The Free Market as Full Communism

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This collection includes two provocative essays by contemporary mutualist writer Kevin Carson. “Who Owns the Benefit? The Free Market as Full Communism,” explores the radical possibilities for market exchange and competition freed from capitalistic privilege and the burdens of artificial scarcity. “Capitalism Without Capitalists?” asks whether mutualistic markets will be driven to recreate the capitalist model by competitive logic, or whether peer production, decentralized ownership and unprivileged market exchange can bring about alternative incentives, and dynamics that disperse, rather than concentrating, wealth and progress.

“Just about everything we identify as problematic about corporate capitalism . . . results from the socialization of cost and risk and the privatization of profit. Why haven’t the cybernetic revolution and the vast increases in productivity from technological progress resulted in fifteen-hour work weeks, or many necessities of life becoming too cheap to meter? The answer is that economic progress is enclosed as a source of rent and profit. . . .

“As surprising as it might seem, there’s a strong parallel between this free market vision of abundance and the Marxist vision of full communism. Commons-based peer production is the core around which the post-capitalist economy will eventually crystallize. . . .”

“Bill also underestimates the different competitive dynamic that would result from a radically decentralized market. We are currently at one extreme of the pole: a centralized economy with production for large, anonymous commodity markets. A mutualist free market would be much closer to the other pole: a decentralized market of production for local use. . . .”

Kevin A. Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and a prolific writer on subjects including free-market anti-capitalism, the individualist anarchist tradition, grassroots technology and radical unionism. He keeps a blog at mutualist.blogspot.com.

Introduced September 2012.

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