I've responded to this twice already. You do the exact same thing with the same. You make an all around concept of the state, where it is the only thing responsible for monopoly and oligopoly, and then you apply it to every single case of the state.
Furthermore, could you explain to me how applying the theory of gravity to individual cases of falling is inapplicable?
(1) You're doing the same thing as me.
(2) Generalized concepts are not inherently wrong.
By all means, you like very much talking about black male teenagers. Could you please define one in a way that doesn't exclude any black, male teenagers?
Possession of all the machinery, mines, farms, and the like is a barrier to entry to the others dispossessed of these.
It seems like your own arguments are falling under each other. You take the right to create a general concept and then apply it universally. There was little evidence, and even fewer citations, for this theory. But now it's a new rule: not applied universally, but "in all except rare cases." So, it's okay to say that the majority of a certain ethnic group is criminal or pure, feeble-minded or intelligent? You'll probably say no, but now you're committing the same exact error.
All of this self-contradicting statements have done little in arguing against my, and the Austrian school's, interpretation of the economic system.
Every Capitalist, by their very definition, is in possession of productive wealth; by principles of economics, they each try to defend their mode of income, just as a worker would. But unlike the worker, a Capitalist protecting their income means cutting wages, or support for a cartel, or government, that rigs prices and guarantees markets. Reacting in this way, then, is necessarily exploitation or oppression.
"Generally" isn't enough. I provided several examples today, with fines and damages in excess of hundreds of millions, and absolutely no state interference or support whatsoever. Several examples from the 1800's and the 1950's were also provided. "Encyclopedia of White-collar & Corporate Crime," (2004) By Lawrence M. Salinger, and "Global Price Fixing," (2001) By John M. Connor -- both of these extensive texts provides a virtually endless supply of examples on price-fixing and collusion. Or, pick up anything by Ralph Nader. And yet, in almost all of these examples, the state played absolutely no role whatsoever.
Furthermore, your example of US Railroads doesn't fit. Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was used by Aynd Rand as a character, opposed legalized monopolies, and spent his life successfully building a cartel -- a cartel that would own the majority of the world's rail lines. [*1] Big Bill Haywood explains exactly how this happens for all cartels...
I'm not denying that monopolies have been created by the state. I'm denying that this explains the reason why markets are exclusive: why only big businesses dominate the markets and control the wealth. On the contrary, it looks like the collusion is natural among the Capitalist class -- and this type of anti-competitive behavior is the cause of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and all types of social ills. A real revolution that changes society needs the people -- and I can't imagine them supporting a revolution that leaves nine-tenths at the mercy of the possessors of wealth.
That's the problem -- when these Capitalist industries were allowed to be completely free and unfettered in their wealth, they engaged in price-fixing schemes.
Atlantic Airways engaged in a price-fixing scheme that caused the price of tickets to rise $5 to $60. [*3] In the 1990's, music distributors engaged in a price-fixing scheme that increased CD's price by $5 -- roughly taking about $15-$60 billion from the public. [*4] According to the statistics provided from that court case, and the prices of CD's at any music store, it's obvious to anyone: they're still fixing the prices of music and film. I don't think the phrase "innocuous" applies.
On the contrary, it seems like the majority of collusion, price-fixing, and cartels happens outside of the hands of government. Here we have almost complete statistics on the state monopolies -- but one has to dig deep to uncover the Capitalist-planned oligopolies. I'm certain that you would find far more price-fixing done by Capitalism, than by government.
Why do firms go into price-fixing? Easy. Because it's profitable: there's more money in starving the market and producing a little than there is in flooding the market and producing too much. What does this mean for the common people? It means that there will be homelessness next to empty lands -- famine next to untilled farms -- poverty next to idle factories and mines. You gave people liberty -- great. Now they can watch themselves, their families, and their communities waste away and die before.
"Ah, I am in liberty now! Can I farm this land, and feed my family?"
"No, it's not yours."
"Can I dig in these mines, and trade what I create?"
"No, it's not yours."
