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Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy and economic theory that advocates the elimination of centralized states in favor of free markets, private property and the right-libertarian interpretation of self-ownership. In the absence of statute, anarcho-capitalists hold that society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through participation in the free market which they describe as a voluntary society. Anarcho-capitalists support wage labour and believe that neither protection of person and property nor victim compensation requires a state. In a theoretical anarcho-capitalist society, the system of private property would still exist and be enforced by private defense agencies and insurance companies selected by customers which would operate competitively in an open market and fulfill the roles of courts and the police.
Anarcho-capitalists claim that various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. However, anarcho-capitalism was developed in the 20th century and the first person to use the term anarcho-capitalism was Murray Rothbard. Rothbard synthesized elements from the Austrian School, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists and mutualists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker while rejecting their labor theory of value and the anti-capitalist and socialist norms they derived from it. Rothbard's anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow". This legal code would recognize contracts, private property, self-ownership and tort law in keeping with the non-aggression principle.
Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from anarchists and minarchists. The latter advocate a night-watchman state limited to protecting individuals from aggression and enforcing private property. On the other hand, anarchists support personal property (defined in terms of possession and use, i.e. mutualist usufruct) and oppose capital concentration, interest, monopoly, private ownership of productive property such as the means of production (capital, land and the means of labor), profit, rent, usury and wage slavery which are viewed as inherent to capitalism. Anarchism's emphasis on anti-capitalism, egalitarianism and for the extension of community and individuality sets it apart from anarcho-capitalism and other types of economic libertarianism. Anarcho-capitalists are seen by most anarchist schools of thought which reject the notion of capitalism, hierarchies and private property as fraudulent and an oxymoron. The anti-capitalism of classical anarchism has remained prominent within contemporary anarchism.
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The two principal moral approaches to anarcho-capitalism differ in regard to whether anarcho-capitalist society is justified on deontological or consequentialist ethics or both. Natural-law anarcho-capitalism as advocated by Murray Rothbard holds that a universal system of rights can be derived from natural law. Other anarcho-capitalists do not rely upon the idea of natural rights, but they present instead economic justifications for a free-market capitalist society. This latter approach has been offered by David D. Friedman in The Machinery of Freedom. Unlike other anarcho-capitalists, most notably Rothbard, Friedman has never tried to deny the theoretical cogency of the neoclassical literature on "market failure", but he openly applies the theory to both market and government institutions to compare the net result, nor has he been inclined to attack economic efficiency as a normative benchmark.
John Kosanke sees such a debate as irrelevant. Kosanke believes that in the absence of statutory law the non-aggression principle is naturally enforced because individuals are automatically held accountable for their actions via tort and contract law. Kosanke also argues that communities of sovereign individuals naturally expel aggressors in the same way that ethical business practices are allegadly naturally required among competing businesses that are subject to what he describes as the "discipline of the marketplace". For Kosanke, the only thing that needs to be debated is the nature of the contractual mechanism that abolishes the state, or prevents it from coming into existence where new communities form.
On the state
Anarcho-capitalists see capitalism and the free market as the basis for a free and prosperous society. Murray Rothbard, who is credited with coining the term anarcho-capitalism, stated that the difference between free-market capitalism and state capitalism is the difference between "peaceful, voluntary exchange" and a collusive partnership between business and government that uses coercion to subvert the free market.
Anarchists view capitalism as an inherently authoritarian and hierarchical system and seek the abolishment of private property. There is disagreement between anarchists and anarcho-capitalists as the former generally rejects anarcho-capitalism as a form of anarchism and considers anarcho-capitalism an oxymoron while the latter holds that the abolishment of private property would require expropriation which is "counterproductive to order" and would require a state in their opinion.
Anarcho-capitalists argue that the state relies on initiating force because force can be used against those who have not stolen personal property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.[clarification needed] Rothbard argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by "the voluntary decisions of consumers purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs" and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in.: Many anarcho-capitalists also argue that private defense and court agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business. Furthermore, Linda and Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government's citizenry can not desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.
Rothbard stated that he based his philosophy on natural law grounds and provided economic explanations of why he thinks anarcho-capitalism is preferable on pragmatic grounds as well. David D. Friedman says that he is not an absolutist rights theorist, but he is also "not a utilitarian". However, Friedman believes that "utilitarian arguments are usually the best way to defend libertarian views". Peter Leeson argues that "the case for anarchy derives its strength from empirical evidence, not theory". Hans-Hermann Hoppe uses "argumentation ethics" for his foundation of "private property anarchism" which is closer to Rothbard's natural law approach. Rothbard wrote:
I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of any individual. Anarchists oppose the State because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights.
