Markets NOT Capitalism! (Intro to Left Libertarianism/ Market Anarchism)

Do you know it’s possible to be anti-capitalist, but also pro-market? This is definitely the direction I find myself heading in these days. Here’s some resources to give an overview:

What is Market Anarchism?
Market anarchists believe in Market exchange, not in economic privilege. they believe in free markets, not in capitalism. What makes them anarchists is their belief in a fully free and consensual society – a society in which order is achieved not through legal force or political government, but through free agreements and voluntary cooperation on a basis of equality. What makes them market anarchists is their recognition of free market exchange as a vital medium for peacefully anarchic social order. But the markets they 
envision are not like the privilege-riddled “markets” we see around us today. Markets laboring under government and capitalism are pervaded by persistent poverty, ecological destruction, radical inequalities of wealth, and concentrated power in the hands of corporations, bosses, and landlords. The consensus view is that exploitation – whether of human beings or of nature – is simply the natural result of markets left unleashed. The consensus view holds that private property, competitive pressure, and the profit motive must – whether for good or for ill – inevitably lead to capitalistic wage labor, to the concentration of wealth and social power in the hands of a select class, or to business practices based on growth at all costs and the devil take the hindmost.

Market anarchists dissent. They argue that economic privilege is a real and pervasive social problem, but that the problem is not a problem of private property, competition, or profits per se. It is not a problem of the market form but of markets deformed – deformed by the long shadow of historical injustices and the ongoing, continuous exercise of legal privilege on behalf of capital. The market anarchist tradition is radically pro-market and anticapitalist – reflecting its consistent concern with the deeply political character of corporate power, the dependence of economic elites on the tolerance or active support of the state, the permeable barriers between political and economic elites, and the cultural embeddedness of hierarchies established and maintained by state-perpetrated and state-sanctioned violence.” 

From the introduction to “Markets not Capitalism” – edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson: http://radgeek.com/gt/2011/10/Markets-Not-Capitalism-2011-Chartier-and-Johnson.pdf

Three Types of Capitalism
Defenders of freed Markets have good reason to identify their position as a species of “anticapitalism.” To explain why, I distinguish three potential meanings of “capitalism” before suggesting that people committed to freed markets should oppose capitalism in my second and third senses...

Three Senses of “Capitalism”

There are at least three distinguishable senses of “capitalism”:

Captalism1

An economic system that features personal property rights and voluntary exchanges of goods and services 

Capitalism2

An economic system that features a symbiotic relationship between big business and government

Capitalism3

Rule – of workplaces, society, and (if there is one) the state – by capitalists (that is, by a relatively small number of people who control investable wealth and the means of production)

Capitalism1  just is a freed market; so if “anticapitalism” meant opposition to captalism1, “free-market anticapitalism” would be oxymoronic. But proponents of free-market anticapitalism aren’t opposed to captalism1; instead, they object either to capitalism2 or to both capitalism2  and capitalism3


From “Advocates of Freed Markets should oppose Capitalism” by Gary Chartier in Markets not Capitalism” – edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson: http://radgeek.com/gt/2011/10/Markets-Not-Capitalism-2011-Chartier-and-Johnson.pdf

See also: 

Grassroots (not statist) Panafricanism

One thought on “Markets NOT Capitalism! (Intro to Left Libertarianism/ Market Anarchism)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s