The capitalist market system is defined by the strictures of wage labour relations and the regulatory mechanisms, which are the used for the valorisation of capital and the commodity production which maintains, expands and homogenises this valorisation. These are the inevitable products of capitalist exchange relations and the creation of a general equivalence in which generic commodities, produced by capital through the wage labour relation, are circulated. For the purpose of these exchanges (some of which maintain the manufacturing and production bases of the classes of capital, and others which engender the final movement of commodities into their form as consumables) markets are used as mechanisms of distribution and sale. The extent of capitalist relations becomes universalisable in such an homogenised, controlled system. States, through their capacity to regulate market transactions and mediate the class relations of wage labourers and the owners of the means of production, create regulatory apparatuses which engender the recreation and revaluation of capital through a series of metamorphoses where relations are changed, markets are restructured and the fundamental germ of capitalism, that of the dominance of capital and its control of the means of production, are maintained and even boosted. Continue reading
Capitalism’s Just-So Stories
During one of the many civil wars between patricians and plebians that racked the early Roman Republic in Livy’s account, Menenius Agrippa — a spokesman for the oligarchy that had enclosed the common lands and reduced the Latin peasantry to tenant status and debt peonage — defended the privileges of the landed aristocracy with a Parable of the Body: Continue reading
I’ve made it clear that I don’t see the EU referendum as particularly important. The major economic questions surrounding the modern world, from banking fragility and capital creation, to huge levels of private and sovereign debt and politico-economic centralisation are not remotely addressed within this debate, except maybe on the peripheries. If we leave, economic and political power will simply be moved from unaccountable elites in Brussels to those in Westminster and its parasitical institutions. Democracy is not important in this debate as some have emphasised, as realistically the kind of representative democracy we have has led to many of the ridiculous problems the UK faces today, from failing social systems to a debt-led economy. Representative democracy relies on mass ignorance and the ability to debate non-issues among non-representative parties. Continue reading
Workers of the World Unite for a Free Market
Protected firms can get away with abusing workers.
By way of Roderick Long I’ve learned that Amazon.com has some pretty rough rules for its employees. (Long draws on the Huffington Post and the Times Online.) According to the Times, employees at the Bedfordshire (UK) warehouse were: Continue reading
Mobility, Meritocracy and Other Myths
At the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry (“Yes, America’s middle class has been disappearing… into higher income groups,” Dec. 17) justifies the shrinking middle class and growing economic inequality by citing the finding of a recent Pew Institute study that of the 11% shrinkage in the American middle class, 7% have gone to the top and only 4% to the bottom. Continue reading
Libertarian-splaining to the Poor
In a video produced by the Future of Freedom Foundation (“The Libertarian Angle: Do Libertarians Really Hate the Poor?“), Jacob Hornberger and Richard Ebeling obviously intend a smashing, unanswerable rejoinder to the left-wing stereotype of right-libertarians as “pot-smoking Republicans” who hate the poor. Sadly, it only reaffirms that stereotype. It’s exactly what left-wing critics of libertarianism have — unfortunately — come to expect. It’s the kind of by-the-numbers “how libertarians want to help the poor” argument that any parodist at The Onion could satirize effortlessly — and probably has. Continue reading
Anarcho-Capitalism vs. Market Anarchism
What’s the difference between “market anarchism” and “anarcho-capitalism”?
The difference between market anarchism and anarcho-capitalism is contentious, and somewhat semantic. Anarcho-capitalists choose to use the word “capitalism” because they believe it denotes a laissez-faire system of economics, free from government control. Market anarchists are far more critical of capitalism, as they believe the term “capitalism” does not denote a truly freed economic system. Market anarchists avoid using the word “capitalism” because it often refers to our current, unfree economic system, dominated by corporations and vast income inequality. Market anarchists say that “capitalism” places too much emphasis on capital, implying rule by the owners of the means of production, a form of oppression which market anarchists oppose. Many market anarchists believe that in a freed society, the world would look very different from how it looks now under state capitalism. They believe that freed markets would not result in corporate domination and hierarchical firm structure. If such firms did exist, they would be few and far between. As Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson write in Markets Not Capitalism, “Market anarchists believe in market exchange, not in economic privilege. They believe in free markets, not in capitalism.” Continue reading