Rothbard used the term anarcho-capitalism to distinguish his philosophy from anarchism that opposes private property as well as to distinguish it from other forms of individualist anarchism. Other terms sometimes used for this philosophy, though not necessarily outside anarcho-capitalist circles, include:
While the Friedmanian formulation of anarcho-capitalism is robust to the presence of violence and in fact assumes some degree of violence will occur, anarcho-capitalism as formulated by Rothbard and others holds strongly to the central libertarian nonaggression axiom. Rothbard wrote:
The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or "mixes his labor with". From these twin axioms – self-ownership and "homesteading" – stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free-market society. This system establishes the right of every man to his own person, the right of donation, of bequest (and, concomitantly, the right to receive the bequest or inheritance), and the right of contractual exchange of property titles.
Rothbard's defense of the self-ownership principle stems from what he believed to be his falsification of all other alternatives, namely that either a group of people can own another group of people, or the other alternative, that no single person has full ownership over one's self. Rothbard dismisses these two cases on the basis that they cannot result in a universal ethic, i.e. a just natural law that can govern all people, independent of place and time. The only alternative that remains to Rothbard is self-ownership which he believes is both axiomatic and universal.
In general, the non-aggression axiom is described by Rothbard as a prohibition against the initiation of force, or the threat of force, against persons (in which he includes direct violence, assault and murder) or property (in which he includes fraud, burglary, theft and taxation). The initiation of force is usually referred to as aggression or coercion. The difference between anarcho-capitalists and other libertarians is largely one of the degree to which they take this axiom. Minarchist libertarians such as libertarian political parties would retain the state in some smaller and less invasive form, retaining at the very least public police, courts and military. However, others might give further allowance for other government programs. In contrast, Rothbard rejects any level of "state intervention", defining the state as a coercive monopoly and as the only entity in human society that derives its income from what he refers to as "legal aggression", an entity that inherently violates the central axiom of libertarianism.
Some anarcho-capitalists such as Rothbard accept the non-aggression axiom on an intrinsic moral or natural law basis. It is in terms of the non-aggression principle that Rothbard defined his interpretation of anarchism, "a system which provides no legal sanction for such aggression ['against person and property']"; and wrote that "what anarchism proposes to do, then, is to abolish the State, i.e. to abolish the regularized institution of aggressive coercion". In an interview published in the American libertarian journal The New Banner, Rothbard stated that "capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism".
Everyone is the proper owner of his own physical body as well as of all places and nature-given goods that he occupies and puts to use by means of his body, provided only that no one else has already occupied or used the same places and goods before him. This ownership of "originally appropriated" places and goods by a person implies his right to use and transform these places and goods in any way he sees fit, provided only that he does not change thereby uninvitedly the physical integrity of places and goods originally appropriated by another person. In particular, once a place or good has been first appropriated by, in John Locke's phrase, 'mixing one's labor' with it, ownership in such places and goods can be acquired only by means of a voluntary – contractual – transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.
Anarcho-capitalism uses the following terms in ways that may differ from common usage or various anarchist movements.
Anarcho-capitalists advocate individual or joint (i.e. private) ownership of the means of production and the allocation of the product of labor within the context of wage labour and the free market, regardless of what the individual needs or does not need. Original appropriation allows an individual to claim any never-before used resources, including land and by improving or otherwise using it, own it with the same "absolute right" as his own body, and retaining those rights forever, regardless if the resource is still being used by them. According to Rothbard, property can only come about through labor, therefore original appropriation of land is not legitimate by merely claiming it or building a fence around it—it is only by using land and by mixing one's labor with it that original appropriation is legitimized: "Any attempt to claim a new resource that someone does not use would have to be considered invasive of the property right of whoever the first user will turn out to be". Rothbard argued that the resource need not continue to be used in order for it to be the person's property as "for once his labor is mixed with the natural resource, it remains his owned land. His labor has been irretrievably mixed with the land, and the land is therefore his or his assigns' in perpetuity".:170
As a practical matter, anarcho-capitalists recognize that in terms of the ownership of land there are few, if any, parcels of land left on Earth whose ownership was not at some point in time obtained in violation of the homestead principle "through seizure by the state or put in private hands with the assistance of the state". Rothbard wrote:
It is not enough to call simply for defense of "the rights of private property"; there must be an adequate theory of justice in property rights, else any property that some State once decreed to be "private" must now be defended by libertarians, no matter how unjust the procedure or how mischievous its consequences.
