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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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dave Pollard on Underdevelopment

...we in the "developed" West almost blindly accept these arrogant propositions:

1. The "underdeveloped" nations have always been full of misery, suffering, deprivation and abject poverty. This has been entirely their own fault.
2. Their salvation lies in learning the lessons (political, economic, educational, cultural, technological and social) of the West and changing to be just like them. There is no other route to improvement....

Among the realities ignored by such talking points:

Exploitation: Theft of land and resources, political and military repression of native peoples by outside forces. It is pretty hard to get your country out of poverty when all the land and resources of any value are owned by foreigners, and their fruits all sold for rock-bottom prices and exported to "developed" nations.

Legacy ownership of resources by the heirs and beneficiaries of colonial rule is the elephant in the living room. The faux "free market" rhetoric of the ASI and other neoliberals will be nothing but bullshit until they first deal with initial questions of justice in the starting distribution of property titles. Otherwise, their version of the "free market" really just means a massive looting spree, followed by the proclamation "No coercive intervention in the market starting... NOW!" Real free marketers include Georgists, the radical Lockean followers of Rothbard, and others who acknowledge the history of primitive accumulation, "written in letters of fire and blood"; they are willing to face the issue, and void all state grants of land and resources to absentee rentiers.


Anonymous Brad Spangler said...

Primitive accumulation, when viewed through the lens of libertarian class theory in particular, is just another way of saying the State exists. Banditry "under color of law" is simply what the political class does, the State being its means to that end.

October 31, 2005 6:24 PM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

Point 1 has large elements of truth; just change it to the past tense. European empires did improve that, only trickle down didn't make fast improvements for the locals, and then too rapid decolonialisation split those countries into locked in haves and have nots. (That's not a justification of imperialism, just some background.) The Georgist etc. "remedy" is too much like breaking a badly set fracture so that it can be reset; once enough trickle down has passed, it's definietley worse. It might improve Israel but it can never undo the Highland Clearances or the Enclosure of the Commons without causing far worse present harm. So the general advice is wrong from being too broad a panacea; individual cases require incremental improvem

October 31, 2005 7:44 PM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

Drat that truncation. Anyway, have a look at how the absentee landowner problem was solved with compensation in Prince Edward Island, and bear in mind that the original capitalists investing there were really investing in getting the place settled and weren't mere looters. In the event it was far easier to settle than anticipated, since the rebel colonists drove out so many loyalists who needed to go somewhere, so the investment paid off more handsomely than expected. But it could have gone the other way if, say, France had got the island back. Return on financial risk...

October 31, 2005 7:53 PM  

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