Counter-Economics Our Means

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Counter-Economics is the practice of direct action in economic life — the cultivation of economic relationships that evade, avoid, and defy both the State and the legally-compliant, corporate dominated white-market economy. “Counter-Economics: Our Means” is the classic presentation of Counter-Economics by the man who first coined the concept and developed the theory, Samuel Edward Konkin III of the Movement of the Libertarian Left. The essay reprinted here was originally published as Chapter 3 of the New Libertarian Manifesto (1980), first published by Anarcho­sam­is­dat Press, then in later editions by Koman Publishing Co. / KoPubCo.

“The function of the pseudo-science of Establishment economics, even more than making predictions . . . for the ruling class, is to mystify and confuse the ruled class as to where their wealth is going and how it is taken. An explanation of how people keep their wealth and property from the State is then Counter-Est­ab­lish­ment economics, or Counter-Economics for short. The actual practice of human actions that evade, avoid and defy the State is counter-economic activity. . . .”

“Now we can see clearly what is needed to create a libertarian society. One the one hand we need the edu­cat­ion of the libertarian activists and the consciousness-rais­ing of counter-economists to liber­tar­ian understanding and mutual sup­portiveness. . . . On the other hand, we must defend our­selves against the vested interests or at the very least lower their oppression as much as pos­sible. If we eschew reformist activity as counter-productive, how will we achi­eve that?

“One way is to bring more and more people into the counter-eco­n­omy and lower the plunder available to the State. . . Slowly but steadily we will move to the free society turning more counter-economists onto libertarianism and more libertarians onto counter-economics, finally integrating theory and practice. The counter-economy will grow and spread to the next step we saw in our trip backward, with an ever-larger agorist sub-society embedded in the statist society. . .”

Samuel Edward Konkin III (1947–2004) was an anarchist libertarian active from the late 1960s until his untimely death in 2004. Founder of the Movement of the Libertarian Left and editor of several irregularly published movement papers (New Libertarian Notes, New Libertarian Weekly, New Libertarian), he became an influential critic of smaller-government reform­ism, electoral politics, and the “Libertarian” Party. He is best known for his role in developing the philosophy of agorism, a direct-action movement of revolutionary market anarchism, to be achieved through the conscious practice black and grey market activities to grow the ‘counter-economy.’

Introduced October 2013.

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