In Justice and Property Right, Rothbard wrote that "any identifiable owner (the original victim of theft or his heir) must be accorded his property". In the case of slavery, Rothbard claimed that in many cases "the old plantations and the heirs and descendants of the former slaves can be identified, and the reparations can become highly specific indeed". Rothbard believed slaves rightfully own any land they were forced to work on under the homestead principle. If property is held by the state, Rothbard advocated its confiscation and "return to the private sector", writing that "any property in the hands of the State is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated as quickly as possible". Rothbard proposed that state universities be seized by the students and faculty under the homestead principle. Rothbard also supported expropriation of nominally "private property" if it is the result of state-initiated force such as businesses who receive grants and subsidies. Rothbard further proposed that businesses who receive at least 50% of their funding from the state be confiscated by the workers, writing: "What we libertarians object to, then, is not government per se but crime, what we object to is unjust or criminal property titles; what we are for is not 'private' property per se but just, innocent, non-criminal private property".
Similarly, Karl Hess wrote that "libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but that it in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which now is called private [...] Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title. All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system".
By accepting an axiomatic definition of private property and property rights, anarcho-capitalists deny the legitimacy of a state on principle. Hans-Hermann Hoppe argues:
For, apart from ruling out as unjustified all activities such as murder, homicide, rape, trespass, robbery, burglary, theft, and fraud, the ethics of private property is also incompatible with the existence of a state defined as an agency that possesses a compulsory territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) and/or the right to tax.
Although anarcho-capitalists are known for asserting a right to private (individualized or joint non-public) property, some propose that non-state public or community property can also exist in an anarcho-capitalist society. For anarcho-capitalists, what is important is that it is acquired and transferred without help or hindrance from the "compulsory state". Deontological anarcho-capitalists believe that the only just and most economically beneficial way to acquire property is through voluntary trade, gift, or labor-based original appropriation, rather than through aggression or fraud.
Anarcho-capitalists state that there could be cases where common property may develop in a Lockean natural rights framework. Anarcho-capitalists make the example of a number of private businesses which may arise in an area, each owning the land and buildings that they use, but they argue that the paths between them become cleared and trodden incrementally through customer and commercial movement. These thoroughfares may become valuable to the community, but according to them ownership cannot be attributed to any single person and original appropriation does not apply because many contributed the labor necessary to create them. In order to prevent it from falling to the "tragedy of the commons", anarcho-capitalists suggest transitioning from common to private property, wherein an individual would make a homesteading claim based on disuse, acquire title by assent of the community consensus, form a corporation with other involved parties, or other means.
Some vast areas, except the scarce resources they contain, such as the air, rivers, oceans, the Moon and orbital paths are considered by anarcho-capitalists as largely unownable by individuals and consider them to be property common to all. However, they see challenges stemming from this idea such as whether an individual might claim fishing rights in the area of a major shipping lane and thereby forbid passage through it. In contrast, Hoppe's work on anarcho-capitalist theory is based on the assumption that all property is privately held, "including all streets, rivers, airports, and harbors" which forms the foundation of his views on immigration.
The society envisioned by anarcho-capitalists has been called the "contractual society" which Rothbard described as "a society based purely on voluntary action, entirely unhampered by violence or threats of violence":84 The system relies on contracts between individuals as the legal framework which would be enforced by private police and security forces as well as private arbitrations. Individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker accepted the use of violence as means of enforcing them.
Rothbard argues that corporations would exist in a free society as they are "simply the pooling of capital". He says that limited liability for corporations could also exist through contract, arguing that "[c]orporations are not at all monopolistic privileges; they are free associations of individuals pooling their capital. On the purely free market, those men would simply announce to their creditors that their liability is limited to the capital specifically invested in the corporation".:1144 However, corporations created in this way would not be able to replicate the limit on liabilities arising non-contractually such as liability in tort for environmental disasters or personal injury which corporations currently enjoy. Rothbard acknowledges that "limited liability for torts is the illegitimate conferring of a special privilege".:1144
There are limits to the right to contract under some interpretations of anarcho-capitalism. Rothbard argues that the right to contract is based in inalienable rights and therefore any contract that implicitly violates those rights can be voided at will, preventing a person from permanently selling himself or herself into unindentured slavery. However, Rothbard justifies the practice of child selling. Other interpretations conclude that banning such contracts would in itself be an unacceptably invasive interference in the right to contract.
Included in the right of contract is "the right to contract oneself out for employment by others". While anarchists criticize wage labour describing it as wage slavery, anarcho-capitalists view it as a consensual contract. Some anarcho-capitalists prefer to see self-employment prevail over wage labor. David D. Friedman has expressed preference for a society where "almost everyone is self-employed" and "instead of corporations there are large groups of entrepreneurs related by trade, not authority. Each sells not his time, but what his time produces".
