sign away their rights to it in advance!) or the community.

I don't really see how this changes my point at all. Whether on so called 'good terms' or 'bad terms,' there is still a separation between those who need to be 'rented out' to those who own the means of production. You may think wage labor is 'highly regarded', and maybe it is. My point is that it seems to make an authoritarian structure within society and the workplace which disproportionately places power in the hands of those who are owners.

It might be authoritarian. But we already agreed that being authoritarian, in and by itself, doesn't make a relationship illegitimate. Examples such as religious and educational organisations come to mine. In any society, for example, students and apprentices are part of an authoritarian relationship with their teachers or mentors.

What specifically is it about wage labour relation that makes it inherently illegitimate, in your mind?

At any rate, Hi-tech companies also depend on low skilled labor, such as phone service operators, which are often outsourced to low wage paying countries and are not necessarily hired on 'good terms'.

Some do, some don't. My point was to show that your assertion that "It has always depended on a large mass of wage labor ready to be rented out" is false. This counter-example is enough to demonstrate that it is possible to have capitalist production enterprises that only depend on small, skilled and highly-valued wage labor, ready to be rented out but only under very good terms.

Under such specific circumstances, do you still hold that such wage labour and the authoritarian relations that underlie it, are illegitimate? Of so, why?

Your question is will we prevent, through force, capitalist X from attempting to hire wage labor. My answer is no.

Excellent. We may be able to find common ground after all.

The difference I am suggesting is that now, in a socialist society, instead of dealing with individual labor that owns nothing but its own labor power, your would-be capitalist now has to deal with society in attempting to gain private profit through the exploitation of labor.

I am not sure what you mean by that. The would-be capitalist will, for the purpose of the discussion, place an ad in a local paper. Individuals would answer the ad, and negotiate individually with the capitalist for terms. In what sense would he have to "deal with society"? What does that even mean?

And why do you assume that such would-be capitalist would be attempting to gain private profit through the exploitation of labour? What if he wants to gain private profit through the cooperation with labour?

How is this remotely true?--or maybe I am misunderstanding what you are suggesting. Capitalism emerges, perhaps, when you have tolerably secure rights to private property (and everything that follows, a pool of wage labor, an authoritarian structure to ensure that labor stays in line, etc.). But just because you have laws about property and who owns them does not mean that capitalism naturally emerges.

And here I am confused again. I start with my personal property, exchange it with others, and assemble tools and raw materials through such exchanges, followed by striking deals with other individuals to use said tools under pre-agreed contract with me. At some point along this process, my personal property became means-of-production. Would it be subject to confiscation? Would it cease being mine? If so, how is that consistent with your claim that force wouldn't be used to prevent employment relations? If not, what do you mean when you say that rights to private property aren't necessarily secure?

A whole legal apparatus and centralized power to ensure rights of private property, authoritarian structures in the work place producing order givers and order takers. This is what anarchism seeks to overcome, from my point of view--and that is the real problem that currently exists.

The only legal apparatus required to support capitalist production is the protection of property rights, i.e. the exclusive rights of some people to use and control certain objects and places. You society, as you repeatedly state, accepts personal property, i.e. the exclusive rights of a person to some objects (and perhaps land).

Is it the case then that such rights may disappear, depending on the (still peaceful) use made of those objects? If they do, they aren't secure. If they don't, no further legal apparatus (nor, it is my claim and the claim of other anarcho-capitalist, centralized power) is required.

You view it as entirely natural, I view it as entirely antithetical to a free society.

I think we need to further explore your criteria for viewing some authoritarian and voluntary relations as legitimate, and wage labour as categorically (rather than just contingently) illegitimate.

My answer was in terms of explaining why I think capitalist contracts are not necessarily voluntary in any meaningful sense of the term, and as you know I view capitalism as inherently being a system that employs unjustified use of authority in order to control labor for the production of profit and capital accumulation.

I understand and even accept your point that capitalist contracts are not necessarily voluntary. Are you making the (much stronger) claim that capitalist contracts are necessarily not voluntary? Or would you allow that some capitalist contracts (or capitalist contracts under certain background conditions or in certain contexts) may be voluntary in the meaningful sense of the term?

If so, why is capitalism inherently characterised by employing unjustified use of authority, rather than, say often or typically so characterised?
#14288840
Eran wrote:Which suggests that your society will effectively expropriate productive property from its original owner into the hands of either workers (even if they sign away their rights to it in advance!) or the community.


How so?

What specifically is it about wage labour relation that makes it inherently illegitimate, in your mind?


My view is that capitalism produces illegitimate authoritarian relations, one of those being wage labor. Now, I'm not suggesting that everybody who gets paid a wage is necessarily unhappy. That's a different argument and one I don't care to make. My point is that capitalism separates capital from labor, and therefore labor must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital. Labor then becomes a product of capital production and serves capital accumulation. As opposed to individuals working for themselves and for their communities, they must work for those who seek to make a profit off of their labor. This creates social dynamics of illegitimate authority, such as political disenfranchisement of the poor, and an excess of political power for those who own more capital and surveillance and control of labor by state. This, at least, has been the history of capitalism whether or not one (like you) wants to argue that the state has corrupted capitalist practice. From my perspective, it is part of the nature of working capitalism within society.

Within working life, this tends to create power dynamics of managerial control of labor to work as those who control the capital would see fit--somewhat like slavery, only instead of being bought, one is rented out for a day (and of course, part of the social battle is what constitutes a 'working day'). To me this whole situation is wrought with illegitimate forms of authority relations that has its root in the fact that capital is privately controlled for the benefit of private profit.

Some do, some don't. My point was to show that your assertion that "It has always depended on a large mass of wage labor ready to be rented out" is false. This counter-example is enough to demonstrate that it is possible to have capitalist production enterprises that only depend on small, skilled and highly-valued wage labor, ready to be rented out but only under very good terms.

