The World That Never Was

ConversesAnarchism

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

The World That Never Was

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu": L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

1HectorSwell
juny 18, 2010, 3:48pm

I’ve just started in on a recently published book, The World That Never Was by Alex Butterworth. Though some of the cover blurbs try to place the book in the category of ‘history of terrorism,’ the author seems to have some sympathy for anarchist ideals (though I’ve only read the intro). He says he will be looking at the international anarchist movement at the end of the 19th c.

Anyone read any good books lately?

2Lunar
juny 19, 2010, 1:28am

On the history front I've recently started James L. Payne's A History of Force. His thesis is that the use of coercion is something that has been declining throughout history. He covers both the forms of coercion that we have put behind us as well as the forms of coercion still reserved to government.

3FrancoisTremblay
juny 19, 2010, 3:33pm

My most recent anarchist book was The Conquest of Bread, by Kropotkin. It's about the anarcho-communist plan for the economy, and how, based on the data available at the time, with an economy oriented towards serving needs instead of profits people could work only a fraction of what they worked at the time and at the same time eliminate poverty and move forward to greater things.

4HectorSwell
juny 20, 2010, 10:20pm

So, Lunar, are you buying Payne's thesis that coercion is declining? What's his argument?

5Lunar
Editat: juny 21, 2010, 8:14pm

#4: He starts off the book by enumerating different reasons readers might have to be sceptical about his thesis, which seemed reasonable enough to me. As an example he also mentions the murder rate of late medieval Yorkshire which, when adjusted for population size, completely dwarfs the modern stats. I'm a little wary of comparing rates from different historical periods, but I can't find anything conceptually wrong with it. It hasn't stopped me from having an open mind thus far.

On another historical note, I've got lots of praise for Charles Adams' For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization. History being largely the chronicle of one group trying to exploit and extract wealth from another group, it brings in an interesting dose of revisionism to the subject of world history. It's interesting in that the method of taxation over the centuries have tended to evolve in the direction of more innocuous methods that are not outright violent but still coercive.

That's what worries me about Payne's thesis. It's hard to track implied threats of violence and to compare them to outright cases of violence. The implied threat of force behind laws seems harder to track than murder rates, though Payne has admitted that both violence and threats of violence (whether from individuals or government) should be treated on equal academic grounds. I do wonder how he will handle that. For the moment I'm reading his treatment on human sacrifice.

6FrancoisTremblay
juny 22, 2010, 5:22pm

What about the "Wild West"? I've been led to understand that crime rates were actually lower in those areas than they are in the US now.

7Lunar
juny 23, 2010, 12:52am

#6: Yes, the Wild West stats were something that I mentioned when I was originally composing the above post, but was eaten by the demon of site maintenance. I tend to think that there is enough room for local variability for a long term decrease to remain tenable.

8HectorSwell
Editat: juny 23, 2010, 9:35am

IF the use of coercion and the more noxious forms of taxation have declined over time, then the interesting part for me would be an explanation as to Why. I too am skeptical of sweeping generalizations and facile comparisons across space and time. History has a way of making ideological arguments look simplistic and reductionist.

In The World That Never Was, Napoleon III has been forced into exile after the loss to Bismarck and Prussia, revolutionaries are about to organize the 1871 Commune, and the Anarchists are distinguishing themselves from the Socialists.

9Lunar
juny 24, 2010, 2:54am

#8: The reason for its decline that I had anticipated Payne would give, and have since seen him refer to, is increasing economic sophistication. In his section on genocide he makes a rather understated argument that the economic ties created by imperialism (which is admittedly a rather meagre step up from tribalism by modern standards) caused people to have a shift in thinking of "hey, why kill those foreigners there yonder when we can just steal from them?"

10perdondaris
ag. 11, 2010, 5:01pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

11perdondaris
ag. 11, 2010, 5:26pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

12FrancoisTremblay
ag. 14, 2010, 11:59am

Socialists or communists, let's be fair.

13lawecon
ag. 14, 2010, 2:04pm

Anarcho-capitalism---a portmanteau word for business oligarchy---is an oxymoron, like libertarian capitalism (or Libertarian Party). All anarchists are socialists. Post-left anarchy is also another oxymoron best displayed in failed societies (or communities) like Somalia and Sudan. Journalists usually call them failed States but there are States (power hierarchies like El Shabaab and the Janjaweed) they just do not provide any security for the denizens of those failed societies/communities.

=========================

This is an interesting - and probably incoherent - point of view. But let's try to be a bit more complete, shall we?

There are only three forms of possible social organization -

communalism - only feasible at a small scale when all members of the group directly interact on a daily basis, since it depends on direct social sanctions and reciprocity.

statism - where some rule and others take their orders

voluntarism - where people have private property rights - the right to exclude others from use or consumption of certain concrete goods - that are acknowledged and respected by others and who then engage in peaceable trade with each other.

Your use of the terms "socialism" and "business oligarchy" are emotive, not descriptive. There are, of course, forms of statism which are oligarchic and/or fascistic but which which have a veneer of private property rights until you violate THE PLAN or cross El Duce or his thugs. The same is true of socialism, where there is no private property or none of any consequence.

One does not win an argument, or even engage in an argument through using a conclusory "bad" sense for the other guy's position and a conclusory "good" sense for one's own position. This is not team sports with banners, cheers, and "team spirit," this is reality and power. Get serious.

14Mr.Durick
ag. 14, 2010, 3:43pm

Do you see communalism, statism, and voluntarism as being exclusive of one another? I see that you have addressed at least some of my question in your 'Your use of the terms...' paragraph, but I am not clear on the system you are proposing (and I would like to be).

