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Author Topic: Anarcho-capitalism, Monopolies, Private dictatorships  (Read 13270 times)
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April 29, 2011, 10:21:31 AM
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How would Anarcho-capitalists handle the emergence of monopolies?

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April 29, 2011, 10:24:19 AM
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First thought: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdLBzfFGFQU

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April 29, 2011, 10:42:11 AM
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I disagree, combination is a superior strategy to competition. If making a profit is your game then it makes sense to join forces with the competition and 'pull-up-the-ladder' The government protects monopolies argument is somewhat chicken-&-egg. In heavy industry; transport, comms, governments will necessarily ally with these monopolies to ensure the stability of critical sectors.

In many cases I'm sure government may actually work towards forming monopolies either due to strategic concerns mentioned or because government is often heavily influenced by big money, the exact same kind of big money that would eat an anarcho-capitalism for breakfast and shit out absolute dynasties.

Freidman says he doesn't understand Debeers... there you go. A band of ruthless adventurers bought mercenary power and the assistance of the British Army to bear in Southern Africa and through no small amount of slave labour and the establishment of a state (Rhodesia, later overthrown by African freedom fighters) was able to entrench itself as the diamond monopoly, crushing all upstarts or industrial alternatives through a mixture of the control of cultural infactuation and state-allied might.

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April 29, 2011, 10:49:35 AM
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Under anarcho-capitalism a natural balance is reached because monopolies, being large organisations, are slower to react to changes than smaller more-nimble organisations. The time always comes when the monopoly is caught out by fast-changing events to which it can't react quickly enough to maintain its monopoly position.

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In heavy industry; transport, comms, governments will necessarily ally with these monopolies to ensure the stability of critical sectors.
That stability is good for the dominance and profitability of the government-favored players in those sectors, but for society as a whole it would be better to have dynamism and the opportunity for change than to have "stability".
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April 29, 2011, 12:08:51 PM
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Under anarcho-capitalism a natural balance is reached because monopolies, being large organisations, are slower to react to changes than smaller more-nimble organisations. The time always comes when the monopoly is caught out by fast-changing events to which it can't react quickly enough to maintain its monopoly position.

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In heavy industry; transport, comms, governments will necessarily ally with these monopolies to ensure the stability of critical sectors.
That stability is good for the dominance and profitability of the government-favored players in those sectors, but for society as a whole it would be better to have dynamism and the opportunity for change than to have "stability".

Monopolies are able to prevent competition as they accumulate market power, which they diversify into other forms of power. They are able to entrench themselves and maintain their position by economies of scale and economies of scope. A strong, well-run monopoly can maintain its favored position for decades. Power can be bought or gamed in any political system, or even in the absence of a political system (as is effectively the naive and misguided dream of anarchists of various stripes).

I contend that it is precisely because of the power monopolies can gather to themselves that they are able to influence, recruit or ally with the state itself.

It's interesting to remind ourselves why states exist in the first place, their origin was in the simple function of maintaining law and order. The monopoly of force for the settlement of disputes. This is the essential function of any state. Everything else they've become over time is the product of various historical influences and struggles that they've had to mediate or be subjected to. Landowners, traders, peasants, serfs, slavers, slaves, industrialists, laborers, the myriad complexities of urban centres, cultural minorities, technological innovations, various formations of military forces, religions etc.

Without the state multiple influences would still exist and there would still be a need for the control of force (Rands night-watchmen state). The state itself is in my opinion the Essential Monopoly without which order cannot be maintained. Without a state any Jack with a gun or a band of club-weilding friends would overwise attempt to impose their own law. There would be a period of 'war-lordism' where most people would be unable to invest significantly in any endeavor until eventually some overall power would emerge and voila, a state has formed again. States are the end of internal conflict, or the mediation of such conflict by definition.

But even with a simple state, life itself won't sit still and remain simple, the struggles and vying for position would still continue, the state will still become increasingly complex as it continues its obligation to mediate between competing interests.

In my opinion, anarchists don't even recognize the nature of the game so they have no chance of winning, they merely demand the umpire be abolished as if this would mean victory. In an anarcho-capitalist society monopolies would form, maximize profits, and defend their positions against the natural forces of entropy. So anarcho-capiland would still end up with a state, only a state entirely given over to the cause of various allied monopolies. The influence of workers, peasants, small scale traders and innovators etc would have been completely dis-empowered by the anarcho-capitalsist tennets, the mediation of their interests would be denied completely, no court of law for them to fight their case. They could be crushed by brute force.