Under such specific circumstances, do you still hold that such wage labour and the authoritarian relations that underlie it, are illegitimate? Of so, why?


No you seem to be talking about something entirely different. Regardless of what one particular industry does or does not do, capitalism depends on a pool of wage labor, which really should not be a controversial point (particularly if you have no problem with wage labor)--it's just a fact of capitalism. Hi tech industry, first of all, is not a counter example of this. They too hire wage labor--in fact tons of it. Second of all, even if they didn't, that does not mean, by and large, most other industries do not, in fact, depend on wage labor for the production of profit.

I am not sure what you mean by that. The would-be capitalist will, for the purpose of the discussion, place an ad in a local paper. Individuals would answer the ad, and negotiate individually with the capitalist for terms. In what sense would he have to "deal with society"? What does that even mean?

And why do you assume that such would-be capitalist would be attempting to gain private profit through the exploitation of labour? What if he wants to gain private profit through the cooperation with labour?


If he/she wants to gain private profit through cooperation with labor, then our capitalist ceases to be a capitalist and makes labor a part owner of the capital--then he/she truly cooperates. I could put it simply, I think. See I view the whole entire wage system in capitalism--generally speaking--as a sort of bargain to which labor has no choice but to 'cooperate': You can either sell yourself to this or that capitalist or be reduced to poverty.

Now in a socialist world we no longer have that circumstance. The full force of capital is not opposed to labor, because labor now controls capital. The individual capitalist, with all his/her power to give wages or take them away, can no longer hold that power against individual labor. Instead, capital is now socially controlled, and therefore, in a socialist world, our capitalist is going to have to deal with those who are not systematically separated from the means of production (i.e. he will therefore have to deal with society, as opposed to individual labor power).

So if you want to 'hire' me, your leverage is no longer that you can at least 'give me a job' so that I can survive. You can no longer hold capital as a ransom against my capacity to work. I can work productively and meaningfully elsewhere, under conditions of my own choosing. Under capitalism, individuals are on their own and so the consolidated power of capital can confront isolated individuals and use their isolation against them--hence labor often tries to unionize so workers no longer stand alone. In a socialist world, nobody stands alone and the situation where capital can confront workers and pit them against each other and threaten them with unemployment and the like no longer exists. This also gives a hint back to why I view capitalism as inherently a system that produces illegitimate forms of authority between those who can withhold capital as they see fit, for their own personal gain, and those who must find somebody to afford them work in order to survive.

And here I am confused again. I start with my personal property, exchange it with others, and assemble tools and raw materials through such exchanges, followed by striking deals with other individuals to use said tools under pre-agreed contract with me. At some point along this process, my personal property became means-of-production. Would it be subject to confiscation? Would it cease being mine? If so, how is that consistent with your claim that force wouldn't be used to prevent employment relations? If not, what do you mean when you say that rights to private property aren't necessarily secure?


You lost me here. I responded to your claim that where there are tolerable property rights, capitalism will necessarily emerge. I argued that that is patently false. To me it sounds more like the difference between collectively owned or privately owned property.
The only legal apparatus required to support capitalist production is the protection of property rights, i.e. the exclusive rights of some people to use and control certain objects and places. You society, as you repeatedly state, accepts personal property, i.e. the exclusive rights of a person to some objects (and perhaps land).

Is it the case then that such rights may disappear, depending on the (still peaceful) use made of those objects? If they do, they aren't secure. If they don't, no further legal apparatus (nor, it is my claim and the claim of other anarcho-capitalist, centralized power) is required.


I'm not quite sure where the paranoia over the confiscation of personal property is coming from, and I think it's a mere fabrication. As I've mentioned before, the real issue seems to be the confiscation of the capacity to actually be a full and meaningful participant in society with the employment of legal apparatus and centralized power that comes into play within capitalist society. The US, the leading capitalist nation, for instance has one of the highest incarceration rates in the entire globe, and yet all I here from you, and others, is this strange fear that without private property (as distinct from 'personal' property) our personal rights as producers and consumers are at risk. To me, and traditional anarchism, it's actually vice versa! It's under capitalist society that our personal rights as producers and consumers are at risk. Socialist society seeks to liberate us from that.

I think we need to further explore your criteria for viewing some authoritarian and voluntary relations as legitimate, and wage labour as categorically (rather than just contingently) illegitimate.

Wage labor, it seems to me, occurs where there are no better options except to work for somebody else. It derives from a fundamental inequality in economic (and often social) power, between those with means and those without. Now under capitalism wage labor does not just become a random occurrence. It becomes the mainstay of economic activity along with the separation of capital from labor. This means that we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold the means of production, and those who must seek out the means to gain employment, and so exist. I don't see this as being any more legitimate that some in the state having the power to give and take my life for their own purposes. Either way I'm caught within an involuntary conundrum. What do you think needs to be explored further here?

I understand and even accept your point that capitalist contracts are not necessarily voluntary. Are you making the (much stronger) claim that capitalist contracts are necessarily not voluntary? Or would you allow that some capitalist contracts (or capitalist contracts under certain background conditions or in certain contexts) may be voluntary in the meaningful sense of the term?

If so, why is capitalism inherently characterised by employing unjustified use of authority, rather than, say often or typically so characterised?


Sure I think, one could say that certain contracts are more voluntary than others. But this does not make work, as a whole, voluntary. Instead what we continually find in capitalism (and I speak generally here) is that individuals can only live so long as they work for others, not themselves. To me that's where this whole business (pardon the pun) of so called 'free contracts' becomes more farce than reality.
#14290294
anticlimacus wrote:How so?

You wrote "And we do have laws about property--it is only that they are collectively owned."

