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is non-hierarchy posible?

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cab21 Posted: Fri, Nov 2 2012 11:51 AM

 

So I am failing to understand how it would even be possible to not have hierarchal relationships.

Take getting a haircut for example

The person given the haircut takes orders from the person receiving the haircut.

The person ordering the haircut sees the person given the haircut as better then others at cutting hair.

That’s two hierarchal relationships right there.

it seems strange to imagine neither the person giving the haircut or getting the haircut having more power than the other in one way or another.

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Autolykos replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 11:59 AM

I'm still baffled by what left-anarchists mean by "hierarchy".

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I'm still baffled by what left-anarchists mean by "hierarchy".

It means "you are misrepresenting my position"

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 12:16 PM

So I am failing to understand how it would even be possible to not have hierarchal relationships.

Do you have friends? A spouse? Ever been in a debate, or any consversation for that matter?

Is anachism against "human nature"?

Can hierarchy be ended?

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Autolykos replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 12:23 PM

What's your definition of "hierarchy", stsoc?

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Groucho replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 12:39 PM

vive la insurrection:

It means "you are misrepresenting my position"

To quote a great man, "Quote me as saying I was misquoted." wink
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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What's your definition of "hierarchy", stsoc?

I'm not clicking on any links atm, but I'd enjoy an answer to this question as well, if you could be so kind, stsoc.

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 1:16 PM

I suggest reading the entire book Anarchist FAQ, or at least the sections or chapters that interest you.

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cab21 replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 1:29 PM

with friends, we agree to activities, some friends are better at activities than others, forming a heiarchy of task delegation and who does what acording to passion and ability. with the haircut example, the best person at cutting hair is the one that cuts hair and we tell what kind of haircut we want and he agrees to cut our hair that way.

a spouse, tasks are again decided and delagated to a hierachy of ability, passion, values. one person takes the lead on some tasks and another person takes the lead on other tasks.

in a debate, the judges are on one level, the participants on another, and the audiance on another level.

any conversation will have leading and following with people trading off expertise or oppinion or feelings,

this would be authority based on ownership and competance, or maybe you can call it all based on competance, as i know more about how i want my hair cut and the barber knows more about how to cut it that way.

well it would seem to me to be more rational authority to have a pizza companies financies done by a cfo rather than  the janitor or  the delivery boy. complete free association is a company with 1 million employees seems like a absurd process especily if it means unanimous consent for every new delivery boy.

the democratic process still creates collective irational heiarchy, after all, there are more pizza delivery boys then there are cfo's

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Stsoc, that doesn't tell us what your definition of "hierarchy" is.

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hashem replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 2:38 PM

Hierarchies are rankings. As concepts, their value is conveyed between the minds of people who agree on what is meant by them.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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I read sections B.1 through B.1.2 in stsoc's Anarchist FAQ, and I did not find it very illuminating. There was a lot of (rather vague) talk about the evils of authoritarian (aka hierarchical) social relationships, but very little in the way of explaining exactly what constitutes such a relationship. Two specific kinds of relationships were given as examples: coercive relationships and employment. Unless the goal is to simply list ad hoc a series of relationships which (according to somebody) are hierarchical, there needs to be a definition which explains why those two relationships are hierarchical (I fail to see what they have in common), or, what is the same thing, a larger class of relationships of which they are both members.

But the nearest they came to a definition for hierarchical relationships was this (repeated in various formulations throughout):

Those who pay and give the orders -- owners and managers -- are at the top of the hierarchy, those who obey at the bottom.

But I have no idea what they mean by "giving orders." I can only assume it's all instances where one person uses the imperative in conversation with another person? Would it be acceptable then if we simply abolished the imperative and asked everyone to rephrase using another verb mood? Or would it still be unacceptable to phrase a demand in the form of a request? If so, how are people to actually cooperate? Will they be able to read one another's minds....before or after the seas turn to lemonade and the clouds to cotton candy?

Note: I'll be happy to take this seriously when I get a serious definition of you terms.

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It is not possible to have non-hierarchy without going back to the stone ages.

Hierarchy is a basic concept that allows for organisational structures and in more recent times more advanced forms of logistics.