In a society without a state the door is left open to uncontested control by allied monopolists. Eventually, there'd just be an authoritarian behemoth run by a complex of private power in which no one has any rights except the owners. Monarchies basically.

The state is an inevitable space, and furthermore it is a battle-ground that must be contested and fought for. To attempt to abolish the state is merely to concede all power to private monopolies.

That's my argument anyway.

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April 29, 2011, 12:21:42 PM
 #6

Please don't conflate "anarcho"-capitalism with anarchism.

If you'd like to learn about anarchism, even for the sake of improving your arguments, I'd recommend An Anarchist FAQ.

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April 29, 2011, 12:22:42 PM
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When monopoly raises the price, competitors will enter into their market. So even though monopoly is possible, it can't do any harm in an-cap society, unlike current monopolies, that are forced by government.
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April 29, 2011, 12:49:21 PM
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How would Anarcho-capitalists handle the emergence of monopolies?

Either a monopoly is serving customers really well and efficiently (which is really good), or they used force to get to that position (which is bad, and you deal with them the same as anyone who uses force).

Monopolies cannot last if they are not serving customers well or artificial barriers of entry are enacted.  Otherwise, competitors will come in.

Or are you concerned that without the government to break up IBM/Microsoft/Google/(insert next tech boogeyman), no one will ever be able to compete?
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April 29, 2011, 01:07:15 PM
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In a free market society you might not even see very big pools of capital (corporations) forming. People handle capital much more efficiently when it's their own, not shared with everyone or owned by some distant capitalist. It's just taxation and other state bureaucracy that makes distribution of ownership less practical in some cases.

Big corporations tend to have management problems similar to those seen in communist countries. Instead of a mega-corporation like Siemens, you'd have a lot more efficient network of private entrepreneurs who own their personal means of production, or perhaps pool resources when bigger machines and tools are required. People would more often sell the results of their work rather than working hours. Idle days spent at the office only because of hour-based work contract would be history.

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April 29, 2011, 01:14:56 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that. I don't conflate the two as they are very different, but they both seem to believe in the possibility of a power vacuum. Libertarians are slightly better except they believe in a simplistic faux-human sociopath-Randist type being that can accurately be described both as 'Homo-Economicus' and 'wanker'.

For me the question is who controls the monopoly of violence (aka the state). Private share-holders, or public stake-holders?

I'm a public stakeholder man myself. Everyone gets an equal stake in the state, and that stake's worth something, a decent education, decent healthcare (and not just some shitty American style medicare or something), decent roads and housing and an essential amount of income whether you're rich or poor if you need it and the right not to be victimized by said state or anyone else within its borders.

There's plenty of space left over in a society like that for surpluses and business models and profits and private swimming pools and the like.


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April 29, 2011, 01:20:26 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that. I don't conflate the two as they are very different, but they both seem to believe in the possibility of a power vacuum. Libertarians are slightly better except they believe in a simplistic faux-human sociopath-Randist type being that can accurately be described both as 'Homo-Economicus' and 'wanker'.

For me the question is who controls the monopoly of violence (aka the state). Private share-holders, or public stake-holders?

I'm a public stakeholder man myself. Everyone gets an equal stake in the state, and that stake's worth something, a decent education, decent healthcare (and not just some shitty American style medicare or something), decent roads and housing and an essential amount of income whether you're rich or poor if you need it and the right not to be victimized by said state or anyone else within its borders.

There's plenty of space left over in a society like that for surpluses and business models and profits and private swimming pools and the like.



Why will a monopoly of violence always end up forming?  If so, it's not an anarcho-capitalist society.  Is it possible human's can never be convinced of that? Possibly.  But I don't argue something based on what people may or may not do, I argue based on what is best, and if people are convinced, then it will happen, otherwise it won't.
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April 29, 2011, 01:38:21 PM
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All, I highly recommend reading this article. Don't be put off by the title, the point is that it makes no sense to talk about "anarcho-capitalism" or "anarcho-socialism", there is just anarchy, which is incompatible with preconceived notions of how such a society would function. I think the author makes a good argument that such large accumulations of capital as we have today would not occur, due to unsubsidized costs of protection. Combined with a population more or less agreeing that statism is undesirable, which is achievable through conversation and education, I think anarchy is sustainable.
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April 29, 2011, 01:38:59 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that.