In other words, if I, an individual, start with my personal property (which you accept as legitimate) and then start using it as private property (i.e. means of production), according to your statement above, it will have to be collectively owned, i.e. no longer owned just by me, its original owner.

Somewhere along the line from it being solely my individual property to it being collectively owned, it had to be expropriated, right?

My point is that capitalism separates capital from labor, and therefore labor must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital.

Actually, labour under capitalism is a collaborative enterprise. It involves cooperation between capital-owners and labourers (and typically many others, like land owners, entrepreneurs, managers, customers, raw-material providers, etc.).

The nature of voluntary and collaborative enterprises is that they serve the interests of all involved. Otherwise, those involved would opt out. So the statement "Labour must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital" is wrong on several accounts.

First, labour isn't compelled to sell itself. It can acquire its own capital. It can choose less capital-intensive occupation. It can borrow the money required to obtain capital. It can rent the capital equipment required. Etc.

Second, profit is the hoped-for consequence of the entrepreneur. Enterprises are almost as likely to result in a loss as in a profit.

Third, the profit doesn't go to the owners of capital, but rather to the owners of the equity in the business. Those may be capital owners, or could be employees, managers or entrepreneurs. For example, when a business funds its capital purchase through a bank-loan, capital owner is the bank. But the bank doesn't get the profit - it only gets fixed interest.

Finally, the statement is highly misleading. One could just as appropriately say "Capitalism separates capital from labour, and therefore capital must rent the services of labour for the production of wages, which go towards the interests of the labourers". See?

Labor then becomes a product of capital production and serves capital accumulation.

Capital becomes a tool in the hands of labour and serves for wage accumulation.

they must work for those who seek to make a profit off of their labor.

They choose to work for those who agree to pay them wages regardless of whether the enterprise is profitable or not.

This creates social dynamics of illegitimate authority, such as political disenfranchisement of the poor, and an excess of political power for those who own more capital and surveillance and control of labor by state.

At what point does the authority become illegitimate, and why?

In an anarchy, there is no "political enfranchisement" of either poor or wealthy. Nobody has political power as the state, the organ of political authority, does not exist.

Within working life, this tends to create power dynamics of managerial control of labor to work as those who control the capital would see fit--somewhat like slavery, only instead of being bought, one is rented out for a day (and of course, part of the social battle is what constitutes a 'working day').

No, it factually doesn't tend that way at all. The stability and security of a wage-earner (often enjoying monthly wages, annual bonuses, and multi-month notice period before dismissal) is far greater than that of the self-employed or subsistence farmer.

In fact, wage earning is so unlike slavery that rather than taking arms to liberate themselves, workers, more often, take arms when they are being forcibly liberated! It would be like Souther slaves taking arms alongside the Confederacy to fight the Northerners who threaten to liberate them!

Regardless of what one particular industry does or does not do, capitalism depends on a pool of wage labor, which really should not be a controversial point (particularly if you have no problem with wage labor)--it's just a fact of capitalism.

How do you know that capitalism depends on a "large mass" of wage labour? Through most of its history, capitalism operated such that unemployment was only a few percent of the work-force, and most of the unemployed have only been so for short periods of time.

Capitalism obviously requires labour, as well as capital. But then socialism also requires labour. So do all economic systems.

If he/she wants to gain private profit through cooperation with labor, then our capitalist ceases to be a capitalist and makes labor a part owner of the capital--then he/she truly cooperates.

There is more than one way to cooperate. I cooperate with my local supermarket. When we transact, both sides benefit. There is no exploitation involved. Yet I don't expect to become part-owner in the supermarket.

See I view the whole entire wage system in capitalism--generally speaking--as a sort of bargain to which labor has no choice but to 'cooperate': You can either sell yourself to this or that capitalist or be reduced to poverty.

Take these three statements:
1. Labour has no choice but to sell itself to this or that capitalist or be reduced to poverty.
2. Consumer have no choice but to buy their food from this or that supermarket or starve.
3. Capitalists have no choice but to hire this or that labourer or be reduced to bankruptcy.

In fact, the first statement is the weakest, as labourers often do have a choice - to become self-employed or to join forces and form a cooperative.

The full force of capital is not opposed to labor, because labor now controls capital.

This is a false dichotomy. Capital and labour cooperate. You don't need to control something to cooperate with it. Not controlling something doesn't imply opposing it. Again, I don't feel like food producers "oppose" food consumers, even though food consumers do not control food production.

The other point is that you implicitly assume that all capital has to have a single form of control. Where, in your analysis, does a mixed system fit? A system in which some capital is owned (and controlled) by capitalists, some capital is owned by savers, lent out to capital-less entrepreneurs in exchange for interest, while still more capital is controlled directly by employees.

You would have a mixed system in which the statement that "labour has no choice but to sell itself" is patently false. Would that fact make your concerns about the exploitation inherent in the capitalist system go away?

So if you want to 'hire' me, your leverage is no longer that you can at least 'give me a job' so that I can survive. You can no longer hold capital as a ransom against my capacity to work. I can work productively and meaningfully elsewhere, under conditions of my own choosing. Under capitalism, individuals are on their own and so the consolidated power of capital can confront isolated individuals and use their isolation against them--hence labor often tries to unionize so workers no longer stand alone.

And nothing in my system prevents labour from unionising. Better yet, labour can say "the hell with you" to capitalists. That doesn't mean using violent means to expropriate their property (permanently, as in a socialist revolution, or temporarily, as in labour union violence). It simply means ignoring exploitative capitalists and securing capital independent of them.

Remember - nobody "monopolises" capital. Capital is easily and readily available from any number of sources, from savings to bank loans. A capitalist can refuse to give you a job, but cannot prevent you from obtaining your own capital and starting your own, competing business.

