You didn't respond on how you similarly take the conceptual state and apply it to individual cases. General concepts aren't a convention of ideology -- they're a convention of language.
Yes, anyone can technically become a capitalist: just take your shirt off and sell it. Boom, you've possessed capital, and then you just used it to capitalize. However, the fact is that the majority of capital is possessed by the Capitalist class -- and these natural barriers to entry are going to prevent me from seizing the market from it; or, should I happen to seize the market, I would be subject to the same attitudes and prejudices as the Capitalist I just replaced.
Yes, humans have all sorts of goals; but economics only treats the economic goals. A human being, motivated by god, to create wealth -- an economist could not treat their faith in god, but will treat how their wealth is accumulated. Likewise, when I make classification of capitalist and worker, I am doing it in regards to economic interest.
You are doing exactly what you accused me of. You're taking a class of people, the oligopoly-based capitalists, and making the assertion that they all possess their market and productivity because of Statist aggression.
Well, the matter of a small farmer competing with a megacorporation is fairly important. If competition isn't possible, then the majority of farmers are going to be employees of the megacorporation -- and not their own farmers. Arguing that they go broke, necessarily, just because they're megacorporations, is making a class-based assumption.
Actually, many of those cartels I listed were started and maintained without government intervention. I had mentioned cartels in the previous response, from Heineken to Siemens, that existed completely without government interference. It sounds so unreasonable that a person who leads a state will create a monopoly, but that a person who leads a corporation will not -- they are both positions of power and authority, though one is economic and the other is political. Consider the case of Microsoft, which is one of the most clear-cut examples of a monopoly. They created a complete monopoly over the software market, and used this center piece of the economy to foster and maintain oligopolies in computer hardware (such as Intel). But there was no government intervention whatsoever. It was only manipulative contracts used by Capitalists to garner a greater share of the market. There are many, many examples that defy the rule that monopolies or oligopolies can only exist with state intervention.
Actually, I'm very familiar with Game Theory -- and I consider it important as a means to recognize the inherent failure of Capitalism, as well as a means to organize the stateless world. Quoting from Wikipedia, "Axelrod (The Evolution of Cooperation (1984)) discovered that when these encounters were repeated over a long period of time with many players, each with different strategies, greedy strategies tended to do very poorly in the long run while more altruistic strategies did better, as judged purely by self-interest. He used this to show a possible mechanism for the evolution of altruistic behaviour from mechanisms that are initially purely selfish, by natural selection."
When people cooperate, one of them needs to be able to withdraw and cause some kind of harm to the other; if people do not have this way to self-manage their relationships, then one party will obviously get the upper hand over the other one. Consider the relationship where one party has less of an ability to effect the relationship as the other party: a customer at a bakery, or a worker and their capitalist. Who holds the greater influence and ability to create pressure in these is very easy to see. Likewise, the model is recreated with governments and states of any type. The Anarchist world, in order to maintain a social equilibrium without exploitation or oppression, must have this type of mechanism to all relationships. Any person, in any association, must be able to withdraw, and effectively boycott their partner. And the people must be organized in a way where they can discuss their social issues and prepare mobilizations, like a strike.
Those who cooperate tend to do better than those who compete. But the essential part of this relationship, is that either partner can do a "tit-for-tat" strategy. There is not equal "tit-for-tat" for the single, common worker against the Capitalist.
Even without weapons of mass destruction, the European monarchs were capable of slaughtering million. Nero didn't need an atomic bomb, and neither did Genghis Kahn or the Han Dynasty. These governments, however, have slaughtered millions. And today, it should be quite clear that Fascist and Soviet governments are far more oppressive and violent than representative states. My argument would simple be a comparison of the per-capita death tolls. That's probably as accurate a method you will have for determining better states and worse states.
This simple argument for kings wanting to value their land isn't very sturdy. You could argue just as well that the leaders of Democratic nations wanted their heirs to benefit from their rule. Either way, there's an uneven amount of murders committed by kings and representative leaders -- any argument against elected leaders, and in favor of monarchs, would necessarily have to start with the devaluing of human life.