"Can I cut lumber, manufacture commodities, or do anything to support myself?"
"When there's an opening in the business cartel that owns everything."
"And when will that be?"
"When you're desperate enough to work for so little and produce so much."
"What am I supposed to do then? I have no food to feed myself, nor any opportunity to gain the food to feed myself."
"What? But you have unlimited opportunity, because you're in perfect liberty!"
"And what does that mean?"
"It means that you can't do anything."
Liberty, without opportunity, means nothing.
My statement was "If competition isn't possible, then the majority of farmers are going to be employees of the megacorporation -- and not their own farmers." How is this IF statement counter-factual? There is a tendency among Capitalists to fix prices and to control industries; the logical desire for it comes from within them, and it's not "extorted" out of them by the state. If the cartels control the majority of land, then how are the people going to support themselves without becoming employees? If everyone works for the same, big, gigantic company, it sounds like a 1984-dystopian society. And perhaps not everyone, but the great vast majority would be reduced to this, as they are today in our present system.
If you deny the masses anything, but the right to hunger and want, they will certainly have no reason to support your revolution. And without the people, a revolution is impossible.
And actually, Walmart IS a threat to local businesses. Through their anti-competitive activity, they've forced the shutdown of big companies like Kids R Us and Hoover, to small, unheard-of enterprises, like Lovable Garments or Carolina Mills. Quoting from this one article, "With its profits tumbling, Vlasic asked Wal-Mart for the right to raise the price per 3 gallon jar to $3.49, and according to a Vlasic executive, Wal-Mart threatened that if Vlasic tried to back out of this feature of the contract, Wal-Mart would cease carrying any Vlasic product. Eventually, a Wal-Mart executive said, 'Well, we've done to pickles what we did to orange juice. We've killed it'—meaning it had wiped out competitor products. Finally, it allowed Vlasic to raise prices; but in January 2001, Vlasic filed for bankruptcy." [*5]
Sure, Walmart buys from some local businesses, I'll grant you that; but then the anti-competitive contracts of the big retailer completely destroy or subjugate the contracted firm. What kind of liberty is it, where you have the liberty only to submit, and are forced out of the market, if you refuse? Blacklisting of union-workers, just like blacklisting firms that doesn't cooperate in anti-competition, is an inherent trend of Capitalism -- one which exists with or without government intervention.
The "localized wars" of Europe encompassed "empires where the sun never set," -- as in, global empires. I'm not denying the localized wars they had -- I'm denying that they were better. They were far more frequent, and the death toll was still unbelievable. Fifty thousand killed in the Paris Commune, by the Bourbon and Hohenzollern monarchies. World War 1 or the Franco-Prussian War, one of the endless wars between France and England, or the Spartacus Uprising -- we are looking at tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, killed. From the Ottomon Empire to the Japanese Empire during World War 2, from Genghis Kahn to Nero -- these were the exact opposite of "localized wars."
The most important fact is that people will be without equal opportunity. The business firm that controls the market, that buys up competitors, and manipulates contracts -- this industrialist is likely to become the greatest possessor of productive wealth and the lands. As I've demonstrated above, there were plenty of examples of Capitalists doing this without the help or intervention of the state. In fact, many of them were imprisoned and fined for the activity.
Where there is an unequal position of bargaining, one partner is going to use this against the other. And, ultimately, where one class colludes to keep itself constantly on top of the economy, you'll find the masses constantly at the bottom of the economy. One might make it through, with their own business, but their example proves the many that failed -- like a slave buying their way to freedom.
And on the contrary, we find Capitalists creating this inequality on their own much more so than than states creating it on their own.
If the Anarchist world is one where big businesses seize up all the lands, and there is nothing left for the common person -- on what grounds can you even appeal to people to overthrow the government? One would be more inclined towards an oppression where they can eat some, than an exploitation that leaves them starving to death.
But a king values a submissive and subjugated population -- by "adding value" to their kingdom, this just means more monopolies, more corruption, and a greater oppression and exploitation of the masses. To view it as a machine, the kingdom would have workers as cogs and gears. And to make this machine grow and overproduce will, necessarily, mean the ruining, eroding, and breaking of many of its parts.