I responded to your claim that where there are tolerable property rights, capitalism will necessarily emerge. I argued that that is patently false. To me it sounds more like the difference between collectively owned or privately owned property.

Capitalism as a comprehensive system of exploitation (the way you see it) will not necessarily emerge.

However, particular capitalist enterprises may arise. I get a mixed message as to your attitude towards such enterprises.

Wage labor, it seems to me, occurs where there are no better options except to work for somebody else.

Sure. And syndicates occur where there are no better options except to work for a syndicate. And self-employment occurs where there are no better options except to work for yourself. And?

Besides, the expression "work for somebody else" is ambiguous. You are in the employ of somebody else, but you equally work for yourself in the sense that the purpose of your work, from your perspective, is to further your own goals. As noted above, wage labour is a collaborative enterprise which benefits both sides.

This means that we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold the means of production, and those who must seek out the means to gain employment, and so exist.

Again and again you make technically-correct statements in highly misleading ways.

I could equally say: we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold labour, and those who must seek out the means to get employees, and so exist.

Employers need employees much more than employees need employers. An employee can typically find self-employment opportunities. An employer can very rarely operate his business without employees.

You are yet to show why you think employers' ability to fire and hire gives them any more power than employee's ability to quit.

Either way I'm caught within an involuntary conundrum. What do you think needs to be explored further here?

Characterising wage employment as "involuntary" is factually-contingent. It isn't inherent in the employment relation, but depends on the factual circumstances regarding alternatives open to the employee. In the presence of viable alternatives, you cannot reasonably characterise the relation as "involuntary".

Instead what we continually find in capitalism (and I speak generally here) is that individuals can only live so long as they work for others, not themselves.

If I am a self-employed artisan, making shoes and selling them in the market, do I work for myself, or for my customers?
If I am an entrepreneur who works very hard to build a business, seeing most of my sales proceeds go to pay the wages of my employees, do I work for myself, or for them?

Or wouldn't it by more appropriate to say that individual labourers work for both themselves and their employers? Or simply that they work to feed their families, and having the stability or wages, coupled with the knowledge, reputation, experience, customer base and infrastructure provided by the employer more than compensate for any marginal reduction in freedom associated with the relationship?
#14290486
Eran wrote:You wrote "And we do have laws about property--it is only that they are collectively owned."

In other words, if I, an individual, start with my personal property (which you accept as legitimate) and then start using it as private property (i.e. means of production), according to your statement above, it will have to be collectively owned, i.e. no longer owned just by me, its original owner.

Somewhere along the line from it being solely my individual property to it being collectively owned, it had to be expropriated, right?


OK, I see what you are suggesting now. The question is if I employ my personal possessions for production purposes, do they become confiscated or socialized. The answer is no, and in fact this is the kind of control over one's own work that anarchism would seek to make viable. This would be the kind of small artisan and household production that socialism seeks to achieve in large scale, and sees capitalist economies preventing.

It seems to me that where you go with this is that it inevitably ends up as a system that produces wage labor, and I don't see it that way at all. This is primarily because the resources, land, and major producing factories is socially controlled, from the beginning. Thus everybody controls the means of production, and nobody is left with only their labor power to sell. This becomes not only an institutional fact of social life, but socialized as a part of solidarity and culture. Capitalism is superseded just as is the state, both becoming superfluous and counterproductive to a free society.

Actually, labour under capitalism is a collaborative enterprise. It involves cooperation between capital-owners and labourers (and typically many others, like land owners, entrepreneurs, managers, customers, raw-material providers, etc.).

The nature of voluntary and collaborative enterprises is that they serve the interests of all involved. Otherwise, those involved would opt out. So the statement "Labour must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital" is wrong on several accounts.

First, labour isn't compelled to sell itself. It can acquire its own capital. It can choose less capital-intensive occupation. It can borrow the money required to obtain capital. It can rent the capital equipment required. Etc.

Second, profit is the hoped-for consequence of the entrepreneur. Enterprises are almost as likely to result in a loss as in a profit.

Third, the profit doesn't go to the owners of capital, but rather to the owners of the equity in the business. Those may be capital owners, or could be employees, managers or entrepreneurs. For example, when a business funds its capital purchase through a bank-loan, capital owner is the bank. But the bank doesn't get the profit - it only gets fixed interest.

Finally, the statement is highly misleading. One could just as appropriately say "Capitalism separates capital from labour, and therefore capital must rent the services of labour for the production of wages, which go towards the interests of the labourers". See?


You seem to be ignoring the fact that the vast majority of people in capitalist society earn their living through wages. More importantly, you also seem to be ignoring the crucial fact that chief investors and owners are the ones that make all the decisions about capitalist enterprises and this creates huge inequality both in social wealth and decision making capability in the workplace and society. So this idea that we can all control capital and our own ventures, does not at all seem convincing. The fact certain owners and investors may do some collaboration does not make capitalism a collaborative system in the sense that all parties, labor, owners, investors are equals in making decisions on production. The fact that an employee can also buy some stock, also does not mean the employee becomes a partial owner as do the main shareholders who get to make all the decisions about the company. Again, where you say I am misrepresenting capitalist relations, you seem to be dealing solely with the abstract idealism of capitalist theory.

Capital becomes a tool in the hands of labour and serves for wage accumulation.


Which occurs...where? Take the US, wage accumulation certainly has not kept up with productivity over the past 40 years. Capital accumulation does not necessarily have to be taken as a negative--which you seem to be assuming it does. I think it is a fair and neutral way of describing capitalism. The fact that I view it negatively does not mean that you have to. Don't you think that the quest for continual profit--which is at the heart of capital accumulation--is a good thing?

They choose to work for those who agree to pay them wages regardless of whether the enterprise is profitable or not.


