“A free market is not a society in which all of society’s functions are performed by private, for-profit business corporations. It’s a society where all functions are performed by free, voluntary associations. That means people get whatever services they need by organizing them cooperatively with other willing participants, or persuading someone to voluntarily supply them. And nobody is forced to pay for services they don’t want. . . .
“Capitalists don’t get rich by actually making things or providing services. They get rich by controlling – with the help of the state – the circumstances under which people are allowed to make things or provide services. If they do actually make things or provide services, they do so under carefully controlled circumstances where they get their money from involuntary customers who are conscripted into paying by the state, or the state limits the ability of other firms to compete with them. You know, like Halliburton and those military contractors. Or the private health insurance people have to buy under Obamacare. Under capitalism, privileged businesses make money by doing stuff on other people’s nickel. Big business gets its profits by externalizing its operating expenses on the taxpayer. . . .
“Who cares if a corporation like Halliburton is nominally ‘private’ or ‘public?’ If it makes its money through force, it’s really just a part of the state. . . .”
This article was originally published as “‘Privatization’ or Corporatism?” in December 2013, as a syndicated column for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).
Kevin A. Carson is a mutualist writer living and working in northwest Arkansas, and the author of several incredibly influential works on contemporary mutualist anarchism, including “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand,” Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution, and numerous articles and research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society.
Introduced December 2013.