Thursday, May 15, 2014
Anarcho-Capitalism is a Fraud
The Alex Jones Nation is mostly male, and it puts forth that oh-so-successful mostly-male perspective that has proven so beneficial to the planet. (Yes, sarcasm.) It is influencing millions of minds, mostly young, disenfranchised, angry males - a potent and malleable group looking for its TruthTelling (TM) leader and saviour at the end of the astrological Piscean era.
The Alex Jones Nation is a pack of "libertarian capitalists" or "free market anarchists." It has millions of foot soldiers out there preaching the cause, and I was hanging out with one of them recently. This was eye-opening and quite aggravating, as I saw the hold the Alex Jones Nation has on the minds of a big swath of the researching populace.
However, the primary system promoted by this gang of "libertarians" is, in my mind, a fraud.
I say there is no such thing as a successful merger of capitalism and anarchism. It's impossible, as the ethics of each system are at odds.
Capitalism is based on a system of inherent inequality where one group (the owners/capital-holders) profit from the labour of another group (the workers/capital-deficient). Anarchism is based on a non-coercive system where each human is equal, of equal importance, and the amount of money one has does not put him or her in a markedly advantaged or disadvantaged position over other sovereign human beings. (The use of a money system at all as we currently think of it would be debatable among anarchists.)
To me, anarcho-capitalists are selective anarchists, adopting what suits them and disregarding what would create conflict with their ideology.
Capitalism is based on a form of economic inequality that divides people into owners and workers, also referred to as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
Most often, the bourgeoisie own the businesses because they have increased access to capital and resources. This is why they are able to be in the position of business owners rather than labourers.
Capitalism is based on a (corrupt) money system, and that is inherently coercive. Some people will have increased power and liberty over others simply because they have more money/resources or more access to money/resources.
People will also be doing things they wouldn't naturally do simply because this is how they have to make money to survive.
Capitalism is a system driven by money and the desire to accumulate increasing amounts of money, and that will never be a fully just or healthy motivation according to anarchist ethics.
In a capitalist system, labourers can be (and are) directed to engage in tremendously destructive practises simply because this is the will of the owner, this is the practise of the business, and this is how they earn their daily bread. Activities that have a negative human, social, or community value can have a very high dollar value, and this is at odds with true anarchist ethics.
On the other hand, there are many crucial forms of work that are not considered economically viable or important under a capitalist system. If it doesn't make money, it is considered less valuable. It's as simple as that. This, too, does not address the problematic under-valuing of certain types of "hidden" labour (including service work, cooking, cleaning, sewing, childcare, elder care, spiritual support work, community-building, therapeutic services, energy work, and many forms of traditionally female work). The capitalist system does not address the idea that not all things of value can have a dollar amount applied to them.
In a capitalist system, workers are operating, ultimately, under the will of the owners, not under their own wills, supreme and sovereign. [Note: if a worker has desirable options for making a living and is choosing to participate in a capitalist set-up, this is a different story.] This is a fundamental incompatibility between capitalism and anarchism.
The owners capitalize (earn profits) on the labour of the workers. The goal of most capitalists is to not have to do a whole hell of a lot but to have the profits rolling in - profits they earn simply by directing and controlling the labour and efforts of the proletariat.
The owners control the activities of the business through right of ownership, which means the workers have less of a say in decisions that directly affect them. Workers are forced to take a stronger interest in the lives and opinions of the owners than vice versa. Workers are forced to support the goals of the owners even if it is not in their own best interests to do so. Workers have to follow the orders and direction of the owners, rather than being self-directed, and this is fundamentally incompatible with an anarchist way of being.
In the anarcho-captalist utopic dreamworld, there is no coercion, as people are "free" to work for the business owners or to not work for the business owners as they so choose.
Nice dream, but the reality of a capitalist job market is quite different. Unemployment is built right into the capitalist system. It's the right of the owners to hire and fire at will, and corporations often fire or lay off hundreds or thousands of people at the same time.
This is the case unless all citizens have access to the capital and resources they need to work under their own power, and that just isn't a tenet of the capitalist system. Only some people are owners. That's how it works.
Many make the same claims about the current corporate capitalist system. "Well, if it's so bad, don't work for WalMart/Starbucks/McDonalds!" As if it's a choice for everyone. As if there are enough non-corporate job opportunities for people. As if corporations haven't run most of the small business opportunities out of the market through monopolistic practises. As if it is not made almost impossible for people without access to capital to start and run their own businesses or to gain the education they might need to do so.
In a capitalist system in which people most often need a mass of capital to even become business owners, people are forced to work for others, and that is coercion, not anarchism.
There is no such thing as a "free" capitalist market, as all capitalist markets will be manipulated by people who have the resources to manipulate them. Banks inflate and deflate currencies as suits their desires. Unregulated derivatives schemes and hedge fund capitalism have created a system where rampant speculation drives prices up and down, creating extreme instability for producers and extreme price fluctuations, including for basic necessities like food and housing. The buying and selling of stocks and futures (often spurred by insider information and trading) sets the prices, not your standard capitalistic "supply and demand." Often prices have little connection to the true value of a product.
Injustice, cruelty, and a dog-eat-dog mentality are all fine and dandy in a capitalist system - as long as these things can be capitalized on. Capitalizing on the "weaknesses" or disadvantages of your competitors is also built right into the capitalist system and is just "good business sense." This, too, is at odds with a humane anarchist system.
It seems to me, anyone preaching anarcho-capitalism cannot be aware of the underlying unequal power dynamics of the capitalist system.
These would not just magically go away if the state were removed from the proceedings.
Capitalizing human beings will always be capitalizing human beings.
There is a difference between entrepreneurship in a society and a system of corporate capitalism. There is a difference between people being equally able to own and run their own businesses and a top-down system of "free" market capitalism controlled by people like Alex Jones and the rest of the capital holders.
Ultimately, the Global Government will use whatever economic system suits its ends. It will use any and all economic system - capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism.
The real anarchist solution is something that has not yet existed. The real anarchist solution would draw in the best aspects of all economic systems while keeping the worst aspects in firm check. The real anarchist solution, a system of non-hierarchical free association, would not use coercion, money, or the quest to accumulate more money as the driving motivations underlying all productivity, labour, and economic activity.
The "freedom" preached by the Alex Jones Nation is no form of freedom by my definition.