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Agorism is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging in a manner with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III in 1975, with contributions partly by J. Neil Schulman.[1]


Agorism is considered a branch of, or a transition strategy for achieving, anarcho-capitalism, however Konkin characterized it as a form of left-libertarianism,.[2] Agorists generally consider themselves to be market anarchists. Agorists often oppose voting for political candidates and political reform. Instead, agorists stress the importance of alternative strategies rather than politics to achieve a free society. Agorists claim that we can achieve a free society more easily and sooner by employing such alternative methods as education, direct action, alternative currencies, entrepreneurship, self sufficiency, and most importantly "counter-economics".[1] Some agorists consider their message to be scientific because science is an appeal to reason, which they believe is only possible in a free market; these agorists argue that state-backed science is illegitimate, believing that it inherently involves an appeal to authority.[3]

Konkin's class theory[edit]

Konkin developed a class theory which includes entrepreneurs, non-statist capitalists, and statist capitalists:

entrepreneur non-statist capitalist statist capitalist
(good) (neutral) (bad)
innovator, risk-taker, producer
the strength of a free market
holders of capital
not necessarily ideologically aware
"relatively drone-like non-innovators"
the primary beneficiaries of government controls
"the main Evil in the political realm"

Konkin claimed that while agorists see these three classes differently, anarcho-capitalists tend to conflate the first and second types, while "Marxoids and cruder collectivists" conflate all three.[2]


The term was coined by Konkin, and comes from the Classical Greek word ἀγορά (agora) referring to an open place for assembly and market in a πόλις (polis, ancient Greek city-states).[4]


Konkin's treatise New Libertarian Manifesto was published in 1980.[1] Previously, the philosophy had been presented in J. Neil Schulman's science fiction novel Alongside Night in 1979. Ayn Rand's example, presenting her ideas in the form of a work of fiction in Atlas Shrugged, had inspired Schulman to do likewise. Konkin's afterword to the novel, "How Far Alongside Night?", credited Schulman with integrating the "science of counter-economics" with Konkin's basic economic philosophy.[5]


Agorists' opposition to voting differs from the views of Murray Rothbard, who defended the act of voting.[6] Rothbard openly denounced Konkin's agorism:[7]

“Konkin’s entire theory speaks only to the interests and concerns of the marginal classes who are self-employed. The great bulk of the people are full-time wage workers; they are people with steady jobs. Konkinism has nothing whatsoever to say to these people. To adopt Konkin’s strategy, then, would on this ground alone, serve up a dead end for the libertarian movement. We cannot win if there is no possibility of speaking to the concerns of the great bulk of wage earners in this and other countries.”

—Murray Rothbard

Konkin responded to Rothbard's criticism, noting, among many other points, that full-time wage workers already engage in counter-economic activities.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Konkin, Samuel Edward. New Libertarian Manifesto
  2. ^ a b Smashing the State for Fun and Profit Since 1969: An Interview With the Libertarian Icon Samuel Edward Konkin III (a.k.a. SEK3)
  3. ^ Sampat, Mike (2013-04-16). "Logic and the case against Stiglitz". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Gordon, David (2011-04-01) Sam Konkin and Libertarian Theory,
  5. ^ Afterword by Samuel Edward Konkin in Alongside Night. Pulpless.Com, 1999. p. 271–290. ISBN 1-58445-120-3, ISBN 978-1-58445-120-4
  6. ^ Rothbard, Murray N. The State versus Liberty.
  7. ^ Rothbard, Murray. "Konkin on Libertarian Strategy". 
  8. ^ "Samuel Edward Konkin III "Reply to Rothbard"". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 

External links[edit]