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State monopoly capitalism

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DanielMuff Posted: Thu, May 28 2009 1:44 AM

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_monopoly_capitalism

The theory of state monopoly capitalism was initially a Marxist doctrine popularised after World War II. Lenin had claimed in 1916 that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into monopoly capitalism, but he did not publish any extensive theory about the topic. The term refers to an environment where the state intervenes in the economy to protect large monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from competition by smaller firms[1].

Stamocap theory aims to define the final historical stage of capitalism following monopoly capitalism, consistent with Lenin's definition of the characteristics of imperialism in his short pamphlet of the same name.

Occasionally the stamocap concept also appears in neo-Trotskyist theories of state capitalism as well as in libertarian anti-state theories. The analysis made is usually identical in its main features, but very different political conclusions are drawn from it.

The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

This is a close partnership between big business and government, and it is argued that the aim is to integrate labor-unions completely in that partnership.

Let us individually destroy this theory. I'll start.

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The theory of state monopoly capitalism was initially a Marxist doctrine popularised after World War II. Lenin had claimed in 1916 that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into monopoly capitalism, but he did not publish any extensive theory about the topic. The term refers to an environment where the state intervenes in the economy to protect large monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from competition by smaller firms[1].

Obviously, the US economy was not a free-market capitalist economy in 1916, since the Fed had been created in 1913. Likewise, an economy in which the state has intervention is not a free-market capitalist economy. But is an economy in which the state bands together with private interests a capitalist economy? Better yet, what is the difference the state and the private interests? What's the difference between the the people who work for the state and the private interests that join forces with the state? Well, the state is composed of private individuals while the private interests join forces with the state are also composed of private individuals. Thus, the state joining forces with private interests is no different than the state creating new a agency and hiring new workers to staff it (those workers being the private interests). But what differentiates the state and private interests that join the state with other private interests? Well, the main difference is that the state claims a monopoly on coercion.

Capitalism implies private ownership of the means of production (for the sake of argument), and not state ownership of those means. So a system in which the state, whether banded with the so-called "private interests" or not, owns the means of production is, by defition, socialist. Thus, state monopoly capitalism can't be said to be a capitalist system. In fact, state monopoly capitalism is socialism.

The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

I am unsure as to which defition of "monopoly" they are using, but the likely definition is that of "almost 100% market share". Setting aside the problems with that definition, there are many historical, or otherwise factual, problems with the "fusing with the government" allegation. For one, business has always been and always are, in some way, entagled with the government (i.e. business licenses/permits in the 1800's, taxes, and tariffs). Historically, the "big businesses" that "fuse" with the government have been those businesses which had begun to lose market share to competitors. However, there have also been cases where smaller businesses have "fused" with government, via antitrust regulation and of the sort, to destroy businesses that were "out-competing" them.

What do you all have to say about this?

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Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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Thedesolateone:

Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

State-capitalism is a misnomer. It's like saying free-market socialism. Anywho, many of socialists/Marxists/commies/whatever conflate all free-market capitalism and fascism andother types of capitalism. This really hurts our cause.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
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Daniel:

Thedesolateone:

Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

 

State-capitalism is a misnomer. It's like saying free-market socialism. Anywho, many of socialists/Marxists/commies/whatever conflate all free-market capitalism and fascism andother types of capitalism. This really hurts our cause.

As the article very briefly alludes to, there are non-marxist critiques of state-capitalism from libertarian circles - even some that make use of Austrian economics. Murray Rothbard used the term state-capitalism himself in the 60's and 70's to describe interventionist corporate states (most notably in "Left and Right: The Prospects For Liberty"), and he used it to *distinguish* it from genuine free markets rather than to conflate them. So in that context, it most certainly is not a misnomer; it's the reality of government-buisiness fusionism. So far in history, all "capitalism" has essentially been state-capitalism (a strictly anarchistic definition of "capitalism" is simply ahistorical). Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.

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We all understand that socialism is communal control without individual ownership.

Socialism cannot exist inside a free market, because a free market cannot exist inside socialism.  Socialism can be a product of a free market, but socialism, as understood as public (communal) ownership of the means of production is not compatible with free markets because there is no private property ownership.

Voluntary socialism as advanced by non-anarcho-capitalists is not viable precisely for the reasons that Mises put forth with the socialist calculation problem.

So again, yes socialism can be produced by a free market.  So can voluntary cult-like mass suicides (which is not necessarily a market exchange).  It doesn't mean it is a good idea because it exists.

