The Full Extent of Subjective Valuation

Nominal libertarians regularly invalidate their own claims to support the socio-economic understanding of subjective valuation when they focus simplistically on profit (in the capitalist context) as the main axiomatic goal of economic exchanges, and talk of systems of private property as pure enclaves of individuality. These two systems, which seemingly define modern libertarian thought, are taken to be foundational and static in their conceptual makeup, rather than as constituted systems which involve political and social wrangling. They become conceptually conceived as positively anti-state, which is nonsensical rubbish when looking at the historic developments of these systems. Private property is not just simply protected by the state, but also created through processes of enclosure and the purposeful privatisation of ground rent. That is not to say private property cannot exist in a stateless society, but that it cannot exist outside a social context. Similarly, profit can be something developed through generally consensual means as the product of one’s labours, but its existence as a subjective axiom means it is realisable via the state. Our modern rentier economy is a testament to this inconvenient truth. Continue reading

Corporatism and Capitalism

Libertarians seem to believe that the semantic debate over capitalism is settled by the use of one term, corporatism. The highly complex nature of capital accumulation, based around different structures that involve both competitive and planned dynamics, is made simple by differentiating between corporatism, a bastardised form of crony capitalism where monopoly dominates and the state’s regulatory apparatuses are at their most coercive, and a pure capitalism, “a world of perfect competition among enterprises who are all market price takers (none has the power or size to shape markets), where no advertising enables producers to shape the desires of consumers, where all workers bargain individually for their wages, and so on”[1]. Continue reading

The Centralising Axiom

The multiple debates surrounding ideology constantly devolve into simplistic concepts like capitalism and socialism, referring to each other as opposing axiomatic systems that proffer significantly different visions of the world. However, both are fundamentally centralist systems. They understand society, economy and politics as universalisable wholes that need to be integrated into a full structure of production and decision-making. For capitalism, the main axiomatic point is the profit-motive achieved through multiple avenues of capital accumulation. Markets and states are the main entry and exit points through which capital is accumulated and profit is achieved. For socialism, it is the production of value for the meeting of basic needs and necessities, providing a society of equality where political and economic cohesiveness is supposedly developed. Economic planning  and social provisioning through centralised structures (usually the state but forms of global democratic planning have been theorised) are the mechanisms for this accumulation. Continue reading

Is Anarchism Worth It?

This question comes as a result of the lack of cohesiveness amongst the adherents of anarchism. Anarchists, while professing a common universality of values and beliefs, act as roving tribes when it comes to meetings between their different ideological sects. None seem to coalesce around any unifying concept, with each trying to outdo the other in how left-wing, anti-racist or intersectional they are. That’s all well and good for debate stages and internet forums, but it hardly builds a movement that can be politically and socially strong and that can challenge prevailing power structures. It leads to the question of whether anarchism, as the according ideology to so many beliefs, is really worth the time, the activism, the commitment that it is given. Continue reading

Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist

by Keith Preston

Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist

Over the last few days, there’s been an interesting discussion going on over at the blog of left-libertarian philosopher Charles Johnson (also known as “Rad Geek“). I’ve avoided posting there, due to the presence of an individual who has declared themself my mortal enemy (a role I’m happy to assume), but the subject matter of the discussion provides a very good illustration of why any sort of libertarian philosophy that demands a rigid universalism cannot work in practice. Continue reading

Basic Income’s Role in a Traditional Society

The idea of basic income is that work is not the centre of one’s life. While laziness is not meant to be encouraged, there is a tacit recognition that under an unconditional system it may well be, leading to a potential system where the productive are subsidising those who choose to be unproductive. While problematic under most understandings of political philosophy, this precedent is particularly problematic in the concept of a traditional society (that shaped by Burke’s little platoons of local and parochial institutions). Without a work obligation, one is receiving a right without reciprocating with duties. They’re receiving something for nothing. Continue reading

A Justice-Based Proposal for Basic Income

An unconditional basic income has become an increasingly relevant and important proposal in the past decade. There is an increasing automation of work in manufacturing and services, a limitation of trade union involvement in worker’s lives, and the development of an increasingly large precariat[1] of semi-employed workers. This has led to an increasing decoupling of productivity and wages (due both to technological developments which decrease skilled work[2] and the destruction of trade union influence[3]) as well as the development of a rentier economy, where income earned “does not compensate productive activities”[4]. Of the current tranches of wealth found in the global economy, 74% comes from economic rent[5]. Much of this rent derives from monopolistic tendencies, including intellectual property[6], network externalities[7] and the concentration of wealth through technological innovation[8]. The modern economy is extremely unequal, with the majority of people having little access to these tranches of rental income. This is the opposite of a truly free society, where one’s “opportunities are being leximinned subject to the protection of their formal freedom”[9]. Such a society is one that guarantees a level of security while allowing for self-ownership and the attainment of leximin opportunities i.e. “some can have more opportunities than others, but only if their having more does not reduce the opportunities of some of those with less”[10]. Continue reading

The NAP is a Social Construct, and Nothing More

The libertarian conception of the non-aggression principle is lauded as the prize universalist idea. Above all else, and above all other philosophy, is said to sit the foundational NAP, which situates all individuals and collectivities. From it come the critiques of the state, governance and collectivism, and the support of unhindered individualism and natural rights. Continue reading

The Distinction Between Markets and Capitalism in Deleuze and Guattari’s “Capitalism and Schizophrenia”: Some Preliminary Thoughts

by Edmund Berger

A fruitful exchange via Twitter the other night has led me to type up some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for some time – namely, that the vision of capitalism presented by Deleuze and Guattari in the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia must be rendered distinct from simple market exchanges and systems, and that this distinction is implicit in the texts. Capitalism is indeed a system that does rely on market mechanisms, but they are mechanisms that are almost exclusively dominated by monopolistic competition. While this state of affairs is often depicted by CNN financial gurus and even Reason magazine pundits as being the ‘free market in action’, scratching past this surface level read reveals a system wholly contingent on the state’s intervention in order to prop itself up and reproduce relations equitable to itself. It is my contention that approaching Deleuze and Guattari’s depiction of capitalism from this perspective, and not from the more common perspective of capitalism as complete and total deterritorialization, is essential to making sense of some of their woolier passages. Continue reading

Thoughts on Universal Basic Income

by Curt Doolittle

Thoughts on Universal Basic Income

1) The province (Prince Edward Island) will conduct an EXPERIMENT in a rebranded expansion of WELFARE: a subsidy for the poor. It is not a UBI – Universal Basic Income. UBI proposal is that every citizen obtains it, and that taxes offset it as income increases. In other words, it places a tax increase on the wealthier people in order to expand subsidies. However, the math remains the same – total tax revenue is 10k per person. 1/3 discretionary (everything the govt does), 1/3 obligatory (medicare, medicaid, social security), and 1/3 military. of which the vast majority goes to salaries and pensions. Continue reading