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I agree. Anytime there's significant labor specialization, there's management: i.e. some people "giving orders" and other "obeying." There's nothing authoritarian about this, as the association is purely voluntary. And in the absence of this, I'd argue you actually go back to some dark period before the Stone Age, as even then human beings grouped themselves into small tribes with leaders. It's simply a fact of human nature that a group of people of any size cannot cooperate in any venture without some form of management. Even a group as small as, say, half a dozen people, has trouble getting anything done unless someone steps up and says, "Hey guys, how about you two do this while me and Jones here do that...." That's management, that's "giving orders," no more or less than the "boss" in a huge industrial enterprise. In the article that stsoc linked, they make a fuss about institutionalized management, as if it's alright for someone to rise to a leadership position, but an injustice for him to stay there, over a period of time. What they fail to appreciate, or simply don't care about, is that (absent aggression) no one remains in a leadership position except by (1) having the consent of those he leads, and (2) being successful. The "boss" in a firm only enjoys that position of leadership as long as his leadership keeps the firm profitable. The market "removes him from power," the moment his leadership fails. And throughout the life of the firm, all the "underlings" are free to come and go as they please.

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To be against hierarchy in general because some bosses are exploitative and abusive is like hating the internet because you don't like some websites.

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Groucho replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 4:11 PM

hashem:
Hierarchies are rankings. As concepts, their value is conveyed between the minds of people who agree on what is meant by them.

Hierarchies are nothing more than assigned roles that establish a "chain of command" through which information passes. Computers wouldn't even work without hierarchical structures. In the social sense, hierarchies are neither constant nor rigid. They are the "spontaneous order" that emerges out of chaos - organizations.

As for the "hegemonic dominance" thing, which I'm sure you'll mention again soon: just because a behavior is common at the ape-brain level doesn't mean it can be used to establish institutions of mutually-beneficial social cooperation. Quite the contrary in fact.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 5:56 PM

delagated to a hierachy of ability, passion, values.

Which doesn't have anything to do with hierarchy as organization of people. Husband and wife are equals, they function same as a workers' cooperative, not like a capitalist firm. Marriage had a form where a man buys a woman from hew father and the women switches domestic masters when she enters marriage, and that kind of marriage was abolished, but the point is not to replace is with it's voluntary version, where the father doesn't have the right to force the daughter to marry, but to institute a marriage as a union of equals, not of a human and a type of sub-human that is there to serve him.

the democratic process still creates collective irational heiarchy

It cannot, it is by definition non-hierarchical. Anarchy, socialism and direct democracy are symonyms.

but very little in the way of explaining exactly what constitutes such a relationship.

Because people who are mentaly able, who are not malevolent, and are not brainwashed by authoritarian propaganda, know what hierarchy is.

But I have no idea what they mean by "giving orders."

What is wrong with you? Does giving this sort of idiotic statements makes you feel "philosophical"? You don't know what hierarchy is and you don't what "giving orders" means? How do you talk without knowing the meaning of words?

You don't know the difference between when you get up in the morning and put on a shirt you want and getting up in the morning and being ordered what shirt to wear? You don't know the difference between making a coffee how and when you want, and someone giving you orders how and when to make it? You don't know the difference between a capitalist firm and a workers' cooperative? If so, I will not respond to your writings, being that you're either trolling or are totally igorant of the world around you.

The point is to have a say in all decision making where those decisions affect you to the proportion in which they affect you. Decision of whether you should wear a white or a blue shirt is totally under your right. In a worker cooperative, being that business running decision affects all the members, all the members have a right to participate in that decision making.

It is not possible to have non-hierarchy without going back to the stone ages.

Yes, just like it is impossible to have friends, a spouse, a conversation, a worker coop, or a socialist society. All of which is proven by reality to be possible.

It's simply a fact of human nature that a group of people of any size cannot cooperate in any venture without some form of management.

Sure. Self-management being what we anarchists advocate.

Even a group as small as, say, half a dozen people, has trouble getting anything done unless someone steps up and says, "Hey guys, how about you two do this while me and Jones here do that...."

Maybe in a group of people brainwashed by authoritarion propaganda.

as if it's alright for someone to rise to a leadership position, but an injustice for him to stay there, over a period of time.

