Saturday, August 20, 2011

Libertarian anti-capitalism

A thoughtful and useful piece at Bleeding Heart Libertarians that tries to sort out the different meanings of the term capitalism as used in conventional political discourse. This is useful, because left and right, and various groups within the left and right, often use the term in quite different ways.

The piece also indirectly highlights the ways in which anarchists of the with and without property rights varieties resemble one another in important ways. Thinking about anarchy of both sorts is a very good way to clarify one's thinking about the state, its justification and role in economic and social life. The best modern treatment of with property rights anarchism is probably David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom.

I do think that the author implicitly understates the importance of economies of scale, as well as the potential roles of government regulation in the form of joint stock corporations and bankruptcy laws in driving economic growth. But the overall point that the free market and government support for big corporations are very different, indeed mutually incompatible things, is most important.

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