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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, June 19, 2008

Draft Chapter Twelve

Another draft chapter from the org theory project:

Chapter Twelve. The Cost Principle


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, of-topic. But what does left-libertarianism offer for insight on California's same-sex marriage law?


George Takei looks so happy.

June 20, 2008 5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And blogger is now inserting links in comment text. Just a heads-up.

June 20, 2008 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No results found for "blogger inserting spam text".


June 20, 2008 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great chapter! I don't know if you've checked out Bill Mollison's work on permaculture, but if you need further source material you should check it out. He is a major influence on Joel Salatin's work, and deals, inter alia, in his book Permaculture: A Designer's Manual with what he calls 'guilds' and 'assemblages' of mutually-beneficial relations among co-located species, and also via the sequencing of interactions over a given area (allowing, chickens to follow cows over pasture land, etc.). Great stuff.

One question, though:

You say, "Federal home mortgage redlining, which subsidizes the surburban real estate and housing industries and at the same time discriminates against those wanting to buy houses in older neighborhoods."

So far, so good, but I don't think that's a complete sentence. Was there more? Also, can you point me in the direction of any articles or sources dealing with this subsidy to suburbanization? Is it to do with subsidies to new houses, the majority of which happen to be in peripheral areas, or what?

Thanks and keep up the good work,

June 20, 2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


It's an Amazon widget that inserts links from keywords to relevant produts at Amazon. I added it to my template because I thought it might generate a little extra revenue, but I'm seriously considering eliminating it because their links detract from my own hyperlinks and confuse the reader.

Thanks for the recommendation, Anon. You're right, that's an incomplete sentence--thanks for pointing it out. Redlining refers both to assessments of creditworthiness based on location, and to favoring new houses over older ones. I first read about it in Kunstler's The Geography of Nowhere, I think.

June 22, 2008 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, ok. You evil capitalist.

But seriously, what will an obvious cost of dealing with yet another attempt at lawfare-correction cost us, do you think? Wasn't trying to be too off-topic.

And Anon mentioned Permaculture. That's just a fancy insider term for efficient business design.

Hope you checked out David Blume's Alcohol Can Be A Gas. Like most Permaculturists he points out the design features that can make something from a previously paid-for nothing.

Old Way
fuel -> household heating
New Way
fuel -> high-temperature heat production (ethanol, etc) -> reject heat -> household heating

Means we can do lots of stuff for free on the local scale assuming we still expect to be warm and wealthy.

June 23, 2008 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to point out that while Kunstler is a great speaker and has great points he is a bit full of himself. There's a reason why people like to insert Y2K as his online middlename and it's not just because he guessed wrong in 1999.

The location and layout of American suburbs and exurbs are actually rather optimal for what the New Urban hippies like to call Urban Agriculture. Not too hand-to-mouth and not too over-the-hill.

It's just the way people choose organize and interact what upsets Romantics like Jim Y2K.

That said 16yos still don't need Sweet 16 SUV parties.

June 23, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


You lost me on the lawfare-correction thing. Was that another reference to the gay marriage question? Most anarchist and voluntaryist types I know of don't think the state should be in the business of licensing marriages in the first place. And the anarcho-caps argue that all the incidents of marriage (sharing and division of property, child-raising responsibilities, etc.), as it's currently defined as a state-licensed legal form, could be established by contract.

Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the proposed "defense of marriage" legislation in the states specifically prohibits any contractual arrangement establishing the incidents of marriage by anyone but one man and woman. So apparently the social conservatives aren't real big on the right of free contract.

I haven't checked out Blume yet, but I'm sure I will before I put the book into final form. That sort of thing (from the permaculturists as well) is an excellent illustration of the cost principle in action. It's what Jane Jacobs talked about--finding creative new ways to extract use value from waste byproducts. I'd guess industrial heat recycling is the next big thing.

I agree on Kunstler. Many of the new urbanists I know of (including urban planner "joe," who comments at Reason H&R) like to point to the old railroad suburbs, which existed before the car culture. They were self-contained, small, walkable cities, with their own commercial centers, with high population density, connected to the main urban center by rail.

Kunstler's right that the monoculture suburb as it exists is untenable. But that doesn't mean it has to become a ghost town. It can also be transformed into something like the railroad suburb, by growing its own commercial center. I've repeatedly argued in his comment threads that the rise of raised-bed horticulture in the burbs, coupled with the use of existing backyard hobbyist machine shops as the basis of repair/recycling/remachining facilities to keep existing appliances running, will be the basis for the new suburban economies when Peak Oil hits full blast.

June 25, 2008 7:17 AM  
Blogger quasibill said...

Maybe you can institute a new running series of short posts centered on a link title "Cost principle Watch".