Robert

15Lunar
ag. 15, 2010, 6:33pm

#14: I could certainly see communalism existing within both voluntarism and statism (the family unit being the most obvious). One could also say that we currently exist within a mix of both voluntarism and statism as well. Communalism is not so much a classification of a type social interaction so much as a classification of a society's views of property rights.

I would instead classify the types of social organization as voluntary, involuntary, or mixed. I think that it's not a question of mutual exclusivity, but merely of identifying which aspects of society fall under one or the other.

16FrancoisTremblay
Editat: ag. 17, 2010, 12:46am

"communalism - only feasible at a small scale when all members of the group directly interact on a daily basis, since it depends on direct social sanctions and reciprocity."

So, the Spanish Revolution was small scale was it?

(and so was the French Revolution of 1968, apparently)

"Your use of the terms "socialism" and "business oligarchy" are emotive, not descriptive. There are, of course, forms of statism which are oligarchic and/or fascistic but which which have a veneer of private property rights until you violate THE PLAN or cross El Duce or his thugs."

Wrong. Socialism means that the means of production are collectively owned, and this is the accepted meaning by socialists and by reputable sources on the subject. The concept of collective ownership does not imply the existence of hierarchies: there are statist socialists and anti-statist socialists.
(Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first self-professed Anarchist, was a socialist, Some prominent american anarchist socialists: Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Emma Goldman, Josiah Warren, William Greene, and more recently Kevin Carson)

17perdondaris
set. 2, 2010, 6:45pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

18rolandperkins
set. 5, 2010, 1:31am

On 16:

Curiosity: (and a good quesiton for a Labor day weekend):

Who is the William Greene that you refer to, in the last paragraph of 16, as an
anarchist-socialist.

Surely not William Greene the moderate Labor Union leader of the 1st half of the 20th century? (Some on the left, even consider Greene a major ally of
the capitalists. He presided over the merger of the Left-leaning C I O with the A F of L, forming the moderate AFL-CIO.)

19MMcM
set. 5, 2010, 1:53am

More likely William B. Greene.

20FrancoisTremblay
set. 5, 2010, 2:00am

MMcM: That is correct.

21rolandperkins
Editat: set. 5, 2010, 3:08am

Okay,, Thanks, Francois and M McM.
(19 - 20)

There is a William Batchelder Greene in "Search", and one of his titles sounds like he could be an "anarchist Socialist".

22FrancoisTremblay
set. 5, 2010, 3:55pm

It is the same one who has an interest in the Kaballah, yes. I remember reading part of that work as well.

23perdondaris
oct. 11, 2010, 7:21pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

24lawecon
Editat: oct. 11, 2010, 10:34pm

Well, it depends upon what you mean by "capitalist," doesn't it?

Let's clear away some of the rubble surrounding that term. No human society has ever existed without capital in the classical sense of that term - a durable "factor of production." Scarce things of any sort, including capital, must be owned or they will shortly be dissipated into uselessness. Ownership may be by individuals or associations of individuals. It may consist of fee simple ownership, time sharing, rental/use or any of hundreds of variants thereon.

"Owners" of capital - or anything else - do not become benevolent or omniscent because of their institutional affiliations. Bureaucrats and politicians are no more benevolent or omniscent than corporate managers or owners of capital who are private individuals or family dynasties.

There is no such thing as paradigmatic "private property" or paradimatic "collective ownership."

Now, if you are thinking of social theorists like Adam Smith - as opposed to kook ranters like Ayn Rand - as definers and defenders of "capitalism" - not a term used by Smith - then you should have a clue what Smith was describing and advocating. What he was describing and advocating was private ownership of both capital and labor - see above for the range of meanings of that term "private ownership." In the Smithian system, both "capitalists," aka employers, and workers compete internally. Capitalists gain their income solely from using their capital to produce goods that "consumers" want to purchase in competition with other capitalists. Workers compete with one another to earn the income to buy the goods they want, thus becoming consumers.

Now, of course, the precondition of "competition" can be violated. When it is violated the Smithian conclusions no longer hold. The condition of competition is violated on the "capitalist" side by socialism, fascism, state capitalism, and, more generally, statism. It is violated on the worker side by various types of syndicalism. When the precondition is violated, the system in question is no longer Smithian "capitalism."

Now, whether you buy any of that, there is one methodological rule that you should consider. You don't argue rationally or fairly by comparing Nazi Germany as the paradigm of "capitalism" with, a society where angels control and allocate the means of production - i.e., "utopia" or, literally, "no where". Such an argument form evidences dogmatism and fundamentalism, whether or not you are religious. Try to unpack your arguments from your definitions.

25perdondaris
oct. 12, 2010, 12:05am

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

26lawecon
oct. 12, 2010, 10:07am

While I agree with much of what you say, I think you are still caught up in this "historical outlook" on social theory. Curiously, your version appears to be a particularly conventional view of what has happened historically. Try this more unconventional view:

The period from roughly the mid-17th century to the late-18th century was a period of intense ideological struggle in Europe, and, during its late stage, the United States. The forces favoring individual rights and opposing the trappings of imperialism and church/state union that had dominated the West since Constantine were at open war with the Old Regime. The war took many forms. It was war as such in Holland, England and what would become the United States at different times during this period. At other time, the Old Regime would reassert itself - as it did, for instance, in the so called "Glorious Revolution," better known as the Glorious Reaction, in England. This struggle largely ended by the mid 19th Century. The forces of individual liberty lost due to things like the Rousseau/Napoleon tradition in France, that transformed an international movement for liberty into a rabid "romantic" nationalism. The final crushing blow was the Congress of Vienna.

