On anarchist economies Reply

By Iain McKay

Freedom News

Anarchism is generally not associated with economics — and Iain McKay argues that perhaps it’s time the field got more attention.

There is no “anarchist” school of economics as there are “Marxist,” “Keynesian” and so on. This does not mean there are no anarchist texts on economics. Proudhon springs to mind here, with his numerous works on the subject — the three Memoirs on property (most famous being the first, What is Property?) and the two volumes of System of Economic Contradictions (of which, only the first has been translated) — as does Kropotkin, with his Fields, Factories and Workshops. However, in spite of various (important) works there is no well-established body of work.

There are various reasons for this. Partly, it is due to the typical isolation of the English-speaking movement: many works which could be used to create an anarchist economics have never been translated into English. Partly, it is due to an undeserved sense of inferiority: too many anarchists have followed Marxists by taking Marx’s The Poverty of Philosophy as an accurate account and honest critique of Proudhon’s ideas (it is neither, as I show in “The Poverty of (Marx’s) Philosophy,” Anarcho-Syndicalist Review 70).