An Indian city run entirely by corporations hasn’t had a functioning government for 40 years Reply

By Chris Weller

Business Insider

gurgaon 2006

Gurgaon, India is a city where normal functions of a local government do not apply — because there is hardly any government at all.

Instead, private corporations dominate the city, offering sewage removal systems, firefighting services, health care, and education.

“The interesting thing about Gurgaon is that because there was a market for it, anywhere the government was lacking, the private sector came in and they provided the service,” says Shruti Rajagopalan, an assistant professor in economics at Purchase College, State University of New York

As locals have discovered, however, that doesn’t always mean Gurgaon is paradise.

Gurgaon had a population of approximately 173,000 in 2001. Today, it’s nearing 1 million, with residents living in garbage-strewn shanties and luxury high-rises.

Can A Libertarian Society Provide National Defense? 3

A former military officer weighs in.

By Zack Sorenson

Libertarian Institute

A recent Tom Woods podcast featured a debate about whether the free market can provide for national defense.

Arguing that libertarian society can offer defense “services”, Bob Murphy relies on the idea of insurance paying the costs of defense.

Arguing that a monopoly state should offer these services, Todd Lewis points out numerous historical examples in which government organized national defense is seemingly necessary.

I dislike this kind of discussion in general.  My feeling is that there shouldn’t be such a thing as any kind of organized, politically driven, violence.  The idea of private armies is as horrifying as the idea of a giant state army.  However, this issue is obviously relevant, and worth addressing.  I’m just going to address different issues in no particular order.

First, Todd Lewis mentions the Sengoku Jidai (“feudal” Japan), and also the Roman civil war between Marius and Sulla.  He argues that these are examples of “private” defense, where mercenaries for hire end up fighting brutal wars that devastated each country.  I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about.

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Murphy 1, Shoguns 0 Reply

A specialist on Japanese military history weighs in on the Lewis-Murphy debate on private defense services.

Regarding my recent debate on the Tom Woods Show with Todd Lewis–regarding private defense–I got the following email (permission to reprint):

Dr. Murphy,

Following your recent debate with Todd Lewis I felt motivated to write the following based on my experience of living in Japan and studying its martial history for over 24 years.

Best regards,


Tim Haffner

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Why Japan’s Sengoku period does not support monopoly security provision and actually makes the case for the private production of defense:

1. Feudal Japan was a peasant-based agrarian economy overseen by samurai landlords enforcing law and securing territory, ostensibly at least, on behalf of the emperor. Controlling land and the agriculture products yielded from the peasant farmers was essential to power. Taxation and trade were denominated in units of rice bushels. Modes of production, means of commerce, and centers of power have changed significantly since that time. One must be careful and selective when comparing pre-industrial revolution societies with modern theories of political-economy.

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The Republic Was Never Supposed to Be Forever Reply

By Bradley J. Birzer

The American Conservative

As I write this second part of the series, the origins of the rise of the modern nation state, our own nation state looks—financially—nothing short of pathetic. At the end of 2017, the federal government’s official estimate for deficit spending is $666 billion. For all kinds of reasons, this is a really scary number, and not just because it causes one to think of the mark of St. John’s envisioned beast. Rrroawr!  $666 billion is a number so terribly large that it is difficult for any of us—even those of us not suffering from innumeracy or apocalyptic dread—to comprehend. And, of course, this is just the recorded and admitted deficit spending for one year. That is, it accounts for those things the government admits to, on the books and on budget.

According to the U.S. Debt Clock, we’re at nearly $21 trillion in debt, and the number increases so quickly that seizures might very well result. As the number made my stomach turn, I thought, perhaps the site should come with a warning akin to those found on PS4 and Xbox games. That’s all we need, right?  Another law and another regulation.

As Tom Woods and all sensible economists have recently claimed, the United States of America is simply insolvent. The only shocking thing is that no one in the mainstream media or financial institutions seems to care.

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The Exit Principle Reply

If the objective of pan-anarchism/anarcho-pluralism is the replacement of states with societies organized on the basis of decentralized, voluntary associations, then a question that arises involves the issue of what kinds criteria individual communities would have to meet of qualify as legitimate voluntary associations of these kinds. The Startup Societies Foundation offers a pretty good set of standards, all of which are rooted in the “exit principle,” i.e the right to leave if you don’t like what people around you are doing.

  1. No democide.
  2. No arbitrary laws.
  3. No impossible cost to exit.
  4. No surveillance for blackmail.
  5. No psychological control without freedom of speech.
  6. No torture.
  7. No ignoring sovereignty.
  8. No fraud.
  9. No red market economy.
  10. No aggressive military action.

