News & Analysis
Reasonableness of Anarcho-Capitalism?
Books can be read and reread at different times in life and yield new insights and interpretations. This is especially true of great books such as FA Hayek's Road to Serfdom. Rereading Road to Serfdom, one is struck anew by the reasonableness of the argument and the quiet eloquence of Hayek's prose. What also becomes true on rereading Hayek is that he always hoped for the integration of Austrian economics with the world's larger sociopolitical environment – even though that environment was increasingly hostile (during his lifetime) to free-market ideas.
Hayek saw merit in certain government activities and believed there was a place for government oversight. Hayek, of course, is the less doctrinaire half of the (Ludwig von) Mises-Hayek tandem. Today, the libertarian conversation has moved on and Mises' more pungent brand of free-market economics is perhaps preferred.
Here at the Bell we have often pointed out the inescapable reality of free-market thinking. Every law and every regulation is a price-fix of sorts and generates – for some service or some product – a queue, a shortage or a forcible redistribution of resources. There is nothing especially radical about this. It is simply the logical outcome of an argument. In fact, it is borne out by the realities all around us; we can see in the collapsing Western economies the bitter fruit of regulatory distortion. Over time, regulatory democracies tend toward more and more distortion. Regulatory overload only makes things worse.
Eventually, we come to the era of fingerpointing and blame-avoidance. The New York Times recently published an article entitled, A Path Is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens, which suggested that unidentified "policy makers" are beginning to conclude that the US Congress must establish a bankruptcy procedure for states.
The article points out states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. It then adds, "Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign. But proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government's aid."
The level of desperation must be verging on high tide if "policy makers" are considering state bankruptcy as a way out of local American obligations. Of course this begs the question as to how the federal government is going to handle ITS debts. Outstanding obligations are now said to hover in the area of US$200 trillion, a number the country will find impossible to honor without either hyperinflation or an international jubilee. The Bell wrote about this impossible number here:
Fingerpointing takes several forms. The Anglo-American power elite likes to blame banks and Wall Street. And this tactic is certainly being utilized. Banks are said to have offered a great deal too much credit to the wrong people; comprehensive regulations are being put in place worldwide to make sure they do not do so again.
The blame game is also applied to individuals and individual concepts. The elite-controlled media is working overtime to make sure that people don't get the "wrong" ideas. Plainly regulatory democracy doesn't work; the central-banking economy – operating under the color or control of government – is a horrible mechanism that ruins people's lives. But even as the media and elite proxies blame banks, so they must make sure that new ideas don't creep into the conversation. This can be accomplished by linking ideas to violence – and then repressing them, forcefully if necessary.
Already at Raw Story, a sizeable alternative (but decidedly not libertarian) news blog, we can see this at work. Raw Story reports on an "anarcho-capitalist" Boston-area blogger who declared "one down, 534 to go" after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – meaning that others in Congress ought to be shot in the head as well. As a result, the police raided Travis Corcoran's house, removed his guns, revoked his license and declared him to be "a credible threat."
Raw Story then pointed out the following: "Corcoran considers himself an ‘anarcho-capitalist,' a radical branch of libertarianism. In a Tweet on January 8, Corcoran declared, ‘Not all killing is murder. US troops have killed many under Obama's presidency. Is he a murderer? Or is it legitimate in war?'"
Corcoran runs a comic book store, and has obviously come to his conclusions (whatever they are) on his own. But the labeling has begun. Of course the great hard-money economist Murray Rothbard – late of the Mises Institute – believed in economic and political processes. He was an educator and spent much of his life teaching, as did his mentor von Mises. There are hundreds of university-situated Austrian economists who are not apt to promote violence. Mises himself fled Europe to avoid World War II.
The problem with this sort of strategy is that it doesn't work very well in the 21st century. The truth-telling of the Internet has taken a tremendous toll on the elite's fear-based promotions. The global warming meme is in tatters; America's serial wars are deeply unpopular; the blame-the-banks shell-game has not distracted public attention from the role of central banks in the West's latest meltdown.