True, the formal trappings of the Old Regime were replaced by so-called "democratic institutions" in many places thereafter, but the democracy in question was a fraud. The fraud was based on the existence of a perpetual ruling class that might be referrred to as a "rotating oligarchy" that maintains itself through frequent "popular wars" and monopoly structures such a "free public education" and media networks. The control is not direct, but punative. You can say anything you want, just so long as you do not stray too far from the party line of the moment.

Quite the contrary to what you write above, the economic controls are also still firmly in place. Try, for instance, practicing medicine without both federal and state licenses. Practicing law? Being a hairsylist? Charging the "wrong price" for a product or producing it in "the wrong way". Creating unconventional systems for compensation of those who produce the product with you? Know what the Federal Register is? Know its weekly size?

27perdondaris
oct. 15, 2010, 4:12pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

28Lunar
oct. 16, 2010, 12:06am

#27:At the beginning of the 20th Century (pre WWI) we had the Tea Party America that the Tea Partiers argue for.

That era never existed. It's a fantasy concocted by both the Left and the Right. By the Right in order to construct a mythical paradise to return to and by the Left to create a mythical wilderness that we "progressed" away from. Read any number of reviews of Gabriel Kolko's works on the railroad era and the so-called progressive era before you try to pass off the 19th century under the guise of unobtrusive government.

From a social anarchist perspective after you get rid of the State class differences will cease and the institutions of property (that are upheld by the State and its bureaucracies of policemen, secret policemen, and public and private armies) will dissolve.

That's fine by me. The practice of private property is very much an emergent characteristic of society, so I'm not worried about roaming bands of socialists coming around to loot the neighborhood (as much as they might like to) once the state withers away.

29FrancoisTremblay
oct. 16, 2010, 2:57pm

"The practice of private property is very much an emergent characteristic of society"

Of our societies? Probably. Of all societies? No.

"so I'm not worried about roaming bands of socialists coming around to loot the neighborhood (as much as they might like to) once the state withers away."

Wow. You think eliminating private property means socialists want to loot your neighborhood? You haven't actually read anything about socialism and anti-propertarianism have you.

30lawecon
oct. 16, 2010, 7:43pm

"The practice of private property is very much an emergent characteristic of society"

Of our societies? Probably. Of all societies? No.

==============================

Give us a few examples of societies above the level of a subsistence tribe of hunter gatherers where it isn't an emergent characteristic.

Of course, as I point out above, the term "private property" names a large class of possible social arrangements not a member of such a class - another little problem with the debate between "socialism" and "capitalism."

31FrancoisTremblay
oct. 17, 2010, 2:55pm

Have you read People Without Government, by Harold Barclay? There's a long list of societies that existed without government, many of them "above the level" of hunter-gatherers (as if social evolution was a ladder).

The argument all hinges on how you define "property." If you're one of those people who define property as being any kind of ownership whatsoever, then your claim is not falsifiable. Otherwise, it is definitely false.

32perdondaris
oct. 17, 2010, 7:22pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

33lawecon
oct. 17, 2010, 11:40pm

Re 31~

Well, as an attorney and former economist I define property pretty much the way I've defined it in the posts above.

Property rights have temporal, spacial and use dimensions, any of which may vary between particular "owned" objects and property systems. Further, most societies distinguish between spacially fixed property, durable property that is not spacially fixed and nondurable property that is not spacially fixed.

What specific things are vested with property rights depends on the society. There are no property rights in water in "Eskimo" societies. There are in traditional Arabic socieities. Most tribes of Native Americans in the Eastern United States did not have anything like fee simple property rights in land, but they did have hunting rights - that were usually owned by the tribe. They had hunting rights because they were mostly hunter gatherer societies, not herding societies or agricultural societies.

No society I am aware of is without property rights in scarce goods. I don't think that is a tautology, since "good" is not synonymous with "scarce" or with "property right," nor has there ever been a Star Trek/Marxian society of "no scarcity." However, what is scarce varies considerably between societies, and between time periods in a given society.

Now instead of mentioning some volume that it is unlikely all of us are going to run out and buy and then spend a day or so reading, why don't you directly answer the question posted in ~30.

34lawecon
oct. 17, 2010, 11:42pm

~ 32

As I said before, you have a head filled with slogans - and not very original slogans.

35Lunar
oct. 18, 2010, 12:13am

#31: Ditto what lawecon said about scarcity determining the variable definitions for property. On a behavioral level, humans find it universally aversive to be deprived of something they have worked for. Necessarily, that which is scarce coincides with what people might work to acquire (otherwise why else put in the effort?). So society will always have a great disdain for those who wish to steal from them. Only superstitions like a belief in authority can get people to tolerate such acts.

36FrancoisTremblay
oct. 18, 2010, 2:51pm

What does scarcity have to do with it? As Proudhon pointed out, it makes no sense to impose property rights on scarce goods like land, because taking one for yourself negatively affects the well-being of everyone else. On the other hand, imposing property rights on non-scarce goods like air, water or light does not hurt anyone.

I do not see a definition of "property" from you in the posts above. Could you repost it please?

37Lunar
oct. 19, 2010, 1:09am

#36: As Proudhon pointed out, it makes no sense to impose property rights on scarce goods like land, because taking one for yourself negatively affects the well-being of everyone else.

Malthus said much the same thing, though he and Proudhon differed in their solutions to this fallacious problem. It's a fallacy that individual rights are a burden on society. Out of scarcity comes not only the incentive to produce for oneself (the subsistence mentality), but to also produce for trade with others (the capitalist mentality). I have A, but have a scarcity of B. You have B, but have a scarcity of A. When we trade both our lots are improved.

