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Talk:Anarcho-capitalism/Archive 1
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Somebody had written (!):-o that "Prominent anarcho-capitalists
include ... Robert Nozick, ... James Buchanan" etc. And that "The
Natural Law approach (see for instance Robert Nozick and his book
[Anarchy, the State and Utopia]?) argues that the existence of the
state is immoral, and that unlimited capitalism is the only ethical
political system, or rather anti-political system."

Who ever wrote this, for his information that neither Robert Nozick
nor James Buchanan are anarcho-capitalists! On the contrary, about a
third of Nozick's book "Anarchy, State and utopia" is devoted on
criticizing anarcho-capitalism. Claiming otherwise proves that the
person has never read the book. Already in the preface Nozick writes:
" Our main conclusions about the state are that a minimal state,
limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft,
fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified; that any
more extensive state will violate persons' rights not to be forced to
do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is
inspiring as well as right. Two noteworthy implications are that the
state may not use its coercive apparatus for the purpose of getting
some citizens to aid others, or in order to prohibit activities to
people for their own good or protection."

It should be common knowledge, that James Buchanan is an opponent of
Anarcho-capitalism, aswell.

I made the needed corrections.

Someone wrote on another page:

'In case anyone really doesn't know what anarcho-capitalism is
supposed to be about, have a look at this article. '

This particular article isn't bad overall, but it might lead the
reader to a few misconceptions. First, the anarchocapitalism is not
the 'house ideology' of the Libertarian Party. No doubt there are some
anarchists in the ranks of the LP, but as far as I know they do not

It should be noted that the author, MikeHuben, is best known on the
Internet for his critique of libertarianism.

Another problem with that article is that Benjamin Tucker is given as
an example of an "early" anarcho-capitalist. Tucker's attachment to
capitalism is fictional as explained in "Benjamin Tucker: Capitalist
or Anarchist?". There were no early anarcho-capitalists; the
"movement" was invented out of thin air a mere couple of decades ago.
Electioneering experts call this an astro-turf movement.
AnarchoCapitalism's styling itself after anarchism is propaganda based
on lies.

Nothing wrong with critiques. I find they're usually a better way of
evaluating ideas: everyone will defend their own position eloquently,
but you can only build a strong counter-attack against an idea with
flaws. So looking at how strong criticisms are usually gives you a
better idea of how good the original was.

I agree completely. The only point, though, is that Huben may wish to
tar libertarianism by association with AnarchoCapitalism.

What does libertarianism mean in the above sentence? Does it refer to
the right-libertarianism of the proponents of the Libertarian party or
does it also include anarcho-syndicalists as left-libertarians? And
what does right-libertarianism mean if one does not take it to be
synonymous with AnarchoCapitalism? If Mike Huben does wish to tar
left-libertarians by associating them with right-libertarians, he need
do no more than recognize the right-libertarians' own claims.

These two claims make no sense to me:

    The theory assumes a genuinely free market, independent of
geographic distributions and economies of scale, which prevents abuse
of monopolies and extreme inequalities in the execution of justice.

    A classic argument against cooperatives by anarcho-capitalists is
precisely that it is irrational to have all one's stock in one company
(your own) and so workers would seek to spread their risk by
diversifying their stock portfolio.


The first sentence is my mangled synopsis of the perfect free market,
and the second one I copied from the anarchism/talk page or something
like that.

The point of the first sentence is, for example: it should be better
for a protection company to protect the assets of 100 poor men than
the assets of one rich man, since the assets of the poor men are
already protected by 100 people. But the reality is the geographic
factors and economies of scale come into play, so protection companies
would rather protect the rich man's assets.

Hey, I don't get it either, but I'm trying.

--The Cunctator

    It is hard to "get" what is insane. But you are to be commended
for trying. EofT

A lot of useful text was deleted from this revision.

--The Cunctator

I agree some of that info should go back in, my only concern is
finding the right place to put it. -- SJK

The fundamental element of the philosophical approach is a belief in
absolute private property rights.