Click here to learn more about these ten rules.

No Kings, No Feudal Lords Reply

This a a great cartoon in the sense that is parodies the reflexive sentiments of “conservatives” in the vein of FOX News fans and “dittoheads,” who echo Ayn Rand’s claim that “big business is the most persecuted minority,” or Cool Hand Luke’s quip that, “Them poor ole bosses need all the help they can get.” But it also regrettably falls prey to the “progressive” sentiment that the king is some mythical figure that will save the peasants from the aristocrats.

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That nearly all political factions, from far left to far right, buy into the false dichotomy of “big business vs. big government” indicates how appallingly ignorant most people are of basic principles of political economy. Thinkers such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Joseph De Jacque had these questions figured out in the early to mid nineteenth century, and these same ideas have been expounded upon again and again by subsequent thinkers as diverse as Henry George, William Appleman Williams, C. Wright Mills, James Burnham, Murray Rothbard, William Domhoff, and Christopher Lasch. Yet modern leftists and rightists are still wanting to fight the “kings vs. aristocrats” battle. And people think the neo-Confederates or religious right are retrograde!

When will people, including most so-called “radicals,” realize that the political class is the modern equivalent of the king, and his ministers and knights, while the plutocrats are the new aristocrats with the mass corporations being the new manorial systems, with the media and the educational system serving the modern equivalent of the Church?

Return of the city-state Reply

By Jamie Bartlett

If you’d been born 1,500 years ago in southern Europe, you’d have been convinced that the Roman empire would last forever. It had, after all, been around for 1,000 years. And yet, following a period of economic and military decline, it fell apart. By 476 CE it was gone. To the people living under the mighty empire, these events must have been unthinkable. Just as they must have been for those living through the collapse of the Pharaoh’s rule or Christendom or the Ancien Régime.

We are just as deluded that our model of living in ‘countries’ is inevitable and eternal. Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states). Try to imagine a world without countries – you can’t. Our sense of who we are, our loyalties, our rights and obligations, are bound up in them.

Which is all rather odd, since they’re not really that old. Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports. As industrialisation made societies more complex, large centralised bureaucracies grew up to manage them. Those governments best able to unify their regions, store records, and coordinate action (especially war) grew more powerful vis-à-vis their neighbours. Revolutions – especially in the United States (1776) and France (1789) – helped to create the idea of a commonly defined ‘national interest’, while improved communications unified language, culture and identity. Imperialistic expansion spread the nation-state model worldwide, and by the middle of the 20th century it was the only game in town. There are now 193 nation-states ruling the world.

But the nation-state with its borders, centralised governments, common people and sovereign authority is increasingly out of step with the world. And as Karl Marx observed, if you change the dominant mode of production that underpins a society, the social and political structure will change too.

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Why I left libertarianism: An ethical critique of a limited ideology 1

A critique of anarcho-capitalism/right-libertarianism from a left-anarchist/libertarian socialist perspective.

By Will Moyer

Salon

I considered myself a libertarian for at least 10 years. The first time I heard the term was in 2000, watching Harry Browne in the third-party presidential debates. I knew next to nothing of libertarian philosophy, but the little I did understand, I identified with. My high school held a mock presidential election and I hung up “vote for Harry Browne” posters and encouraged my friends to write him in on their ballots. It was the first and last time I would participate in any kind of political campaign.

When I turned 18, I registered to vote with the Libertarian Party, despite my parents’ warning that I would lose the chance to influence primary elections. I was also aligning myself with a third party, and everyone knows third parties don’t win elections.

I never voted for a Libertarian presidential candidate. In fact, I don’t think I ever voted for any presidential candidate. There is a chance I sent in an absentee ballot from college voting for George W. Bush, but I can’t remember if I ever actually mailed the thing. Either way, I missed out on the great American ritual of walking into a booth, scribbling on a piece of paper and throwing it in a glorified trash bin.

I moved further and further toward what I considered true libertarianism, eschewing the capital “L” and politics in general. I read Rand and Rothbard and Mises, scoured countless articles and listened to hundreds of podcasts. I understood libertarian philosophy. I remember the moment when I realized anarchism was the only legitimate conclusion. It was like Bertrand Russell’s “Great God in Boots!” moment. Only mine was committed by a nobody… and also not wrong.