So who's really depriving whom? You can state, as you have, that property is theft. But then I can come right back and say that theft is theft. Nobody can come in and take from me against my consent what I have earned without it being theft. They would steal not only my property, but all the time and effort I had put into affording the exchange.

38lawecon
Editat: oct. 19, 2010, 8:44am

Re ~36

"What does scarcity have to do with it?"

Ah, everything. If something is not scarce there is no reason to ration its use or preserve its existence. Buffalo were not scarce for some time. Since they were not scarce no one bothered rounding them up and breeding them. They were used for hats and clothing rather than cow leather because they were "free" and cows were not. Then, through over use, they became scarce. People then started rounding them up and breeding them.

Get it?

Your example, incidentally, makes no sense at all. No farming society does not ration land use. No hunter gather society does ration land use. If you want to know what happens to land if it is unowned in a society that knows how to farm, read "The Tragedy Of The Commons".

The reason why land is treated differently by hunter gather and farmings societies is also obvious. Particular plots of land cultivated by particular people to produce particular crops is the principal means through which people produce food in a farming society, but in a hunter gatherer society most uses of land are "free." In a hunter gatherer socity land itself produces nothing. It is merely where you may find game to hunt or berries to pick some of the time on what appears to be a purely random basis. There is thus no reason to preserve particular tracts of land in a particular state - only to preserve hunting rights over vast tracts of land. ======================

A definition of property is simple. "That which is owned and from the use of which you can exclude others." You seem to understand that definition quite well in your comment on Proudhon.

The problem is, apparently, that you don't seem to understand the variety of things that "that" can be in that definition or the variety of persons and entitites who can exercise ownership. To put it differently, to say "we don't need property right" is literally "non-sense" - it is like saying "we don't need air to breathe." We do need air to breathe and property rights to ration things that people value of which there is not an abundance - an indefinitely large amount. The argument is over what property rights, how configured and exercised by whom.





==========================

Are you going to get around to answering my question one of these days?

39FrancoisTremblay
oct. 20, 2010, 4:04pm

"Ah, everything. If something is not scarce there is no reason to ration its use or preserve its existence."

I already disproved that assertion.

"If you want to know what happens to land if it is unowned in a society that knows how to farm, read "The Tragedy Of The Commons"."

Yea, that's an old myth. Read up on it: even the author of the original study didn't mean all commons, only unmanaged commons. But all sorts of right-wing people like you have taken advantage of the title to make unjustified conclusions. Here is a good refutation:
http://p2pfoundation.net/Tragedy_of_the_Tragedy_of_the_Commons

"A definition of property is simple. "That which is owned and from the use of which you can exclude others." You seem to understand that definition quite well in your comment on Proudhon."

Actually, that is not Proudhon's definition at all. But if you define "property" in this way (a way which is completely contrary to any common usage), then you are correct that all societies have "property." But that's a trivial conclusion.

40FrancoisTremblay
oct. 20, 2010, 4:08pm

"So who's really depriving whom? You can state, as you have, that property is theft. But then I can come right back and say that theft is theft. Nobody can come in and take from me against my consent what I have earned without it being theft. They would steal not only my property, but all the time and effort I had put into affording the exchange."

This is an equivocation on "earned." No one disputes that you are entitled to the full product of your work, or an equivalent thereof. But the converse of that is that you don't deserve the authority to dispose of other people's full product (as capitalist and democratist authorities do). Whatever you "earn" in this manner is not deserved, and taking it from you is not theft.

41Lunar
oct. 21, 2010, 1:43am

#40: "I already disproved that assertion."

You haven't disproved anything. You have merely asserted the Malthusian fallacy.

As for that link about the tragedy of the commons, I don't think an argument of "well, gee, common ownership could theoretically work if only we enforced the right rules" is reconciled very well with the elimination of an involuntary hierarchy.

"No one disputes that you are entitled to the full product of your work, or an equivalent thereof."

You just did. You said that taking anything from me is not theft. The term for that is called "double-think." You can mess around with as many definition for property as you want. No amount of wordplay can stop an act of coercion from being what it is. When I earn property through voluntary exchange, I'm not using coercion. But when someone takes it from me, they are.

42FrancoisTremblay
oct. 21, 2010, 1:54pm

"You haven't disproved anything. You have merely asserted the Malthusian fallacy."

I think you are confused. A fallacy is a failure in logic. There is no failure in logic in what I said.

"As for that link about the tragedy of the commons, I don't think an argument of "well, gee, common ownership could theoretically work if only we enforced the right rules" is reconciled very well with the elimination of an involuntary hierarchy."

What are you talking about? We are not talking about "theoretically work." Common ownership worked for centuries and centuries, before common land was violently taken over by States everywhere. The issue has nothing to do with theory, it has to do with recognizing the facts of history.

"You just did. You said that taking anything from me is not theft."

I did not say that "taking anything from you is not theft." I said that taking anything from you which you stole from other people's full product is not theft. Do try to follow.

"The term for that is called "double-think." You can mess around with as many definition for property as you want. No amount of wordplay can stop an act of coercion from being what it is. When I earn property through voluntary exchange, I'm not using coercion. But when someone takes it from me, they are."

"Voluntary exchange" does not make your claim of property legitimate. If you steal other people's full product under a condition of "voluntary exchange," you are a thief, regardless of how many fraudulent contracts you write to try to hide that fact. No amount of wordplay can stop an act from being what it is. "Radical" capitalists like you like to stand behind words like "voluntary" and "trade" to hide the exploitative and fraudulent nature of the system they advocate.