Leadership can only be of an adviser type, delegation of authority is illegitimate.

What they fail to appreciate, or simply don't care about, is that (absent aggression) no one remains in a leadership position except by (1) having the consent of those he leads, and (2) being successful.

(3) having wealth and illegitimate property.

To be against hierarchy in general because some bosses are exploitative

All bosses are exploitative. The very existence of a boss means exploatation, means hierarchy and violation of workers' right to full product of one's labor.

Is it possible to be an anarchist without opposing hierarchy?

Hierarchies are nothing more than assigned roles that establish a "chain of command"

I was starting to doubt that there are propertarians who have an idea what words that people use mean.

Computers wouldn't even work without hierarchical structures.

But their working is totally unrelated to the organisation among people, so they would work perfectly fine without there existing hierarchical organisation among people.

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stsoc:
The point is to have a say in all decision making where those decisions affect you to the proportion in which they affect you. Decision of whether you should wear a white or a blue shirt is totally under your right.

Virtually every decision anyone makes in some way or another affects others. For example, your decision to wear a blue shirt rather than a white shirt affects me insofar as I have to look at it, and maybe I don't like the color blue. Does it follow that I should "have a say" in what color shirt you wear? Unless you're suggesting that virtually all decisions be democratic, you need to clearly identify what it means for a decision to "affect" someone.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:02 PM

Autolykos:

Stsoc, that doesn't tell us what your definition of "hierarchy" is.

I'm pretty sure he wrote what he's linking to, so you might be wrong here :P

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:09 PM

Stsoc: "Anarchy, socialism and direct democracy are symonyms."

Wow, really no point in talking to someone who maintains such illusions.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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cab21 replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:28 PM

under direct democracy, majority is boss, or what are people voting on? under what decisions is there a vote and for what is there self management?

how is the full product of ones labor determined? is there a chart or by democratic vote, in which majority vote is boss?

say there is a direct democratic vote on how a business will opperate, does someone on the losing side self manage and act a different way, leave the organization,  follow the procedures establised by democratic vote, or another option?

  cpr training being managed by a cpr specialist seems better then a democratic vote by 10 people that don't know cpr outweighing the 1 person in the group that does know cpr.

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RagnarD replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:47 PM

There's always a king,

under monarchy or dictator the king is the king, the king rules

under capitalism, everyone is the king of their own property, the individual rules

under the US constitutional republic everyone is king of some aspects of their property, and their elected representatives are the king of the rest, and are always vying to become the king of more of it at the owners expense. the politicians and their cronies rule

under direct democracy the majority is the king, if I want to go out to have a drink tonight I need the permission of the majority.  It is the most suffocating heirarchy of all of them, a king or dictator cannot rule your every move, they or their agents, cannot be everywhere at once, but when the majority is always superior to every individual there's always someone watching. The majority rules at the expense of every individual.

They are ALL heirarchical

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stsoc replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 7:52 AM

Virtually every decision anyone makes in some way or another affects others. For example, your decision to wear a blue shirt rather than a white shirt affects me insofar as I have to look at it

I told you to stop with the idiotic posts.

Does it follow that I should "have a say" in what color shirt you wear?

I just said otherwise in the message you quoted. You can't read either?

Being that I told you to stop will idiotic posts, and you didn't, I will not be responding to your messages any more.

under direct democracy, majority is boss

Under direcy democracy, you are your own boss. If you join any collective, you have an equal say as everyone in decisions that concern all of you.

how is the full product of ones labor determined?

By there not being anyone who didn't labor and yer takes a part of it.

say there is a direct democratic vote on how a business will opperate, does someone on the losing side self manage and act a different way, leave the organization,  follow the procedures establised by democratic vote, or another option?

Follows the procedures established by democratic deliberation and vote or leaves the organization.

cpr training being managed by a cpr specialist seems better then a democratic vote by 10 people that don't know cpr outweighing the 1 person in the group that does know cpr.