The state monopoly of legal violence is there only because enough people accept it. It's not like the state (or a private company) could violently keep all the citizens under its power.

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April 29, 2011, 01:45:38 PM
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The state monopoly of legal violence is there only because enough people accept it. It's not like the state (or a private company) could violently keep all the citizens under its power.

+1

The Voluntaryist insight - "All power ultimately derives from consent, whether it be willingly given or based on reluctant compliance or that derived from strict enforcement of governmental law."
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April 29, 2011, 01:48:56 PM
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There is nothing wrong in a monopoly, as long as it is obtained legetimately, ie. without violence.

Google for instance has almost a monopoly on web searches.   Does anyone complain?  No.  Because searching information on the web is just something that they do better than anyone else and that is why they have a monopoly.  There is a demand and they satisfy this demand.  Where is the problem?
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April 29, 2011, 02:38:14 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that. I don't conflate the two as they are very different, but they both seem to believe in the possibility of a power vacuum. Libertarians are slightly better except they believe in a simplistic faux-human sociopath-Randist type being that can accurately be described both as 'Homo-Economicus' and 'wanker'.

For me the question is who controls the monopoly of violence (aka the state). Private share-holders, or public stake-holders?

I'm a public stakeholder man myself. Everyone gets an equal stake in the state, and that stake's worth something, a decent education, decent healthcare (and not just some shitty American style medicare or something), decent roads and housing and an essential amount of income whether you're rich or poor if you need it and the right not to be victimized by said state or anyone else within its borders.

There's plenty of space left over in a society like that for surpluses and business models and profits and private swimming pools and the like.



Why will a monopoly of violence always end up forming?  If so, it's not an anarcho-capitalist society.  Is it possible human's can never be convinced of that? Possibly.  But I don't argue something based on what people may or may not do, I argue based on what is best, and if people are convinced, then it will happen, otherwise it won't.

Well, you can have a perfect competition of violence, a kind of every man for himself situation, which will inevitably become an oligopoly of violence, warlordism basically, which would eventually may become a duopoly of violence before finally settling into a monopoly of violence.

Most people prefer at least an oligopoly of violence, because then they don't have to worry about violence as much and can get on with gazing at the stars and wondering what's out there, studying pond-life under microscopes, building and growing stuff and thinking up new ways to buy and sell things in shops or whatever.

If you want to live in a perfect competition of violence, good luck to ya. Grin


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April 29, 2011, 02:47:01 PM
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There is nothing wrong in a monopoly, as long as it is obtained legetimately, ie. without violence.

Google for instance has almost a monopoly on web searches.   Does anyone complain?  No.  Because searching information on the web is just something that they do better than anyone else and that is why they have a monopoly.  There is a demand and they satisfy this demand.  Where is the problem?


Exactly. Most states have a monopoly on violence and people accept the premise of such a monopoly existing. For most people the question is how the monopoly is run and to what end, who controls it. Most people do want there to be a body on whose authority "laws" are created and enforced. In times past the say-so of some king was enough but no more. Now most people want laws to be created and enforced in democratic processes and they don't want private wealth or religious leaders etc to have more say in this process.


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April 29, 2011, 02:50:44 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that. I don't conflate the two as they are very different, but they both seem to believe in the possibility of a power vacuum. Libertarians are slightly better except they believe in a simplistic faux-human sociopath-Randist type being that can accurately be described both as 'Homo-Economicus' and 'wanker'.

For me the question is who controls the monopoly of violence (aka the state). Private share-holders, or public stake-holders?

I'm a public stakeholder man myself. Everyone gets an equal stake in the state, and that stake's worth something, a decent education, decent healthcare (and not just some shitty American style medicare or something), decent roads and housing and an essential amount of income whether you're rich or poor if you need it and the right not to be victimized by said state or anyone else within its borders.

There's plenty of space left over in a society like that for surpluses and business models and profits and private swimming pools and the like.



Why will a monopoly of violence always end up forming?  If so, it's not an anarcho-capitalist society.  Is it possible human's can never be convinced of that? Possibly.  But I don't argue something based on what people may or may not do, I argue based on what is best, and if people are convinced, then it will happen, otherwise it won't.

Well, you can have a perfect competition of violence, a kind of every man for himself situation, which will inevitably become an oligopoly of violence, warlordism basically, which would eventually may become a duopoly of violence before finally settling into a monopoly of violence.

