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Author Topic: The structure of business organization in an anarcho-capitalist society.  (Read 6010 times)
helio
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« on: September 22, 2010, 03:20:15 PM »

One of the things I have been investigating lately is exactly how the structure of private property in an ancap society can lead to business organizations that do not violate the non-aggression principle.  The ethical structure of property, ownership, and possession is of primary importance and is not something I see a lot of discussion about.  I think this is the only area of anarcho-communist thinking that is worth looking into. 

I was wondering if anyone knows of any resources that talk about the technicalities of ancap structure of business organization.  Specifically, are joint-stock companies possible?  Would stock holder democratic majority rule methodology be used to satisfy property use decision making?  Would a majority be able to vote to use the shared property of the minority voters in a way not agreed upon?  How would joint ownership of capital goods, such as heavy machinery, be exercised? 

The only answer I can arrive at is by explicit contractual agreements where share holders are required to give up absolute ownership rights to a governing board or to the vote.  Certainly if 60% of shareholders decide to use a machine to make widgets and 40% vote to make gizmos, somebody's property rights cannot be exercised.

Any resources, thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 04:48:17 PM »

I think businesses would still look like they do now for the most part. If I want to purchase a share of stock in Company Z then I trade my money for a very small portion of the company. The sale could include a contract stating that while I will become an owner of the company I have only proportional voting rights insofar as choosing members of the board of directors, who will then choose the management structure. In exchange for giving up my rights to dictate control over my property, I receive a dividend based up the company's financial performance. If at any time the company is conducting business in a manner in which I disapprove of, I am free to sell my stake in the company, provided I can find a willing buyer.
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JustSayNoToStatism
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 10:49:02 PM »

Quote
I think this is the only area of anarcho-communist thinking that is worth looking into.
I peered into the property rights argument between the different anarchist groups. It's a lot less homogeneous on their side, but a lot of them argue that land ownership is a governmental, legal idea, since you have deeds that government recognizes. So land ownership is argued to be coercive. But it just goes downhill from there because then they'll argue that owning anything is violent and coercive, so then me eating is unethical, and blah blah blah.

If you want to just focus on that single legitimate point, then think about how you justify land ownership. I've pointed out in another thread that the homesteading principle really gets fuzzy on this subject. Overall though, I feel that it works. The situations that "an"coms use to argue are unrealistic. They consider that a group of families will own all the land in the world, and then we'll revert to serfdom. They fail to understand that people can only set up projects and manage so much land. If they can't manage it, then they'd likely feel pressured to sell under increasing property prices. The situations in history when we have serious land issues have only been a result of government. So on a utilitarian side of things, I am fine with the homesteading principle because it'll work most of the time. If you think too much about the ethical/moral implications, I think you'll end up joining me in thinking that there can't really be an absolute objective morality. Sometimes there are gray areas in the world.

Whoah I sort of took that all over the place. I apologize.

As far as business goes, another thing I learned on the "an"com forums is that the idea of a corporation as being inextricably rooted in government rules. Just read the top part of the wikipedia page for corporation and you'll realize that one could make a strong case to say that corporations cannot exist under anarchy.
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helio
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 01:39:03 AM »

What I find interesting and perhaps useful is the ancomm concept of possession.  Like the blog post about 'Dibbs', it seems that unlesss someone is possessing property, they can't really own it.  Really my interest in the subject are the mechanics of homesteading.  Building a home on unused land certainly lays claim to it by homesteading, but as one gets further away from the living space, the power of claim becomes less and less potent.  While people don't live in their yard, it constitutes a personal buffer area and one could accept claim.  But how big of a yard is recognizable as legitimate? How about the woods surrounding the homestead?  How far into the woods can the claim be legitimately upheld?  Even though the original homesteader only ventures into the woods once in awhile, can someone else move in, chop down some of the trees and build a home?  Homesteading provides not absolute boundaries for real estate save for private residence.

It isn't that I reject homesteading, I simply do not believe it has a proper methodology for determining levels of legitimate claim.  Lockean and Rothbardian writings that I have read so far are scant in details and principles and I was hoping someone knew of some works that really go in depth into the subject. 