In the words of Nikolai Chernyshevsky, "The worse [the conditions of society], the better [the chances of revolution]." But this is a dishonest way of organizing a revolution. Before, you could have said, "Your master wants to oppress you, and I'm here to stop this!" But now you're saying, "Your master wants to oppress you, and I'll help him -- just to rouse you into action!" And its certainly possible that the many magistrates and officials entered government with this motive in mind.
There has been smuggling since the dawn of tariffs and taxes. But even these types of smuggling have included their exploitation. I've known many workers who have "worked off the books," and none of them do it anymore. They're cheated out of pay, they're forced into inhumane labor, and many are even blackmailed by their employer. The Southern Poverty Law Center did a story on several migrant workers who were forced to rebuild apartment complexes in Katrina-shaken New Orleans. [*1] But these problems that face illegal workers are the same problems that face anyone buying or selling from underground markets. It's an economy where the few hold economic influence over the majority -- Capitalism, whether it is illegal or legal, leads to the isolation of wealth into the hands of a few. And these underground economies have never built the solidarity, the organization, or the ideals necessary to bring a revolution to overthrowing the state.
It's also true that a person may not necessarily be oppressed by the government. The definition of exploitation, according to Merriam-Websters, is "to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage." When a Capitalist profits without laboring, it is exploitation -- because they are taking wealth that was created by someone else. This type of exploitation wouldn't be possible without barriers to entry. In some cases, these barriers are from statist intervention, such as the enforcement of law for the rich and against the poor, or wars in third worlds, or subsidies, etc.. But in some cases, these barriers are from Capitalist intervention, such as collusion in a price-fixing scheme or oligopoly.
All businesses, together, have the greatest ability to effect change in government -- and we know this, quite well, from the wars they've supported to the regressive social policy that they sponsor. When these businesses participate the most, and benefit the most, they are responsible for its oppression. The state, by itself, is not the only problem. Another problem is the natural formation of oligopolies and exclusion among the Capitalist class. These prevent people from having the opportunity to work the earth and to receive the wealth they've produced. Liberty, without opportunity, is a very pathetic liberty.
When Thomas Jefferson said, "Give me liberty, or give me death," what did he mean by liberty? He clearly did not mean "the right to beg, to hope, and to want something out of this land, that I have no right to." He already owned a plantation and plenty of slaves. His chances for economic opportunity were outstanding. If he were a beggar, suffering from diseases and dying in the streets, what would the use be? "Give me liberty, or give me death," could just be shortened to, "Just give me death." Liberty, without any opportunity or right to advancement, is meaningless.
An Anarchist world with many few, independent Capitalists? This type of economy, again and again, is dominated and controlled by the Capitalist oligopolies. I've cited countless examples where Capitalists succeeded perfectly with their monopolies without any government interference -- in fact, many of their presidents went to prison, and the stockholders charged millions in fines. An Oligopoly has risen many times without intervention or support from the Capitalist class. Consider living in a world where most of all the bakeries, the wheatfields, and the factories are owned by an extreme few? It's very easy to imagine, that the first thing these Capitalists would do, is to create a state to defend them. This is exactly how European states arose after the fall of the ancient Roman Empire. France, Germany, and Spain were all very well peopled; but it was the Roman plantation owners who brought about their monarchs and governments.
Even if the state weren't to arise, I couldn't imagine enjoying liberty, when I have no opportunity to practice with that liberty.
Resources*1. "SPLC Settlement Recovers Wages for Hurricane Katrina Cleanup Workers," 07/21/2009, Southern Poverty Law Center
One applies the conceptual class to individual cases by deducing from the defining commonalities of the class. Corporations may or may not use aggression directly, and may or may not aid and abet government aggression. I have nothing against corporations qua joint stock ownership firm. I am, however, against aggression. Your argument seems to me to be: Some corporations use aggression, therefor all corporations are guilty of aggression simply by being in that conceptual class. That's the same error as saying that all black male teenagers should be put in prison.
I'm not very concerned with seizing market share. I am concerned with aggression. There is no right to market share. There is a right to compete. So my concern in this regard is barriers to entry.