You could possibly start with Exxon deciding to get out of the business of retailing gasoline:


There are going to be many more (and more obvious ones) in the coming months as the economy adjusts to a new pricing regime.

June 25, 2008 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the lawfare (warfare via legal system) comment was about California's gay contract with the government er I mean marriage.

1) State co-opts social institution
2) Discriminated minority demands liberty-protecting regulation changes
3) Minority finds itself part of a State-oppressed majority. Huray!

And Blume's book has some great information in it which I wasn't expecting. I've been interested in ultra-tight integrated systems since my teenage years (Human Scale, Nigel Calder's Green Machines and other books) yet haven't seen much coverage the average person will immediately understand.

Just two of his chapters on feedstocks and ethanol plant design show the EROEI and food-vs-fuel debates are contrived and should make everyone that reads his book excited about our ability to evolve a new way of making a cooperative living.

June 25, 2008 8:11 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


From your description, I'll definitely have to read the book.


I probably don't do enough topical commentary these days to turn it into a recurring theme. My favorite example these days is the likely elimination of some 20% of the airlines' routes. And from what I read of the trucking industry, they're close to something similar. It doesn't take Nostradamus to predict that shipping costs are going to increase drastically, and both retailers and manufacturers are going to be looking hard for ways to shift their supply chains closer to home.

I'm also getting a chuckle out of seeing all the auto dealers offering 0% financing to get the shitty 2008 SUVs off their lots.

We've already seen declines in fuel use like we last saw in the late seventies and early eighties. And unlike back then, there's no end in sight to the higher energy prices, and they're likely to get higher. As you might gather from the cost principle chapter, I'm a big fan of the Natural Capitalism book. I suspect we're pretty close to the trigger point where people actually start doing all this stuff like passive solar building design, waste heat recycling, etc.

Right now, almost nobody in the building industry has heard of passive solar cooling. But the way things are, the tiny fraction of a percent of the public who actually have it are bound to be attracting attention from their neighbors when they mention their houses are 80 degrees or less inside when it's over 100 outside, and their air conditioning bill is zero.

June 26, 2008 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not FISH!-like, but still with disturbing tendencies of happy work life = happy corporation:


June 26, 2008 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am really looking forward to the release of this book. As a conservative who dislikes state intervention but who is concerned at the way the current economic structure undermines local communities and traditional ways of life, it is pleasing to see that a genuinely free market could reconcile these viewpoints. While you may be of the libertarian-left I think there is much in your theories that would appeal to conservatives unhappy with both currently existing globalisation and the interventionist state.

Apologies for asking what many others have asked before but do you have an idea of when it might be published?

June 28, 2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


The author seemed a bit naive about *why* employers might want to discourage fraternization. If they're stressed out from lack of control in the workplace, some of the "mutual support" they provide might involve organizing to fight back.


I'm hoping by the end of this year or early next, but nothing definite.

June 29, 2008 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, are there any other authors/researchers with your subject focus which have commented on your work? 20 years after reading Human Scale it's great to see these ideas being spread on the internet with new angles of understanding.

And I hate to keep spamming Blume's book but it really is a touchstone. It's a difficult and messy read in some parts (how many people that want to free the world actually want to know about agitator pumps?) but it will communicate what anti-sensless-toil activists have known for years to people only marginally interested in "modern solutions" to our world's problems.

Bureaucrash.com seems to have no problem pimping for oiligarchy NWO types as long as it makes pet peeves about subsidy politics seem timely. They're linking to this article:

An absolute horror of Meanstream Media Propaganda.

"Every 10,000 litres of water produces as little as five litres of ethanol, or one to two litres of biodiesel. This year, the U.S. will use around 130 million tons of corn for biofuels. This corn was not available as human food, nor as fodder to animals. Is this the right strategy, for a product that won't satisfy even a small percentage of our energy needs?"

^^^ That is just a sample of the "either stupid-or-evil" misinformation that gets spread these days. The technically-informed see the misinfo right off the bat.

I've come to the conclusion that misinformation does in fact misinform. This can explain much of our current predicament in the Black Iron Prison.

David Blume has an online network so maybe contacting him might spark a movement? His readers could use the more scholary backdrop of the liberation technology/self-determination movement.


This guy is helping him spread the word:

July 01, 2008 3:15 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


I correspond with a lot of people who've written on different aspects of economic decentralism who've commented on my work, but I can't think of any academic figure who's involved specifically in anarchist org theory who's commented on it.

July 03, 2008 7:17 PM  
Blogger joseph2008 said...

Free market anti-capitalism is a system in which the state represents the owners of capital and land and intervenes in the market on their behalf. It was only anti-free market, anti-capitalism distortions which were causing people to be poorer than they otherwise would have been.
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October 28, 2008 9:51 PM  

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