Right -- but the difficulty is that this smuggling trade has never achieved, nor has it even approached, the creation of a free and voluntary society. And on the other hand, many of the Anarchist revolutions that succeeded were very spontaneous -- that is, they are not without order, but they are without centralized leadership; they don't happen "without planning," but they precipitate from the people's natural inclinations and ambitions. In Anarchist Catalonia, workers seized and operated industries for themselves. [*6] And we see the same exact thing happening in the early days of the Russian Revolution, before the Bolshevik coup. [*7] One might even describe the insurrection against the Tzar in St. Petersburg as equally spontaneous as the worker-seizures.
I'm very familiar with all the concepts. You didn't respond to the fact that a person with liberty, and no opportunity to practice it, is in the exact same position as a person with no liberty at all.
All of our examples are from statist societies. Every little bit you've said about competition, about government monopolies, about people seeking their own interest, about game theory -- everything, from reasoning about this to your reasoning about that, is based on something from a Statist society. Very little of our argument has been based on how things functioned in stateless societies. So, I don't see how you can discuss competition as great, when you're drawing examples from Statist Capitalism, and I can't discuss capitalist competition as inherently collusive for the same reason. In fact, you're not pointing to this or that piece of evidence that shows these cartels forming with government support -- rather, you're just throwing our whole system of knowledge away because it has become "infected." (Which, honestly, should have been your first argument; not your last.)
Private firms cannot dominate in a place where there are fewer people than land, and where hand tools keep industry decentralized into the hands of the majority. The Wild West, which was founded on the theft of land from people, was inherently coercive -- and hardly a Libertarian paradise.
Look, I quoted several books and articles by newspapers that showed that firms had succeeded in fixing prices. They attempt to fix prices, by the thousands, and are fined for producing billions in damages -- but now you doubt that they were ever successful? You should really thoroughly examine how these cartels succeeded, without interference from the government; since, of course, your entire argument seems to be based on the impossibility of this.
*1. "The Story of a Great Monopoly," March, 1881,
No, I did not say that the State is the only thing responsible for monopoly and oligopoly. I said that it is usually behind monopoly and oligopoly, and that cartels are rather unstable with State backing.
I am not very concerned with monopolies or oligopolies not arising from State aggression. IMO once the State is gone they won’t be much of a problem. There would be a very few natural monopolies based on limited natural resources (e.g. nickel mines in North America) and a few with temporary technological advances (like Xerox/Apple’s graphical user interface in the 1980s.)
I don’t understand where. You seem to be arguing: Some corporations use aggression, therefor all corporations are culpable for that aggression. (Analogous to Some black teen males commit crimes, so all black teen males are culpable for those crimes.) Please specify where I have used such fallacious reasoning.
We agree on this.
But this is clearly counter-factual. Not all machinery, mines, farms, etc. are owned by corporations. And there is virtually no danger of that happening, especially in the information age. In this computer age, the return on massive force is diminishing. Small is beautiful. Due to info technology, the advantage is going to the little guy (for the first time in 500 years.)
My generalization was that cartels are generally the result of State aggression. I gave examples and provided citations in railroading, oil, and banking.
I agree with everything except your conclusion, the last sentence. So long as the means are peaceful and voluntary - not aggression - I consider it okay, i.e. non-criminal, non-exploitative, and non-oppressive. I am no more against a capitalist cutting wages than a worker increasing wages, no more against capitalists organizing to increase profits than workers organizing to increase wages, etc. Do you also consider workers who try to increase wages and organizing to be engaging in “exploitation or oppression”?
I pointed out how being accused and fined by some statist court does not imply successful price-fixing. I even gave a condition that would convince me that it was really price-fixing. I pointed out how rulers have made such charges to favor politically-connected firms over non-connected firms. You seem to take the State’s charges at face value. I don’t. I also pointed out that the State involvement in the Siemen thing - that the whole thing was about a product mainly sold to State monopoly utilities by State contracts. At any rate, showing that there exist some cartels which arose and/or are maintained without help from the State does not refute my claim that Cartels, monopolies, and oligopolies are usually the result of State aggression, and are unstable without State backing. Please address this claim rather than a red herring absolute generalization I never made.