In reality, stark differences in starting conditions (brought about partially by the enclosures of the commons, ironically), the highly uneven yoke of the legal system, and the whitewash of the use of violence in other countries, make "voluntary" capitalism a joke. Some people pretend to sell their labour because they have no choice, and other people pretend they own it so they can get richer at the expense of the worker's full product. Add the fiction of the corporate person, 150 years of concentration of wealth, neo-liberalist foreign policies, and you get today's world.

43Lunar
oct. 22, 2010, 12:50am

#42: If you steal other people's full product under a condition of "voluntary exchange," you are a thief... "Radical" capitalists like you like to stand behind words like "voluntary" and "trade" to hide the exploitative and fraudulent nature of the system they advocate.

Wow. So the thing I really want to know is under what conditions I can exchange property so that it isn't characterized as theft. If you really think that I'm a "radical capitalist" and a thief just for engaging in peaceful voluntary trade, tell me what I should do instead that does not involve coercion? Don't tell me that I'm hiding behind terms like "voluntary" unless you can tell me how anything voluntary can be theft.

44FrancoisTremblay
Editat: oct. 22, 2010, 4:14am

If you don't want to be a thief, don't steal from other people, and stop supporting the neo-liberalist economic policies which encourage stealing, "voluntary" or not. That's what the word means.

45Lunar
oct. 23, 2010, 12:10am

No, really. Tell me how I'm supposed to make a living without you characterizing me as a thief. If you're going to claim you can legitimately take stuff from me if I meet your nebulous definition of theft, shouldn't you tell me how peaceful voluntary exchange isn't good enough? I'm perfectly happy to see you start your own commune somewhere so long as you're peaceful and your system is voluntary. Would you be able to reciprocate in letting me alone if I'm also getting along peacefully and voluntarily with others?

46FrancoisTremblay
Editat: oct. 23, 2010, 6:01pm

You seem absolutely obsessed with something being "voluntary." You're not one of those "anarcho-capitalists," are you? They are also obsessed with the concept, as if two people agreeing on something made irrelevant the whole social context behind it.

Here's a fictional scenario that illustrates how insane the "voluntaryist" concept is.

In the middle of nowhere, a man falls into a well. It was dark, he didn't have any light and was trying to make his way home. He's stuck down this well and shouts for help, but there's no house anywhere around. Then someone comes up and shouts to him: "Hey there. You sure are in pickle huh? Well, this is in the middle of nowhere, so no one will ever find you. I'm willing to help you, though, because I am such a nice guy. If you'll agree, I'll send you food down every day, some light, and books, so you do all right. In exchange, I want you to do some work for me. I'll send you everything down in a basket every day. What's that? Rescue you? No, that's not my responsibility. As long as you agree, it is necessarily just, because all that is required for an action or system to be ethical is that it be voluntary. Right? I knew you'd see reason. All right, I'm going to lower a contract to you now. Go ahead and sign it, and we'll start. Well look, don't complain to me if you voluntarily agree to do it, I never agreed to rescue you so it would be unethical for me to be forced to rescue you. In fact, I'm going to try to buy this well so I can forbid anyone else from rescuing you."

I trust you see where I am going here. "Voluntaryism" is, at its core, pure subjectivism disguised as freedom. It is the annihilation of all ethical principles, including human rights (as we see in capital-democracies). Because of the vast differences in starting conditions, it reduces itself to might makes right. Whoever has the power, wealth or reputation can "voluntarily" extract ever-better negotiating positions, using his comrades in power when necessary (governments killing strikers when unions were effective, corporations taking over the media and suppressing anti-government speech, the privatization of judicial and military violence, the mutual support of government and religion, etc).

This radical subjectivism leads us to completely inhuman, absurd conclusions, such as the Mises forum ancaps arguing whether it is ethical to shoot someone hanging from a flagpole if you own it, or Walter Block writing that sexual harassment can be justified by work contracts. Taken to its logical conclusion, it leads to pure insanity.

47Lunar
oct. 23, 2010, 10:34pm

#46: Someone stuck down a well with one person outside having a monopoly on the provision of resources is not even remotely comparable to the kinds of exchanges that take place in the light of day of the open market.

And while I've learned a great deal from the anarcho-capitalists, I'd consider myself closer to anarcho-pacifism. Once again, I think you should be free to pursue your communal utopia so long as you do it peacefully and voluntarily. Do you have a probelm with being peaceful and noncoercive? Or are you closer to my hyperbole about socialist looters which originally ticked you off? I don't really care so much if you have different views of property so long as you're not operating with a terribly divergent definition of what constitutes violence.

As for "starting conditions," if we consider the cycle of violence as exercised through politics, it doesn't matter. Somebody has to stop. It doesn't matter who or from which "side." Don't give me any bullshit about how much vengeance you still think you need to put into the bank before the score can be "even." Just stop.

48lawecon
oct. 24, 2010, 10:06am

~46

I'm curious. Do you ever actually answer a question, or is that the "other guy's" role?

49FrancoisTremblay
Editat: oct. 24, 2010, 9:04pm

"#46: Someone stuck down a well with one person outside having a monopoly on the provision of resources is not even remotely comparable to the kinds of exchanges that take place in the light of day of the open market."

It was a hypothetical. Everything in the scenario was "voluntary." Read it again if you don't get it.

"Once again, I think you should be free to pursue your communal utopia so long as you do it peacefully and voluntarily. Do you have a probelm with being peaceful and noncoercive?"

