Anarcho-capitalist literature

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Anarcho-capitalism has been the subject of a number of works of literature, both nonfiction and fiction.

Nonfiction[edit]

The following is a partial list of notable nonfiction works discussing anarcho-capitalism. Works by Bastiat, de Molinari, and others were written before the terms "anarcho-capitalism" or "libertarian" existed. These thinkers and their writings are often considered the predecessors of modern market anarchism. Anarcho-capitalism has been heavily influenced by and intertwined with the Austrian School of economics, reflected in works by Rothbard and others.

1840s[edit]

Gustave de Molinari wrote The Production of Security (1849).

1850s[edit]

The Law (1850), by Frédéric Bastiat, was influenced by John Locke's Second Treatise on Government and in turn influenced Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. It is the work for which Bastiat is most famous, along with the "Candlemakers' Petition" and the parable of the broken window. See also: The State.

1860s[edit]

No Treason is the main title of three essays in which Lysander Spooner argues that the United States Constitution is a contract of government which was irreparably violated during the American Civil War, and is thus void. See also Natural Law; or The Science of Justice and Let's Abolish Government.

1900s[edit]

The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically (1908), by German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer, summarizes Oppenheimer's general theory on the origin, development and future transformation of the State.

1930s[edit]

Albert Jay Nock wrote Our Enemy, the State (1935).

1960s[edit]

In March 1969 an essay appeared in Playboy by Karl Hess titled The Death of Politics.

1970s[edit]

Linda and Morris Tannehill, in The Market For Liberty (1970), opposed statutory law and advocated the usage of natural law as the basis for society and point out that society would not be lawless in the absence of the state. They outlined at considerable length how different businesses and organisational structures would interact in a laissez-faire society, and how these interactions would create checks which would ultimately keep the tendency for crime low. In keeping with their belief in radical free market principles, they were skeptical about the potential for violent anarcho-capitalist revolution to bring about good outcomes.

The Machinery of Freedom (1973), by libertarian economist David D. Friedman, outlines the means by which a stateless society could operate. The book calls for the abolition or privatization of all government functions, details suggestions for many specific instances of privatization, explores the consequences of libertarian thought, examples of libertarian society (such as the Icelandic Commonwealth), and offers the author's personal statement about why he became a libertarian.

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays (1974), by Murray Rothbard, takes its title from its lead essay, which argues that egalitarian theory always results in a politics of statist control because it is founded on revolt against the ontological structure of reality itself. The Ethics of Liberty, also by Rothbard, is an exposition of the libertarian political position. It roots the case for freedom in the concept of natural rights and applies it to a host of practical problems. For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto helped launch the modern libertarian movement in the United States, and was the first modern free market anarchist manifesto. Power and Market: Government and the Economy is another work by Rothbard in which he analyzes the negative effects of the various kinds of government intervention, and denies that government is either useful or necessary. Man, Economy, and State is a book on economics by Rothbard, and is one of the most important books in the Austrian School of economics.

1980s[edit]

The New Libertarian Manifesto (1980) is a work of agorist philosophy written by Samuel Edward Konkin III. Konkin proffers various arguments of how a free society would function as well as examples of existing black markets. It contains criticisms of utilizing political (i.e. activist or legislative) or violent means, and advocated non-politics with non-voting as a strategy. Finally, Konkin describes the steps of utilizing the black market to dismantle the state, a strategy known as counter-economics.

Anthony de Jasay wrote The State (1985).

1990s[edit]

The Structure of Liberty (1998), by legal theorist Randy Barnett, offers a libertarian theory of law and politics. Barnett calls his theory the liberal conception of justice, emphasizing the relationship between legal libertarianism and classical liberalism.

James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg wrote The Sovereign Individual (1999).

2000s[edit]

To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice (2000), by Bruce L. Benson, concerns private policing, private prosecution, and other market-based methods of providing criminal justice. See also: The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State.

Robert P. Murphy wrote Chaos Theory: Two Essays on Market Anarchy (2002).

Democracy: The God That Failed, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe (2001), contains a series of thirteen essays on the subject of democracy and concluding with the belief that democracy is the primary cause of the decivilization sweeping the world since World War I, and that it must be delegitimized. Another by Hoppe, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, covers a wide range of topics including employment, interest, money, banking, trade cycles, taxes, public goods, war, imperialism, and the rise and fall of civilizations. The Myth of National Defense is a book edited by Hoppe, published in 2003 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and contributed to by many prominent anarcho-capitalists, about the merits of replacing government defense agencies with private defense agencies. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism is a treatise by Hoppe which uses the ethics of argumentation, a Habermasian principle, as the foundation for self-ownership and private property as ethical principles. David Gordon edited Secession, State & Liberty (2002).

Edward Stringham wrote Anarchy, State and Public Choice (2006) and Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice (2007).