Law and order and the use of violence
Different anarcho-capitalists propose different forms of anarcho-capitalism and one area of disagreement is in the area of law. In The Market for Liberty, Morris and Linda Tannehill object to any statutory law whatsoever. They argue that all one has to do is ask if one is aggressing against another (see tort) in order to decide if an act is right or wrong. However, while also supporting a natural prohibition on force and fraud, Rothbard supports the establishment of a mutually agreed-upon centralized libertarian legal code which private courts would pledge to follow, as he presumes a high degree of convergence amongst individuals about what constitutes natural justice.
Unlike both the Tannehills and Rothbard who see an ideological commonality of ethics and morality as a requirement, David D. Friedman proposes that "the systems of law will be produced for profit on the open market, just as books and bras are produced today. There could be competition among different brands of law, just as there is competition among different brands of cars". Friedman says whether this would lead to a libertarian society "remains to be proven". He says it is a possibility that very unlibertarian laws may result, such as laws against drugs, but he thinks this would be rare. He reasons that "if the value of a law to its supporters is less than its cost to its victims, that law [...] will not survive in an anarcho-capitalist society".
Anarcho-capitalists only accept collective defense of individual liberty (i.e. courts, military or police forces) insofar as such groups are formed and paid for on an explicitly voluntary basis. However, their complaint is not just that the state's defensive services are funded by taxation, but that the state assumes it is the only legitimate practitioner of physical force—that is, they believe it forcibly prevents the private sector from providing comprehensive security, such as a police, judicial and prison systems to protect individuals from aggressors. Anarcho-capitalists believe that there is nothing morally superior about the state which would grant it, but not private individuals, a right to use physical force to restrain aggressors. If competition in security provision were allowed to exist, prices would also be lower and services would be better according to anarcho-capitalists. According to Molinari: "Under a regime of liberty, the natural organization of the security industry would not be different from that of other industries". Proponents point out that private systems of justice and defense already exist, naturally forming where the market is allowed to "compensate for the failure of the state", namely private arbitration, security guards, neighborhood watch groups and so on. These private courts and police are sometimes referred to generically as private defense agencies (PDAs). The defense of those unable to pay for such protection might be financed by charitable organizations relying on voluntary donation rather than by state institutions relying on taxation, or by cooperative self-help by groups of individuals.
Like classical liberalism and unlike anarcho-pacifism, anarcho-capitalism permits the use of force as long as it is in the defense of persons or property. The permissible extent of this defensive use of force is an arguable point among anarcho-capitalists. Retributive justice, meaning retaliatory force, is often a component of the contracts imagined for an anarcho-capitalist society. Some believe prisons or indentured servitude would be justifiable institutions to deal with those who violate anarcho-capitalist property relations while others believe exile or forced restitution are sufficient.
Bruce L. Benson argues that legal codes may impose punitive damages for intentional torts in the interest of deterring crime. For instance, a thief who breaks into a house by picking a lock and is caught before taking anything would still owe the victim for violating the sanctity of his property rights. Benson opines that despite the lack of objectively measurable losses in such cases, "standardized rules that are generally perceived to be fair by members of the community would, in all likelihood, be established through precedent, allowing judgments to specify payments that are reasonably appropriate for most criminal offenses".
Morris and Linda Tannehill raise a similar example, noting that a bank robber who had an attack of conscience and returned the money would still owe reparations for endangering the employees' and customers' lives and safety, in addition to the costs of the defense agency answering the teller's call for help. However, the robber's loss of reputation would be even more damaging. Specialized companies would list aggressors so that anyone wishing to do business with a man could first check his record, provided they trust the veracity of the companies' records. The bank robber would find insurance companies listing him as a very poor risk and other firms would be reluctant to enter into contracts with him.
In the context of revolution, Rothbard stated that the American Revolutionary War was the only war involving the United States that could be justified. Some anarcho-capitalists such as Samuel Edward Konkin III feel that violent revolution is counter-productive and prefer voluntary forms of economic secession to the extent possible.
Anarcho-capitalist Matthew O'Keeffe proposes a form of a restitution system of justice in which the right to restitution created by the violation of the victims' property could be homesteaded by bounty hunters that would bring criminals to justice, thus creating the incentive for people to work defending the rights of victims that otherwise would not be able to pay for the service.[non-primary source needed]
In both its social and individualist forms, anarchism is usually considered an anti-capitalist and radical left-wing or far-left movement that promotes libertarian socialist economic theories such as collectivism, communism, individualism, mutualism and syndicalism. Because anarchism is usually described alongside libertarian Marxism as the libertarian wing of the socialist movement and as having a historical association with anti-capitalism and socialism, anarchists believe that capitalism is incompatible with social and economic equality and therefore do not recognize anarcho-capitalism as an anarchist school of thought. In particular, anarchists argue that capitalist transactions are not voluntary and that maintaining the class structure of a capitalist society requires coercion which is incompatible with an anarchist society. The usage of libertarian is also in dispute. While both anarchists and anarcho-capitalist have used it, libertarian was synonymous with anarchist until the mid-20th century, when anarcho-capitalist theory developed.
Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from the dominant anarchist tradition by their relation to property and capital. While both anarchism and anarcho-capitalism share general antipathy towards power by government authority, the latter exempts power wielded through free-market capitalism. Anarchists, including egoists such as Max Stirner, have supported the protection of an individual's freedom from powers of both government and private property owners. In contrast, while condemning governmental encroachment on personal liberties, anarcho-capitalists support freedoms based on private property rights. Anarcho-capitalist theorist Murray Rothbard argued that protesters should rent a street for protest from its owners. The abolition of public amenities is a common theme in some anarcho-capitalist writings.
As anarcho-capitalism puts laissez-faire economics before economic equality, it is commonly viewed as incompatible with the anti-capitalist and egalitarian tradition of anarchism. Although anarcho-capitalist theory implies the abolition of the state in favour of a fully laissez-faire economy, it lies outside the tradition of anarchism. While using the language of anarchism, anarcho-capitalism only shares anarchism's antipathy towards the state and not anarchism's antipathy towards hierarchy as theorists expect from anarcho-capitalist economic power relations. It follows a different paradigm from anarchism and has a fundamentally different approach and goals. In spite of the anarcho- in its title, anarcho-capitalism is more closely affiliated with capitalism and right-libertarianism than with anarchism. Some within this laissez-faire tradition reject the designation of anarcho-capitalism, believing that capitalism may either refer to the laissez-faire market they support or the government-regulated system that they oppose.
Rothbard claimed that anarcho-capitalism is the only true form of anarchism—the only form of anarchism that could possibly exist in reality as he maintained that any other form presupposes an authoritarian enforcement of political ideology such as "redistribution of private property". According to this argument, the capitalist free market is simply the natural situation that would result from people being free from authority and entails the establishment of all voluntary associations in society such as cooperatives, non-profit organizations, businesses and so on. Moreover, anarcho-capitalists as well as classical liberal minarchists argue that the application of anarchist ideals as advocated by what they term left-wing anarchists would require an authoritarian body of some sort to impose it. Based on their understanding of anarchism, in order to forcefully prevent people from accumulating capital, which they believe is a goal of those anarchists, there would necessarily be a redistributive organization of some sort which would have the authority to in essence exact a tax and re-allocate the resulting resources to a larger group of people. They conclude that this body would inherently have political power and would be nothing short of a state. The difference between such an arrangement and an anarcho-capitalist system is what anarcho-capitalists see as the voluntary nature of organization within anarcho-capitalism contrasted with a centralized ideology and a paired enforcement mechanism which they believe would be necessary under a "coercively" egalitarian-anarchist system.
Despite their name, anarcho-capitalists are generally seen by anarchists, who reject the notion of capitalism, hierarchies and private property, as fraudulent and an oxymoron. Albert Meltzer argued that anarcho-capitalism simply cannot be anarchism because capitalism and the state are inextricably interlinked and because capitalism exhibits domineering hierarchical structures such as that between an employer and an employee. Anna Morgenstern approaches this topic from the opposite perspective, arguing that anarcho-capitalists are not really capitalists because "mass concentration of capital is impossible" without the state. According to Jeremy Jennings, "[i]t is hard not to conclude that these ideas", referring to anarcho-capitalism, argued to have "roots deep in classical liberalism" more so than in anarchism, "are described as anarchist only on the basis of a misunderstanding of what anarchism is". For Jennings, "anarchism does not stand for the untrammelled freedom of the individual (as the 'anarcho-capitalists' appear to believe) but, as we have already seen, for the extension of individuality and community". Similarly, Barbara Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, argues that anarcho-capitalism's "true place is in the group of right-wing libertarians", not in anarchism. While both anarchism and anarcho-capitalism are in opposition to the state, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition because anarchists and anarcho-capitalists intepret state-rejection differently. According to Ruth Kinna, anarcho-capitalists are anti-statists who draw more on right-wing liberal theory and the Austrian School than anarchist traditions. Kinna writes that "[i]n order to highlight the clear distinction between the two positions", anarchists describe anarcho-capitalists as "propertarians".