 

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Brainpolice:

Daniel:

Thedesolateone:

Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

 

State-capitalism is a misnomer. It's like saying free-market socialism. Anywho, many of socialists/Marxists/commies/whatever conflate all free-market capitalism and fascism andother types of capitalism. This really hurts our cause.

As the article very briefly alludes to, there are non-marxist critiques of state-capitalism from libertarian circles - even some that make use of Austrian economics. Murray Rothbard used the term state-capitalism himself in the 60's and 70's to describe interventionist corporate states (most notably in "Left and Right: The Prospects For Liberty"), and he used it to *distinguish* it from genuine free markets rather than to conflate them. So in that context, it most certainly is not a misnomer; it's the reality of government-buisiness fusionism. So far in history, all "capitalism" has essentially been state-capitalism (a strictly anarchistic definition of "capitalism" is simply ahistorical). Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.



Which is why I think state-capitalism is becoming a dead & useless term, as far as distinctions goes, because it narrowly focuses on capitalism, & while the state prefix can attached to socialism to describe attempts at socialism via statism, the terminology becomes a bit messy still, methinks, especially when the d ebat de-evolves into a bickering on semantics, while the overall concept of interventionism can get over-shadowed itself (which is the main problem with statism, when it comes down to it: interventionism, coercion, involuntary action, etc.) 

It also becomes a hurdle in discussion for discussing with both advocates of anti-capitalism & advocates of interventionism (or state capitalism), because to both sides, capitalism becomes synonymous with the state for existence, when most who are pro-capitalist yet anti-state talk about capitalism, do not necessarily mean state-capitalism, or any other economic activity that could not occur in markets or a society without a state existing.   

I would be in favor to call any economic system with the statist prefix attached to it market interventionism, or market-archism, for clarity, for not only what should be targeted via logical conclusions of libertarianism / anarchism, but for also what market-anarchism advocates.

Market-Archism may be too close in appearance to Market-Anarchism, but etymologically seems sound.  Perhaps market-fascism, market-oligarchism, or market-totalitaranism would be better candidates? 

 

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liberty student:
Voluntary socialism as advanced by non-anarcho-capitalists is not viable precisely for the reasons that Mises put forth with the socialist calculation problem.

If people are participating in them it shows they're efficient in satiating the wants of those particular consumers, even if it means giving up material wealth. Now this makes a lot of sense to me because I'm somebody who thinks that once we've ridded ourselves of the state, "consumption" narrowly construed (hedonism) won't be the highest value of society. But I don't want to get bogged down in that debate, yet again. What I will say is this: if communes are to  appear in a stateless society, they won't be in the form that the left libertarians want them to be, likely they'll be very religious and hierarchical, which will be necessary to maintain any sort of social order within said communes, also, they're not likely to be very large. You're correct that Mises' calculation problem will apply, but not provided the communes are small it won't hit to the same extent it does a modern industrial society (as Mises' indicated in his original paper, and as Salerno emphasises in his writings/ lectures on the subject).

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liberty student:

We all understand that socialism is communal control without individual ownership.

Socialism cannot exist inside a free market, because a free market cannot exist inside socialism.  Socialism can be a product of a free market, but socialism, as understood as public (communal) ownership of the means of production is not compatible with free markets because there is no private property ownership.

Voluntary socialism as advanced by non-anarcho-capitalists is not viable precisely for the reasons that Mises put forth with the socialist calculation problem.

So again, yes socialism can be produced by a free market.  So can voluntary cult-like mass suicides (which is not necessarily a market exchange).  It doesn't mean it is a good idea because it exists.

 


I agree, but it would be a form of hypocrisy to oppose it beyond disapproval & self-defense.  Nobody said humans were completely rational, so I say let those who want a go at it go for voluntary socialism. 

However, at one point does allowing voluntary socialism to go forth become to enabling involuntary socialism down the road?  As humans are not inherently rational, there is no assurance that those who partake in voluntary socialistic practices & organizations, etc. would not have their backs up against the wall & possibly resort to coercive & involuntary practices to keep their voluntary socialistic set-ups alive? 

Obviously not everyone would do such a thing, but is a possibility, assuming that it's not more efficient for the voluntary socialist set-ups to eventually yield to more capitalistic practices, especially in relation to those outside of their own practice, in order to survive.