Most people prefer at least an oligopoly of violence, because then they don't have to worry about violence as much and can get on with gazing at the stars and wondering what's out there, studying pond-life under microscopes, building and growing stuff and thinking up new ways to buy and sell things in shops or whatever.

If you want to live in a perfect competition of violence, good luck to ya. Grin


Sweet, a Mad Max reference, never seen that before.

Violence is very counter-productive for society.  Most people can interact peacefully and gain more by being peaceful than by being violent.  Uninitiated violence is *never* just, and the more people that believe that, the better.

Hell, even gangs, who cannot settle conflicts peacefully in the legal system, are able to get along peacefully for a long period of time, handling disputes internally.  Of course this doesn't work very well since they have no legal recourse for their disputes, so violence is the only answer in that case.

If people believe violence is ok, you will live in a violent society.  If people believe violence is wrong except in the case of defense, then you will live in a peaceful society.  What's the problem?
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April 29, 2011, 03:02:42 PM
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All I'm saying is a monopoly of violence will always end up forming, anarcho-capitalistss and anarchists both seem to not get that. I don't conflate the two as they are very different, but they both seem to believe in the possibility of a power vacuum. Libertarians are slightly better except they believe in a simplistic faux-human sociopath-Randist type being that can accurately be described both as 'Homo-Economicus' and 'wanker'.

For me the question is who controls the monopoly of violence (aka the state). Private share-holders, or public stake-holders?

I'm a public stakeholder man myself. Everyone gets an equal stake in the state, and that stake's worth something, a decent education, decent healthcare (and not just some shitty American style medicare or something), decent roads and housing and an essential amount of income whether you're rich or poor if you need it and the right not to be victimized by said state or anyone else within its borders.

There's plenty of space left over in a society like that for surpluses and business models and profits and private swimming pools and the like.



Why will a monopoly of violence always end up forming?  If so, it's not an anarcho-capitalist society.  Is it possible human's can never be convinced of that? Possibly.  But I don't argue something based on what people may or may not do, I argue based on what is best, and if people are convinced, then it will happen, otherwise it won't.

Well, you can have a perfect competition of violence, a kind of every man for himself situation, which will inevitably become an oligopoly of violence, warlordism basically, which would eventually may become a duopoly of violence before finally settling into a monopoly of violence.

Most people prefer at least an oligopoly of violence, because then they don't have to worry about violence as much and can get on with gazing at the stars and wondering what's out there, studying pond-life under microscopes, building and growing stuff and thinking up new ways to buy and sell things in shops or whatever.

If you want to live in a perfect competition of violence, good luck to ya. Grin


Sweet, a Mad Max reference, never seen that before.

Violence is very counter-productive for society.  Most people can interact peacefully and gain more by being peaceful than by being violent.  Uninitiated violence is *never* just, and the more people that believe that, the better.

Hell, even gangs, who cannot settle conflicts peacefully in the legal system, are able to get along peacefully for a long period of time, handling disputes internally.  Of course this doesn't work very well since they have no legal recourse for their disputes, so violence is the only answer in that case.

If people believe violence is ok, you will live in a violent society.  If people believe violence is wrong except in the case of defense, then you will live in a peaceful society.  What's the problem?

I think you're being naive. Gangs co-exist peacefully for long periods of time because balances of power set in.

Wishing for Peace and Love is all very well but does not accord with human realities. There's always going to be somebody that didn't get the memo. Violence exists, it must be dealt with. Frankly I'd rather leave that sort of thing to the police force. I also insist that said police force be accountable to me and my peace-loving fellows, minorities and majorities and all.

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April 29, 2011, 03:08:18 PM
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Well, you can have a perfect competition of violence, a kind of every man for himself situation, which will inevitably become an oligopoly of violence, warlordism basically, which would eventually may become a duopoly of violence before finally settling into a monopoly of violence.

Most people prefer at least an oligopoly of violence, because then they don't have to worry about violence as much and can get on with gazing at the stars and wondering what's out there, studying pond-life under microscopes, building and growing stuff and thinking up new ways to buy and sell things in shops or whatever.

If you want to live in a perfect competition of violence, good luck to ya. Grin



True, everybody would like to live in a peaceful society, with no gun or any other kind of violence.

But not at any price.  At some point if the oligopoly of violence asks too much to the people it is supposed to protect, then individuals get weapons and reorganize distribution of force.

So if we have to step towards a Mad Max or Clint Eastwood society in order to get rid of the scumbags who spoil every single inch of freedom we desire, be it.
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