No way.

The fundamental element of the philosophical approach is a belief in
absolute individual liberty. This includes, but is not limited, to
right to effects of one's work. And proporty right for things that
aren't effects of somebody's works aren't absolute. --Taw

    But what do they mean by "absolute individual liberty"? They mean
property rights without any government interference. You can be
silenced, you can be starved to death, just so long as no one takes
any of your property. -- SJK

        That's about right. As if anyone would really put up with
that. In real life, course, cornered animals fight back, especially if
they see those who prosper by fraud and cheating and influence
peddling taking all they own. This is a common experience among those
who have been colonized or subjugated to an Empire whose capital is
very far away and whose disputes are settled in a language they don't
understand, and cannot afford lawyers to argue in. A-C is an
inherently and necessarily small scale theory. But it can't work
without a lot of unreal assumptions. EofT


    There are no serious economic arguments against AC.

        This actually says something bad about economics, nothing good
about AC. EofT

    Some people who oppose AC use social arguments.
    ACists don't accept validity of these social arguments.

Could somebody please change these into some statements that adhere to
NPOV ? --Taw

The first "fact" you mention here may or may not be a fact, but
probably doesn't belong in an encyclopedic presentation. One of the
key difference between encyclopedics and polemics is that an
encyclopedic tends to refrain from drawing conclusions or making

Additionally, I think that there are serious economic arguments
against AC. I have made such arguments myself to David Friedman and he
conceded that my arguments were, at the least, interesting. He thinks
I'm wrong of course, but I think he would concede that my argument is
at least serious.

To sum it up in one paragraph: many forms of organized crime involve A
violating B's rights in such a fashion that A and B both make money at
the expense of C. From economics we know that the only thing that can
sustain a cartel is coercion, i.e. the use of force or threat thereof.
Sustaining a cartel under AC is possible for a corrupt defense agency
which represents only clients in a particular industry.

    Like, oh, say, hm, the oil industry? Just a guess. EofT 02:59, 25
Aug 2003 (UTC)

The costs of the cartel are spread widely throughout the population in
such a <fashion that non-cartel defense agencies will not find it
worthwhile (due to free rider problems) to engage in an expensive
fight to "save" B from A.

Thus, it seems likely that AC will lead to some very un-libertarian outcomes.

Now, you may not agree with the argument, but at least it is both
economic and serious. --Jimbo Wales

"* Some people who oppose AC use social arguments.

    ACists don't accept validity of these social arguments."

-Isn't that the case for any dogma in general? The fact is that there
is arguments aginst the dogma, but the supporters of the dogma doesn't
accept the validity of the arguments.


"There are no serious economic arguments against AC"? I am not aware
of any, but I am sure there are. Most economists reject AC, and I am
sure at least some of those opposed to it have come up with at least
some arguments against it. -- SJK.

They do ? Really ? If you know some arguments, please list them. --Taw

Fare: indeed, if you do, please list them.

I have a problem with the wording of this sentence that was inserted
during Revision 11: Services traditionally provided by governments
(police, defense, courts) are provided by private corporations.
'Corporation' is NOT a generic term for any type of business and there
is nothing in Anarcho-capitalism that requires these services to be
provided by corporations (as opposed to sole proprietorships or
whatever). Moreover corporations, as such, would not even exist in a
purely free market as they require a charter from the state which
shields their CEOs and stockholders from certain kinds of legal
liability (by the way the free market equivalent is a 'joint stock
company'). I suggest the more neutral: "Private businesses compete to
supply services traditionally provided by governments(like police,
defense, and courts)".

I removed Wendy McElroy from the list of proponents of
Anarcho-capitalism. She is an Individualist Anarchist, not an

I'd really like to see a suggested reading list about
Anarcho-capitalism but is that appropriate?