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 3:32 PM

What I will say is this: if communes are to  appear in a stateless society, they won't be in the form that the left libertarians want them to be, likely they'll be very religious and hierarchical

Exactly.  I suppose this wouldn't be a problem for the Christian left-anarchists at http://www.jesusradicals.com/, but I'm not sure how the rest of them deal with the contradiction.

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Nitroadict:

Brainpolice:

Daniel:

Thedesolateone:

Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

 

State-capitalism is a misnomer. It's like saying free-market socialism. Anywho, many of socialists/Marxists/commies/whatever conflate all free-market capitalism and fascism andother types of capitalism. This really hurts our cause.

As the article very briefly alludes to, there are non-marxist critiques of state-capitalism from libertarian circles - even some that make use of Austrian economics. Murray Rothbard used the term state-capitalism himself in the 60's and 70's to describe interventionist corporate states (most notably in "Left and Right: The Prospects For Liberty"), and he used it to *distinguish* it from genuine free markets rather than to conflate them. So in that context, it most certainly is not a misnomer; it's the reality of government-buisiness fusionism. So far in history, all "capitalism" has essentially been state-capitalism (a strictly anarchistic definition of "capitalism" is simply ahistorical). Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.



Which is why I think state-capitalism is becoming a dead & useless term, as far as distinctions goes, because it narrowly focuses on capitalism, & while the state prefix can attached to socialism to describe attempts at socialism via statism, the terminology becomes a bit messy still, methinks, especially when the d ebat de-evolves into a bickering on semantics, while the overall concept of interventionism can get over-shadowed itself (which is the main problem with statism, when it comes down to it: interventionism, coercion, involuntary action, etc.) 

It also becomes a hurdle in discussion for discussing with both advocates of anti-capitalism & advocates of interventionism (or state capitalism), because to both sides, capitalism becomes synonymous with the state for existence, when most who are pro-capitalist yet anti-state talk about capitalism, do not necessarily mean state-capitalism, or any other economic activity that could not occur in markets or a society without a state existing.   

I would be in favor to call any economic system with the statist prefix attached to it market interventionism, or market-archism, for clarity, for not only what should be targeted via logical conclusions of libertarianism / anarchism, but for also what market-anarchism advocates.

Market-Archism may be too close in appearance to Market-Anarchism, but etymologically seems sound.  Perhaps market-fascism, market-oligarchism, or market-totalitaranism would be better candidates? 

 

In the context that I use it, the function of the term "state-capitalism" is precisely to distinguish the concept of a free economy from a political system with a state with the purpose of protecting "capital" and/or state-buisiness fusionism. Likewise, in the context that I use it, the function of the term "state-socialism" is to disinguish the concept of mutual aid and voluntary labor organization from a political system with a state that takes over or controls the means of production. The pervasiveness of "capitalism" and "socialism" as package deal terms blurs these important distinctions and makes discourse confused and nonsensical - since there are "capitalists" and "socialists" alike who do not favor state control of economies and there are "capitalists" and "socialists" alike who do, there are "socialists" who favor some form or degree of "private ownership of the means of production" and "capitalists" who favor state-defined property titles, and so on. 

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Cork:

What I will say is this: if communes are to  appear in a stateless society, they won't be in the form that the left libertarians want them to be, likely they'll be very religious and hierarchical

Exactly.  I suppose this wouldn't be a problem for the Christian left-anarchists at http://www.jesusradicals.com/, but I'm not sure how the rest of them deal with the contradiction.


I suppose the response would be as long as it's all voluntary hierarchy & voluntary adherence to religion, but then the response would go on for another 20 mins about whether religion & hierarchy are truly "voluntary", & then the usual meta-debate of semantics appears again.  

( I kid, I kid, sort of ...  :D ).

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We all understand that socialism is communal control without individual ownership.

Actually it is false to uniformly define socialism that way as well. Not all socialists favor "communal control without individual ownership" as some sort of absolute. Even anarcho-collectivists favor the individualized renumeration of labor, not absolute communal ownership. The only ones who actually genuinely are completely opposed to all individual ownership are the fringes of the anarcho-communists, and even some of the anarcho-communists concede by defacto (whether admitedly or not) to some degree of personal possession. Pure communal over everything is simply a logistical impossibility.

Socialism cannot exist inside a free market, because a free market cannot exist inside socialism.  Socialism can be a product of a free market, but socialism, as understood as public (communal) ownership of the means of production is not compatible with free markets because there is no private property ownership.

