WHAT IS ANARCHO-CAPITALISM? 

– Daniel R.Carreiro – 

  Someone forced to work for another person is a slave. His master may be kind, generous and even grant him a large number of goods and services, but that does not change the fact that the person forced to work is still under the yoke of slavery.

  Varied institutes and think tanks calculate what is known as the Tax Freedom Day, the date where the citizens of a country have generated enough income to pay all the taxes. From this day on and until the end of the year they work for themselves.

  The reduction of the fiscal burden is a common recommendation in this kind of studies. However, although it is very important to know, for informative purposes, how much time is needed just for the payment of taxes, there is one question that they seldom ask: Which day should be the Tax Freedom Day?

  If we accept the previous definition of slavery, any answer which is not 1 January is justifying it, i.e. is justifying a situation where people is forced to work for others.

  Anarcho-capitalism is that theory that systematically opposes to any kind of slavery and considers that no person should be forced, through violence and coercion, to give to others part of the fruits of their work. To this tradition of thought belong authors such as Gustave de Molinari, Lysander Spooner, Murray N. Rothbard, Hans Hermann-Hoppe, Jesús Huerta de Soto and Miguel Anxo Bastos.

  Anarcho-capitalism is a political theory focussed on the investigation of the legitimate employment of violence. The central postulate of anarcho-capitalism is the Non-Aggression Principle. According to this principle, nobody has the right to initiate the employment of physical violence against another man’s person or property. This principle establishes a clear-cut distinction between aggressive violence, which is considered illegitimate, and defensive violence, which is considered perfectly admissible. Thus, for example, violence committed by a rapist or a robber would be illegitimate, but violence committed by the victims to defend themselves from the aggression of their attackers would be legitimate.

  In his book The State, a German sociologist named Franz Oppenheimer (whom, incidentally, was not an anarcho-capitalist) established a fundamental distinction between the only two possible means for the acquisition and increase of one’s own resources and wealth. On the one hand, we have the economic means, which consist of production and exchange. These are peaceful means conducive to a general increase in wealth while causing no harm to others. On the other hand, we have the political means, which consist of extortion, fraud, and theft. These means require the employment of violence for the capture of wealth previously generated by economic means. Political means are parasitic and constitute a zero-sum game in which an increase in the wealth of certain individuals can only be achieved with a decrease in the wealth of others. According to Oppenheimer, the state is the systematic organization of the political means.

  Given that the state systematically applies the political means, and thus, infringes the Non-Aggression Principle, anarcho-capitalism regards the state as an illegitimate organization that should be replaced by a social system based on voluntary relationships.

  Anarcho-capitalism is also a theory that seeks for coherence and consistency in three important fields of study: economics, justice, and history. Scholars in this tradition do not accept unjustified exceptions to general principles in any of these fields. Thus, economists (especially those anarcho-capitalist economists who also belong to the Austrian School) consider that all goods and services are subject to the same economic laws, such as the principles of the subjective theory of value, of marginal utility, of economic calculation, etc. The market is regarded by the economists of the Austrian School as an institution that responds to consumer demands in the provision of goods and services more adequately than the state. Anarcho-capitalists scholars have extended the application of this idea to the provision of security services and justice.

  With regard to justice, anarcho-capitalist scholars do not accept arbitrary exceptions either. A certain act, considered illegitimate and unjust, will be so independently of the person who commits it. For example, if we consider theft as a violent and unjust act, that in no case can be considered legitimate, it will be so whether the thief is a masked thug assaulting a victim in a waste ground or a civil servant using the coercion apparatus of the state to collect taxes.

  With regard to the third field of study, anarcho-capitalist scholars make use of the work of a group of sociologists, anthropologists, and historians, who have analyzed at length the mechanisms that were instrumental in the formation of the political institutions that would develop over time into what is known, now, as the state. According to such authors as Alexander Rustow, Roberto L. Carneiro, and Charles Tilly, the origin of the state is found in war, conquest and pillage, instead of in a social contract

  In closing this brief introduction, I think convenient to clarify one important point often overlooked. Anarcho-capitalism is not a moral philosophy. It does not tell people how they ought to live or what goals in life they should try to accomplish. Its scope is limited to the illumination of the circumstances in which is legitimate or not the employment of physical violence. Scholars in this tradition usually support capitalism because is a social system in which the Non-Aggression Principle is respected and because is the economic system that better promotes the increase of wealth and the improvement of living standards. But capitalism is one of many systems of economic organization congruent with the respect to the Non-Aggression Principle. Groups of people living in a tribal, communitarian, or traditional, economy with no desire of participating in a capitalist economy are perfectly legitimate to do so, and nobody has the right to employ physical violence against their persons and properties. Thus, some scholars have proposed a different nomenclature for this tradition of thought. For instance, Gerad Casey has proposed the term Libertarian Anarchy.

2017-04-30T11:53:31+02:00October 21st, 2016|Articles|0 Comments

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