I already explained to you why voluntaryism is ethical subjectivism, and ultimately a might makes right ideology. So obviously I do have a problem with voluntaryism. I don't have any problem with peace and non-coercion, but I don't consider either of these things sufficient conditions to make something ethical, any more than I consider "voluntary" a sufficient condition.

By the way, what "communal utopia" are you babbling about? Are you talking to someone else?

"As for "starting conditions," if we consider the cycle of violence as exercised through politics, it doesn't matter. Somebody has to stop. It doesn't matter who or from which "side." Don't give me any bullshit about how much vengeance you still think you need to put into the bank before the score can be "even." Just stop."

What does vengeance have to do with ending poverty and inequality? Sounds like you are getting very emotional here, and I have no idea where it comes from. If you have some kind of hangup, man, I don't care about it. I don't want to hear about your emotional problems. Either admit that starting conditions are unequal and entail unequal results in a "voluntary" marketplace, within any given society and within the whole world, or admit that you don't want to deal with the facts.

The only "vengeance" I see in this world is the spirit of revenge with which the capital-democratic states hit, kidnap and kill people who disagree with it or try to create a better world.

"I'm curious. Do you ever actually answer a question, or is that the "other guy's" role?"

What? I don't understand what you're talking about. I've answered all of your questions. Who is this other guy you are talking about? With this and that other strange remark about communal utopia, I think you are confusing me with someone else. Make sure you are talking to the right person before replying, all right?

50coopdouglas
oct. 25, 2010, 12:07am

Aquest missatge ha estat marcat com abús per més d'un usuari i ja no es pot veure (mostra)
Instead of considering a World That Never Was, perhaps we would be better employed in thinking about the state of our present world.
While people everywhere say they long for a world free of war and violence, the other side of their nature allows a little stone-age man in their genes to behave in a most brutal manner.
A recent good book on the subject gets back to basics and keeps our thinking on track. It is Crowds and Leadership: the Art of Influencing Crowds, by Douglas Coop.
Amongst other topics it discusses a range of crowd behavior from simple protests to revolution, and how leadership should evolve and be portrayed. It ends with a chapter on the implications of world peace.

51Lunar
oct. 27, 2010, 3:22am

I already explained to you why voluntaryism is ethical subjectivism, and ultimately a might makes right ideology.

A hypothetical sadist who manipulates someone down a well (a hypothetical which doesn't bear even a metaphorical similarity to anything involving open exchange) is a far cry from explaining anything. Even black market relationships aren't so preposterous.

By the way, what "communal utopia" are you babbling about? Are you talking to someone else?

I'm talking about the one I'd be happy to let you pursue so long as it's done peacufully and voluntarily. I asked in #45 if you'd reciprocate, did I not?

What does vengeance have to do with ending poverty and inequality?

If you don't want to steal things out of a perceived need to even the score, that's great and I hope that's the case. But if you're going to keep saying "I don't believe in theft because I call it something else when I think the ends justify the means," I think I can call that "bullshit" without giving you any reason to alledge emotionalism.

The only "vengeance" I see in this world is the spirit of revenge with which the capital-democratic states hit, kidnap and kill people who disagree with it or try to create a better world.

That's fine with me. Then there's no need for you to claim you get to steal from people who have acquired property without coercion.

52FrancoisTremblay
oct. 27, 2010, 3:32pm

"A hypothetical sadist who manipulates someone down a well (a hypothetical which doesn't bear even a metaphorical similarity to anything involving open exchange) is a far cry from explaining anything."

I think it explains plenty.

"I'm talking about the one I'd be happy to let you pursue so long as it's done peacufully and voluntarily."

I wouldn't live in a free commune, if I could leave in a free city. But if a commune is all there is, then I'd join out of necessity.

"If you don't want to steal things out of a perceived need to even the score, that's great and I hope that's the case."

It's the system that must be changed. Stealing from one to give to the other can only be a stopgap solution at best. Robin Hood would have to keep doing it for the rest of his life, and as soon as he died, the system would reassert itself.

"the ends justify the means"

Actually, I believe the exact opposite.

"That's fine with me. Then there's no need for you to claim you get to steal from people who have acquired property without coercion."

I already told you I reject your criteria for "acquiring property." So the statement is loaded at best.

53Lunar
oct. 28, 2010, 1:23am

I already told you I reject your criteria for "acquiring property." So the statement is loaded at best.

Then that takes us back to my repeated requests for you to tell me what I have to do to acquire property legitimately. How do I feed, clothe, shelter, and enjoy myself if peaceful and voluntary exchange isn't good enough?

54FrancoisTremblay
Editat: oct. 29, 2010, 2:22pm

You're just repeating yourself now. I've answered that question already: don't steal people's full product, or support people who do.

55Lunar
oct. 29, 2010, 10:26pm

don't steal people's full product, or support people who do.

We've both been saying "don't steal" all along. The difference is that I've told you my criteria and you've kept your a secret. So if you don't want to tell me how I should go about acquiring property legitimately, why don't you tell me how you would? How would you feed, clothe, shelter and enjoy yourself if peaceful and voluntary exchange isn't good enough?

56FrancoisTremblay
nov. 1, 2010, 1:35pm

By using the full product of your labor. I think that's pretty obvious.

57Lunar
nov. 2, 2010, 12:49am

Well, no. I asked you how to acquire property legitimately, not about how you maintain ownership. Theft is all about the nature of how something was acquired. So you still haven't told me how you want me to acquire property legitimately, but I can also work with what you've given me.

Basically, you're saying that when you take your shoes off at night, then you are no longer their legitimate owner. When you stop using your shoes and still claim to own them, you're "stealing" from everyone else who finds themselves wanting to put some footwear on.