In his essay The Production of Security, Gustave de Molinari argued that "[n]o government should have the right to prevent another government from going into competition with it, or to require consumers of security to come exclusively to it for this commodity". Molinari and this new type of anti-state liberal grounded their reasoning on liberal ideals and classical economics. Historian and libertarian Ralph Raico argues that what these liberal philosophers "had come up with was a form of individualist anarchism, or, as it would be called today, anarcho-capitalism or market anarchism". Unlike the liberalism of John Locke which saw the state as evolving from society, the anti-state liberals saw a fundamental conflict between the voluntary interactions of people, i.e. society; and the institutions of force, i.e. the state. This society vs. state idea was expressed in various ways such as natural society vs. artificial society, liberty vs. authority, society of contract vs. society of authority and industrial society vs. militant society, just to name a few. The anti-state liberal tradition in Europe and the United States continued after Molinari in the early writings of Herbert Spencer as well as in thinkers such as Paul Émile de Puydt and Auberon Herbert.
Ruth Kinna writes that anarcho-capitalism is a term coined by Murray Rothbard to describe "a commitment to unregulated private property and laissez-faire economics, prioritizing the liberty-rights of individuals, unfettered by government regulation, to accumulate, consume and determine the patterns of their lives as they see fit". According to Kinna, anarcho-capitalists "will sometimes label themselves market anarchists because they recognize the negative connotations of 'capitalism'. But the literatures of anarcho-capitalism draw on classical liberal theory, particularly the Austrian School – Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises – rather than recognizable anarchist traditions. Ayn Rand's laissez-faire, anti-government, corporate philosophy – objectivism – is sometimes associated with anarcho-capitalism". Other scholars similarly associates anarcho-capitalism with anti-state classical liberalism, neo-classical liberalism, radical neoliberalism and right-libertarianism.
Murray Rothbard, a student of Ludwig von Mises, stated that he was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists. In the winter of 1949, Rothbard decided to reject minimal state laissez-faire and embrace his interpretation of individualist anarchism. In 1965, Rothbard wrote that "Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker were unsurpassed as political philosophers and nothing is more needed today than a revival and development of the largely forgotten legacy they left to political philosophy". However, Rothbard thought that they had a faulty understanding of economics as the 19th century individualist anarchists had a labor theory of value as influenced by the classical economists and was a student of Austrian School economics which does not agree with the labor theory of value. Rothbard sought to meld 19th-century American individualist anarchists' advocacy of economic individualism and free markets with the principles of Austrian School economics, arguing that "[t]here is, in the body of thought known as 'Austrian economics', a scientific explanation of the workings of the free market (and of the consequences of government intervention in that market) which individualist anarchists could easily incorporate into their political and social Weltanschauung". Rothbard held that the economic consequences of the political system they advocate would not result in an economy with people being paid in proportion to labor amounts, nor would profit and interest disappear as they expected. Tucker thought that unregulated banking and money issuance would cause increases in the money supply so that interest rates would drop to zero or near to it. Peter Marshall states that "anarcho-capitalism overlooks the egalitarian implications of traditional individualist anarchists like Spooner and Tucker".
In "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View", Rothbard explained his disagreements. First of all, Rothbard stated that Tucker was wrong to think that that would cause the money supply to increase because he says that the money supply in a free market would be self-regulating. If it were not, then inflation would occur so it is not necessarily desirable to increase the money supply in the first place. Secondly, Rothbard claimed that Tucker was wrong to think that interest would disappear regardless because people in general do not wish to lend their money to others without compensation, so there is no reason why this would change just because banking was unregulated. Tucker held a labor theory of value and thought that in a free market people would be paid in proportion to how much labor they exerted and that exploitation or usury was taking place if they were not. As Tucker explained in State Socialism and Anarchism, his theory was that unregulated banking would cause more money to be available and that this would allow proliferation of new businesses which would in turn raise demand for labor. This led Tucker to believe that the labor theory of value would be vindicated and equal amounts of labor would receive equal pay. As an Austrian School economist, Rothbard did not agree with the labor theory and believed that prices of goods and services are proportional to marginal utility rather than to labor amounts in the free market. He did not think that there was anything exploitative about people receiving an income according to how much buyers of their services value their labor or what that labor produces.