Yes, you view this a system that produces an abundance of free choice--there's no denying that this is what you think. I of course argue otherwise. My choice to choose between this owner or that is not much of a free choice, at least from my point of view.

At what point does the authority become illegitimate, and why?

In an anarchy, there is no "political enfranchisement" of either poor or wealthy. Nobody has political power as the state, the organ of political authority, does not exist.


Authority becomes illegitimate or unjustified when I, as a reasonable of age human being, have little to no power to grant the authority. This is so because in a free society, everybody should be able to have say in how their lives are to be determined. Nothing, unless otherwise specified democratically, should be simply top-down, autocratic relations. This includes both communal life and economic life (including the work place).

And anarchism does not mean apolitical. Anarchism means no rulers. This has typically meant that there are no centralized controlling powers. But anarchism can be--and should be--highly organized with vibrant (and productive) political activity.

No, it factually doesn't tend that way at all. The stability and security of a wage-earner (often enjoying monthly wages, annual bonuses, and multi-month notice period before dismissal) is far greater than that of the self-employed or subsistence farmer.

In fact, wage earning is so unlike slavery that rather than taking arms to liberate themselves, workers, more often, take arms when they are being forcibly liberated! It would be like Souther slaves taking arms alongside the Confederacy to fight the Northerners who threaten to liberate them!


This all depends. I certainly don't think that wage relations produce continual stability--in fact, it often produces quite the opposite and continual anxiety over work and subsistence. My thinking is that we have the social and technological capacity to do something better which overcomes and makes superfluous the current system of state capitalist control.

How do you know that capitalism depends on a "large mass" of wage labour? Through most of its history, capitalism operated such that unemployment was only a few percent of the work-force, and most of the unemployed have only been so for short periods of time.

Capitalism obviously requires labour, as well as capital. But then socialism also requires labour. So do all economic systems.

Unemployment is certainly a necessary and integral part of capitalism, but that is different from wage labor. Are you suggesting that the wage system has not been a basic and fundamental aspect of capitalism? Because that seems quite antithetical to both history and theory.

Yes socialism requires labor, but by now we should be seeing a bit of a difference. Labor in socialism is not the product of a systematic divorce from the means of production. Labor, at least under this theory, is free from being divorced and employed by capital. Labor now employs capital in socialism.

This is a false dichotomy. Capital and labour cooperate. You don't need to control something to cooperate with it. Not controlling something doesn't imply opposing it. Again, I don't feel like food producers "oppose" food consumers, even though food consumers do not control food production.

The other point is that you implicitly assume that all capital has to have a single form of control. Where, in your analysis, does a mixed system fit? A system in which some capital is owned (and controlled) by capitalists, some capital is owned by savers, lent out to capital-less entrepreneurs in exchange for interest, while still more capital is controlled directly by employees.

You would have a mixed system in which the statement that "labour has no choice but to sell itself" is patently false. Would that fact make your concerns about the exploitation inherent in the capitalist system go away?


I talked about cooperation above. I don't view the divorce between capital and labor as producing cooperation. From my point of view it produces classes and inequalities that produce social conflict and instability and curbs self-determination for the majority of society.

And capital does not have to have a single controller. There can be a large group of investors. Employees can buy stock. All this never seems to change the fact that the top investors and owners tend make all the decisions in a top down manner, which goes from boss to boss down to the smallest employee. Society also often becomes similarly organized, as a top down system of control--even if we have some 'democratic' mechanisms such as the ability to vote in often meaningless elections. Despite those liberties, the political system in capitalism tends to be controlled and dominated by the wealthy and powerful--this also tends to be part and parcel to economic inequality. My argument is not that capitalism cannot be nuanced and complex. My argument is that even in its nuances and complexities it is an authoritarian system, built on a fundamental power distinction between controllers of wealth and capital and those without such control.

And no, I would not have a mixed system--what would we have to benefit, particularly in the long run, with some form of Keynesian welfare capitalism as we saw in the 20th century? I advocate, as I have mentioned many times, superseding both the state and capitalism, to the point that they both become superfluous. I view them as mutually reinforcing problems.

And nothing in my system prevents labour from unionising. Better yet, labour can say "the hell with you" to capitalists. That doesn't mean using violent means to expropriate their property (permanently, as in a socialist revolution, or temporarily, as in labour union violence). It simply means ignoring exploitative capitalists and securing capital independent of them.

Remember - nobody "monopolises" capital. Capital is easily and readily available from any number of sources, from savings to bank loans. A capitalist can refuse to give you a job, but cannot prevent you from obtaining your own capital and starting your own, competing business.


Again, nothing, in theory. Nothing, in theory, prevents labor from organizing in the US--yet it continues to decrease and become more difficult to unionize.

Capital is "available" to be released by those willing to lend it out, for, of course, a profit. Of course, this all depends on the owners of capital--hence even today we have had a problem with banks not lending capital out for investment. So the "availability"--much like "choice" and "freedom"--must be qualified and put in brackets. It's available so long as those who own it give permission for others to use it.

Sure. And syndicates occur where there are no better options except to work for a syndicate. And self-employment occurs where there are no better options except to work for yourself. And?

Besides, the expression "work for somebody else" is ambiguous. You are in the employ of somebody else, but you equally work for yourself in the sense that the purpose of your work, from your perspective, is to further your own goals. As noted above, wage labour is a collaborative enterprise which benefits both sides.


It would be one thing if those selling their own labor power were equal to those employing them. The problem is that is rarely ever the case. Thus you don't get an agreement between equals. You get an agreement between those with the means, and those in need. Now, certainly there are times in capitalism where labor is in higher demand. But this always fluctuates, and that is not the typical trend. Socio-economic inequality is the typical trend within capitalism, and so the sense within which people work for others is that they do it not on terms of their own choosing, but within hierarchical structures of top-down order giving organizations, where employees have little to no say in how or what they produce.