The Internet, in fact, has thoroughly exposed the centralizing plans of the Anglosphere. Here at the Bell we have written many articles about the elite's evolving new world order and its haste to implement it. While such perspectives can be labeled "conspiratorial," I've never doubted this analysis. Imagine my astonishment when on reading the current issue of the Economist – an Anglosphere mouthpiece if there ever was one – I found several articles forcefully articulating the concept of a "cosmopolitan, global elite." Infowars noticed and wrote the following:
A rather bizarre article in The Economist addresses this power structure and far from dismissing it as a conspiracy theory, simply reaffirms the fact that "the cosmopolitan elite" do indeed "flock together" at such gatherings and elusive clubs to shape the world that the "superclass" wishes to inhabit. Of course, The Economist is a perfect avenue for the open conspiracy to be flaunted, given that its editor is a regular attendee at the annual Bilderberg conference, an admission the piece proudly discloses in its opening paragraphs.
Tongue firmly in cheek, the piece describes Bilderberg as "an evil conspiracy bent on world domination", and then goes on to affirm that actually yes, the group really does dominate world events. It was responsible for the single European currency, it plays host to the world's most influential aristocrats and business people, as well as a small cadre of journalists, representing the biggest global media corporations, who are sworn to comply with Chatham House rules, meaning they cannot disclose any of the "big ideas" that are hatched at Bilderberg.
"The world is a complicated place, with oceans of new information sloshing around." the piece continues, "To run a multinational organisation, it helps if you have a rough idea of what is going on. It also helps to be on first-name terms with other globocrats. So the cosmopolitan elite— international financiers, bureaucrats, charity bosses and thinkers—constantly meet and talk. They flock to elite gatherings... They form clubs."
There is not much the Anglosphere can do at this point but admit the reality of the organizational superstructure that has been created. It is a reportorial staple on the Internet. Query Bilderberg and Google offers nearly two million cites. Query Council on Foreign Relations and Google will provide nearly four million cites. Many blog sites and articles offer informed speculation that predicts the strategic maneuverings of the elite even before it takes place.
The effort to create an Anglosphere-administered new world order is at least 100 years old so far I can tell. But how much longer it will last? The euro is facing considerable turmoil and the EU itself is beset by austerity strikes and riots. All the world's major fiat currencies are increasingly devalued even as recovery from the Greater Recession looks more and more improbable.
No doubt the power elite intended to take advantage of the current chaos to implement further economic centralizations. But it seems to me that the Internet has made their job a great deal harder. People throughout the West – around the world – understand that there are alternative systems that may be implemented. Gold and silver are money, not the world's current paper money. Regulations seemingly do not alleviate social or financial misery and may even make them worse.
As other sociopolitical solutions are tried and exhausted, free markets increasingly may be viewed as a logical alternative to the failed solutions of a centralized and rigid Western system. Anarcho-capitalism itself may even come to be seen as a reasonable evolution of free-market thinking. Times are changing. It is possible that the elite does not have the answers.
Posted by KP on 01/22/11 12:53 AM
Oh I wish! However we are so far from an anarcho-capitalist society I can't see if occurring in my lifetime. Either it takes 50years of one step at a time to let people get used to each new idea and actually take responsibility for a little facet of their lives, or Western Socialism collapses quickly and very few of us survive.
Layered over our politics of course are religeous wars between Christians and Muslims, and cultural wars between Asians and Westerners.
I really need another 75years to see how all this turns out God...
Posted by Ben on 01/22/11 01:37 AM
Once the western economy has its lass breath and the people of the western world rise out of the chaos resulting from the inherent murder and profligacy of the State, I hope there will be an influential population that will argue for a stateless society that my family and I can be a part of.
Unfortunately, at least for another few hundred years, the majority will always argue for a return to some form of "constitutional" government ... "but this time," the majority will argue, "the government will stay bound by the constitution." Yeah right. Within a few short years, we will come full circle back again to the murder and profligacy of the State. Maybe the Internet will break the vicious cycle of destruction ... but I doubt it. But maybe a few of us will be able to break free.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 01/22/11 03:37 AM
@ Mr. Wile
"Anarcho-capitalism itself may even come to be seen as a reasonable evolution of free-market thinking."
