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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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chapter Nine Draft

Another chapter draft for the Anarchist Organization Theory manuscript:

Chapter Nine: Special Agency Problems of Labor (internal crisis tendencies of the large organization)

This chapter includes previously blogged material on labor struggle as asymmetric warfare.


Blogger smally said...

If off-topic comments are bothersome to you, then I apologise.

But I wonder if you can recommend any reading, particularly any books, to prepare an economic & historical illiterate to understand the economic arguments in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. I've checked out your Mutualist Bookstore but I'm not sure that there is anything suited to my ignorance.

December 08, 2007 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the question of what to do in concerns for reestablishing the free market and your remedy through first nationalizing the business, I think it is a rather sticky problem that can not simply be viewed in terms of "the business received subsidies - thus the business gets nationalized."

In all honestly, every human being has received a subsidy from the government, and though I didn't get through that part yet, I don't know if the remedy you prescribe is entirely just or considers all outside opinions. Interesting and intelligent as always though.

December 10, 2007 12:57 AM  
Blogger Acumensch said...


I'm a college student and I'm writing a paper on mutualism. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions that would REALLY help me out with my essay.

1) What in your opinion is mutualism truly about?
2) Why do you feel mutualism is important in modern society?
3) Do you have any old articles or information on mutualism that would help in coming up with a thesis??

Thanks!! :)

December 10, 2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


The material that went into the economic portion of MPE was the product of years of (often unstructured) reading, most of it with no academic supervision. The book's weaknesses, probably, derive mostly from my self-taught background. So it's difficult for me to look back and reconstruct, from my own reading, a good systematic course of study for a general knowledge of economics and history.

On the historical side, I suppose the best starting point is a good general world history. You could follow that up with more radical selected readings like the "primitive accumulation" section of Marx's Capital vol. 1, and *The Village Labourer* and *The Town Labourer* by the Hammonds.

On economics, start with any good first year texts on macro- and microecon, and maybe follow it up with Eric Rolle's history of economic thought.

I can think of hundreds of books that helped me, but usually only after false starts and a prolonged gestation period during which the material gelled with general themes or questions I already had in mind. Some of it passed through undigested the first time I read it, and then several years later when I was considering some problem or reading another book, a vaguely remembered bit of information from that earlier reading just popped into my head as relevant.

My advice is to start with a few good basic things, and then just read widely and let one thing lead you to another based on your own interest and the lines of questioning that develop in your head. You may have to back up and retrace your steps quite a few times--God knows I did, and do still--but in the long run the stuff you need will coalesce into a meaningful pattern.

I wish I could give you something more definite or helpful.


I think part of the ethical aspect of it depends on the role of the subsidized firms in obtaining the subsidies. If their senior management and the leading figures in Congress and executive agencies all seem to come from the same circulating pool of personnel, and those firms also played a major role in drafting the legislation, that's different from just passively taking advantage of what's out there. And it's also important to distinguish the minority of net exploiters from the rest of those who have received government benefits of some kind.

I don't think much of Rothbard's nationalization proposal, BTW. I'd much prefer expropriation from the bottom up by radical unions. For that matter, there's a pretty good chance it will be done, as in Argentina, when factories are abandoned by owners who don't consider the assets worth liquidating.


Thanks for your interest. IMO mutualism is about
1) privilege and unequal exchange as the source of present-day economic injustice, and a market without privilege or unequal exchange as the solution to those problems;
2) a society organized on the basis of voluntary exchange and cooperation; and
3) getting there by (as the Wobbly slogan put it) "building the structure of the new society within the shell of the old."

It's important for the reason stated in point 1, and also because the loss of direct economic and political control we experience over our lives serves no real useful function. We are subject to the decisions of centralized, hierarchical government and corporations which are almost totally unaccountable to us, and spend a major part of our waking hours serving ends that are not our own, primarily for the benefit of those in authority. I think real self-management and self-government, along with the elimination of unaccountable state and corporate authority over their lives, would be mightily appealing to most people.

If you go to Mutualist.Org, you can find the largest collection of material on mutualism in the online version of my book Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. And if you look in the sidebar, there is a lot of more recent material; for starters, you might look under the "Decentralist Economics" heading for "Building the Structure of the New Society." Good luck.

December 10, 2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, I generally get the same impression as I think that it may have a lot more to do with direct connection than it does with anything else. Such as the question, does X directly contact Y for special privilege A vs. does X indirectly take advantage of the prospects Y facilitates for special privilege B. That seems objectively well enough distinguished for me, though I have minor difficulties in explaining further.

As for the comment on Rothbard's nationalization, I agree full heartedly. And from an economic perspective, I could see radical unions taking over and gaining much success with it. I would prefer, however, a much more incremental version or a pure counter-economy based on an exact defining purpose of overthrowing the government through the existence of a stronger black market. That, however, does not possess the same practical application, however.

December 11, 2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Off-topic but here's some glaring vulgar libertarianism. I'm agnostic on the question of incorporation under a regime of freedom, but that was a rather lousy job of presenting the case in favor.

December 25, 2007 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just posted a fairly lengthy, hopefully thorough rebuttal to the vulgar libertarianism just mentioned by tggp.

I'm pleased to see this blog is now back to allowing urls for posters, BTW.

December 25, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


I think that is a good basis for evaluating guilt. And in most cases, I think being an oligopoly corporation in the Fortune 500 (or one of Joel Ferguson's "capital-intensive, export-oriented" corporations, or in O'Connor's "monopoly capital sector") is a pretty good proxy for identifying a corporation with inside connections. The Austrian ruling class analysis based on corporate ties to the central banking system is probably useful as well.

Thanks for the link, TGGP. And PML, nice job giving 'em hell. I left some comments over there myself.

December 26, 2007 10:39 PM  

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