Notice that to construe my criteria as allowing for theft you had to resort to some wild hypothetical about a man stuck down a well. But with the criteria you've provided I can safely estimate that by your own definition you engage in theft a few thousand times a day.

As a side note (yet also a very significant point) I can't see how anyone would have any incentive to manufacture shoes or any other product in the crazy "use it or lose it" environment your definition would set up. Nobody would produce anything beyond meagre subsistence levels if they had to worry about losing it the moment they turned their gaze. Great way to get everyone to end up shoeless and penniless. It is in this way that being against capitalism is the same as being against a decent standard of living.

58FrancoisTremblay
Editat: nov. 2, 2010, 3:46pm

No, I never said that when you take your shoes off at night, you are no longer their owner. No one sane would say that you are no longer using a given pair of shoes just because you took them off, or snatch it from your home because they thought they were abandoned. Maybe if you switched to the word "abandonment," you'd get more understanding on the issue, since it's very clear that the shoes were not abandoned.

My hypothetical was a hypothetical meant to illustrate the errors of voluntaryism, which it does. It also served as an analogy for capitalism (trapped in a well=starting conditions, unilaterally-decided exchange= capitalist work contract). It seems that once again, as I said before, even the very first level of comprehension (as a hypothetical) flew right by your head. Once again I apologize for thinking you were smarter than you really are, but there's really no need for you to keep reminding us of the shallowness of your understanding.

59Lunar
nov. 3, 2010, 1:20am

#58: I'm perfectly comfortable with your assessment of property rights when it comes to abandonment (though I'm still suspicious of what you consider abandonment). But then what's this all about using a "full product"? I had interpreted it to be like those communal bicycles at Burning Man that are considered to be up for grabs by any passer-by if found unattended. Apparently I mistook your nonanswer as a genuine attempt at explanation. Telling me that I legitimately own property if I don't abandon it is just saying "you own it if you exercise ownership" and is about as uninformative as it is obvious.

So do you actually have any criteria for the legitimate acquisition of property that improves upon the criteria I set out? Or are you just expressing your alarmism about the impossibly worst-case-scenario of peaceful and voluntary exchange and have no answers of your own?

60FrancoisTremblay
Editat: nov. 5, 2010, 3:26pm

Okay, we've already established that you don't do hypotheticals or analogies. No need to retread that, you're just embarassing yourself.

I already told you the nature of the legitimate acquisition of property. I don't know what else you want me to say. Maybe you think it is too simplistic? I'd like to hear if you have any specific scenarios in which you think there is a problem.

61Lunar
nov. 6, 2010, 12:41am

Okay, we've already established that you don't do hypotheticals or analogies.

No, we've established that you don't do reality. Not a single real-life example to back up your anxieties about the alleged pitfalls of peaceful and voluntary exchange. All you've ever offered was some outlandish scenario based on your sick view of humanity in which everyone has a little sadist lurking inside ready to pop out when they find someone stuck down a well, allegorical or otherwise. If you really wanted to, you could put me on the defensive by citing some real-life example and then I'd have to come up with an analysis of why it's an incorrect example.

I'd like to hear if you have any specific scenarios in which you think there is a problem.

I'd love to, except that you continue to refuse to give me your criteria. I had tried to give you a very everyday scenario that highlighted a problem back when you gave me the "full product" line, but then when you "clarified" that you were using circular logic instead of critieria, that was the end of that.

So do you purport to have acquired property by what you consider to be legitimate means? Could you possibly explain how you did so? What criteria made it legitimate? I'm not saying you need to have practiced what you preach to be able to make an argument. But the task of distilling what makes an economic exchange "legitimate" seems to elude you, so I'm asking you to think of concrete examples. It could be a bike or a computer printer. I don't care. Don't tell me that it's obvious that "you own it if you own it" and don't give me any nonsense about how "starting conditions" justify your interference when your secret criteria are violated. Just give me a sentence or two about what constitutes a legitimate acquisition of property.

62FrancoisTremblay
nov. 6, 2010, 3:45pm

"some outlandish scenario based on your sick view of humanity in which everyone has a little sadist lurking inside"

You're just making me repeat myself here, but once again I'm sorry that you don't have enough brain power to understand hypotheticals (incidentally, I know this comment will go right over your head, but I find it ironic that a voluntary situation is described by you as reflecting a "sick view of humanity").

"the task of distilling what makes an economic exchange "legitimate" seems to elude you"

Sure, buddy. I've already made it more than clear. I'm sorry you don't understand what I'm saying. I don't really know how to make it simpler... Well, here's a try. You produce something, it's yours. You don't produce something, it's not yours. You're given money, it's yours. You're not given money, it's not yours. How's that?

63rolandperkins
nov. 6, 2010, 5:11pm

"You produce something, it's yours. You don't
produce something, it's not yours." (62)

Does that mean that the oil in Iraq and Iran belongs to Iraq and Iran and not to East Asians, Europeans, and Americans? If that scenario of native possession c annot be rescinded, then what was the point of
fighting Iraq and remaining on the brink of war with Iran? I suppose you might say that the Iraqis and Iranians did not produce oil, but only happened to be sitting on it. (The same could be said for Hawai'i's era of producing SUGAR, but not sugar-PRODUCTS.)

"You're given money, it's yours. You're not given money, its' not yours." . . .

I have little experience in being "given money", a lot of experience in "NOT being given money". If you're talking, in the former, about Inheritance Tax, aka "Death Tax", if I, say, were given an inheritance would I like its being taxed? I would not like it, but I would understand it. SO much for what I have NOT experienced (and don't expect to).
What I have experienced -- "NOT (being) given money -- ever have the idea that your deserved salary and your actually received salary were two different figures? ANd that the deserved was the
higher of the two? I would consider that money as money not given but that I had a claim on, if we're going to speak very generally -- in terms of the
whole society's arrangements.

