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Author Topic: Total Anarchy vs Anarcho Capitalism  (Read 9602 times)
The_Kid
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« on: December 01, 2013, 10:57:43 PM »

I had a discussion today with someone who was trying to convince me that Total Anarchy is the same as Anarcho Capitalism. However in my studies Anarchists are against Capitalism along with any wage labor. His explanation was "Anarchy" just means No laws and in the long run the two just blend together....

I told him that I believe in Voluntarism and free markets. However I do believe that I should be paid for my services and take my services wherever I want and support No Government. I believe the individuals rights along with property rights and such.

I guess I'm just trying to better understand the difference in Total Anarchy vs Anarcho-Capitalism
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 11:53:35 AM »

That's a broad question but the primary difference is that according to anarchists of the left variety AnCap is not anarchy. Capitalism is defined as private (3rd party) ownership of the means of production. This property scheme sets up a hierarchy where the owner of the land rules it.

According to Proudhon the law should be the expression of a fact not a will. Capitalism is the expression of the will of the 3rd party property owner.
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 12:02:41 PM »

The dictionary definition is merely a society without government.  The problem many run into is that those anarchy-syndicate/communist/socialist do want a government, usually a local democracy.  How else are they going to stop you from being capitalist if they don't agree to steal your stuff?

https://dailyanarchist.com/forum/index.php/topic,1284.0.html
https://dailyanarchist.com/forum/index.php/topic,934.0.html
https://dailyanarchist.com/forum/index.php/topic,1158.0.html
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 12:07:34 PM by Syock » Logged

Victor
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2013, 10:19:53 PM »

There's a lot of debate among different people calling themselves anarchists over this, and you'd have to read the arguments from all sides to get a remotely clear picture of what's going on. As MAM noted, some anarchists think "anarcho-capitalism" is a contradictory term, while others think "anarcho-communism" or similar is contradictory for the basic reasons Syock mentioned. Then there are also other individualist anarchists who are opposed to "capitalism" but also opposed to "communism", and the deeper you dig the messier it gets. Basically you just end up with a bunch of people in a virtual room perpetually shouting at each other over who the "real" anarchists are. Occasionally you get some people saying "Hey, let's just work together to get rid of the State and then see what happens, ok?"

Some resources if you're interested:

The basic argument against the idea of anarcho-capitalism.
A reply to the above from an anarcho-capitalist.
A good description of some of the individualist anarchists, who could arguably have been termed socialists.
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2013, 11:45:54 PM »

Occasionally you get some people saying "Hey, let's just work together to get rid of the State and then see what happens, ok?"

I wish more of the left side were like that.  I would get along fine with them.  Some are quite militant about the destruction of capitalism, and any that would defend it/their stuff.  Usually the ancap/voluntarist side is only militant to the extent of defending what they currently own.  
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 11:48:07 PM by Syock » Logged

Victor
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 06:05:46 PM »

Occasionally you get some people saying "Hey, let's just work together to get rid of the State and then see what happens, ok?"

I wish more of the left side were like that.  I would get along fine with them.  Some are quite militant about the destruction of capitalism, and any that would defend it/their stuff.  Usually the ancap/voluntarist side is only militant to the extent of defending what they currently own.  

I think David Graeber made a reply to an ancap in his reddit thread here to the effect of "Well, I don't think capitalist firms could exist without the State, but perhaps we could just work together to get rid of the State and then find out?" I can't find the specific quote I'm thinking of anymore in that thread though, it's just too long.

I think the Center for a Stateless Society is trying to get more people from each side to work together, and they seem to have perhaps achieved relative success? Maybe I overestimate their influence.

Anyways, I share your wish. Not sure how to bring it about though.
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Brian Drake
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 05:16:33 AM »

It obviously all boils down to how you choose to define words.

E.g., I could say "anarchy means a totalitarian dictator". By that definition, anarcho-capitalists are clearly not "anarchists".

This is why it's important to define terms, and be consistent in applying definitions (otherwise, you engage in equivocation).