What's the difference? Maybe you could explain, and in your
explanation cite Wendy McElroy as an example of an individual
anarchist. Would she herself consider herself an anarcho-capitalist?
--Larry Sanger

There is an interesting essay here: by McElroy
herself on the various differences between several flavors of
anarchism. But the most obvious difference is that "under
individualist anarchism, you could have communist communities existing
beside capitalist ones so long as membership was voluntary" (a concept
also known as Panarchy). While anarcho-capitalism and
anarcho-communismare ends oriented (ie resulting in a specific
economic system), individualist anarchism is means oriented (anything
that's peaceful) with no hard vision of what would result. You can see
from her website: she prefers the label
individualist anarchist.

Fare: No, anarcho-capitalism, like classical liberalism in general, is
not ends-oriented. It predicts general results, and claims several
essential liberties. By no way would anarcho-capitalists accept that
anyone be forced to work in a company rather than a cooperative.
Anarcho-communists seem to be ends-oriented indeed, although I prefer
to believe (until given sufficient evidence) that not all left
anarchists are. About a classical liberal view on means and ends, I
recommend of Henry Hazlitt's Foundations of Morality.

Fare: I removed Brian Giovannini from the list of prominent
anarcho-capitalists. I had never heard about him. It turns out he's a
cartoonist (see his site), and he's anarcho-capitalist indeed: he
wrote one web page about anarcho-capitalism. But I don't think this
qualifies to put him in the same list as Murray Rothbard.

Fare: Do quotes fit in here? e.g. Emile Faguet: "[U]n anarchiste est
un libéral intransigeant." An anarchist is an uncomprimising liberal.
-- Émile Faguet, Politiques et moralistes du dix-neuvième siècle, Vol.
1 (Paris: Société Française d'Imprimerie et de Librairie, c. 1898), p.

Hi, folks. I'm Ethan Mitchell, and I'm new here. I am one of these
terrible left-anarchists we've been hearing about; I am also an
economist and right now I work as a market analyist. I think it is
silly for any of us wingnut fringe ideologues (left or right) to make
statements like "There are no serious arguments against our crazed
scheme." Of course there are. "Your scheme is crazed" is a serious
argument all by itself, its called majority rule.

That aside, I want to take a shot at characterizing the problem here.
Most (I almost said all) schools of anarchy envision a stateless
market. We cannot be entirely sure how people would behave in such a
situation. Really we can't. Anarcho-capitalists tend to assume that
people would not form cooperatives, labor unions, mutual aid
societies, or other collectivist organizations. Left-anarchists (which
for some ^*#$ing reason we are calling libertarian socialists)

    Left-anarchist is subordinated as a term mostly because no one
sees left-anarchism as a legitimate name of a political movement. But
there are in fact texts on libertarian socialism. To me left-anarchist
is a more extreme form of it, though.

tend to assume that at least a significant number of people *would*
form such organizations.  The fact that e.g. labor unions continue to
exist in state economies, despite a lot of pressure to eliminate them,
is at least evidence for this assumption.  But either way, we are
making *assumptions* about how the market would behave in the absence
of the state.

    Obviously, and they are bad assumptions, given how humans behave
in situations without states now: badly, and with a kind of herd
mentality that make soldiers look enviously individualistic.

Next, there is relatively little anarcho-capitalist discussion of
asset inequality patterns. Yet right now, we see that gini or thiel
inequality is increasing over several economic scales, including the

    Whoa. One step at a time. How about Gini inequality and Thiel
inequality and economic scale as articles on the list of economics
articles? You can't expect us to assess what we can't read about.

Probably the magic wand of no-more-government would reduce the spread
we are currently experiencing, but it is hard to believe that it will
*reverse* it. So the question must be asked: Does anarcho-capitalism
countenance a free society with drastic imbalances in assets? Forget
the moral issue; it is a practical issue. If a small group of people
hold all the wealth, and a large group of people are facing extremity,
they are very apt to resort to warfare, government, and similar
troublemaking. And while we (rich people) might argue that inequality
is not our fault, that is unlikely to be a persuasive position.

