Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interesting bedfellows

Anarcho-capitalists and communists, that is.

A communist poster's response to an article about mutualism:

Well, you get points for the effort (are you the author of this piece, or is someone else?). But the ideas in it are ridiculous and dangerous for the left.A free market in any good necessarily leads to the concentration of that good in few hands. Furthermore, there are economies of scale in most industries, which means that large firms are simply more efficient and more productive than small firms. Some "anarchists" seem to have an absurd fetish for a society run by the petty bourgeoisie - a society of small, "local" firms. Such a society is incompatible with the industrial revolution.

Large-scale production is better than small-scale production. Now, it is true that, in the service sector, economies of scale are usually less pronounced than in industry. In the service sector it does make sense to have small firms (sometimes). But you can't run an economy entirely on the service sector. The service sector in the United States and Europe today is deceptively large, and it is kept that large only by the system of state-regulated international trade that allows the West to relocate its industries in India and China. If your system would make Wal-Mart uncompetitive, then in the same way it would also make the import of industrial products from China uncompetitive, meaning that your country would need to reindustrialize, meaning that you'd have to give up your dream of an economy run by small businesses.

And, of course, since industry must always exist somewhere, a petty bourgeois economy is always impossible on a planetary scale.

Sound familiar? It's the same critique of mutualism that an-caps make! Strange bedfellows, indeed.


  1. Question- If mutualists “oppose the idea of individuals receiving an income through loans, investments, and rent, as they believe these individuals are not laboring,” how do they make a living after they’re too old or handicapped to “labor?”

  2. Good question. What I wonder is: how workers will survive during the years it (sometimes) takes to sell their products on the market, if no capitalist is there to pay them in advance?

  3. Cork- I guess in both situations the Mystical Mutualist Messiah takes care of them. :-)

  4. Well, this is why I'm NOT a mutualist, though I do think anarcho-capitalists can take ideas from the sane ones, e.g., Kevin Carson.


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