Im sorry, but this is nonsensical claptrap. A free market is not defined over-archingly by a narrow definition of "private property ownership". There is nothing about free markets that means that there must be no common or interpersonal ownership of anything. Collective and common ownership is possible in specific instances and places within a free market - and can be establish on the basis of a lockean property theory, as Roderick Long has demonstrated. If a group of people voluntarily decide to engage in joint-property conventions, that is "socialism internal to a free market" by default. You cannot reasonably completely conflate free markets with *your prefered property convention*.

Even most market anarchists technically do not support absolute individual ownership only. Any degree of joint-property agreement makes it not "pure individual ownership". So long as people voluntarily decide to join ownership, be inclusive and share property to any degree, the individually exclusive nature of property won't be absolute. It consequentially seems fairly obvious that it is erroneous to conflate the concept of a free market with one's desire for a certain level of exclusivity. And it is clear that an absolute dichotomy between "individual ownership" and "communal ownership" collapses when one actually dives into the complexities of the matter. All societies are a mixture to one degree or another.

Voluntary socialism as advanced by non-anarcho-capitalists is not viable precisely for the reasons that Mises put forth with the socialist calculation problem

The calculation problem essentially applies to all forms of bureaucracy. However, voluntary socialism is not necessarily a beareaucracy, it can potentially be quite decentralized. Mises's calculation problem does not make a case against worker self-management, it makes a case against government bereaucracies (and arguably, corporate ones as well). You don't even seem to know what voluntary socialism actually is.

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Brainpolice:

Nitroadict:

Brainpolice:

Daniel:

Thedesolateone:

Marxist Idiots:
The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

He utterly confuses cause and effect. The monopoly/cartel position is completely unachievable in a free market. However, with government intervention it is possible. Thus, the state creates the monopoly, initiating state monopoly capitalism.

In general I try and use Marxist critiques of state-capitalism for the libertarian cause.

 

State-capitalism is a misnomer. It's like saying free-market socialism. Anywho, many of socialists/Marxists/commies/whatever conflate all free-market capitalism and fascism andother types of capitalism. This really hurts our cause.

As the article very briefly alludes to, there are non-marxist critiques of state-capitalism from libertarian circles - even some that make use of Austrian economics. Murray Rothbard used the term state-capitalism himself in the 60's and 70's to describe interventionist corporate states (most notably in "Left and Right: The Prospects For Liberty"), and he used it to *distinguish* it from genuine free markets rather than to conflate them. So in that context, it most certainly is not a misnomer; it's the reality of government-buisiness fusionism. So far in history, all "capitalism" has essentially been state-capitalism (a strictly anarchistic definition of "capitalism" is simply ahistorical). Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.



Which is why I think state-capitalism is becoming a dead & useless term, as far as distinctions goes, because it narrowly focuses on capitalism, & while the state prefix can attached to socialism to describe attempts at socialism via statism, the terminology becomes a bit messy still, methinks, especially when the d ebat de-evolves into a bickering on semantics, while the overall concept of interventionism can get over-shadowed itself (which is the main problem with statism, when it comes down to it: interventionism, coercion, involuntary action, etc.) 

It also becomes a hurdle in discussion for discussing with both advocates of anti-capitalism & advocates of interventionism (or state capitalism), because to both sides, capitalism becomes synonymous with the state for existence, when most who are pro-capitalist yet anti-state talk about capitalism, do not necessarily mean state-capitalism, or any other economic activity that could not occur in markets or a society without a state existing.   

I would be in favor to call any economic system with the statist prefix attached to it market interventionism, or market-archism, for clarity, for not only what should be targeted via logical conclusions of libertarianism / anarchism, but for also what market-anarchism advocates.

Market-Archism may be too close in appearance to Market-Anarchism, but etymologically seems sound.  Perhaps market-fascism, market-oligarchism, or market-totalitaranism would be better candidates? 

 

In the context that I use it, the function of the term "state-capitalism" is precisely to distinguish the concept of a free economy from a political system with a state with the purpose of protecting "capital" and/or state-buisiness fusionism.

Likewise, in the context that I use it, the function of the term "state-socialism" is to disinguish the concept of mutual aid and voluntary labor organization from a political system with a state that takes over or controls the means of production.

The pervasiveness of "capitalism" and "socialism" as package deal terms blurs these important distinctions and makes discourse confused and nonsensical - since there are "capitalists" and "socialists" alike who do not favor state control of economies and there are "capitalists" and "socialists" alike who do, there are "socialists" who favor some form or degree of "private ownership of the means of production" and "capitalists" who favor state-defined property titles, and so on. 