Reference to "anomy" deleted. From what I've been reading anomie is
more a root of some kinds of anarchy than an equivalent to any of
them. Eclecticology, Wednesday, May 1, 2002

about anarcho-capitalisms and corporations : some argue that you can
have limited liability in a state-less society : by incorporating, you
are saying that you accept only limited responsability, so potentials
creditors are warned and can take the risk in account before accepting
or refusing to contract with you(actually it's a part of the
contract). see for
a more clear and detailled explanation, and a better english ;-)
susano 03:40 Sep 2, 2002 (PDT)

A previous editor compared anarcho-capitalism to green anarchism,
based on the expression "natural law". I don't think that this
expression has quite the same meaning to anarcho-capitalists and green
anarchists, so that the comparison is confusing rather than

    It did require more depth, so, that depth is now there. EofT

to a libertarian, natural law is law as it should be, law such that
the violations of it naturally lead to pain, sorrow, destruction, etc.
To an ecologist, "natural law" would mean something like letting
nature rule, not acting "against nature". While these two
interpretations have common roots, they are independent, and variants
of them can be construed to be compatible as well as incompatible.

    Hoom. Acting "against nature" would seem to "naturally lead to
pain, sorrow, destruction, etc". Last I heard libertarians did not
advocate allowing someone with property upstream to dump unlimited
toxic waste in it to flow downstream. The concept of diversity may or
may not favour biodiversity if it is based on delusions, like Ayn
Rand's delusion that pollution did not cause any kind of illness, or
that one could prosper by ignoring say deforestation as if only human
values placed on things mattered. So there is an answer to the
anarcho-capitalist from medicine, from environmental sciences, from
ecology, from biology, much of which did not exist when the ideology
was formed. EofT

I don't think that it is wise to mention a comparison here. But there
certainly ought to be an article on natural law to discuss these
things. -- Faré 14:06 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)

    Not only does it seem wise to me, but, it seems necessary. As it
stands this article is a bald-faced promotion of anarcho-capitalism as
the ideal political system, and would simply be deleted without same
kind of serious balancing. Thus the Dan Sullivan mention, and more
contrasting of different views than just the "bad old left" would
help. For instance what do anarcho-capitalists think of feminism?
Syndicalism? This article is about to become an NPOV dispute. It needs
not less comparison to other recent movements, but more.

        I think the dispute has its place on Wikipedia, just not in
this article.

            Of course you don't think so, since you advocate this
position yourself, obviously, and don't want to see challenges to the
a-c idea of natural law appearing right beside it. But you have to put
up with that, since this is about NPOV, and neutrality includes
balancing outrageous and absurd statements about natural law from an
anarcho-capitalist with reasonable ones from someone who recognizes
nature at the root of so-called natural law. EofT

        See for instance the article on Anarchism. It had become
unreadable because of the disputes that grew and grew, so you couldn't
distinguish the main points among the endless disputes in detail;
moreover, the disputes where over the editors' various pet questions,
giving the reader a distorted sense of what usually appears as
relevant to people concerned.

            That problem arose because of poor division into
incorrectly named subtypes of anarchism, which forced variant that
didn't fit directly onto that page. The actual dispute that defines
anarchism is not ideological but economic - how big can a social unit
get, and how divorced from ecology, before it gets oppressive and
anti-ecological? EofT

        Nowadays, the page is concise, and any discussion is moved to
different articles. The same should be done here.