2010s[edit]

Instead of Politics (Civilization 101) (2010) by John Frederic Kosanke launches a full-fledged attack on every form of politics, showing how only the free market can solve the ills of society. The book takes a look at war and other forms of aggression such as pollution from the vantage point of surrender and accountability, showing how the possibility for aggression is proportionate to the realm of the state.

Universally Preferable Behavior: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics (2011), by Stefan Molyneux, lays down the framework for evaluating ethical theories, and is the grounding of his later work in discussing anarchism. Everyday Anarchy was Molyneux's first book to take the idea of anarchism and show that the word has a meaning and that it is applicable to our daily lives. Molyneux's second book Practical Anarchy expanded on his first by providing examples of possible ways in which a future anarchist society could function. How (Not) to Achieve Freedom was Molyneux's third book in a series that showed that the ways in which people attempt to bring about a free society are not working and that a new method is needed.

Fiction[edit]

Anarcho-capitalism has been examined in certain works of literature, particularly science fiction.

1950s[edit]

Although Ayn Rand often criticized anarcho-capitalists in favor of a minarchist society (meaning government is limited to police, military and a court system), the heroes in her popular 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged create an isolated community with no government, that operates strictly according to the non-aggression principle.

1960s[edit]

Robert A. Heinlein's novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) explores what he calls "rational anarchism." Heinlein's imaginary lunar society has a very weak central government. He speculates on how a society would operate if it had no formal laws or legal system, a private currency, and no social security or other forms of welfare provided by the government. His imaginary society works quite well, although newcomers have a relatively high death rate. However, through one of his characters, Heinlein seems to posit near the end of his book that a true anarcho-capitalist society is inherently unattainable, and will eventually devolve into a traditional statist society.

1970s[edit]

Cecelia Holland's only sci-fi novel Floating Worlds depicts an anarchist future earth in the early scenes. In particular it shows how such a system might deal with such issues as unemployment, theft, and poverty.

J. Neil Schulman's novel, Alongside Night, features a group called the "Agorist Underground" (from a Greek word for "marketplace") who form a literal underground economy (in a cavern beneath Manhattan) to practice anarcho-capitalism until their revolution brings down the United States.

1980s[edit]

L. Neil Smith's series of novels starting with The Probability Broach (1980) take place in an alternate history where the United States becomes the "North American Confederacy", which is basically anarcho-capitalist in nature, although there is the vestigial remnant of a government whose Continental Congress might meet every few decades.

Vernor Vinge's short story "The Ungoverned" (1985) depicts anarcho-capitalists defending against an invading government. Example contract corporations in this story include Big Al's Protection Racket (a police service) and Justice, Inc. Anarcho-capitalism is also discussed in Vinge's novels The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime, which both occur in the same literary milieu as "The Ungoverned". The short story "Conquest by Default" depicts an anarcho-capitalist alien race which prevents monopolistic groups via antitrust religious customs. Vinge's more recent novel A Deepness in the Sky involves a stateless nonhuman society.

1990s[edit]

Neal Stephenson's novels Snow Crash (1992) and The Diamond Age (1996) both have anarcho-capitalism play a major role. In Snow Crash, territory is primarily controlled by corporate franchises ("franchise operated quasi-national entities") such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong" and "Nova Sicilia," with privately operated police forces and justice systems; Los Angeles has been turned into a patchwork of franchise enclave communities; the roads are private entities, serving subscribers; and the Federal Government is just one more competitor (albeit an inefficient one losing market share by the day) in a free market for sovereignty services. Its sequel, The Diamond Age, depicts a more mature anarcho-capitalist society where common law and other international private law conventions have evolved into a Common Economic Protocol to which all non-outlaw phyles and FOQNEs subscribe in their own legal systems.

S. Andrew Swann's Hostile Takeover Trilogy (1995, 1996) by depicts a world called Bakunin that operates on anarcho-capitalist principles, and examines the particular problem of an anarcho-capitalist society defending itself against a statist aggressor when that aggressor hires many of the Anarcho-capitalist society's own denizens as mercenary forces.

Ken MacLeod's four-part Fall Revolution (1995, 1996, 1998, 1999) series deals extensively with several different visions of anarchist societies. The Stone Canal deals with the interactions of an individualist anarchist, Johnathon Wilde, who is reborn as a clone into a high-tech anarcho-capitalist society influenced largely by an adversary from his past.

2000s[edit]

Max Barry's novel Jennifer Government depicts an anarcho-capitalist society in a critical and dystopian fashion, with the Government, now an almost formal corporation itself, on the outs. People are surnamed after their employers.

John C. Wright's trilogy of novels: "The Golden Age", "The Golden Transcendence", and "The Phoenix Exultant"; explore a distant future civilization that exists largely in cyberspace and whose logical anarcho-capitalist system is threatened by a nihilistic, irrational AI.

2010s[edit]

Tarrin Lupo's novel Pirates of the Savannah follows the lives of various characters who create an economy outside the purview of the government in the area around Savannah, Georgia during the American Revolution.

Related literature[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]