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The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand (2001)

The ground-breaking essay on contemporary mutualist economics by Kevin A. Carson. The current structure of capital ownership and org­an­iz­ation of production in our so-called ‘market’ eco­n­omy re­flects coercive state intervention prior to and ex­tra­n­e­ous to the market. From the outset of the industrial re­vol­ut­ion, what is nostalgically called ‘laissez-faire’ was in fact a sys­t­em of continuing state intervention to sub­sid­ize ac­cum­ulation, guar­ant­ee privilege, and maintain work discipline. . . A world in which peas­ants had held onto their land and property was widely distributed, capital was freely available to laborers through mutual banks, productive tech­nology was freely avail­able in every country without pat­ents, and every people was free to develop locally without col­on­ial robbery, is beyond our imagination. But it would have been a world of decentralized, small-scale production for local use, own­ed and controlled by those who did the work — as dif­fer­ent from our world as day from night, or freedom from slav­ery. . . .