            No, that has become a bad and useless article, and this
one need not be. It can be saved by actually answering to challenges
to its own core assumptions. The article on capitalism does this very
well. That is a better template. EofT

        As for feminism, see Wendy McElroy. As for syndicalism, the
usual libertarian stance applies, though I haven't a ready reference
here, especially not in English. -- Faré 00:15 7 Jun 2003 (UTC)

            Try de Paepe versus von Mises or something. EofT

Indeed, it sounds like 'drivel' to me also. Apparently (edited by
Kevin- I have removed this in order to make myself less of an obvious
target, feel free to contact me by email at kevehs at or my
ISP if you feel my actions are inappropriate, please refrain from any
further attempts to crash my computer) has gone on a one-person
expedition to rid Wikipedia of virtually all reference to
"anarcho-capitalism" in a single day. The subject matter's really not
my area, so I'm not going to fix it myself; I have little doubt that
it will be fixed fairly quickly though, so it's probably not worth
editing fine points at this stage. - Hephaestos 00:55, 25 Aug 2003

    Since the whole concept is so foolish I assumed that the article
had always been pure drivel, but it seems I caught it at an unusually
drivelly stage. GrahamN 01:44, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I reverted to the last version before his edit. He basically turned it
into an "anarcho-capitalists aren't 'real' anarchists" rant, which I'm
sure the anarcho-capitalists themselves would dispute. I'll look
through the additions in a bit to see if any of it is salvageable
though. --Delirium 01:07, Aug 27, 2003 (UTC)

        His version should be a whole section, as it's a legitimate
criticism that man herding, ganging and coercion clearly precede the
concept of money and markets - no market can exist without property
rights and that not without a state. A-C is in this sense a fantasy
world made out of pure neoclassical economics - see Principles of
Economics for what went both wrong and right with the Austrian School,
and monetarism for the history of the "capitalism is all" school.

I've rewritten it again, and I will continue to do so, as I see the
use of the term "anarcho-capitalist" as a hostile attempt by liberals
to co-opt the anarchist movement and turn it against itself. I'm happy
to discuss the matter, I'm happy to respect notions of two seperate
sections, one that gives the anarchist POV, and one that give the
anti-state capitalist POV. What I will NOT do is sit around and watch
capitalists bias readers of wikipedia into thinking that capitalism is
even remotely capable of being associated with anarchism without even
mentioning the arguments to the contrary, as it existed when I came
upon it. Until a clear advisory is made concerning the arguments
against the use of the term, and the page is pushed away from a clear
bias against anarchism, and the distinction between
anarcho-individualists and anti-state capitalists is made clear, I
will continue to repost my rewrites. If caps and others want to
continue reposting old pages until we all get blue in the face, so be
it. And I did not attempt to remove the term "anarcho-capitalist" from
all of wikipedia, in fact I left a large number of pages completely
intact. What I did attempt to remove was referance to anti-state
liberalism as "anarcho-capitalism" on pages that dealt with anarchism,
given that it is an unrelated subject. - Kevin/Kevehs - 02:31 CST 28

I guess no one is interested in discussing this, but someone is
interested in reposting the old page everytime it is changed. NPOV
dispute. Kevin/Kevehs - Nov 5

I'm duns0014 (my AIM id is the same, you can message me).

we can discuss this, but refering to anarchosocialists as the only
anarchists has to stop. I can understand it if you don't like the
ancaps, but since it rejects the state, it is still anarchist.
refering to left-anarchists as anarchists is a serious bias issue.

    This is ridiculous. This is nothing more than a dispute over
terminology, whether anarcho-capitalists are "real" anarchists. The
answer is clearly yes as (a) they want to get rid of government, (b)
they consider themselves anarchists, (c) there is ample historical
precedent for this usage. It is like the No true Scotsman argument;
what if someone claimed Lutherans are not real Christians? This
quibble over who "owns" the word anarchist does not justify an NPOV
notice. I'm just going to pull it in a couple of days unless someone
can give a reason not to. In the mean time, I'm going to adjust the
article's language some more. -- VV 06:38, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)

This is not ridiculous. Of course it is an dispute over terminology,
but terminology is the basis of our understanding of these concepts.
Anarchism, since its very first use, has always meant more than mere
anti-statism. To limit it to the rejection of the state is like
claiming that Christians believe in nothing more than a monotheistic
deity. Even modern dictionaries give far more of a definition to
anarchism than mere anti-statism.