"Anarchism" is indeed a political philosophy or movement with a history to it. This movement, calling itself "anarchist", includes concepts and values that are at odds with anarcho-capitalism. So, if the term "anarchist" refers to that ideology, then it is correct to say anarcho-capitalists are not anarchists. I'm going to capitalize Anarchist/Anarchism when referring to this definition (the historical movement).

However, anarchy can also be defined by the breakdown of the word's etymology (which is Greek): an = "without" and arkhos = "ruler". So anarchy, by this definition, means "no ruler" (not "no rules"). I'm going to use anarchist/anarchy (lower case) to refer to this definition.

Now of course, you need to have an agreed upon definition of "ruler". The functional definition I'll employ, which I think is generally acceptable among libertarians/ancaps, is "a person (or group of persons) who has the recognized authority to impose their will upon another person without that person's consent".

So if you define "anarchy" as a society without anyone being recognized with the authority to impose their will upon others without consent, then the tables turn a bit. It is the anarcho-capitalists that are anarchists, and the anarchy "cred" of the Anarchists becomes less certain.

Let's look at the most common Anarchist objections to anarcho-capitalism: interest, exploitation, unforced hierarchy, private property.

Interest: I am recognized to own 100 units of the commonly accepted medium of exchange (i.e., money). You don't have any money, but need some. So you ask me if you can borrow my 100 units and I agree, on the condition that in 1 year, you return to me 110 units (10% simple interest). There are some people that have a problem with this. That's fine. Whine all you want. But if a 3rd party uses force to prevent/negate such an agreement (or the borrower refuses to pay the interest as agreed upon), then aren't they assuming the authority to impose their will without my consent? How is this different than a ruler? It's perfectly ok to boycott people who engage in exchanges involving interest, but the moment you impose your objection to interest through force, you're acting as a ruler.

Exploitation: Same story. If a worker agrees to build chairs for $10/chair (with all the materials and tools being provided to him by the employer), and the "employer" (an arbitrary term, since "employment" is just an ongoing exchange, but how else can you use class warfare terms like "worker" and "capitalist" unless you arbitrarily define the parties of an exchange?) turns around and sells that chair for $20/chair, what's the problem? That may violate your sense of aesthetics, and you're free to whine all you want. But as long as the worker consented to the $10/chair rate, what grounds does he or anyone else have to shriek "exploitation!!" as long as he's paid the $10/chair? Anyone who would impose their objection to such an agreement is basically setting themselves up as a ruler.

Unforced hierarchy: The pattern repeats. As long as the decision to subject yourself to the will of another is consented to, then anyone who forcefully prevents such an arrangement is acting as a ruler. Maybe I prefer working for a company with a vertical authority structure. How are you not a ruler when you prevent me from consenting to such an arrangement? Maybe I'm a young woman and the only way I can get the approval of my father is if I obey him ("patriarchy"). Is he not free to give or withhold his approval? Am I not free to desire or not desire his approval and if I desire, consent to the requirements he places upon it? It may be emotionally manipulative and unhealthy, but it's still consensual and imposing to prevent this is the action of a ruler. The most totalitarian hierarchy I can think of is an orchestra. The conductor waves a stick at people to dictate when they can and cannot inhale and exhale. Are orchestra's incompatible with anarchy? As long as the musicians are there by consent, it's certainly not incompatible with the libertarian/AC/etymological definition of anarchy. As to the historical Anarchists, it seems the pattern is revealing they have appropriated a word and defined an ideology at complete odds with the etymology of that word. Historical Anarchy starts to look more and more like any other "archy" variant.