Without the labor theory of value, some argue that 19th-century individualist anarchists approximate the modern movement of anarcho-capitalism, although this has been contested or rejected. As economic theory changed, the popularity of the labor theory of classical economics was superseded by the subjective theory of value of neoclassical economics and Rothbard combined Mises' Austrian School of economics with the absolutist views of human rights and rejection of the state he had absorbed from studying the individualist American anarchists of the 19th century such as Tucker and Spooner. In the mid-1950s, Rothbard wrote "Are Libertarians 'Anarchists'?", concerned with differentiating himself from communist and socialistic economic views of anarchists, including the individualist anarchists of the 19th century, concluding that "we are not anarchists [...] but not archists either [...]. Perhaps, then, we could call ourselves by a new name: nonarchist". Joe Peacott, an American individualist anarchist in the mutualist tradition, criticizes anarcho-capitalists for trying to hegemonize the individualist anarchism label and make appear as if all individualist anarchists are in favor of capitalism. Peacott states that "individualists, both past and present, agree with the communist anarchists that present-day capitalism is based on economic coercion, not on voluntary contract. Rent and interest are mainstays of modern capitalism, and are protected and enforced by the state. Without these two unjust institutions, capitalism could not exist".
Anarchist activists and scholars do not consider anarcho-capitalism as a part of the anarchist movement because anarchism has historically been an anti-capitalist movement and see it as incompatible with capitalist forms. Although some regard anarcho-capitalism as a form of individualist anarchism, many others disagree or contest the existence of an individualist–socialist divide because individualist anarchism is largely libertarian socialist. In coming to terms that anarchism identified with socialism, Rothbard wrote that individualist anarchism is different from anarcho-capitalism and other capitalist theories due to the individualist anarchists retaining the labor theory of value and socialist doctrines. Similarly, many writers deny that anarcho-capitalism is a form of anarchism or that capitalism is compatible with anarchism.
The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism writes that "[a]s Benjamin Franks rightly points out, individualisms that defend or reinforce hierarchical forms such as the economic-power relations of anarcho-capitalism are incompatible with practices of social anarchism based on developing immanent goods which contest such as inequalities". Laurence Davis cautiosly asks "[I]s anarcho-capitalism really a form of anarchism or instead a wholly different ideological paradigm whose adherents have attempted to expropriate the language of anarchism for their own anti-anarchist ends?" Davis cites Iain McKay, "whom Franks cites as an authority to support his contention that 'academic analysis has followed activist currents in rejecting the view that anarcho-capitalism has anything to do with social anarchism'", as arguing "quite emphatically on the very pages cited by Franks that anarcho-capitalism is by no means a type of anarchism". McKay writes that "[i]t is important to stress that anarchist opposition to the so-called capitalist 'anarchists' does not reflect some kind of debate within anarchism, as many of these types like to pretend, but a debate between anarchism and its old enemy capitalism. [...] Equally, given that anarchists and 'anarcho'-capitalists have fundamentally different analyses and goals it is hardly 'sectarian' to point this out".
Davis writes that "Franks asserts without supporting evidence that most major forms of individualist anarchism have been largely anarcho-capitalist in content, and concludes from this premise that most forms of individualism are incompatible with anarchism". Davis argues that "the conclusion is unsuistainable because the premise is false, depending as it does for any validity it might have on the further assumption that anarcho-capitalism is indeed a form of anarchism. If we reject this view, then we must also reject the individual anarchist versus the communal anarchist 'chasm' style of argument that follows from it". Davis maintains that "the ideological core of anarchism is the belief that society can and should be organised without hierarchy and domination. Historically, anarchists have struggles against a wide range of regimes of domination, from capitalism, the state system, patriarchy, heterosexism, and the domination of nature to colonialism, the war system, slavery, fascism, white supremacy, and certain forms of organised religion". According to Davis, "[w]hile these visions range from the predominantly individualistic to the predominantly communitarian, features common to virtually all include an emphasis on self-management and self-regulatory methods of organisation, voluntary association, decentralised society, based on the principle of free association, in which people will manage and govern themselves". Finally, Davis includes a footnote stating that "[i]ndividualist anarchism may plausibly be re regarded as a form of both socialism and anarchism. Whether the individualist anarchists were consistent anarchists (and socialists) is another question entirely. [...] McKay comments as follows: 'any individualist anarchism which support wage labour is inconsistent anarchism. It can easily be made consistent anarchism by applying its own principles consistenly. In contrast 'anarcho'-capitalism rejects so many of the basic, underlying, principles of anarchism [...] that it cannot be made consistent with the ideals of anarchism'".
Free cities of medieval Europe
One case that has inspired both sorts of anarchists is that of the free cities of medieval Europe. The first weak link in the chain of feudalism, these free cities became Europe's centers of economic development, trade, art, and culture. They provided a haven for runaway serfs, who could often legally gain their freedom if they avoided re-capture for a year and a day. And they offer many examples of how people can form mutual-aid associations for protection, insurance, and community. Of course, left-anarchists and anarcho-capitalists take a somewhat different perspective on the free cities: the former emphasize the communitarian and egalitarian concerns of the free cities, while the latter point to the relatively unregulated nature of their markets and the wide range of services (often including defense, security, and legal services) which were provided privately or semi-privately.
