‘Privatization’ or Privateering?

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“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.

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