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Economic critique of left-libertarianism?

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Wheylous posted on Sun, Sep 23 2012 5:54 PM

Most I've seen have been deontologial. Any economic ones? There must be some...

Calculation problem doesn't apply, because they're not against money.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism#Alliance_between_market-oriented_libertarians_and_the_New_Left

I'd have to argue in a case by case setting.  I usually think of Chomsky as being an 'libertarian-socialist' or as he calls it 'anarcho syndicalist', both seem to be permutations of the left-libertrians, but they are all pro union and anti property rights.  As such, it is so steeped contradiction that I just avoid them altogether.  It is like analytic vs. continental; just two people talking past each other.

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Left-Libertarian can describe anyone from Chomsky-ites, Mutualists, Neo-Classical Liberals, to someone like Roderick Long. Chomsky-ites are economic idiots so no real need to critique them, Mutualism I'm not that informed about but their whole obsession with possession anti-boss stance would cause severe economic problems, the Neo-Classical Liberals includes some Austrians, and Roderick Long is a Austrian as well so...

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Mutualism and anarcho-communism is what I'm thinking.

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Bogart replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 7:24 PM

Absolutely the Calculation Problem applies.  The "Calculation Problem" comes from the absence of a pricing system which is the result of private property rights.  Even when there is a "Hard Money" standard in effect, the govenrment still manages to muck around with the rights of individuals to maintain and use property.

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All of broad fiscal leftism is the same. I mean I'd take left-libertarianism over, say, communism, but left is just ridiculous when it comes to fiscal issues.

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a pricing system which is the result of private property rights

They have property rights. Just not individual rights in capital.

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Just found this.

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Jargon replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 8:39 PM

Facepalming at this whole thread. Mutualism is about as similar to anarcho-communism as it is to fascism. When pressed, mutualists will talk about the 'mutuality' of agreements which characterizes their political philosophy, but honestly, to it's most simple form, is very similar to AnCap except the property paradigm in place is one based off of occupancy and/or use as opposed to AnCap's absolutely private property form. "Private property' meaning a form of property which permits absentee ownership, which mutualism does not.

How would mutualism fare? My guess is that it would very much prevent any massive individual accumulations of capital, but the pricing system would still very much be operational. My guess is that the societal time preference would be a bit higher than that of an AnCap one, because inequality would be a good deal lower. That might be a trade off that's attractive to you, maybe it isn't. It's not quite fair to box mutualism in completely with economic leftism. Someone who worked for himself could still easily hire employees. A factory manager could even own and run a factory full of employees in a particularized-labor scheme. The one condition would be that he couldn't work in that factory, performing managerial duties, as well as own another factory two states over, while hiring a manager there too.

Would this outright prevent big business? Probably not. I imagine some arrangements would appear along family lines, like 4 siblings owning factories in tandem and operating with each other as a trust. But yes it would definitely cut down on the total dollars invested / single company ratio. Because of this it may be subject to some Schumpeterian issues (not enough capital invested per firm, not enough reserves on hand to conduct large-scale R&D). Ultimately I think it would be an immensely more free but possibly less prosperous society (than AnCap).

I don't find that to be too disagreeable. If mutualism came along, I'd move there and support it. If ancap came along, I'd move there and support it. I don't see mutualism becoming more popular than AnCap anytime soon, but it's not something AnCaps ought to reject or associate as necessarily leftist. Benjamin Tucker could be considered mutualist for his views on land, and he was a huge influence on Murray Rothbard! 

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@ Jargon

A few years ago I was very sympathetic to socialism, the idea of not having to worry about being homeless, starving, or living without things other people have was very appealing to me. Never did I consider myself a socialist though, even though I was sympathetic towards it, the thought of always having to work and never really rising above didn't sit well. What was so appealing about capitalism was that a person could come up with a good idea, start a business, and become so wealthy as to never have to work again. (Whoever said work smart, not hard, was my kind of person.) You believe that Mutualism would be a more free society, as you point out, accumulating wealth would be more difficult, I'm not even sure if Mutualism would allow for a person to get to the point of not having to work anymore, but tell me can a person like me be free under Mutualism? To be honest I view work as a terrible thing, I've seen people who once had such fire in their hearts, turn into dull shells of their former selves after working for a few years, you can observe the phenomena for yourself if you pay close attention. We anarchists of various stripes see how badly the government slowly eats away at our freedom, for people such as myself who hate the monotony of work, work interferes with my freedom just as much if not more.

I'm aware that work is necessary, a system which lets me escape the work clap trap one day is the next best thing, can Mutualism do that?

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Jargon replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 10:04 PM

Under both mutualism and ancap:

[your savings as currency would retain much more of their purchasing power.]

[you would still be able to do deposit banking and corporate bonds.]

When I say 'accumulation of wealth' I don't mean that there would be any institutional cap on wealth. I mean that it would be harder for more wealth to be centralized in the form of corporations. Instead of 1 corporation with 10 factories, it would be 10 corporations with 10 factories. No political philosophy can abolish scarcity however. I only think that under mutualism or ancap you would be much wealthier and freer than you are today.

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DMI1 replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 10:21 PM

@Jargon

I've never understood these systems that argue against absentee ownership. How long does one have to be gone before squatters can move in and stake a legitimate claim to your property? How do they solve the issue? If i were a dentist in a mutualist society would I have to sleep out of my practice so nobody could move in at night while I should be home?

I know I'm taking it to absurd extremes here.... but absurd extremes have a nasty habit of popping up whenever a system leaves loose ends hanging.

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Jargon replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 10:31 PM

There are absurd extremes in AnCapistan as well, such as murder by encirclement.

To your questions, I answer with the typical mutualist response: common law and norms. Property is only what can legally be defended, so if someone tried to move in on your dentistry office you could sue them before a court of your peers. But this doesn't even really get to the core of the absentee ownership issue which is: the ownership of assets/properties that the owner never would have considered moving to or buying as anything other than a source of income. Ask any mutualist and they will tell you that your scenario is a case of theft/trespassing.

For example: if i have a ski house, which is often unoccupied, it's still mine because I do use it habitually (Think: MUTUALism, who else has a say on my ski house? No one, because no on is staffed there. Mutuality here is irrelevant and I remain owner of the house). If I have a factory in NY and then buy one in CA and then fully staff the CA factory with managers and workers, my title would be null should mutualist norms be brought about. 

 

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DMI1 replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 10:44 PM

@Jargon

So in short (if I'm getting you right), in mutualism, property rights are defined by who uses a particular piece of land, which in your example would be the owner and his employees. A single man with no dependents would be king of his several properties (ski lodge, beach house) around the country so long as they remained unstaffed?

Not trying to argue, just want to understand.

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Jargon replied on Sun, Sep 23 2012 10:51 PM

That sounds right. The purpose of the ideology is more to limit economic centralization, not to limit the extent to which someone can consume.

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