How is the cpr specialist suppose to assert himself as the trainer? Options are by force, by ownership of the cpr training facility, by decree of the owner of the cpr training facility (or his employee) or by democratic means. Someone being put in the manager position by any of those mechanisms doesn't by itself prove that that someone is the right man for that position. Being put to be the cpr trainer by a capitalist or by a capitalist employee encharged with puting people in their positions doesn't in no way guarantees that the right man (who is the best cpr specialist) will be put in the place of the trainer any more or less then the democratic means. The demoratic means are the legitimate option because there is no coersion and no hierarchy.

under direct democracy the majority is the king

Direct democracy means everyone being in charge of things that concern them in the proportion that it concerns them, if something concerns only you, you are sole decider, if something concerns everyone, everyone should decide.

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I told you to stop with the idiotic posts.

You don't give orders here. So watch it.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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I could put with your misunderstandings but now you are just being rude. It is one thing to come on to a forum with an opposing view of the majority of the people on it and argue your case, it is another to start insulting them.

Direct democracy is when the people that normally vote, vote on a specific policy or topic. In the uk we call this a referendum. You can get away with not voting like you can the general election but the results of the vote usually are still mandatory, even if you did not participate in the vote.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 8:58 AM
Under direcy democracy, you are your own boss. If you join any collective, you have an equal say as everyone in decisions that concern all of you.
You just contradicted yourself. If I was my own boss, then everyone else wouldnt have "equal say" in decisions that affect me
Follows the procedures established by democratic deliberation and vote or leaves the organization.
When I leave I take my capital goods so everyone else doesnt try to alienate my labor.
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stsoc replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 10:44 AM

it is another to start insulting them.

I don't know what hierarchy means. I don't know what giving orders means. What you wear affects me because I have to look at it. These kind of statemenets insult the one who puts them forth, and if anyone's insulting other people are those who write this kind of things, it insults the intelligence of anyone readin it.

In the uk we call this a referendum.

A plebiscite is a mechanism that puts democracy into practice, but it doesn't constitute it.

You just contradicted yourself. If I was my own boss, then everyone else wouldnt have "equal say" in decisions that affect me

The would because it affects THEM, TOO. You being your own boss cannot legitmetaly infringe on other people's right of the same.

When I leave I take my capital goods so everyone else doesnt try to alienate my labor.

You have been payed out for your capital good, they are the ownership of the coop.

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I honestly don't see how there is anything that different in this than running a business in a particularly eccentric way. Other than determining of course what "concerns" an individual. I mean who determines this? Obviously not the individual themselves, because then they could vote on anything and everything to control others.

 

Your assertion re democratic means being the "best" option because "no coercion or hierarchy" are involved are just that - assertions. Offer a rationale as to why.

 

I don't know what hierarchy means. I don't know what giving orders means. What you wear affects me because I have to look at it. These kind of statemenets insult the one who puts them forth, and if anyone's insulting other people are those who write this kind of things, it insults the intelligence of anyone readin it.

Then define your terms. As for the comment re what you wear it is perfectly valid. I don't feel my intelligence was insulted reading it. I think they're perfectly valid points.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Prime replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 12:03 PM

A hieracrchy is beneficial in a firm for the simple fact that some members have a superior knowledge about the firm when compared to others. It would not be in the best interest of the firm itself to let a member who has been on the job for 2 weeks have an equal say as someone who has labored there for 10 years. The new member can't possibly understand the vast complexities of the firm, nor can they grasp the vision the firm has for the next 10 years. I'm sure we've all labored along side people who we wouldn't want guiding our future.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 12:22 PM
The would because it affects THEM, TOO. You being your own boss cannot legitmetaly infringe on other people's right of the same.
Exactly why non-parties cannot dictate the terms of voluntary relations like employment. My employment relationship doesnt affect you so you have no standing to pass judgment on its legitimacy.
You have been payed out for your capital good, they are the ownership of the coop.
thats nonsense, youre trying to alienate my labor. The coop cant own anything because the coop cannot labor (labor is performed by workers, it cant be alienated so dont even try), therefore the coop cant mix labor with anything, and thus cannot have property. The capital belongs to the workers tha work it.
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But the worker councils are made up of workers so they are the workers, dude! Don't you get it?!?!?!