Right, I can see why the terms & prefixes exist for perceived clarity in arguments, but then one must extend into a semantical debate about whether capitalism is this or that, whether socialism is this or that, & the entire thing gets entirely too messy for any productive discourse to emerge (or at least makes it harder). 

Perhaps that is unavoidable, but I would think going back the basic reasons of why the prefixes are used in the first place (to distinguish between state & stateless forms of capitalism & socialism) & using a term that encompasses statist intervention, coercion, fusionism, of any type, & pointing to that as the main concept market-anarchists are against (i.e. -archism itself, so in this case, market-archism) would make it clearer to who you are arguing with as to what you view as wrong, instead of other people getting hung up on labels, when what should really be debated are the concepts behind the labels, which, despite the variance of methods behind state-socialism & state-capitalism, they are essentially backed up the same sort of ideas: coercion, interventionism, collusion of the state into market activity, etc.

It just seems to me that continual use of the state- prefixes reinforces the legitimacy of the state itself as a valid concept.  It would seem the argument against the state would be more effective at arguing against the ideas of the state, the actions of the state (the ideas behind the abstraction of the state), rather than the abstraction itself, because the abstraction of the state is constantly distorted by it's proponents (i.e. lesser of evils, limits of knolwedge, rationalizations, etc.), yet the basic ideas are not.   

I apologize if I'm missing the point here, though, typing that sort of made my head hurt a little, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm just arguing into the abyss here  :\

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GilesStratton:
If people are participating in them it shows they're efficient in satiating the wants of those particular consumers,

A state can also solicit participation which can be construed as efficiency at satiating wants and needs.  The problem is, a state is a monopoly.

By definition, socialism maintains control of property, whether by democracy, council or glorious leader.  Control of property is centralized and divorced from individuals.  This is also a monopoly, and thus why voluntary socialism cannot exist within a free market, it can only be produced by the free market.  Upon it's conception, it abandons the market foundation of individual property ownership.

GilesStratton:
Now this makes a lot of sense to me because I'm somebody who thinks that once we've ridded ourselves of the state, "consumption" narrowly construed (hedonism) won't be the highest value of society.

Consumption is part of the highest value of society.  Consumption is just as necessary to fulfill the drive to act (human action) as production.  Man acts to remove discomfort.  He must necessarily consume the product of that action, to remove the discomfort.

It's how we order our discomforts that matter.

GilesStratton:
You're correct that Mises' calculation problem will apply, but not provided the communes are small it won't hit to the same extent it does a modern industrial society (as Mises' indicated in his original paper, and as Salerno emphasises in his writings/ lectures on the subject).

Yes it is true that socialist communes would have to ape the price structure of free market exchange in order to perform their own internal, rational calculation, and yes, like the Soviets did, this could be used to cover up the lack of adequate knowledge in a non-market economy.

I am familiar with the argument you bring up but I need to re-read it and re-think it because instinctively I'm not sure it is entirely accurate.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 3:46 PM

Voluntary socialism has failed everywhere it's been tried.  It was attempted a number of times in early America (ie, La Reunion) and nobody ever got it to work.  A ton of hippies attempted it in the 60s, and the whole thing was a failure.  The Israeli kibbutzim movement was a failure as well. http://volokh.com/posts/1189140572.shtml

There may be a handful of tiny communes out there, but that's about it.  Any group of losers who want to repeat the same failures again should be free to try (in vain), in a libertarian society. 

The rest of us should be free to laugh at them.

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Cork:

Voluntary socialism has failed everywhere it's been tried.  It was attempted a number of times in early America (ie, La Reunion) and nobody ever got it to work.  A ton of hippies attempted it in the 60s, and the whole thing was a failure.  The Israeli kibbutzim movement was a failure as well. http://volokh.com/posts/1189140572.shtml

There may be a handful of tiny communes out there, but that's about it.  Any group of losers who want to repeat the same failures again should be free to try (in vain), in a libertarian society. 

The rest of us should be free to laugh at them.

"Voluntary socialism" has not meaningfully been tried - it is half-illegal everywhere, just like "voluntary capitalism"!

You're simply being a partisan.

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Nitroadict:
I agree, but it would be a form of hypocrisy to oppose it beyond disapproval & self-defense.