I've come to look forward to your personal contributions Mr. Wile, this one is a new high water mark.
though I'd encourage more optimism. When you say "may even come to be seen as reasonable" there's an implication that it is not seen that way now, I don't think that's the case based on my own philosophies. While I have never been invited to attend a Bilderberg conference I am a person of independent means and I share many of the political and economic views expressed by this publication.
It should come as no surprise that people of wealth might gather together to discuss policy, just as people of lesser means do; it is their right and privilege, Observing there is a group of wealthy people who gather to discuss one world government should not be taken to mean that all persons of wealth share that goal. Those of us who do not share it tend not to gather and that is our nature. Your humble blog is about as close as I like to get to organizing, but I am very grateful to you for providing it.
Posted by Why Are The Bees Missing :O on 01/22/11 05:14 AM
AM! Sorry,-have'nt read above article as yet. How heartening are them scenes in Tunisia! I not naive ,-but are these gonna be repeated in every similar country(most -so!) .RAAAY :D
All the oppressed & downtrodden celebrating-brilliant..i always maintain the Pyramid is wrong way up.
Religion has caused all the strife & mental illnee-people mentally illusioning their own tyranical judges -HA! Thank you DB & bless the Great Tunisians & lets follow Suit!!!
Posted by Spectator on 01/22/11 05:44 AM
There is a good video on gold and fiat at
Click to view link
Posted by John Blenkins on 01/22/11 05:56 AM
Posted by Adam on 01/22/11 06:18 AM
YouTube -- Everyday Anarchy
Click to view link
'A philosophical examination of our ambivalence towards spontaneous order, political compulsion and the liberty of the everyday. The entire book is available [for free] at freedomainradio [dot] com [slash] free'
From the book:
'What does the word "anarchy" really mean? It simply means a way of interacting with others without threatening them with violence if they do not obey. It simply means "without political violence." When we think of a society without political violence ' without governments ' specters of chaos and brutality always arise for us, immediately and, it would seem, irrevocably. However, it only takes a moment of thought to realize that we live the vast majority of our actual lives in complete and total anarchy ' and call such anarchy "morally good."
Love, marriage, family, career, finances ' we all make our major decisions in the complete absence of direct political coercion. Thus ' if anarchy is such an all-consuming, universal evil, why is it the default ' and virtuous ' freedom that we demand in order to achieve just liberty in our daily lives? We must recognize the basic paradox: We love the anarchy we live. We fear the anarchy we imagine ' the anarchy we are taught to fear.'
Answers to the objection that the corporations would just "take over"
Click to view link
YouTube -- Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio Interviewed by the Police! ;)
Posted by Heuristic on 01/22/11 07:02 AM
Well, there are those talk a good game, and there are those gather around the professional pundits feet to live in perpetual childhood, and then there are those who live and work in the marketplace.
Some of the best people I've ever met have never heard of anarcho-capitalism. But they eschew dealing with the state as much as possible, don't whine for handouts for themselves or anyone, avoid and evade taxes if that is possible without abandoning their chosen profession, and are can-do types of people.
Everything you needed to intellectually understand about anarcho-capitalism can be had by reading a very few old classics and then looking around at your own life and seeing what changes you can make.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by EDD on 01/22/11 07:08 AM
@John Blenkins: thanks for the link. It would be interesting to watch developments of this concept.
Posted by Heuristic on 01/22/11 07:11 AM
For example, I give my regular customers 30 days to pay. It's essentially a Real Bill but not very fungible. :-) Nobody's likely to be trading my "note" any time soon on an exchange. I don't see how that could contribute to inflation but I'm open to an argument based either on logic or empirical evidence. What I'm not open to is someone who smells of the academy using a bucket of scorn as a substitute for either logic or empirical evidence. The best thing to do in such a circumstance is to disengage.
Posted by Grekko on 01/22/11 08:01 AM
I agree with everyone here at the Bell, and most all commentators. The system is undergoing great stress, and the more that central banks and regulatory democracy collude, the greater the stress will be for everyone until finally the whole system comes crashing down.