Furthermore, capitalism easily pertains to the word government, as
most anti-state capitalists still support governance institutions such
as courts, police, and even at times prisons or indentured servitude.
To say that this is no longer government simply because you call the
institutions which fund it "private" or "corporate" instead of "state"
is to remove all meaning from the words themselves. This is not a
matter of "not liking" anti-state capitalists, it is a matter of not
watching the word and its use become erroded under our feet simply
because some people don't know enough about history, or the etymology
of the word, or simple logic, to know better than to use it to
describe things it clearly stands against.

Why should it matter whether or not capitalists consider themselves
anarchists? If fascists consider themselves anarchists should we then
stand aside and admit that anarcho-fascism is not a contradiction in
terms? To call capitalists anarchists, when most of them
whole-heartedly support the legitimate violent enforcement of their
property mandates upon even peaceful resistors, is about as meaningful
as refering to people as anarcho-statists.

This claim of "ample" historical precedent itself flies in the face of
history. Anarchism has meant more than anti-statism for more than 150
years by the people who first used the word as a self-description.
Just because Rothbard decided to start calling himself an anarchist by
denying that entire past does not in itself lend historical precedence
to its current misuse. In fact, it simply denies history.

I could care less who is a "real" anarchist and who is not. What I do
care about is that this article -still- includes arguments against
anarchism itself in the guise of "anarcho-capitalism." It -still-
includes straw-men arguments against anarchists themselves, and it
-still- claims that capitalism is compatible with the anarchist
conception of freedom even when it flies in the face of everything
anarchism has always stood for. This is either dishonesty, or
ignorance, and either way it needs to be challenged. NPOV dispute is
the very least this page requires, but if you want to hold a vote over
it go right ahead. - Kevin Nov 6

anarchism means no state, that's all it means from the definition of
the word. "Even modern dictionaries give far more of a definition to
anarchism than mere anti-statism."

the same dictionaries that define it as chaos and violence?

"Furthermore, capitalism easily pertains to the word government, as
most anti-state capitalists still support governance institutions such
as courts, police, and even at times prisons or indentured servitude."

if you get a dozen people together, you'll get a dozen definitions of
"capitalism". it might be better if we just replaced capitalism with
"free market" throughout the entire essay. courts, police, etc are not
necessarily govt functions. a group of people could come together to
start a community voluntarily and they could agree beforehand that
they should have some legal system. since this is entirely voluntary,
it's not a state. I believe many ansocs would advocate some sort of
legal system as well.

"It -still- includes straw-men arguments against anarchists themselves"

examples please.

how's the voting system work anyway?

"anarchism means no state, that's all it means from the definition of the word."

Plainly not true. Anarchism 1. a political theory holding
all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable
and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free
association of individuals and groups

Courts, police, laws, prisons, and indentured servitude all count as
governance and authority in my book. Furthermore, restriction from
private property claims which is upheld by legitimated enforcement is
not my idea of voluntary cooperation.

the same dictionaries that define it as chaos and violence?

Is it really your place to deny one definition of anarchism while
dismissing any possible arguments that deny yours?

it might be better if we just replaced capitalism with "free market"
throughout the entire essay.

Sure, except that the market advocated by most capitalists is not
considered to be "free" by most individualist anarchists, who
themselves have always advocated a free market.

courts, police, etc are not necessarily govt functions.

They govern a populace, by definition. How is it then, that they are
not governmental institutions?

a group of people could come together to start a community voluntarily
and they could agree beforehand that they should have some legal
system. since this is entirely voluntary, it's not a state.

First, this is your own personal definition of state, lots of statists
would argue that a state can be entered into voluntarily. Second, the
moment a single person dissented from such a system it would cease to
be voluntary, thus become a state by your own standards. Are you
suggesting people would always accept the rulings (that is right,
rulings as in rulership) of this legal system?

Because there would be rulings, made by rulers, and according to the
greek root of the word anarchism means literally "without rulers."

I believe many ansocs would advocate some sort of legal system as well.

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