Also agreed.  What others choose to do is their own choice.  If they have a radically different view of property rights as it pertains to my property, then we will have a dispute, but if we do not, I am more than happy to trade with them, socialize with them etc.  I just don't want to make the same choices they do nor will my property become theirs if their society fails anymore than I would expect their property to become mine if I fail.

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Cork:

There may be a handful of tiny communes out there, but that's about it.  Any group of losers who want to repeat the same failures again should be free to try (in vain), in a libertarian society. 

The rest of us should be free to laugh at them.

Exactly, if they eventually learn it doesn't work, or isn't as effective, the chances of socialism continuing to be a valid concept gradually diminishes, which imo, is far more effective than attacking socialism & continually yelling it doesn't work, because many of spite (and out of ignorance of actually living in socialism or how it works) or rebellion would love nothing more than to root for it, especially if it is cloaked in populist rhetoric. 

We already see this by many who rationalize via a variation of "trial and error" that hey, the current 'thing' isn't work, let's try this 'thing'!  I don't think the aftermath of the Soviet Union kept many Russians so keen on socialism.     

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Brainpolice:

Cork:

Voluntary socialism has failed everywhere it's been tried.  It was attempted a number of times in early America (ie, La Reunion) and nobody ever got it to work.  A ton of hippies attempted it in the 60s, and the whole thing was a failure.  The Israeli kibbutzim movement was a failure as well. http://volokh.com/posts/1189140572.shtml

There may be a handful of tiny communes out there, but that's about it.  Any group of losers who want to repeat the same failures again should be free to try (in vain), in a libertarian society. 

The rest of us should be free to laugh at them.

"Voluntary socialism" has not meaningfully been tried - it is half-illegal everywhere, just like "voluntary capitalism"!

You're simply being a partisan.

On that note, voluntary *anything* has been more or less illegal, for as long as the state as existed.  He may be a partisan, but he's not entirely wrong either.

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Brainpolice:
Actually it is false to uniformly define socialism that way as well.

I have had enough of definition games this week to last me a year.  What is the principle of socialism?

Brainpolice:
A free market is not defined over-archingly by a narrow definition of "private property ownership".

I believe it is.  I don't think it is possible to voluntarily exchange without clear ownership over what is being traded.

Brainpolice:
You cannot reasonably completely conflate free markets with *your prefered property convention*.

This is not my prefered property convention.  This is the Austrian property convention.

Brainpolice:
The calculation problem essentially applies to all forms of bureaucracy.

No, monopoly.  Which is what communal ownership of a resource is.  Monopoly.

A monopoly arrived at voluntarily, but maintained without market competition.  Thus, it is an institutional monopoly.  A hierarchy if you will.

Brainpolice:
Mises's calculation problem does not make a case against worker self-management, it makes a case against government bereaucracies (and arguably, corporate ones as well).

Worker self-management is a non-sensical term.  In the free market, every worker can be self-managed if he or she so chooses.

Worker's councils and unions have just as much capacity for bureaucratization as large firms.  Also, please stop using the term corporation as you are. Peter Klein, Stephan Kinsella, I and many others have clearly shown where Long and Carson are lacking the understanding of corporations to make a conflation between them and large firms.  Not all large firms are incorporated, and not all corporations are large firms.

You're redefining Mises calculation argument to suit your own social values.

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Brainpolice:
Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.
Market socialism = square circle.

 

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Knight_of_BAAWA:

Brainpolice:
Neither is free market socialism a misnomer; there is nothing about free markets that is anathema to there being a "socialist" model *internal* to it; the only grounds you can reject it as a misnomer is by clinging to a narrow definition of socialism as "state control of an economy", which is not the be-all-end-all definition of socialism.
Market socialism = square circle.

 

Only if you insist on using terms as narrow package deals, refusing to aknowledge multiple uses for terms.

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This is not my prefered property convention.  This is the Austrian property convention.

Austrian economics is a "value-free"analytical tool - it has nothing to say about such ethical questions by its own methodology.

There is no "austrian property convention".

No, monopoly.  Which is what communal ownership of a resource is.  Monopoly.

Communal ownership of a resource does not necessarily mean that there is no competition external to a particular communal association. A communal association is inherently "private" relative to everything external to it. It is possible for a particular case of communal ownership to be created sustained by forcibly outlawing competition, and it is possible for it to merely be one particular segment and manifestation of people's voluntary associations. Likewise, it is possible for a particular case of more explicitly "private" ownership to be created and sustained by forcibly outlawing competition, and it is possible for it to be a manifestation of voluntary associations. It can go either way, and you're thinking too one-dimensionally to aknowledge this. In some sense, true free competition is free competition *between property arrangements and economic systems*.  