Private property: Law as "expression of fact, not of will" is basically the argument of possession/occupation superseding "title". Of course, taken at its direct logical application, this equates to defining away theft, since once I forcibly, covertly, or decietfully take anything from you, the "fact" is my possession, and your claim of theft is only based on "will"/title. I doubt any Anarchists would agree to that, but I'm not picking up on a strong valuation of logical coherency among that crowd. But let's even take such a concept as a starting point (possession = ownership). I currently possess/occupy some land on which I build a house. I don't want to forfeit that land/house, but I do want to travel around for a year. You need a place to live. I offer to let you move in on the condition that you pay me money each month (rent!! the horror!), and at the end of the year, you will vacate the land so I can resume residing there. This establishes me as a...duh duh duh (ominous music): "landlord"!! Oh heavens. Now, if you consent to this agreement, how does the voiding of that contract by a third party (since it offends their delicate notions of fairness) not establish them as a ruler? Or, if you enter that agreement, with the intent to violate it by not paying me rent, and/or by not vacating when I return, how are you not a thief (and in some sense, a ruler, as you declare your preferred definition of property as justification for your violating the contract)? It was not my plan to abandon the land/house, so I would not have allowed you access in the first place (i.e., ended occupation) unless you agreed to my terms.


Libertarianism really boils down to respecting the consent of others. Though we can each have different predictions on how a stateless society would evolve, the above concepts seem perfectly compatible with consensual human interactions and are likely to continue to exist. These ideas do not require "rulers", thus are completely compatible with anarchy.

Though it is perfectly fine to be "morally" or aesthetically opposed to these things, the moment someone imposes their objections, they are establishing themselves as a ruler, and certainly can't be considered an anarchist by the etymological definition of the term. That there exists a historical movement, calling themselves "Anarchists" that propose things that require either universal adherence (like that will ever happen), or the literal violation of the consent of those who disagree, brings into question the value of such a movement, or the value of associating with it.



Edited to add:
I'm well aware that historically, the concepts above have been enabled/established by the state and thus were not always truly consensual. However, those historical examples do not violate the fact these concepts can be established consensually, anymore than pointing to a instance of rape is proof that sex cannot be consensual.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 07:32:15 AM by Brian Drake » Logged
Victor
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 10:49:43 AM »

@Brian Drake, I think you made an excellent post for the most part, but you never defined "force". The Anarchists, (following your use of "Anarchist" to refer to the movement with values at odds with an-caps and "anarchy" as just meaning without rulers,) always object that all of the things you talked about themselves constitute force. Bosses force people to work for them, or perhaps the "economic system" that the bosses perpetuate forces people to work for them because if they "choose" not to work for a boss they will live in poverty or starve.

Hypothetical: if you have someone standing at the bottom of a pit, an an-cap would argue that if someone else standing at the top pushed them in, they have aggressed against them, while someone who just happens to pass by the pit but doesn't help them out has not technically aggressed against them, even though the an-cap might still not like that person's behavior. An Anarchist, if I understand them correctly, would argue that not helping the dude out of the pit would constitute aggression, regardless of what caused the person to end up in the pit.

Or, to change the hypothetical slightly, if the person at the top said they'd help the person in the pit out of the pit only if they agreed to pay them $1,000,000,000 for doing so, then an Anarchist would argue that the person at the top has attempted to steal $1,000,000,000 from the person stuck in the pit, even if the person fell in by accident, while the an-cap would argue that the $1,000,000,000 fee only constitutes theft if the person at the top pushed the other person in.

An-caps, I think, basically define "force" as physical violence + deprivation of property, while Anarchists define force more as any action that limits a person's options and thus changes their behavior.

I could have understood the arguments wrong though...
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 12:43:43 PM »

An Anarchist, if I understand them correctly, would argue that not helping the dude out of the pit would constitute aggression, regardless of what caused the person to end up in the pit.

An-caps, I think, basically define "force" as physical violence + deprivation of property, while Anarchists define force more as any action that limits a person's options and thus changes their behavior.

I am curious, if the person outside the pit has to help out the dude in the pit, does that mean the person in the pit has limited the options of the person outside the pit, forcing him to change his behavior, therefore committing aggression on the one outside the pit?  Wouldn't that mean the guy that fell in the pit is the one first starting this endless cycle of aggression in the Anarchist world? 

Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.   