Throughout history, this has normally ended in war. I'm sure that the next one will be a doozy, as nuclear weapons will most likely be used.
As Isaac Asimov wrote in his Foundation series, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent", and I do not see any shortage of incompetents lately.
I do not see Morder's captains allowing freedom and liberty to gain a foothold during this downward spiral either, although I do have reason for hope. In the past year, two countries have shed themselves of their overlords, tiny Iceland, which chased its government right out the backdoor of Parliament, and Tunisia, whose overlord (with the entire family) made a disappearing act that would make any Vegas magician proud.
It is truly amazing how peaceful and quiet both revolutions turned out with nary a single death attributed.
I do not believe that it will turn out as well in the Anglo-American elite controlled west. There are too many power centers acting, and in a few cases, against each other. Try as we might, I don't think we can change anything until near history has run its course.
I believe that the best we can hope for is to educate as many of our countrymen as possible, so that when the Eye of Mordor does fall, we can intelligently replace it with a better system based upon proper Austrian Economics, gold & silver money, Real Bills, and a myriad of sovereign states, all small and controlled at the local level such as the city-states that existed in ancient Greek history.
If all sovereign nations were to be no larger than the size of Iceland, then indeed it would be the local people who are in control, not some international banker bent on pillaging every citizen from afar. As for me, I would like to spend the next thousand years hammering swords into ploughshares.
Posted by Bill Ross on 01/22/11 08:28 AM
NYT: "A Path Is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens"
Translation to REALSPEAK: States seek relief from having to keep their fraudulent promises, for which they have created many Ponzi schemes based on these false promises, consumed the public "investment" and now, plead "necessity" for tolerance of "we, the people".
States are an abstraction, an intellectual umbrella under which REAL individuals make choices, protected from the consequences of their actions by all other members of the state group who will rally in forceful defense against any who presume to hold individual state actors to account.
This is what must be done: Justice for all, especially our lying "public servants":
Justice Defined: We are all free to profit or suffer and learn (adapt to excellence) by facing the consequences of our OWN choices. Injustice is to be forced to suffer the consequences of choices of unaccountable (irresponsible) others..
"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class." ~ Lord Acton
"Rule of Law", use it, or lose it:
Click to view link
Then, once we collectively acknowledge proven physical action leading to consequence reality, the "Reasonableness of Anarcho-Capitalism" will be self-evident, a proven fact.
The intellectual nature of the enemy is:
Reality unambiguously proven responded to by "Yes, BUT" endless streams of falsely framed, bogus, speculative "arguments", all of which must be disproven so that truth stands by process of elimination from an infinity of false arguments.
In other words, truth must be proven by disproving an infinity of negatives (cannot prove a negative, a logical impossibility) as opposed to accepting as true what there is positive evidence for and no evidence to the negative.
The fallback position of course, should you succeed at their game and prove them wrong is: "Reality is Unfair". Next victim.
Posted by Bill Ross on 01/22/11 08:48 AM
AW: "to implement further economic centralizations"
This feeds into the "elites should be careful what they wish for" comment. A "centralization" is a mere consolidation of economic activity, a redistribution away from the productive to controllers. There are serious REAL, civilization threatening consequences to this crime. The tighter they squeeze, the more slips through their grasp:
Click to view link
Elite grasp has exceeded their reach.
Posted by Michael on 01/22/11 09:11 AM
I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. -Henry David Thoreau-
I think the people are slowly but surely starting to understand this concept and are taking a liking to it. I hope I do see it in my life time. There is no government like NO government ...
Posted by Ingo Bischoff on 01/22/11 09:56 AM
"Anarcho-capitalism itself may even come to be seen as a reasonable evolution of free-market thinking. Times are changing. It is possible that the elite does not have the answers."
I guess when the elite's bankrupt view of the world cannot be masked with violence among nations, the solution is to promote internal anarchy, or is it...???
We should recognize that the antidote to the elite's view of government is the original U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The heart was ripped out of the U.S. Constitution with the ratification of the 16th and 17th Amendment.
