Markets Not Capitalism

428 pp
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Published in November 2011 by Minor Compositions, an imprint of Autonomedia. Now available directly through this Distro.

Individualist anarchists believe in mutual exchange, not economic privilege. They believe in freed markets, not capitalism. They defend a distinctive response to the challenges of ending global capitalism and achieving social justice: eliminate the political privileges that prop up capitalists.

Massive concentrations of wealth, rigid economic hierarchies, and unsustainable modes of production are not the results of the market form, but of markets deformed and rigged by a network of state-secured controls and privileges to the business class. Markets Not Capitalism explores the gap between radically freed markets and the capitalist-controlled markets that prevail today. It explains how liberating market exchange from state capitalist privilege can abolish structural poverty, help working people take control over the conditions of their labor, and redistribute wealth and social power.

Featuring discussions of socialism, capitalism, markets, ownership, labor struggle, grassroots privatization, intellectual property, health care, racism, sexism, and environmental issues, this unique collection brings together classic essays by leading figures in the anarchist tradition, including Proudhon and Voltairine de Cleyre, and such contemporary innovators as Kevin Carson and Roderick Long. It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism.

“We on the left need a good shake to get us thinking, and these arguments for market anarchism do the job in lively and thoughtful fashion.”  – Alexander Cockburn, editor and publisher, Counterpunch

“Anarchy is not chaos; nor is it violence. This rich and provocative gathering of essays by anarchists past and present imagines society unburdened by state, markets un-warped by capitalism. Those whose preference is for an economy that is humane, decentralized, and free will read this book with – dare I use the word? – profit.” – Bill Kaufmann, author of Bye Bye, Miss American Empire

“It will be hard for any honest libertarian to read this book – or others like it – and ever again be taken in by the big business-financed policy institutes and think tanks. In a world where libertarianism has mostly been deformed into a defense of corporate privilege, it is worth being told or reminded what a free market actually is. Our ideal society is not ‘Tesco/Wal-Mart minus the State.’ It is a community of communities of free people. All thanks to the authors and editors of this book.” – Sean Gabb, director, UK Libertarian Alliance

“Libertarianism is often seen as a callous defense of privilege in the face of existing (and unjust) inequalities. That’s because it too often is. But it doesn’t have to be, and this fascinating collection of historic and current argument and scholarship shows why. Even readers who disagree will find much to think about.” – Ken Macleod, author of Fall Revolution


Part One: The Problem of Deformed Markets

  • The Freed Market, William Gillis (2007)
  • State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree, and Wherein They Differ, Benjamin R. Tucker (1888)
  • General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (selections), Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1851)
  • Markets Freed from Capitalism, Charles Johnson (2010)

Part Two: Identities and Isms

  • Market Anarchism as Stigmergic Socialism, Brad Spangler (2006)
  • Armies that Overlap, Benjamin Tucker (1890)
  • The Individualist and the Communist: A Dialogue, Rosa Slobodinsky and Voltairine de Cleyre (1891)
  • A Glance at Communism, Voltairine de Cleyre (1892)
  • Advocates of Freed Markets Should Oppose Capitalism, Gary Chartier (2010)
  • Anarchism without Hyphens, Karl Hess (1980)
  • What Laissez Faire? Sheldon Richman (2010)
  • Libertarianism through Thick and Thin, Charles Johnson (2008)
  • Socialism: What It Is, Benjamin R. Tucker (1884)
  • Socialist Ends, Market Means, Gary Chartier (2009)

Part Three: Ownership

  • A Plea for Public Property, Roderick T. Long (1998)
  • From Whence Do Property Titles Arise? William Gillis (2009)
  • The Gift Economy of Property, Shawn Wilbur (2008)
  • Fairness and Possession, Gary Chartier (2011)
  • The Libertarian Case against Intellectual Property Rights, Roderick T. Long (1995)

Part Four: Corporate Power and Labor Solidarity

  • Corporations versus the Market, or Whip Conflation Now, Roderick T. Long (2008)
  • Does Competition Mean War? Benjamin R. Tucker (1888)
  • Economic Calculation in the Corporate Commonwealth, Kevin Carson (2007)
  • Big Business and the Rise of American Statism, Roy A. Childs, Jr. (1971)
  • Regulation: The Cause, Not the Cure, of the Financial Crisis, Roderick T. Long (2008)
  • Industrial Economics, Dyer D. Lum (1890)
  • Labor Struggle in a Free Market, Kevin A. Carson (2008)
  • Should Labor Be Paid or Not? Benjamin R. Tucker (1888)

Part Five: Neoliberalism, Privatization, and Redistribution

  • Free Market Reforms and the Reduction of Statism, Kevin A. Carson (2008)
  • Free Trade is Fair Trade: An Anarchist Looks at World Trade, Joe Peacott (2000)
  • Two Words on ‘Privatization,’ Charles W. Johnson (2007)
  • What Are the Specifics? Karl Hess (1969)
  • Confiscation and the Homestead Principle, Murray N. Rothbard (1969)

Part Six: Inequality and Social Safety Nets

  • Let the Free Market Eat the Rich! Economic Entropy as Revolutionary Redistribution, Jeremy Weiland (2011)
  • Individualism and Inequality, Joe Peacott
  • How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis, by Roderick T. Long (1993)
  • The Poverty of the Welfare State, Joe Peacott (1998)