There is no consistency in their world. 
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Brian Drake
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 04:02:45 AM »

Hi Victor,

First, "force" as I was using it referred to the use, or credible threat of the use, of physical violence against another human being. While I suppose a loose application of this term can apply to non-violent theft, I think the term "consent" (or inversely, consent-violation) is more easily all-encompassing (anarchists/libertarians do not oppose force per se; they oppose aggressive/consent-violating force). However, I think I used "force" appropriately in my post as I was referring to situations where violence, or its credible threat, would be required to prevent a certain type of exchange that an Anarchist objected to and that force would, in those cases, constitute violating the consent of the parties that desired that exchange.

If Anarchists do define "force" as actions that limit a person's options and change their behavior, then they have to object to a whole lot of things that are consensual. When a woman declines a sexual proposition from a man, that has limited his options (she's no longer an option) and will change his behavior (he now has to seek sexual gratification elsewhere). Market competition would fall under "force" by that definition as well. You're selling homemade pies, then I move down the street and start selling pies too. Customers like my pies so much more, that they stop buying from you and exclusively buy from me. You'll either have to "change your behavior" (compete with me by increasing the quality of your product and/or reducing its price), or go out of business, which will "limit your options". Do you think it's reasonable to object to declining sexual advances, or peaceful market competition?

Such a nebulous definition of "force" is clearly nonsensical and useless.

Even in your examples, the objection of "force" by the definition you provided doesn't even apply.

The boss is INCREASING (not limiting) the options of the worker by offering a job. Evidently, in this scenario, the person being offered a job is so bereft of options, they will starve without the job. So before the "boss" came along, they had X options, and then the boss offers them a job and they now have X+1 options. This is an increase, not a decrease. It might still be a less-than-perfect option, but it's still an increase in options. Are we to flip math on its head and say that the addition of anything less than an arbitrarily idealized option is actually a decrease?

Same with the man in the pit. Until the man outside the pit came along, he had very few options. The man offering the help out for an extremely high price is still increasing the number of options available to the man in the pit. That you might disapprove of the option being offered doesn't change the numerical fact that the offer constitutes an INCREASE.

The idea that not helping someone for free equates to aggression has absolutely no logical basis and is puerile and absurd. To assert that you have a default obligation to help those in need equates to stating that those in need have a form of ownership (right to control) over those who could lend assistance. That would make those in need (a highly subjectively-defined state)...rulers. This is supposed to be an-archy? It would seem to be the logical consequence of Anarchy, but I think that would just more clearly show how defiant against the clear etymology of the term such a philosophy insists on being.

As always, moral disapproval and consensual actions stemming from it (such as boycott, "shaming" campaigns, orchestrated ostracism) are perfectly fine (for to forcefully prevent them would be an act of ruling), and I can certainly agree that the guy offering to help for $1 billion is being a jerk and might not ever be his friend or do business with him as a result. But I have no grounds to claim his offer is violating anyone's consent, nor even using "force" by the definition you provided (limiting options) should I even find such a definition useful (I don't).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 04:44:17 AM by Brian Drake » Logged
Charming Anarchist
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 04:30:43 PM »

Hypothetical: if you have someone standing at the bottom of a pit, an an-cap would argue that if someone else standing at the top pushed them in, they have aggressed against them, while someone who just happens to pass by the pit but doesn't help them out has not technically aggressed against them, even though the an-cap might still not like that person's behavior. An Anarchist, if I understand them correctly, would argue that not helping the dude out of the pit would constitute aggression, regardless of what caused the person to end up in the pit.
Who cares?  Seriously.  
Why bring this up to divide fellow anarchists?  


 An-caps, I think, basically define "force" as physical violence + deprivation of property, while Anarchists define force more as any action that limits a person's options and thus changes their behavior.

I could have understood the arguments wrong though...
I think you understood the different arguments correctly.  That is one of the main differences between anarchist camps.  Which makes most sense to you?  
Which one would end up with the most lawyers arguing over eachother with civil disputes?  Which one would have the least money wasted on lawyers?  



