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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

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Carson's Corner Appearance

I'll be on Carson's Corner with Bob Carson (no relation, AFAIK) -- a progressive radio show on Underground Progressive Radio, 530 AM Brick, New Jersey. It will be streaming tonight and tomorrow at 9PM EST here: http://s7.myradiostream.com/27564.htm

The podcast should be archived early next week.


Blogger John said...

Unrelated to the interview, but you should be aware of this article on Mises.org where you are referred to as an anarcho-syndicalist.

September 05, 2011 8:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks, John. I'd reply, but if I start treating all the cases of cranio-rectal impaction at Mises.org I want to get paid for it.

September 05, 2011 11:55 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Suffice it to say that either "anarcho-syndicalism" doesn't mean what he thinks it means, or "mutualism" doesn't mean what he thinks it means.

His entire reference to mutualism is based on one sentence from the Intro at my old Mutualist.org site.

He conflates occupancy-and-use of land with O&U of capital goods. And he equates a desire to see small-scale ownership and self-employment maximized to a desire to "ban" wage labor.

That's an amazing amount of straw to spin from one phrase.

As for Mises' arguments, his technological assumptions are relevant only to the mid-20th century model of corporate dinosaur mass-production capitalism, and the kind of capital-intensive Stalinist gigantism in corporation and state so effectively parodied in *Brazil*.

At least Mises admitted his areas of commonality with the "centralizing Socialists": namely, the equation of the scale of capital accumulation and "roundaboutness" with productivity as such, and the assumption that the only means of aggregating large amounts of capital was by a plutocratic class. Considering 1) the imploding costs of means of production and vastly reduced capital-intensiveness in most forms of production in recent decades, and 2) the fact that most new capital investment is actually financed by retained earnings, his assumption that worker ownership of production thwarts the "intertemporal division of labor" sounds like a doctrine from the Steam Age.

September 05, 2011 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" his assumption that worker ownership of production thwarts the "intertemporal division of labor" sounds like a doctrine from the Steam Age."

There is no assumption. Worker ownership is merely each individual being a capitalist, in that they own the "capital equipment" they are using. This is not an argument for or against "worker ownership".

The problem comes with the assumption that all authority is bad, that contracts are bad, that the voluntary relationship of manager and worker is bad and therefore must not exist.

This violates the fundamental premise that people are different, and by focusing on what they do better they are all more productive.

If I had to assay the steel, buy materials, find suppliers, find customers, and mill the parts, I would be wasting 4/5 of my time running around rather than doing the one task I'm good at.

What little consistency I've been able to glean from the anarchic left (whatever you call yourselves today) is that money is out too, so there is no way to know what to make. Do I make wigit A, or cog B today? I cannot know because there is no price to compare them.

It's not like these schemes haven't been tried before, each time leading to starvation. At least the Venus Project places their plans in the hands of their super-powerful computer to tell them what to do, which at least puts their fantasies into the context of fiction where it belongs. Much like Scientologists.

September 06, 2011 8:48 AM  
Blogger Gary Chartier said...

Anonymous, it strikes me that you're responding to arguments that aren't here. "[T]he anarchic left" is pretty big; but the part of it Kevin and I belong to certainly doesn't eschew money or a price system. It doesn't seek to invalidate genuinely voluntary contracts (though it certainly recognizes their open-textured character). Nor does it suppose that either the division of labor or exploiting comparative advantage is a bad thing.

It does suppose that being pushed around is a bad thing. That's for the simple reason that most people don't like it, and it's not reasonable for me to do to you something I wouldn't like you to do to me. So it has a problem with bossism.

Again, though, that doesn't mean it favors forcibly abolishing "voluntary relationship[s] . . . [between] manager and worker." It's quite consistent with the idea that in a workplace organized as a partnership or a co-op, some people could be tasked with managerial responsibilities. It further makes the prediction that, because most people don't like having bosses, they'd opt for economically viable alternatives were those alternatives available. That's why it's committed to the view that eliminating state-secured privilege would make it easier for people to choose self-employment and work in cooperatives and partnerships in preference to work in hierarchical, boss-dominated firms.

This kind of bottom-up, market-driven approach has little in common with the Venus Project or similar technocratic schemes.

September 06, 2011 4:21 PM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

I for one certainly don't see any Syndicalism in any of what Kevin Carson promotes, since Syndicalism relates to the conduct of affairs (including business) by union collectives and he merely believes that where a firm was created by fraud or force its assets should go to its workers, since the assets weren't truly owned and the workers can be considered homesteaders, but it doesn't say anything about what should happen after that and it doesn't apply to owner managers as those are not absentees. That's a position Rothbard held, which he thought should be applied to factories in the former U.S.S.R. if I recall correctly. But it's not universal even among people in the Mutualist area; I myself believe it would be sufficient to prevent absentees in a negative way, by ceasing state support of them and their enabling corporate structures, after which people could start homesteading (but not counting their previous, paid work towards homesteading as they were the agents of others then). The most likely outcome would be partnerships of former managers and skilled workers, resolving themselves into firms matching the optimality needed by a true free market over time. Since that only relates to transition conditions, nobody could ever claim title later from going to work for someone else later; there wouldn't be any absentee circumstances to allow the things used for work to be unowned.

September 06, 2011 7:50 PM  

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