You're redefining Mises calculation argument to suit your own social values.

Look in the mirror, pal. You're the one conflating your prefered property conventions with the broader concept of a free market, while I'm defending an over-arching neutralist and pluralistic take on the matter. My view is that both "private" and "communal" forms of association can be either voluntary or authoritarian depending on the context, in contrast to a narrow view that picks one side and proceeds to refuse to recognize any distinctions or subtleties and conflates a particular manifestation of freedom of association as the only true form of it. The fact of the matter is that freedom of association takes multiple forms, as does authoritarianism. I think that free competition inherently breeds increased complexity and diversity in economic organization over time, which means a tendency towards decentralization on both an inter-institutional and internal level.

Mises's calculation argument is a significant piece of a larger puzzle involved in organization theory in general.

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Brainpolice:
Look in the mirror, pal.

Actually he was using Hayek's argument, just saying.

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 6:56 PM

Can people set up voluntary communes and syndicates in a libertarian society?  The answer is yes.  Absolutely.

Are these modes of organization flawless or somehow more "just" than "capitalistic" organizations?

Are they likely to become prevalent, or be a huge success?

Are anarcho-communists doe-eyed innocents who simply want to set up voluntary arrangements with their own property, while leaving everyone else alone? 

The answer to all three of these questions is "no."

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Cork:

Can people set up voluntary communes and syndicates in a libertarian society?  The answer is yes.  Absolutely.

Are these modes of organization flawless or somehow more "just" than "capitalistic" organizations?

Are they likely to become prevalent, or be a huge success?

Are anarcho-communists doe-eyed innocents who simply want to set up voluntary arrangements with their own property, while leaving everyone else alone? 

The answer to all three of these questions is "no."

However, are Communists going to respect the private property rights of individuals who do not wish to live in the commune?

 

:Edit:

Oh wait you answered that question Tongue Tied

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 7:01 PM

However, are Communists going to respect the private property rights of individuals who do not wish to live in the commune?

Of course not. Wink

Then they would just be anarcho-capitalists who want to live in communes.

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Laughing Man:

Cork:

Can people set up voluntary communes and syndicates in a libertarian society?  The answer is yes.  Absolutely.

Are these modes of organization flawless or somehow more "just" than "capitalistic" organizations?

Are they likely to become prevalent, or be a huge success?

Are anarcho-communists doe-eyed innocents who simply want to set up voluntary arrangements with their own property, while leaving everyone else alone? 

The answer to all three of these questions is "no."

However, are Communists going to respect the private property rights of individuals who do not wish to live in the commune?

Do all self-proclaimed "anarcho-capitalists" consistently respect the rights of individuals who do not wish to have someone fraudulently claim ownership over the city that they live in and dictate the laws from that standpoint? Or the rights of individuals who do not want to be forcibly removed from their own property for not being social conservatives or belonging to the right cultural identity group? Or the rights of individuals to not be "voluntarily" enslaved via being forcibly blocked from opting out of contracts?

*snickers at the resident Hoppeans and Block-heads* I somehow doubt it.

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Brainpolice:
Do all self-proclaimed "anarcho-capitalists" consistently respect the rights of individuals who do not wish to have someone fraudulently claim ownership over the city that they live in and dictate the laws from that standpoint?

I'm not necessarily a Kantian in thinking that all individuals act with ration and logic at all times and in all decisions but the law is not something Anarcho-capitalists exclude from their theoretical world.

Brainpolice:
Or the rights of individuals who do not want to be forcibly removed from their own property for not being social conservatives or belonging to the right cultural identity group?

Certainly a transgression of rights.

Brainpolice:
Or the rights of individuals to not be "voluntarily" enslaved via being forcibly blocked from opting out of contracts?

I think it is a self-refuting argument. I would not say to one 'You cannot be a slave and I will coerce you into not 'being one'.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 7:13 PM

It's interesting you would mention Hoppe, because his communitarian vision actually has a lot of similarities to the anarcho-communists.  In fact, he laments the "erosion of familial, communal, regional, and religious affiliations" in one of his articles.

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Cork:
In fact, he laments the "erosion of familial, communal, regional, and religious affiliations" in one of his articles.

Running into these arguments is dreadfully vexing.