Part Seven: Barriers to Entry and Fixed Costs of Living

  • How ‘Intellectual Property’ Impedes Competition, Kevin A. Carson (2009)
  • The American Land Question, Joseph Stromberg (2009)
  • English Enclosures and Soviet Collectivization: Two Instances of an Anti-Peasant Mode of Development, Joseph Stromborg (1995)
  • Health Care and Radical Monopoly, Kevin A. Carson (2010)
  • Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know It, Charles W. Johnson (2007)

Part Eight: Freed-Market Regulation: Social Activism and Spontaneous Order

  • Regulation Red Herring: Why There’s No Such Thing as an Unregulated Market, Sheldon Richman (2009)
  • We Are Market Forces, Charles Johnson (2009)
  • Platonic Productivity, Roderick T. Long (2004)
  • Libertarianism and Anti-Racism, Sheldon Richman (2010)
  • Aggression and the Environment, Mary Ruwart (1993/2003)
  • The Clean Water Act versus Clean Water, Charles W. Johnson (2010)
  • Context-Keeping and Community Organizing, Sheldon Richman (2010)

Introduced November 2011.

11 thoughts on “Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty

  1. How about to offer the book for free on pdf or epub for people who doesn’t have visa/bitcoin or paypal because they haven’t enough money due to they live in the third world? (:

  2. AGGRESSION AXIOM: Holding real property—Monopoly use of Land—requires State aggression.

    170 years ago, the State forced Injuns off my land with guns and into PRIVation, then redistributed the earth’s wealth via an enTITLEment program (Land Title.)

    We PRIVileged owners pay support by property taxes to the State for its aggression.

    If anybody comes onto my PRIVate real property, I call a State officer to perform the exact same armed aggression done to Injuns 170 yrs ago.

    The AGGRESSION AXIOM of Civilization (State Society) is evidence-based reality.

    Ayn Rand recognized it:

    “Any white person who brought the element of civilization had THE RIGHT TO TAKE over this continent.” ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

    Anthropology recognizes it:

    “Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.” ~Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization, p. 1

    MIGHT MAKES (property) RIGHT

    • RIGHT on (and funny too at times). Expands on an argument I make to friends (a.k.a. those who actually LISTEN) all the time. Thanx.

  3. It is obvious to any thinking person that Capitalism in America & throughout the world makes a few very wealthy & expoits the workers that make this possible forcing them to live in poverty. Why the protests & riots in egypt? Simple, a very few are very rich & the great bulk of the people live in awful conditions treated live slaves by the aristocracy. It’s the same thing throughout all third world countries. Here in America we have a consumer based society that can buy cheap clothes & other products at Walmart & buy cheap food at fast food joints. Whether you’ll still be able to buy a $1 burger a year from now remains to be seen as fast food workers go on strike for a living wage. Where the Occupy Movement missed the boat was it isn’t just the 1% Wallstreet thugs, it’s the 40% relatively well off Americans that see the poor as drags on the economy & freeloaders. They couldn’t care less about the poor as long as they can buy an Suv, big pickup or nice boat & enjoy the good life. But the real problem is deeper than expoiting the working poor. The planet cannot support 7 billion people with any degree of decent living conditions. Conditions cannot change because most Americans are so ignorant of science & history & are so brainwashed by their religious beliefs.

  4. Interesting work, though I’m not sure why there exists a difference in definition of the word “Capitalism” between right- and left- libertarians, as they are both essentially anarchistic.

    Left-Libertarian’s version of capitalism seems to require it be a corrupted form that requires government and corporatism to exist, while the Right-Libertarian version is used most often to refer to Anarcho-Capitalism, something that seems an awful lot like your sought-after goal.

    It’s sad and it’s petty, I know, but I feel insulted when you use the word in the left-libertarian context, and not the right-libertarian context. This difference in usage is how the left- and right- libertarian groups will eventually try to rip each other apart through miscommunication.

    As there are more right-libertarians than left-libertarians, I would suggest that left-libertarians pick a different word than Capitalism to embody Capitalism-distorted and shoe-horned into a Statist society. I think that would be reasonable; else, make it clear what system of word meanings you’re using when you mention Capitalism.

    You don’t have to follow that advice, but you risk tempers flaring and unnecessary in-fighting.

      • Paul, there are a great many things we of the left libertarian persuasion and those on the right agree on. Essentially, when one gets down to it, the only difference between our ideologies, syntax aside, that differentiates all left libs from right libs is that we believe when the state is finally gone and we have a truly free market, that most people will choose to organize society in a highly freely associated manner as well, particularly with regard to labor relations. We believe that in such a society, the prevailing modes of labor will be partnerships, worker cooperatives, and working for one’s self. This differs from the view of capitalists who give little thought to the future of labor relations in a stateless society, and who see it as enough to simply achieve the goal of “smashing the state”.

        The reasons for us not using the term “capitalism” to describe ourselves, and to specifically speak against capitalism, will become very clear once you actually begin reading this book by the way. I’d recommend you do so. In short, the definition you hold of capitalism ignores actual historic definitions of the word prior to the libertarian movement of the 20th century in the US and parts of Europe, and, though that is one common usage of the term, it is not the only one (of which there are many by those who oppose it). As such, much confusion over the term still persists, and the title of this book is not a jab at capitalists, but rather a deliberate appeal to the left.

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