I could equally say: we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold labour, and those who must seek out the means to get employees, and so exist.


You could say this, but why would you? How often do we find labor being in the more dominant position in capitalist history? Again, maybe you see it differently, but it seems to me that investors and owners have tended to have the upper hand.

You are yet to show why you think employers' ability to fire and hire gives them any more power than employee's ability to quit.


Just look at the US over the past 40 years. If the ability to quit were systematically an equal advantage for the average American worker, then we would have seen a rise in wages. Instead, we have seen just the opposite, and it seems to me the history of capitalism is riddled with this kind of inequality (and conflict!) between owners and workers.

If I am a self-employed artisan, making shoes and selling them in the market, do I work for myself, or for my customers?
If I am an entrepreneur who works very hard to build a business, seeing most of my sales proceeds go to pay the wages of my employees, do I work for myself, or for them?

Or wouldn't it by more appropriate to say that individual labourers work for both themselves and their employers? Or simply that they work to feed their families, and having the stability or wages, coupled with the knowledge, reputation, experience, customer base and infrastructure provided by the employer more than compensate for any marginal reduction in freedom associated with the relationship?


The crucial distinction I want to make is that work becomes voluntary, and not in, at least what I call, the cheap sense of voluntary where I can quit my job to work 50 hours a week working for somebody else, or starve. This requires much social cooperation, in a sense in which we do not have in capitalism, and part of that cooperation is the collective ownership over the means of production. From my point of view, this would afford people to actually have much more meaningful working lives and control over their own production, while greatly reducing both instability (both socially and individually) and the drudgery of work we so often find in capitalism.
#14290609
anticlimacus wrote:The question is if I employ my personal possessions for production purposes, do they become confiscated or socialized. The answer is no...

Except in the case of Phred's Ceramics and Mr. PC's Sandwich Emporium, of course.

It seems to me that where you go with this is that it inevitably ends up as a system that produces wage labor, and I don't see it that way at all.

Of course it will inevitably end up that way. It cannot be otherwise, given the nature of human beings. The relevant question here is what will be your response (and that of your fellow travellers) when it does? If it makes you feel any better, I can reword that question to "In the extremely unlikely event that enterprises like Phred's Ceramics and Mr PC's Sandwich Emporium come into existence, will the humans involved in its operations be forcibly interfered with by you and your fellow travellers?"

This is primarily because the resources, land, and major producing factories is socially controlled, from the beginning.

You mean "collectively" controlled? How did that happen? What gives The Collective the right to forcibly interfere with what consenting humans are doing in my house?

Thus everybody controls the means of production...

As has been repeatedly pointed out, this is a nonsensical assertion that is dead simple to show as counterfactual. "Everybody" doesn't control the means of production, designated representatives do. "Everybody" can't control the means of production.

"...and nobody is left with only their labor power to sell."

That is all any of us have to sell. You never did answer just what else you think we (as humans) have to sell.

Capitalism is superseded just as is the state, both becoming superfluous and counterproductive to a free society.

So you hypothesize. What if you're wrong? What if a Phred's Ceramics or a Mr PC's Sandwich Emporium come into existence? What is your response to the people involved in their operations?

You seem to be ignoring the fact that the vast majority of people in capitalist society earn their living through wages.

So?

More importantly, you also seem to be ignoring the crucial fact that chief investors and owners are the ones that make all the decisions about capitalist enterprises and this creates huge inequality both in social wealth and decision making capability in the workplace and society.

And this is a problem because... ?

So this idea that we can all control capital and our own ventures, does not at all seem convincing. The fact certain owners and investors may do some collaboration does not make capitalism a collaborative system in the sense that all parties, labor, owners, investors are equals in making decisions on production.

In making all decisions? No... of course not. The idea is that the enterprise be successful.

The fact that an employee can also buy some stock, also does not mean the employee becomes a partial owner...

Yes, actually. That's exactly what it means.

...as do the main shareholders who get to make all the decisions about the company.

I thought you were all about the will of the majority. The factions that control the most votes (in this case, shares), make the decisions. How is this different from a Workers Co-op?

Take the US, wage accumulation certainly has not kept up with productivity over the past 40 years.

Of course it hasn't. If it had, poor people wouldn't be able to buy all the stuff they can. The reason insanely complex pieces of technology such as cell phones are owned by the majority of "poor" people in the US today is because the increases in productivity of the last half century went towards making products less expensive, not making wages higher. The fact remains that the working "poor" of today are vastly better off than the working poor of half a century ago because their wages of today purchase way more than wages did then. And that is due to the capitalist mode of production, not to Left-Anarchism.

Don't you think that the quest for continual profit--which is at the heart of capital accumulation--is a good thing?

It's not just good, it is essential. Left-Anarchists seem not to grasp this, however.

My choice to choose between this owner or that is not much of a free choice, at least from my point of view.

So work for yourself. Or gather a group of like-minded buddies, pool your resources, and launch a profitable Worker's Co-op. How hard can it be?

Authority becomes illegitimate or unjustified when I, as a reasonable of age human being, have little to no power to grant the authority.

Grant authority to whom? To do what?

This is so because in a free society, everybody should be able to have say in how their lives are to be determined.

Tell that to Mother Nature.

Nothing, unless otherwise specified democratically, should be simply top-down, autocratic relations.

Why not? What is the harm in my clay schlepper following my instructions on what kind of clay (for example) he is to schlep back to my ceramics works?

Anarchism means no rulers.

Mr. PC (he of Sandwich Emporium fame) is not a ruler.

I certainly don't think that wage relations produce continual stability--in fact, it often produces quite the opposite and continual anxiety over work and subsistence. My thinking is that we have the social and technological capacity to do something better which overcomes and makes superfluous the current system of state capitalist control.