No, I didn't say "all" - I hedged a bit ("except in rare circumstances"). As you'll recall, I agreed with Adam Smith that businessmen would like to fix prices above market value and often attempt to do so. And I admit that it can happen without State intervention. But in cases that I have studied, successful long-term cartels generally only occurred with State intervention and support. (E.g US railroads, oil, banking...)
I'm not very familiar with some of your examples like the Siemens, Alstrom, Toshiba et. al. price fixing. They were charged with price fixing (unjustly IMO since fixing prices is a victimless crime, i.e. no aggression was involved). But it is not clear from the articles I perused whether the cartel was successful (in fixing prices above market value.) I would be more convinced if I had a history of prices of gas insulated switchgear (GIS), the item in question. Did the price rise higher than inflation rates during the attempt? I don't know. How did the fact that customers were government utility monopolies effect things? Was this really a market arrangement?
At any rate, such cartels are rather innocuous compared to government-enforced cartels. If there are no coercive barriers to entry, a freed market will be sufficient remedy.
I'm not saying that's impossible. But I'd need to know more history of those industries to be convinced that there was no government intervention. Was beer-making licensed? Could anyone compete in brewing? Without such barriers to entry, I don't see how a beer cartel would work. Did Siemens benefit from government contracts, government restrictions on producing or selling electronics? What about more subtle interventions. (E.g. For the US auto industry, the interstate highway system was a major subsidy. Before the 1950s trains hauled the majority of freight; afterwards trucks did. Cars became the transportation of choice, leading to the gross inefficiencies and oil wars we have today.) Kevin Carson talks about "the subsidy of history."
I think what's important is that the small farmer not be coerced. I think it's important that there are no barriers to becoming a farmer. Your hypothetical ("if competition isn't possible) is counter-factual. Where I live there are many small farmers making a living at it. We have a thriving farmer's market. The fact that mega-corporations exist is not a problem to the local farmers or buyers. Grocery stores, both local and chain and now even Walmart, buy locally.
I wrote that megacorporations "would mostly go broke." This was not a deduction deriving from membership in a class, but from the fact that such corporations generally get special privileges from the State. But it is true that while we can safely say that mega-corps with State privilege would be worse off in a stateless society (since they would no longer enjoy those privileges), it is debatable how much the lack of privilege would hurt them. My opinion is that many or most megacorporations are bloated and inefficient and way above their optimum size, and would hence have a major competitive disadvantage in a freed market. I wouldn't go so far as to say they would become extinct (as, say, Kevin Carson might), but I think they would be significantly fewer and only competitive in areas where there is a huge economy of scale.
This is an example of how your class analysis throws you off. Politicians are rent-seekers. They no more favor all capitalists (as a class) or all corporations than they favor all special interests. They pick and choose depending on the payoff. E.g. Netscape and Sun lobbied the US to persecute Microsoft a few years ago. Netscape and Sun had highly paid lobbyists; Microsoft had virtually none. (Now they do, if only for self-defense!)
The classic pattern has the largest few firms using government to screw their smaller competitors. Capitalist vs. capitalist in your jargon. (That's another thing class analysis tends to overlook - that intra-class competition often overshadows inter-class competition. Same for workers, who compete against each other for jobs and use government and unions to set barriers to entry for other workers.) So it was (in US history) a few big railroads preventing competition from smaller railroads via State power, big oil companies setting barriers to entry and outlawing price competition ("cut-throat competition" was the watchword, but of course cut-throat competition is wonderful for consumers) to screw the smaller "capitalists," the largest banks creating the Federal Reserve System, etc. to screw smaller banking capitalists. Now you may see why I want to see the aggression rather than assuming capitalist equals beneficiary of State privilege.
Right. In the classic APDG, ["A Prisoner's Dilemma Game"] and even the iterated PDG ["Prisoner's Dilemma Game"], the players cannot communicate with one another. It become an entirely different game if they can. Certain large politically-connected firms escaped the PDG by introducing an enforcer - the State. The payoff matrix changed - defectors were fined or imprisoned. Price-fixing became a stable outcome due to this threat of harm.