'Families are no longer 1950s nuclear white picket god fearing traditionalists! Repent the end is near!'

Gone are the days of American Victorianism and dead they should rightfully stay.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 7:21 PM

'Families are no longer 1950s nuclear white picket god fearing traditionalists! Repent the end is near!'

LOL

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Laughing Man:
Gone are the days of American Victorianism and dead they should rightfully stay.

Go on then, head to Washington DC. We know where your loyalties lie.

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GilesStratton:
Go on then, head to Washington DC. We know where your loyalties lie.

Who is this 'we' you speak of?

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Brainpolice:
There is no "austrian property convention".

Are you saying that individual private property ownership is not a convention of Austrian Economics?

Brainpolice:
Communal ownership of a resource does not necessarily mean that there is no competition external to a particular communal association.

Communal organizations are cartels.  Cartels are created bearing the seeds of their destruction.  Recently you evaded replying to a response about unions.  I suspect because you know that your position is flawed, as it is on communes.  Anyone can leave a commune and compete with a commune at any time in a "free market".  If we go a step further, lib-socialist philosophy likes to embrace proximity and use (or some wording thereof) which means that they could also make a case for being entitled to take property out of the commune with them when they leave.

There is absolutely no purpose to a commune, and it is not a sustainable social model.

Brainpolice:
A communal association is inherently "private" relative to everything external to it.

So is a corporation.

Brainpolice:
In some sense, true free competition is free competition *between property arrangements and economic systems*.  

Ha!  You are indirectly arguing for hierarchy!  True free competition is always at the smallest possible level.  In this case, the individual level.  The notion of a commune isn't "bad" in my opinion because the group is not a competitive force, it's that the group has to outlaw competition within the commune, because otherwise, the cartel will dissolve with winners choosing not to carry the losers.

Brainpolice:
My view is that both "private" and "communal" forms of association can be either voluntary or authoritarian depending on the context, in contrast to a narrow view that picks one side and proceeds to refuse to recognize any distinctions or subtleties and conflates a particular manifestation of freedom of association as the only true form of it.

You're avoiding the point of my argument.  Communal forms can only exist as cartels in a free market.  Cartels are always susceptible to being dissolved due to internal competition.  The only way to have an enduring communal structure, is to get people to voluntarily give up competition amongst each other, in perpetuity.  This means to stop competing or to stop engaging in free market activity.

This is why we constantly see leftists crying out for solidarity.  Because without an ideological commitment to abandoning competition with one another, there is no potential for an enduring communal union.

The free market is a system where one can choose to give up their option to compete and join a commune, but a commune INTERNALLY and BY NATURE cannot tolerate the internal competition necessary to be "free market".

I got you guys by the grapefruits.

h/t to Cork for inspiring me with his comparison of anti-hierarchy to anti-division of labour.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Stranger replied on Thu, May 28 2009 7:38 PM

Laughing Man:

Cork:
In fact, he laments the "erosion of familial, communal, regional, and religious affiliations" in one of his articles.

Running into these arguments is dreadfully vexing.

'Families are no longer 1950s nuclear white picket god fearing traditionalists! Repent the end is near!'

Gone are the days of American Victorianism and dead they should rightfully stay.

The 1950's nuclear family is itself quite unnatural, as historically families involved multiple generations living within the same "house." (The word house at the time having a much broader meaning than today's cheap wooden building. A house was not only a place to sleep and eat, it was also a small workshop and the center of economic life.)

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Cork replied on Thu, May 28 2009 7:40 PM

h/t to Cork for inspiring me with his comparison of anti-hierarchy to anti-division of labour.

Thanks, man!  The division of labor problem is the ultimate nail in the coffin of left-libertarianism, as far as I'm concerned.  They have no answer to it.  None.  Nada.  Zip.

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wombatron replied on Thu, May 28 2009 8:08 PM

Daniel:
Let us individually destroy this theory. I'll start.

I guess I don't get what there is to destroy.  It's a matter of fact that big business, the state, and modern labor unions have a close partnership.  Whether you call it "capitalism" or not is just a matter of definitions.

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wombatron replied on Thu, May 28 2009 8:11 PM

Threads like these remind me why I don't like to use the words "socialism" and "capitalism".  There's a point when a word acquires so much baggage that you just have to stop using it, and find another.

Market anarchist, Linux geek, aspiring Perl hacker, and student of the neo-Aristotelians, the classical individualist anarchists, and the Austrian school.

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