By confiscating anything and everything that anyone might conceivably some day use as a "means of production".

Labor in socialism is not the product of a systematic divorce from the means of production. Labor, at least under this theory, is free from being divorced and employed by capital. Labor now employs capital in socialism.

This is gibberish. Can you rephrase?

I don't view the divorce between capital and labor as producing cooperation.

You manufacture out of thin air something that just isn't so. Capital and labor aren't "divorced" (whatever that means). As Eran has repeatedly pointed out, they are symbiotes.

From my point of view it produces classes and inequalities that produce social conflict and instability and curbs self-determination for the majority of society.

Your point of view doesn't jibe with reality.

All this never seems to change the fact that the top investors and owners tend make all the decisions in a top down manner, which goes from boss to boss down to the smallest employee.

So?

My argument is not that capitalism cannot be nuanced and complex. My argument is that [i]even in its nuances and complexities it is an authoritarian system, built on a fundamental power distinction between controllers of wealth and capital and those without such control.

So? You say this as if it's a bad thing.

Nothing, in theory, prevents labor from organizing in the US--yet it continues to decrease and become more difficult to unionize.

That is a fact. Can you not draw the obvious conclusions from that fact?

Capital is "available" to be released by those willing to lend it out, for, of course, a profit.

Then what's the problem?

Of course, this all depends on the owners of capital--hence even today we have had a problem with banks not lending capital out for investment. So the "availability"--much like "choice" and "freedom"--must be qualified and put in brackets. It's available so long as those who own it give permission for others to use it.

Well, duh! I assume you wouldn't hand over, say, half of your own life's savings to the first guy that asked you, either.

It would be one thing if those selling their own labor power were equal to those employing them.

Equal in what way? No one is exactly equal to anyone else. We are all our own precious snowflakes, remember?

The problem is that is rarely ever the case. Thus you don't get an agreement between equals.

So?

Socio-economic inequality is the typical trend within capitalism...

Again, inequality is the norm in reality. Humans aren't equal. Never have been, never will be. That has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with the nature of reality.

...and so the sense within which people work for others is that they do it not on terms of their own choosing, but within hierarchical structures of top-down order giving organizations, where employees have little to no say in how or what they produce.

Again, so? Why is this a problem? Who is being harmed?

How often do we find labor being in the more dominant position in capitalist history?

Constantly. For example, my problem at the moment is that I cannot grow my business because I can't find the people I need to grow my business. The people I need are so few and far between at the moment that they can easily find employment with others who can afford to pay them more than I can. So they do, and I am left with dregs.

Again, maybe you see it differently, but it seems to me that investors and owners have tended to have the upper hand.

It seems that way to you because you've never run a business.

Just look at the US over the past 40 years. If the ability to quit were systematically an equal advantage for the average American worker, then we would have seen a rise in wages.

Which is exactly what we have seen, if we substitute "compensation" for "wages".

Instead, we have seen just the opposite...

Another of the reasons you think as you do: you are using faulty data.

The crucial distinction I want to make is that work becomes voluntary...

Work never becomes voluntary. Work is imposed on us by our nature as mortal beings and by the nature of the arena in which we operate - the observable universe. If I didn't have to work in order to get what I want, I wouldn't. The vast majority of humanity wouldn't, wither.

From my point of view, this would afford people to actually have much more meaningful working lives and control over their own production, while greatly reducing both instability (both socially and individually) and the drudgery of work we so often find in capitalism.

Yeah... the guy cleaning septic tanks in a Left-Anarchist society would have a much more meaningful work life than the guy cleaning septic tanks in modern day Texas. He'd be just leaping out of bed every morning in anticipation of another delightful day.


Phred
#14290619
anticlimacus wrote:My thinking is that we have the social and technological capacity to do something better which overcomes and makes superfluous the current system of state capitalist control.


You know, I agree with this sentiment in the long run, which is why I'm not a class warfare anarchist. The descendants of current Ford Model T level additive manufacturing processes, and the fulfillment of decentralized solar energy will make it possible for each person to own means of production without the need for destruction of current property relationships. Automation too will help make it less a reality for the majority of people.

There's no need to abolish capitalism, just make it so that it's less and less necessary as a means of simply surviving. You do that, and the exploitation, to the extent that it's there, is massively reduced. The way to do this is through miniaturizing and decentralizing the means of production, and creating a more local capitalism even as you create more local government. To get there, we're going to need government and corporations to put more money into these things, but even now there are new small businesses popping up based in 3D printing, and while it's primitive now, and still in its hype phase, the trans-formative effects of a mature phase of desktop additive manufacturing is obvious. Even in this phase, with high prizes, the savings pay-offs work out. In addition, devices have been created to recycle the plastics currently used.There will be an expanding list of materials possible to use in the future. A primitive solar powered 3D printer working with sand already exists.

If capitalism is to be subverted, it is through its own methods, creating more and more decentralization until capitalism is not the dominant mode anymore, or at least dwindles to raw resources procuring, and producing better production equipment. More and more people may be able to own their own capital and go into business themselves, so you could see it from that angle too.

To paraphrase distributist G.K. Chesterton; "The problem with capitalism is that there are too few capitalists."
#14290635
There's no need to abolish capitalism, just make it so that it's less and less necessary as a means of simply surviving.


I agree with this. This is why I say I want to supersede capitalism and the state, to make it superfluous. I am not proposing a violent massive revolution. What I have said before is that we need to have a ground-up transformation, and it will occur over time until capitalism and the state becomes superfluous. This does not mean there will not need to be political fights, and very very difficult ones. But it does mean that some huge violent revolution, where capitalism is abolished is not necessary--or likely.
#14315848
I am an anarchist because I have a disdain for authority. I feel that authoritative social structures need to justify their existence and I can tolerate and even support their existence if they provide me with security, prosperity, peace of mind, etc.