I agree that different people have different bargaining positions. This does not bother me too much. What bothers me a lot is when people use aggression. Unequal bargaining positions are simply a result of a free society, like different talents and abilities and the non-homogeneous availability of natural resources. That said, I predict that much inequality would disappear in a stateless society. IOW Most gross inequality is caused by the State. Some is caused by private criminals. Using one of your metrics, compare murder by States to murder by private criminals. In the 20th century for democide only (not including wars) it's something like 262 million to a few tens of thousands. [ http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM ]
I agree 100%. The right to opt out is fundamental (and often overlooked, e.g. Mikhail Bakunin and Herbert Spencer are two of the few who explicitly stated it.) So we agree that slavery (except perhaps as compensation to the victim for a crime) is forbidden in a free society. The employee-employer relationship, however, is voluntary, so is okay. An employee, unlike a slave, can opt out at any time. ("Less bargaining power" does not mean "unable.")
That's an excellent indicator. Looking at monarchy vs. democracy in Europe (or anywhere for the last couple of centuries), the European monarchies had mainly localized wars that were basically property disputes with little killing. Then when democracy arose in the 20th century we got mass murder of non-combatants. I agree that the more statist States (fascist or communist) murdered more people than republics. But my point was that "proprietary States" (as Hoppe calls them) i.e. monarchies murdered a lot less than democracies and republics. At least in Europe. We really don't have much basis for comparison for the ancient Oriental despotism - they had no republics.
You're missing the point. The democratic leaders don't get to pass the State on to their heirs. They are only temporary stewards. Their kids are simply one of the masses. The kings got to literally give their kingdom to their children as private property. Thus, kings tended to maintain the capital value of their kingdom and not squander wealth on unnecessary wars. Democratic politicians borrow and spend and engage in worldwide aggression whenever they can. The costs are shoved onto the hapless masses, not their family.
In a monarchy, the king is your master and you know you're not the king. In a democracy, the State is supposedly there to help you with your consent. This bestows a mystique of legitimacy on the State [ http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/library/DemystState.html ] , which is a bad thing. It's better when people don't fall for the myth that we are the government.
I disagree with both statements. Only statist capitalism concentrates wealth excessively. And I don't think that a directed revolution requiring solidarity is the way to achieve a free society. I see a pluralistic decentralized market phenomena leading to a free society. Spontaneous (actually emergent) order, not planned order.
This is an example of imprisoning all the black teenagers. In fact, some businesses use the political means, others use the economic means. The class analysis induces you to erroneously condemn all businesses, regardless of actual guilt.
That's Patrick Henry who said that. He and Jefferson understood "liberty" pretty much as I do, to mean not being forcibly prevented from doing something you are entitled to do. This is often referred to as "negative liberty." It is freedom from a negative - aggression. Your common bromide (often posited with something like 'the rich, as well as the poor, are free to sleep under a bridge') erroneously equivocates "liberty" with "opportunity." A related mistake equivocates "rights" and "benefits." In short, political liberty is about human-imposed constraints upon action (aggression), not about natural constraints like the need for food and shelter. Ideally, one enjoys both.
"Yet your examples are only from statist societies. You predict that in a significantly different situation, in a stateless free market society, that they would still dominate. I predict that they would be rather insignificant, and no big deal. Did private firms dominate Classical Iceland, or Celtic Ireland, or the American Not-So-Wild West? No. Only after government got there (with the subsidized transcontinental railroad and armies to massacre indians in the latter case) did large firms start dominating. And no surprise, the dominant firms were the subsidized railroads."
No, you've shown that certain firms colluded and attempted to fix prices. You have not shown that any were successful. I agree that it is possible for firms to cartelize. My contention is that such cartels are unstable, are generally do not last long without government support. I've shown examples where cartels failed until the firms attempting the cartel mobilized government aggression to keep it stable. (Railroads, oil, banking. See Big Business and the Rise of American Statism by Roy A. Childs.)
I don't think so. States arose basically by bandit gangs who figured out how to plunder sustainably. It had nothing to do with capitalists in the ancient days. Capitalists didn't become a significant factor until the industrial revolution. There were State-supported guilds and monopoly government sponsored enterprises, however.