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Growing the Numbers of Pan-Anarchists: Reflections on Propaganda Techniques 2

About 20 years ago, I began to formulate ideas for the development of what I now call a “third wave” anarchist movement, with the “first wave” being the era of classical anarchism from the 19th and early 20th century, and the “second wave” being the forms of anarchism that have their roots in the New Left from the 1960s. The intention was that this “third wave” would embrace and honor the two previous waves, but would differ from earlier forms of anarchism in that it would lack the Marxist-influenced class determinism of much of the first wave, and it would also lack the emphasis on cultural politics found among the second wave. Instead, the third wave would be specifically oriented towards attacking the emerging global capitalist “Empire” critiqued by thinkers such as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and its various component parts.

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Are Startup Societies the Way Forward? Reply

An interesting conference on startup societies is coming up next month at Georgetown University. Get the details here. Startup societies may be a way to develop the infrastructure that is needed for a broader pan-secessionist action against central governments and the global corporatocracy. Anarchist and other radical organizations develop into intentional communities, which then develop into startup societies, which then develop into regional secession movements, with infrastructure, political organizations, media, militias, etc. of their own.

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Startup Societies Foundation does not endorse any ideology or ideal society. We believe that there must be a multiplicity of options to test, from private cities and SEZs to collectivized communes. Their success depends on empirical evidence. In order to apply the scientific method to societies, we must have a large sample size

What is a startup society? Here are some examples.

 

Free Association is Not Fascism: How Many Times Does it Have to be Said? 3

Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.” – Ennio Flaiano,

Recently, I’ve reading Shane Burley’s “Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.” (An interview with Burley is available here.)Works of this kind are becoming a small cottage industry, although these authors seem to be in the habit of rewriting each other’s books, as they all essentially say the same thing. The general party line among these writers is that fascism is on the rise, reinventing itself in newer and ever more insidious forms, and seeking to embed itself in not only mainstream institutions, but even the radical Left, for the purpose of undermining and destroying All Good Things.

In other words, the “anti-fascists” have formulated what amounts to an inversion of what the anti-Semites believe about the “Jewish conspiracy.” An interesting experiment would be to take a collection of writings by anti-fascists, and edit them in a way that left them unchanged except to remove all mention of the word “fascist” and replace it with “Jew, and then subsequently take a collection of writings by anti-Semites and replace all references to “the Jews” with “the fascists.” Such an exchange of terminology might well make for an almost seamless fit.

For many years, I have been endlessly amused by these people, and I owe them a certain amount of gratitude. Because of the “anti-fascists,” I am currently about ten times more “famous” than I otherwise would be. Some of these folks have relentlessly promoted my work for a good number of years, and I’ve always found it interesting that people who otherwise hate my guts are functioning as my guerrilla marketing team.

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The Origins of the Modern State: A Conservative View Reply

By Bradley J. Birzer

The American Conservative

Part I

Over the last several years, amidst the swirls of overt corruption, immigrant “hordes,” rising “national security” concerns, police militarization, bloated empire, and the so-called deepening of the “deep state,” conservatives and libertarians of all stripes have pondered the meaning of the modern state. Most recently, Paul Moreno has brilliantly considered the rise of The Bureaucratic Kings, Alex Salter has wisely questioned the relationship of anarchy (the Bohemian, Nockian variety) to conservatism, and, though I have yet to read what the always thoughtful Jason Kuznicki of Cato recommends, there is also James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Believe me, I am intrigued.  Each of these authors and recommenders, of course, owes an immense debt to the pioneering work of Robert Higgs’s magnum opus, Crisis and Leviathan (1987), and Higgs, in turn, had followed in the footsteps of such 20th century greats as Christopher Dawson, Robert Nisbet, Friedrich Hayek, and Joseph Schumpeter.

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Debate: Can the Free Market Provide National Defense? 5

This is a great discussion between Todd Lewis and Bob Murphy about the viability of non-state/private “national defense” services. I have an old essay about this topic here.


Economist Bob Murphy (Ph.D., NYU) and podcaster Todd Lewis square off in the central debate of anarcho-capitalism: is government truly necessary for national defense, or could the free market provide this service?

Cliches of Statism, and How to Answer Them 5

Tom Woods and Stefan Molyneux discuss many of the cliches libertarians find themselves having to answer, involving child labor, labor unions, monopolies, the environment, and more. Listen here.

I generally agree with the content of this discussion, except, like most mainstream libertarians, they’re going far too easy on historic capitalism in terms of the role of the state in fostering it, and the degree to which corporatism and statism continue to be interconnected.

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Pure Black: An Emerging Consensus Among Some Comrades? Reply

Apparently, there is a new form of anarchism developing that is a hybrid of post-left anarchism and anarchism without adjectives called “black anarchism,” not to be confused with another kind of “black anarchism” associated with African-American anarchists. This tendency has been described to me as “like how you have red anarchists, green anarchists, yellow anarchists, etc. And “black” means just the anarchist part.” Sounds like a move in the right direction, although almost anything is preferable to the Antifa/SJW versions of anarchism (although, ironically, I still consider those to be legitimate versions of anarchism, just misdirected and sometimes malevolent).