I think a sticking point in the discussion was the distinction between being free to do as you please as an individual and freedom from the dictates of others. If we allow the private ownership of resources this maximizes the freedom of the owner to do as they please. If we place resources in public ownership this maximizes the labourer's freedom from the demands of the capitalist. It could be that syndicalism would provide better working conditions whilst capitalism best meets the demands of consumers. So the question is what levels of coercion and prosperity we would like to enjoy and how we resolve the conflict between these positions.

I am a reformist and am currently focused on reducing protectionist measures and arbitrary barriers to entry. I prefer healthcare and transportation to be public goods as these are things people need, not want.
#14317078
AFAIK wrote:If we allow the private ownership of resources this maximizes the freedom of the owner to do as they please. If we place resources in public ownership this maximizes the labourer's freedom from the demands of the capitalist.

So the question is what levels of coercion and prosperity we would like to enjoy and how we resolve the conflict between these positions.


Could it be that under certain socio-economic conditions particular positions--such as those between capitalists and labor--are irreconcilable?
A new society would not try to reconcile the conflict between these positions, then. It would try to transform the conditions so that these positions no longer pertain.
#14323742
AFAIK wrote:I think a sticking point in the discussion was the distinction between being free to do as you please as an individual and freedom from the dictates of others. If we allow the private ownership of resources this maximizes the freedom of the owner to do as they please. If we place resources in public ownership this maximizes the labourer's freedom from the demands of the capitalist.


Perhaps, from that single capitalist, but it doesn't maximize the laborer's freedom from whomever owns the capital. "Public ownership" is an empty phrase, really (and not just due to the fact that when everybody owns something, that's just another way of saying that nobody does); somebody's got to act as an owner, even if nobody is allowed to call him that. Somebody is making the decision about how the capital is allocated, and whether that is an individual or a majority of workers, the laborer still has somebody dictating his actions (insofar as he's voluntarily agreed to labor in the first place). Simply having one of many votes doesn't mean one is in control of anything. Even being a member of the majority, even when the laborer agrees with the majority's decision on how to allocate capital, doesn't mean that he's in control of anything more than he was before: his own time and labor.

Where I think some leftists go very wrong is when they conflate freedom with comfort; they'll say, "man can't be free if he's hungry," for instance. The inherent moral contradiction in that opinion goes unacknowledged: that if one can demand, in the name of freedom, that one's creature comforts be provided by somebody else, then you've taken away his freedom. The logic of that position falls apart very quickly.

I am a reformist and am currently focused on reducing protectionist measures and arbitrary barriers to entry. I prefer healthcare and transportation to be public goods as these are things people need, not want.


What about food? Shelter? Clothing? Those are all things that people need too. Why should those not be "public goods" as well?
#14450791
Anarchism, to me, over the years has developed into two main pillars. I call it Synthetic anarchy.

(1) Opposition to monopolistic authority
(2) Opposition to arbitrary hierarchies

(1) Is usually taken to be state authority, but could also be applied to any institutions that exist that one is forced by religious, social, political, or economic means to interact with beyond their own willingness. I like the Chomskian idea that education and mass media (institutions of propaganda and indoctrination) fit into this category. You cannot consent to being influenced in ways that you do not or are not capable of knowing.

(2) Is muddier for me, but I can give a personal anecdote. I am in a union at the moment, I have always been skeptical of them, and upon entering the position as a "casual" I realize that my job position is a compromise between management and the union and that I am only there to be exploited.

Unions, I thought, were the political manifestation of Anarchists (syndicalists) of the last 150 years and I was at first perplexed when I realized that there was a hierarchy in the Union. Now, I was forced to pay the initiation fee and then given the legal option to pay my dues or not as my state is a 'right to work' state. My pay is 20% less than 'full hires', I get no benefits, I do not get guaranteed hours, I do not get to bid on positions, in on call with an expectation of 30 minutes notice, and I do not have a choice when the bad jobs come around. I am only a member because management needed workers, but do not want to pay benefits AND the union will not allow 'scabs' to do work even in conditions where they themselves refuse to do the work...which brings me to the hierarchy.

The hierarchy is based on the date of hire. Seniority. Not willingness to work, or competence, etc. Seniority. Most people think that management is the hierarchy that anarchists oppose when concerning corporations. This creates the common political dialect of labor and capital. But, corporate management is simply a hierarchy. The creation of a hierarchical union is just another hierarchy that competes with management to exploit the labor below them so that they may reap the benefits of the contract.

Synthetic anarchism

Anarcho-capitalism and anarcho-syndicalism have several very important similarities. The end goal of society based on cooperation and mutual benefit free of coercion is the common end goal. The dichotomy falls on two organizing principles, (a) property and (b) hierarchy. (a) is acts as a useful economic indicator. I would argue that it should be looked at as an administrative principle as well, but should also be synonymous with 'having responsibility for' instead of 'ownership of'. I don't want to get to deep into the economic benefits of property as responsibility for capital assets here. (b) is another economic principle understood as the division and specialization of labor. These are born of talents, help with efficiency, but breed ignorance and the potential for exploitation.

If we may consider a synthesis of the two in terms of market economic principles (which i think really are useful) and the internal organization of corporations the two can live side by side. Firms may be structured however the workers may want to structure it, however they want to figure it out. If everyone owned the same amount of stock upon being hired and could not sell it then they all have equal voting distribution on corporate decisions and could only part with the stock asset upon leaving the firm. The rub is that each firm must behave in market conditions with no central authority planning and with no price fixing.

That is an abstract of my hair brained idea. I like Rothbard and Chomsky.
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