 

Worker councils are the pure Platonic essence of the workers that comprise(d) them, so they get to own things and when they take things from the workers, it's really just the worker giving it to themselves!

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Malachi replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 12:48 PM
Thats de facto alienation of labor, which is impossible, so it should be prohibited.
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Anenome replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 2:30 PM

Stsoc: "You have been payed out for your capital good, they are the ownership of the coop."

Loooool, so the co-op can do this but the employer cannot? LMAO. Man, you are one deluded dude.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Anarchism is not anti-hierarchical, it's just another form of hierarchy. The ruling class is the majority. The ruled are the minority.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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Loooool, so the co-op can do this but the employer cannot?

Yup, it's basically the same hierarchical shit, except with less economic effiency. Hierarchy is never absent in the real world, except maybe if everyone goes to live in isolation from everyone else in the woods.

Funny how the logical conclusion of social anarchism is anti-social.

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Anenome replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 2:40 PM
 
 

Buzz Killington:

Anarchism is not anti-hierarchical, it's just another form of hierarchy.

To be more precise, anarchism would allow only voluntary forms of hierarchy to arise in ad hoc fashion. There could be no compulsory hierarchy. Thus voluntarism is preseved.

The idea that "true" anarchism would eliminate all hierarchy assumes that people do not ever form hierarchies unless forced to do so. I think this is plainly untrue. Get any group together in ad hoc fashion and give them a goal and they will self-segregate into various leadership and follower roles quite naturally as in voluntary manner.

Buzz Killington:

The ruling class is the majority. The ruled are the minority.

You mean this is the state in any non-anarch society. Yes.

It would also be true of any democracy. While the majority can vote to do things, the actual managing of those actions must fall to an oligarchy in practice, which becomes a forced hierarchy since these have the rule of law behind them.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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By anarchism I mean left-anarchism, I don't like using it to describe libertarian capitalism.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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cab21 replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 4:30 PM

equal say in decisions that effect each person, so does that mean everyone has to vote each time subway wants to sell a sub? do people vote for a way of opperation and then follow it for some set period of time then vote again? if someone wants to not serve a sub that get's ordered, is there a instantanius collective vote on what will be the consequence?

say 10 people take part in the labor, each a different percent, how do they figure out the percent? if two people work, one works 70% and the other 30%, are they paid 70% and 30% and how is it determined who did how much? do they have a supperviser recording data on how much each worker worked? does this person get paid or not get paid since he only recorded but did not labor on the actual product?

isint contributing capital, which took labor, contributing labor to a product? it took the resources bought with capital to create that product, and it took labor to get that capital, so is that not putting labor in to contribute to a product? how direct does labor need to be? does it not take labor to organize a company get products to create and sell? is the person that makes the sub the only one who labored for that sub, and not everyone who contributed to the process from contributing capital to structure to labor to get the ingrediants to make the sub.

why is it different to follow a vote from a organization or leave, and to follow the vote from a boss or leave?

owning the crp or by degree of the owner is voluntary and competition will create the success of those with the most competance and merit in decisions. what is the difference between decree of a owner vs decree of some collective? force is not a option in capitalism, nor this kind of democracy, but current types of democracy use all sorts of force that kill competition, while capitalism is all about freedom to compete.

in a business, every action effects the whole business, if the subway worker wants to  in the middle of making a sub go to the bathroom and not wash his hands then touch food without wearing gloves, it will affect the business if someone gets sick from that decision and the business loses money and customers. how is it determined if something concerns only one person or many person? any business deal effects the whole company and community, how much does each person in the community get to be involved?

if there is a democratic vote on procedure, is each individual supposed to police himself on following that procedure without supervisers keeping track?

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Anenome replied on Sat, Nov 3 2012 7:02 PM

Buzz Killington:

By anarchism I mean left-anarchism, I don't like using it to describe libertarian capitalism.

I agree. Autarchy is my preferred one-word descriptor for libertarian capitalism, as originally designated by Robert LeFevre.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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The only thing I don't like about it, Anenome, is that in English the chi in the word is pronounced the same way as a kappa would be, so autarchy becomes homophonous with autarky, a completely unrelated concept, perhaps with a contradictory association.  Otherwise it's perfect.

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