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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, February 17, 2010

At C4SS-- So-Called Free Trade Agreements are to Free Trade, as the Ministry of Love is to Love


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin I had a question regarding standardization in a free market; do you think there would be standards like units of measure, structural tubing sizes, bar stock, measures of length and so on? Did the government not create these? Where do you see units of measure and standardization being created in a stateless system?
I also wanted to know what you think about Fair trade . Bye and Good job ur blog roks!!

February 22, 2010 3:13 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I definitely think so. The flexible manufacturing ecologies that exist in Emilia-Romagna and Shenzhen, in the corporate supplier networks, etc., already require a lot of coordination in developing common design standards for a lot of things, standard interfaces, etc.

I take a favorable view of the fair trade movement, although like most of the rest of the counter-economy it's been swimming upstream so long as the perverse incentives of state capitalism have worked against it.

February 22, 2010 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Kevin thanks for the quick reply,that answers a crucial question I had about open source standardization.Your view on the fair trade movement have me perplexed as they favor protectionist measures like tariffs to promote domestic industry and accept the infant industry argument. Do you think Free trade without labour mobility is not free trade at all? How much do you sympathize with the Georgists regarding land rights? As a request can you also blog about your philosophical views as your blogs are almost always economics.

February 25, 2010 12:47 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

When I say I support the fair trade movement, I only mean I support voluntary, organized efforts to procure goods from Third World farmers on fairer terms than normally prevail. If the movement is associated with a protectionist agenda, I don't support that at all.

I have a fair amount of sympathy with the Georgist understanding of Ricardian rent and its economic effects, although I think their solution is wrongheaded. There's a collection of posts linked in my sidebar under the "Georgism and Land Theory" heading, or something like that.

I'm afraid I'm not clear enough on my own philosophical views to shed much light on them, although I may remedy that sometime in the future. And unfortunately I'm too swamped with deadlines to undertake a new field of commentary. But thanks for your interest!

One thing that did strike me recently is just how natural a reaction Gnosticism is, given the existential predicament human beings find themselves in. There's the sense every person has of being the center of the universe, the only known consciousness that mirrors reality; the unique sense of one's own mortality that comes with higher intelligence; the sense of being a "supernatural" intelligence in an animal body. And one aspect of that seemingly "supernatural" intelligence is its ability to create idealized standards that are completely realized nowhere in the material world: the abstract ideal of an existence free of death, pain, and material limitations and finitude. I think it's the psychological sense that we coldn't create such a compelling "reality," without it necessarily having some real existence, that has led to things like Anselm's ontological proof. The human mind is capable of creating an unattainable and impossible set of criteria for judging the material world, all based entirely on perceiving what's objectionable in material reality, elevating contrary qualities as ideal standards of measurement, and then extrapolating them into Platonic eidolons. It's easy to see how a human being capable of creating such unreal intellectual constructs, when confronted with perceived material reality, would see himself as a spirit imprisoned in the material realm, and to see his "real" nature as something to be fully achieved only by escaping that realm.

February 25, 2010 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that clears things up, hey nice going for a start and yeah there is kind of like an innate idea about how a world ought to be in spite of what exists. I had another question what do you plan to do for things like the communication spectrum? I dont think you can homestead that and what about finite natural resources like ores, crude oil etc? Since these are zero sum games what do you think can be done? This is one crucial area that I agree with Georgists. Are you a natural rights kind of guy or utilitarian? Take care and bye.

February 26, 2010 3:01 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I think maybe the spectrum can be managed by homesteading. I've seen arguments that it should be governed by the same legal principles as riparian rights.

As for minerals, my initial reaction is that they should be treated as some sort of common resource and that the Georgists' ideas might be relevant, but I haven't really thought it out much.

February 28, 2010 10:31 AM  

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