The boss is INCREASING (not limiting) the options of the worker by offering a job. Evidently, in this scenario, the person being offered a job is so bereft of options, they will starve without the job. So before the "boss" came along, they had X options, and then the boss offers them a job and they now have X+1 options. This is an increase, not a decrease. It might still be a less-than-perfect option, but it's still an increase in options. Are we to flip math on its head and say that the addition of anything less than an arbitrarily idealized option is actually a decrease?
Unfortunately, you are missing a large part of the equation: most often, the "boss" is a man who is ruthless and gets special government favors.  
Maybe if the "boss" never came along, people would be free to live off of the clean land --- albeit with less fancy gadgetry but probably less violence too.  
You can not automatically say that the "boss" is INCREASING the options of the worker if the worker would be happier with less --- a choice that is taken away from him through taxation.  A farmer who lives off of his own land autonomously or a fisherman off the coast does not need to work as much if he did not have to pay taxes.  

I agree with you about the man in the pit.  The man walking by does not have a positive obligation to the man below. 

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Brian Drake
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 06:05:07 PM »

Charming,

If you read the "edited to add" remark at the end of my first post, you'll see I anticipated such a tired objection.

"you are missing a large part of the equation"

Wrong. The equation I was dealing with was not "and there's a boss who is directly responsible for taxation". It's not honest to modify the equation with new information and then criticize my response to the initial equation.

The "boss" in the equation was an employer, not the state. So your "maybe if the boss never came along" is equivocation since the negatives you attribute to the boss are only accurate if you're referring to the state or are asserting that this particular employer directly lobbied for state action that lead to the impoverishment of the worker in the first place. Or that the boss is an outright private criminal who engaged in consent-violating activity that lead to the scenario. But that wasn't the hypothetical presented to me.

Likewise, I definitely would not offer the same conclusion regarding the man outside the pit if he's the one who dug it as a trap for the man stuck in it.

"most often, the "boss is a man who is ruthless and gets special government favors."

As a libertarian, I reject the state, so clearly I'm not arguing in favor of employers who seek government favors. Notice I said "seek", because plenty of people "benefit" from preferential legislation, but they cannot be held accountable for this privilege unless they actively sought it. I find it absurd to assert that this condemnation applies "most often" (i.e., to most employers) and I happen to subscribe to a "the burden of proof is on the accuser" philosophy, so I'd appreciate evidence to backup your blanket condemnation of those offering employment.
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Charming Anarchist
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 08:02:27 AM »

Charming,

If you read the "edited to add" remark at the end of my first post, you'll see I anticipated such a tired objection.
I am sorry.  In that case, we are generally in agreement.  

However, I do not think it is a tired objection because it describes the majority of modern capitalist distribution.  I think it is the primary disagreement between the anarchist camps.  This difference is how they defend their right to take over the work place. 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 08:08:39 AM by Charming Anarchist » Logged
Brian Drake
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 08:18:57 AM »

"I think it is the primary disagreement between the anarchist camps."

I don't think this is true at all. I think it is the "supposed" disagreement that Anarchists are always trotting out, but I have found zero substance to the objection. Find me an honest libertarian anarchist (often the same, but necessarily the same as an "anarcho-capitalist") who is in favor of state privilege and I'll show you a fake libertarian anarchist. In my experience, the request for evidence that libertarianism indeed favors the system of state privileges currently in place is never satisfied. Empty strawman. Its regular usage makes it tired.

As I've demonstrated in my first post, the things Anarchists object to regarding anarcho-capitalism are actually completely possible without a state and would require actual ruling (i.e., antithesis of an-archy) to prevent. It is for this reason I remain skeptical that Anarchists are actual an-archists and thus I would point to this issue (to rule or not to rule) as the primary disagreement between these two specific camps. I choose the side that unequivocally rejects ruling.
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Charming Anarchist
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2013, 09:34:49 AM »

Brian, 

I agree with most of your arguments.  Like you, I also question whether most of the confused-socialist-anarchists are genuinely against rulers.  As you suggest, many of them simply want a different socialist government.  However, the Opening Poster made it clear that is not what he is talking about. 

Regardless, I believe there is a lot of merit to the argument that most of today's capitalist distribution is unjustly acquired.  What do you think about that?
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