Anarchist News

The term “black” anarchist has been thrown around recently in a number of international milieux and journals. Indeed during the last few years of my travels throughout North and South America and Europe I have noted repeated attempts to define, through action and theory, the ideas associated with black anarchy. Following is a brief, incomplete outline of some of the more common aspects of what black anarchists think and do. These tendencies are numbered for convenience, and not to show priority or importance.

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Would Libertarianism Make People Fat? 4

In the spirit of Paul LaFargue and Bob Black. This is precisely the kind of libertarianism we need, not bourgeois conservatism or SJW ninnyism. “But freedom will make people lazy and decadent!” Response” “Yeah? What of it?”

Anarcho-Dictator

Without all the taxes and regulations that force people to continuously generate income to survive, it’s quite possible that many people would be even lazier than they are today. If one could simply build on land or buy it, and had to pay for nothing but repairs and vittles for themselves, many people might find themselves at work two or four hour days and spend the rest of their time watching hentai and drinking beer.

An increase in economic prosperity has led to an increasingly slothful and self-indulgent population in every case I can think of. A large, free trade economy might produce hordes of people for whom survival is so simple as to make effort almost superfluous.

Such an environment would also open the pathway to many low-efficiency lifestyles – the wealthier you are, the more you can indulge cult superstitions, smoke crack and alienate everyone without risk of starving to death. Imagine all the ‘anarcho-primitivists’ with their camping gear shipped into the Amazon by Amazon drones – making a few dollars a day selling pictures of the rain forest to advertising firms.

Calling for Radical Alliances Among Anti Authoritarians Reply

From Ancaps and Ancoms, to Syndicalists and Individualists, Mutualists and Agorists, Voluntaryists and Market Anarchists, Panarchists and Anarchists without Adjectives, and other self-identified radicals – this talk is aimed at those who are against Authoritarianism, Statism, and Oppression in all forms. This talk is aimed at those who recognize the power of the Individual and seek to work together as a whole. On Sunday October 11th Derrick Broze spoke at Libertyfest in NYC about the history of the word Libertarian, the history of alliances between radicals on the left and right, a highlight of the work of Karl Hess and Samuel Konkin III, and the need for less ego and dogma in the interest of building new alliances between radicals across the political spectrum. Radical means taking a direct action approach to your activism.
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Why State Provision of Social Services is a Bad Idea, Even in the Context of Corporate Plutocracy Reply

Some interesting comments from “Dick Moore” on Facebook.

I wanted to write a little bit about the question of ‘social services’ provided by the State as alleged ‘alternatives’ to for-profit systems.

To start with I will admit (as more sophisticated libertarians do) that really-existing capitalism and its major appendages – the international joint-stock corporation – benefit in a myriad of ways from state intervention, both direct (subsidy, tariff and government contracts) as well as indirect (the creation of ‘friendly business environments’ in foreign lands through political pressure by the American state, intellectual property, and so forth). Existing corporations, even if they provide really valuable services, are almost certainly far more profitable and extensive that would be possible in a market of free competition and without State control of access to credit and so forth.

Many liberals and socialists demand, as an antidote, that many social services should be provided by the government rather than left to the whims of the corporate oligarchy.

‘Obamacare’ has resulted in the funneling of money into huge insurance companies and a further disconnection between patients and care providers, with no apparent improvement in the cost or availability of medical care. After the failure of Obamacare (which even some leftists admit) the solution usually offered is a single-payer system, that is full state operation of medical services, or at least a system of free state-run hospitals for those who cannot afford private services.

Yet is this really an antidote? The almost entirely state-operated school system provides billions a year to corporations – through construction contracts, purchase of computers, purchase of Microsoft Windows, purchase of internet access through FCC-regulated-and-connected agencies such as Time-Warner. And because of this these corporations are raking in huge sums of money without being responsible, while schools can draw potentially infinite funds without any reference to outcomes.

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Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition Reply

This looks to be quite good. Available at Amazon.Com.

This book explores the idea of social class in the liberal tradition. It collects classical and contemporary texts illustrating and examining the liberal origins of class analysis―often associated with Marxism but actually rooted in the work of liberal theorists. Liberal class analysis emphasizes the constitutive connection between state power and class position. Social Class and State Power documents the rich tradition of liberal class theory, its rediscovery in the twentieth century, and the possibilities it opens up for research in the new millenium.