64rolandperkins
nov. 6, 2010, 5:11pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

65Lunar
nov. 7, 2010, 1:17am

You produce something, it's yours. You don't produce something, it's not yours. You're given money, it's yours. You're not given money, it's not yours. How's that?

Pretty piss poor for someone who was up in arms about the horrors of peaceful and voluntary exchange. If you claim that your criteria are any better than mine, I fail to see how your criteria are really any more stringent. But at least you tried.

66FrancoisTremblay
nov. 7, 2010, 3:40pm

*rolls eyes

Whatever you say, "Lunar." But read more on Anarchism before ranting about it next time.

67lawecon
nov. 13, 2010, 1:32pm

You know, Francois, I'm 60 years old, and have been reading about Anarchism by anarchists since I was in my 20s. Frankly, what you have to say is at the far incohernt end of the anarchist spectrum. Maybe its because English isn't your native language, but I doubt that is the explanation. I think that the explanation is probably that you have the same sort of "vision" of what anarchism "must be" that Christians have of G_d and what he "must be."

And, Francois, if you think what you are reading and regurgitating is anarchism, you might want to actually read some of the foundational texts in anarchism. Try some Godwin, some Bakunin, some Kropotkin, some Tucker, some Goldman, etc. rather than just postmodernist texts explaining what, in the view of postmodernism, can't be explained. Yes, I know you like Proudhon, and so do I and other anarchists - sometimes. His General Idea of the Revolution has many worthwhile passages as do a few of his other writings - e.g., his essay on Federation - but Proudhon is known more for his confusion than for his anarchism. He is also rightly claimed by the fascists as a source of their ideology.

68FrancoisTremblay
nov. 14, 2010, 3:21pm

Excuse me? I have read the entire collection of Tucker's works. I have read Bakunin and Kropotkin as well. If you don't understand what I am saying, maybe you are the one with a loose grasp on English. It is not from a lack of education on my part.

69Lunar
nov. 15, 2010, 2:20am

#68: No. For being so well-read, it was an utter failure on your part to articulate anything meaningful. The closest you ever got was to use the term "full product," which you later backpedaled into meaning "unabandoned," which is utterly uninformative. You claimed my criteria for the legitimate acquisition of property were inadequate and refused to give any criteria to make up for the alleged inadequacy.

70perdondaris
nov. 15, 2010, 2:19pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

71perdondaris
nov. 15, 2010, 2:23pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

72FrancoisTremblay
nov. 15, 2010, 3:53pm

Lunar: your completely mangled interpretation of my clear messages merely proves that you are not very good at reading. How can you expect to understand political concepts when you can't read at an adequate level?

73lawecon
Editat: nov. 15, 2010, 10:12pm

The reason a plutocracy (capitalism) will always be an unstable form of government is simply GREED. Greed is the reason for ALL wars. Hitler invaded Poland to steal their resources. Iraq invaded Kuwait to steal their resources. America invaded Iraq to steal their resources. China invaded Tibet to steal their resources. The USSR invaded Eastern Europe to steal their resources.

===============================

So, let me get this straight. The U.S.A., the U.S.S.R. and the P.R.C. during their imperialist moments are all examples of "capitalism" ? Could you give us an example of a socialist nation which has the power to be imperialistic, or is this like a Christian argument about the peaceable nature of Jesus?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
People also forget the standard of living in countries rose after their revolutions. Soviet Russia had an increase of industrialization as did China, Vietnam etc. Russia in 1929 was better than Russia in 1909
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ROTFL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_famine_of_1921
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_famine_of_1932%E2%80%931933
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China_(1949%E2%80%931976)
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1256568.html

Where do you get this stuff?

74perdondaris
nov. 16, 2010, 12:00am

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

75lawecon
nov. 16, 2010, 7:53am

~74

My point is somewhat different. You use the principal anti-capitalist regimes of the 20th century as examples of capitalism. You apparently see "greed" as bad, but then state your mistaken belief that these anti-capitalist regimes have improved material conditions as evidence of their desirability.

It appears that you are simply confused. If you are not confused, give us a citation to one society which is, for you, "good" in the sense that it is non-capitalist and non-greedy and prosperous.

76perdondaris
nov. 16, 2010, 5:29pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

77Lunar
nov. 17, 2010, 12:33am

#72: I'm confident enough in how accurately I portrayed your posts. If what I said in my previous post were in fact a mangling of what you had said, it should be pretty easy for you to show that as the case since it's just two short sentences of premises. Not that I'm trying to coax you into resuming a debate you want no part of, but it's one of those options that are left open to you.

78lawecon
nov. 17, 2010, 9:11pm

~76

Ever get around to answering straightforward questions? Or is every question viewed by you as just another opportunity to babble?

79FrancoisTremblay
nov. 18, 2010, 8:49pm

I have no confidence in your ability to understand any explanation, especially since you do not have the humility of realizing that you don't know what you're talking about. This discussion was pretty long and I also have no intention of rephrasing all of what I've said for your sake. I think my words stand for themselves, at any rate.

80FrancoisTremblay
nov. 18, 2010, 8:52pm

As for greed, I agree that all systems are founded on greed. But greed can serve mankind or strike against it, depending on whether a class system is in place. Greed in capitalism is destructive of environments and lives, because capitalism is tied to a class society where the institutional interests of the economic and political units are drastically different from the interests of the people.

81perdondaris
nov. 19, 2010, 6:35pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.