You’re misreading your reference. It says that Vanderbilt was the largest holder of railroads at one time. It doesn’t say he owned the majority of them. Vanderbilt was the greatest anti-monopolist of all time. He refuted Haywood's claims by his own actions. Vanderbilt destroyed New York’s steamship monopoly by operating a pirate operation out of New Jersey, charging much less than the monopoly price. Whenever the big guys bought him out and tried to raise prices, he just started a new company. He got rich that way. Later, when Congress gave huge subsidies for passenger lines to California, Vanderbilt embarrassed them into stopping the boondoggle by offering the same service at a fraction the fares with no subsidy!
The fallacy behind the old myth that the big firm can lower their price to under cost and drive out the little guys is that 1) the big firm, when operating at a loss, is hemorrhaging money many times faster than the little guys, and 2) the little firms are more nimble, able to shut down temporarily or switch production to other things, amplifying #1. In reality, the “drive out the little guys by selling below cost” strategy rarely if ever works in real life. (BTW Rand patterned Dagney Taggart’s grandfather after J. J. Hill, who built the only unsubsidized transcontinental RR, not Vanderbilt.)
Good - we agree about this.
We disagree on this. I don’t see all markets as dominated by big businesses, nor that big businesses control all the wealth. There are some areas where this is true - banking, airwave mass media, defense, courts - generally the ones with massive State intervention, which are "command posts" for the state.
We agree that collusion is “natural among the Capitalist class,” and I would add ‘and also among the working class.’ To me that’s no big deal, and is often a good thing. One man’s 'collusion' is another’s 'mutual aid.' So long as there is no aggression involved, I have no problem with it.
I’m an anarchist - to me the primary political problem is the State. As a consequence, I am also against corporations, unions, and other special interests using the State’s legal monopoly on violence to advance their interests. You seem to be an anti-capitalist, considering the primary political concern to be demolishing capitalism. You seem to be against the State only to the extent it helps “the capitalist class.” (Correct me if I’m wrong here.) So we have different priorities. I hate the State; you hate capitalism.
It seems that our main disagreement is in our prediction of what a stateless society would be like. I think it would be great, and that massive accumulations of wealth would be rare and innocuous. You seem to think that in a stateless society large accumulations would still occur almost always and be a big problem.
We agree about this. I think that when State-stolen property is redistributed to its rightful owners and there is no State, people would not be at the mercy of possessors of wealth - they would be the possessors of wealth. Anarcho-capitalists are not against redistribution according to neo-Lockean/Nozickean principles of entitlement.
I’ll chase the red herring once more, even though I’ve pointed out already that this isn’t relevant to my claim. Like your other examples, this simply doesn’t show a successful cartel. For less than two years they attempted price fixing. The result: today’s airline prices are very inexpensive. Such “cartels” don’t work for long. Air fares are significantly less than five years ago. Your next example is laughable: price fixing on CD! Needless to say, the price for music is near zero these days - the price of downloading using BitTorrent or equivalent. I foresee the end of IP.
Because it is virtually impossible that competition becomes impossible. There are plenty of small farmers and they are unlikely to become extinct. I think they would proliferate once State subsidies to mono-culture industrial farming stops.
If you convince the masses that, without the State, they would be better off and more prosperous, then they will support statelessness. If you convince them to hate their fellow producers who happen to possess capital, you have them cutting their own throats. It’s producers vs. parasites, not workers vs. capitalists.
Inequality of opportunity is a fact of life. People have unequal talents, intelligences, faculties, and education. Natural resources are distributed unequally. To me, the most important political fact is unequal freedom of action aka liberty. With equal liberty, the sundry inequalities of outcome are manageable, perhaps even a diversity to be enjoyed.