It is the technical application of homesteading that seems to provoke more questions about what is legitimate claim and what is not. 
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helio
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 01:46:42 AM »

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If you think too much about the ethical/moral implications, I think you'll end up joining me in thinking that there can't really be an absolute objective morality. Sometimes there are gray areas in the world.

I am very much a deontological ethicist (without the need for supernaturalism) and I reject Nihilism as a valid model for describing human interactions.  Either morality is a valid concept, arising from systemic observations about human intereactions, or it isn't.  Relativism is a mushy middle ground that tries to have it boths ways in that adherents want to have moral values to abide by, but do not want to have a methodological test for reasonably validating those rules.

I am quite satisfied so far with the development of a moral system that is both objective and testable, but it may be quite some time before I am confident enough about its validity to show it off.
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 08:34:34 AM »

If some day you do decide to confidently show it off, do so here, because I'd love to hear it. Objective morality is always an attractive idea because it's comforting, but I've never been able to convince myself of it. If you can convince me, I'd be indebted.
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helio
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2010, 09:39:48 AM »

I agree.  I hope I didn't sound pompous in my last post.  A rational system of ethics has a huge burden of proof on its shoulders, and I'm not sure that I'm up to the challenge.  One of the key pieces that I have to address is how property arises as a consequence of ethics and I'm struggling to do so.

I can say that I believe the answer of where our notions of ethics arise are bio-evolutionary in nature and therefore evidence must come from hard, physical evidence.  All I will be able to do is propose a theory that can only be validated by actual scientists doing real research. 

What I have struggled with the most is trying to find a justification for the non-aggression principle.  Humes is-ought distinction is the greatest challenge ethicists face.
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JustSayNoToStatism
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 05:34:06 PM »

Not pompous at all. I completely understand. It's a daunting task, and you would prefer to unveil it when it's complete, for completeness' sake.

Were you ever an Objectivist? Just curious.

Also,
Quote
I can say that I believe the answer of where our notions of ethics arise are bio-evolutionary in nature and therefore evidence must come from hard, physical evidence.  All I will be able to do is propose a theory that can only be validated by actual scientists doing real research.
If you do manage to put this together, I'd really like to hear it. I wouldn't expect someone to take this approach, and I'm curious as to how that will work.
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helio
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 06:44:18 AM »

I was an Objectivist for probably a month or so.  I abandoned it because I think the Objectivists are completely wrong about altruism being a bad thing.  Most explain it away by stating that it can be in your better interest to help people but if thats true, why hold that position on altruism at all?  The Objectivist position became completely absurd once I started questioning the need for state provided defense, roads, and courts.

As for my ethics approach, I think that fundamentally, only neurologists will be able to settle the debate on the nature of ethics, since behavior is driven by brain function.  There is a budding field called Neuro Ethics that is trying to answer these questions with real science.  Quasi sciences like philosophy and pscychology can get pretty close but cannot absolutely answer questions about how brain function gives rise to cognitive behavior.

My goal is to provide a philosophical approximation to what I'm guessing is the underlying neurological nature of ethics, where it arises, what its for, and how to use it.  Until we have brain scans that can point to specific concrete network paths (or whatever the brain structure is that enables behavior) we will not really know why we behave the way we do to other people.  My progress is very slow as I have too many other practical interests, and it grows only as I learn new things, so this is probably a life long endeavour. 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 06:46:18 AM by helio » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 09:26:00 PM »

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I was an Objectivist for probably a month or so.  I abandoned it because I think the Objectivists are completely wrong about altruism being a bad thing.
I always rejected Objectivism because it's fake egoism.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010, 08:52:07 PM »

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I was an Objectivist for probably a month or so.  I abandoned it because I think the Objectivists are completely wrong about altruism being a bad thing.
I always rejected Objectivism because it's fake egoism.
I agree. Objectivism seems to negate our actual free will in the pursuit of an absolutist interpretation of self interest.
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 12:26:23 PM »

Contracts... Contracts... Contracts. Anything that doesn't violate another individuals self or property is fine. I see contracts between multiple parties as being a huge part of an ancap society.
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