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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New DFC Blog

The Democratic Freedom Caucus has moved to a new blog site, Freedom Democrats. The DFC, in case you don't know, is a libertarian caucus in the Democratic Party. Among other distinguishing features, it's sort of pseudo-, quasi-, crypto-Georgist.

(I probably shouldn't use the G-word, because it always gets me in trouble. The DFC isn't officially Georgist, and not all its members consider themselves Georgists. But a majority of DFC members probably believe that "land is different," in some sense, because "they're not making any more of it," and that economic rent on land is different from the returns on labor and capital. And most probably agree with the classical liberals that a tax on site-rent is the least burdensome and unjust form of taxation. To the average layman, "Georgist" is probably as good a shorhand term as any for that cluster of beliefs.)

A lot of DFC members like the term "Jeffersonian Democrats," alluding to a sort of nineteenth century decentralist libertarianism that's not just a poorly disguised apology for big business interests. Here's how one member put it in a press release a couple of months ago:

"We advocate tax cuts and ending welfare," says Thomas Knapp, 38, of St. Louis, a member of the new DFC affiliate. "But we tend to favor cutting taxes from the bottom up instead of from the top down, and to place a higher priority on ending corporate welfare than on ending the food stamp program for the working poor."


Blogger Charles Hueter said...

I'm curious:

When someone might say "land is different" when relating it to typical capitalist theories, are they arguing the essentially same point (though reversed) that someone would make when arguing "digital copies are different" because one make nearly costless copies of original work, therefore removing intellectual property from standard capitalist theories?

Land = essentially a fixed quantity
Digital copies = essentially an unlimited quantity

July 22, 2005 11:14 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I'm not sure I follow the connection.

July 24, 2005 4:20 AM  
Blogger DevP said...

Actually, yeah - in both cases (exclusive ownership of IP, exclusive ownership of land), there's basically rent-seeking behavior over some monopolized entity. The copyleft and georgist argument has a similar thread here: the owner has an incentive to sit on the property and non-productively suck up rent, and thus can be taxed without maiming the economy.

July 28, 2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Yeah, but I think Charles was making the opposite comparison: between opposing land-rent and *favoring* copyright. It was the proponents of strict copyright who were saying that "digital technology is different."

July 29, 2005 7:14 PM  

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