The peaceful solution to the mess the elite's thinking has produced is to restore vitality to the origial Constitution by repealing of the 16th and 17th Amendments.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that the founding fathers knew more about natural law, human nature, political economy, monetary systems and taxation policy than today's "so called experts". Why not return to their thinking?
Give me the U.S. Constitution sans the 16th and 17th Amendment and the mess into which the elite's "expertice" has landed us will be cleared up in short order. There is no need to fall for the trick of promoting war among nations or of provoking violent insurrection as a solution.
Just repeal the 17th Amendment, and the U.S. Constituion will again function as intended. It was written to ensure free markets, a gold standard and "Anglo-Saxon" taxation for sustainable prosperity in freedom and liberty.
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 01/22/11 10:02 AM
It displays an aspect of cowardice when one makes a post directed at a specific person, yet doesn't identify the person, especially when one does so consistently.
As if you want to appear challenging but you are afraid to actually engage. Just like you did last time. And almost a week later, you still can't let go. So sad for you.
"I don't see how that could contribute to inflation but I'm open to an argument based either on logic or empirical evidence."
I do not want to turn this thread into another discussion of real bills. Ingo Bischoff and others have continued the dialogue at the Ellen Brown interview. My further statements are included there as well. You can accept one side or the other, it doesn't matter to me.
Next time show a little backbone when you are calling someone out. It would help if you actually called the person out by name.
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 01/22/11 10:31 AM
Respectfully, the Constitution didn't work as "intended" (in a "control government" sense) even before the passage of those two amendments. Nothing in the Constitution prevented Lincoln from starting a war resulting in the deaths of 600,000 plus Americans, while stripping the states of the most important check and balance in the Constitution.
The 16th and 17th amendments were ratified by a government and states not yet affected by the 16th and 17th amendments. Why do you believe they would not do so again? The Fed came into being before either of these amendments had any meaningful effect. Why would this not happen again?
The Constitution is not a solution. The minds of the people must change. When force is seen as a legitimate tool in organizing society, no piece of paper will provide protection.
Most people do not see force as legitimate in their daily lives, yet accept it as normal when practiced by those who work for a specific employer. This mentality must change. Then you have anarchy, and then there is hope.
Roderick Long speaks eloquently about anarchy. I posted this off-topic the other day. It is on topic today, so I will post it again here:
Click to view link
Posted by Ingo Bischoff on 01/22/11 10:45 AM
@ Bionic Mosquito
"But education about the State, and alternative networks, empower an ever-greater number to withdraw their consent from the power-hungry, tax-eating, violent apparatus whose abuses result in many evils, including piles of dead bodies."
Those are the remblings of Roderick Long which you find "eloquent". I don't.
The U.S. Constitution is a frame work of rules to enable Man to govern himself. If Man fails to abide by the rules to then blame the U.S. Constitution is silly.
To go ahead and change the rules contrary to the intent of the original Constitution, however is most significant.
Posted by Bill Ross on 01/22/11 10:48 AM
"Respectfully, the Constitution didn't work as "intended"
IMHO, no law can be enforced "as intended", so long as "intent" is a matter of speculation and "rule of man" interprets "meaning" as opposed to dealing the the physical reality (action leading to consequence) of matters.
For example: Initiate aggression and harm someone and be unambiguously smited and pay triple reparations to you victims, NO EXCEPTIONS. As opposed to a train of subjective speculations as to why "evil is necessary".
When the law is wielded by criminals (those who survive by force / fraud), is it any surprise that peaceful, honest people are "the enemy"? The "law", as currently practiced is just "pretexts to prey", a fraudulent meme, at the heart of and enabling all other memes.
Is it any surprise THEY would consider the Constitution "just a goddamn piece of paper"?
There will be no "REASONABLE" exit from this state of affairs.
Posted by Ingo Bischoff on 01/22/11 10:56 AM
@ Bionic Mosquito
"There will be no "REASONABLE" exit from this state of affairs."
Maybe not for you. I don't agree with your statement. Neither do my comrades with whom I served.