Economics/Class Relations

Free Marketers vs. Vulgar Libertarians

By Jake Recktenwald

Rational Anarchy

I recently stumbled upon this debate between Patrick Smith, a vulgar libertarian, and Mike Shipley, a comrade and libertarian who does great activist work. Smith, unsurprisingly, says some very dumb things that require rebuttal. This is not to say, of course, that Mike did an inadequate job explaining things. I just want to strike back myself, because doing so means asserting my individuality.

A main point that Smith makes early on, and the point which “anarcho-capitalists” seem fundamentally wired to repeat, regardless of how ridiculous it is, is the following one: Workplace hierarchy doesn’t exist in capitalism because the worker-capitalist interactions are voluntary. A worker who doesn’t like his conditions can quit anytime, and a boss who doesn’t like their workers can lay them off and replace them at any time. Both groups agree to the conditions and can secede from the agreement at any time. So, why is this view horribly misguided, and why does it confuse a free market with a market based on statist interference?

The Contingency of Voluntaryism

Smith’s point about the worker-boss agreement being voluntary on the part of the boss is understandable enough. After all, the labor market is incredibly vast, and there are probably many people who could fill a position if an enterprise’s manager decided to lay off a worker. But what about the worker? If we’re talking about a worker who doesn’t own capital and has no means to acquire it, yet needs capital to live and produce, then his options are really two. He can find a job and boss at all costs, or he can starve. Starvation is not a legitimate choice, and so he is effectively left with one option. It is true that he may have some decision-making power when looking for a boss to prostrate himself before (though many workers don’t even have that), and yet the choice to not subordinate himself to a boss is one he doesn’t have. Dispossessed workers have no choice in their subordination, and yet bosses have a variety of choices. They can fill an empty position with any number of people. Or they can fill the position themselves. Or they can force one of their current employees to do additional work. Or they can find a way to eliminate the need for such a position, etc. They are at no disadvantage due to the surplus of labor that resides within existing capitalism. Smith tries to make the case that the labor market is competitive, and that employers must compete harshly among one another for the workers. He equates this as being on par with labor competing for access to capital. His brain is evidently broken. The amount of laborers who need work is FAR greater, in current society, than the number of employers seeking workers. For workers, finding a job is a complicated and dehumanizing process, one that could take months and where success is never guaranteed. For employers, finding a worker is as simple as putting up a sign or an online ad. Oh how tough they have it!


2 replies »

  1. A lot of these poor workers are shiity people who refuse to take responsibility or demonstrate innovation (probably because many of them are dumbasses), and if a dumbass’ option are to be a workhorse or starve – good riddance. The economy is all kinds of fucked up, in its structure, practices, and beneficiearies but the fact is that starting your own business is 100% possible and, for that matter, you can get fat off of free food (not even welfare) so this ‘starvation’ horse-shit is gay and retarded nonsense in America.

    Dumbasses don’t want to work, don’t want to be independent, don’t want to control their spending and breeding – fuck ’em. I give two shits about America’s corporate whores, but I care even less about the prole fags who are ‘oppressed’ by them. If they weren’t such low-IQ sheep they wouldn’t be in this position, and the state wouldn’t be so powerful. Normies are trash and I hope they suffer – they’re the fucking problem, not the ‘elite’. The elite exist because of all these fucking morons beneath them.

  2. The author of this piece makes the elementary mistake of conflating freedom with power. If you take his argument to its logical conclusion, the only way for people to be truly free would be for everyone to be exactly equal in every possible respect. Of course, such a condition isn’t even possible in theory, much less in practice.

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