According to the libertarian theorist David D. Friedman, "[m]edieval Icelandic institutions have several peculiar and interesting characteristics; they might almost have been invented by a mad economist to test the lengths to which market systems could supplant government in its most fundamental functions". While not directly labeling it anarcho-capitalist, Friedman argues that the legal system of the Icelandic Commonwealth comes close to being a real-world anarcho-capitalist legal system. Although noting that there was a single legal system, Friedman argues that enforcement of law was entirely private and highly capitalist, providing some evidence of how such a society would function. Friedman further wrote that "[e]ven where the Icelandic legal system recognized an essentially 'public' offense, it dealt with it by giving some individual (in some cases chosen by lot from those affected) the right to pursue the case and collect the resulting fine, thus fitting it into an essentially private system". Commenting on its political structure, libertarian scholar Roderick T. Long writes:
The legal system's administration, insofar as it had one, lay in the hands of a parliament of about 40 officers whom historians call, however inadequately, "chieftains". This parliament had no budget and no employees; it met only two weeks per year. In addition to their parliamentary role, chieftains were empowered in their own local districts to appoint judges and to keep the peace; this latter job was handled on an essentially fee-for-service basis. The enforcement of judicial decisions was largely a matter of self-help (hence Iceland's reputation as a land of constant private feuding), but those who lacked the might to enforce their rights could sell their court-decreed claims for compensation to someone more powerful, usually a chieftain; hence even the poor and friendless could not be victimized with impunity. The basis of a chieftain's power within the political order was the power he already possessed outside it, in civil society. The office of chieftaincy was private property, and could be bought or sold; hence chieftaincies tended to track private wealth. But wealth alone was not enough. As economic historian Birgir Solvason notes in his masterful study of the period, "just buying the chieftainship was no guarantee of power"; the mere office by itself was "almost worthless" unless the chieftain could "convince some free-farmers to follow him". Chieftains did not hold authority over territorially-defined districts, but competed for clients with other chieftains from the same geographical area.
Long suggests that the system of free contract between farmers and chieftains was threatened when harassment from Norwegian kings that began around AD 1000 forced the people of Iceland to accept Christianity as the national religion. This paved the way for the introduction of a compulsory tax in AD 1096 which was to be paid to the local chieftain who owned a churchstead. Long further believes that this gave an unfair advantage to some chieftains who at least in part did not need to rely upon the voluntary support of their clients in order to receive some income which gradually lead to the concentration of power in the hands of a few big chieftains, enabling them to restrict competition and eventually establish effective monopolies. Although the Commonwealth was politically stable for over three centuries, Long suggests that the downfall of the Icelandic system was brought about "not through having too much privatization, but through having too little". Long writes:
[T]he Free State failed, not through having too much privatization, but through having too little. The tithe, and particularly the portion allotted to churchstead maintenance, represented a monopolistic, non-competitive element in the system. The introduction of the tithe was in turn made possible by yet another non-competitive element: the establishment of an official state church which everyone was legally bound to support. Finally, buying up chieftaincies would have availed little if there had been free entry into the chieftaincy profession; instead, the number of chieftains was set by law, and the creation of new chieftaincies could be approved only by parliament – i.e., by the existing chieftains, who were naturally less than eager to encourage competitors. It is precisely those respects in which the Free State was least privatized and decentralized that led to its downfall – while its more privatized aspects delayed that downfall for three centuries.
American Old West
According to Terry L. Anderson and P. J. Hill, the Old West in the United States in the period of 1830 to 1900 was similar to anarcho-capitalism in that "private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved" and that the common popular perception that the Old West was chaotic with little respect for property rights is incorrect. Since squatters had no claim to western lands under federal law, extra-legal organizations formed to fill the void. Benson explains:
The land clubs and claim associations each adopted their own written contract setting out the laws that provided the means for defining and protecting property rights in the land. They established procedures for registration of land claims, as well as for protection of those claims against outsiders, and for adjudication of internal disputes that arose. The reciprocal arrangements for protection would be maintained only if a member complied with the association's rules and its court's rulings. Anyone who refused would be ostracized. Boycott by a land club meant that an individual had no protection against aggression other than what he could provide himself.
According to Anderson, "[d]efining anarcho-capitalist to mean minimal government with property rights developed from the bottom up, the western frontier was anarcho-capitalistic. People on the frontier invented institutions that fit the resource constraints they faced".
In his work For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard has claimed ancient Gaelic Ireland as an example of nearly anarcho-capitalist society. In his depiction, citing the work of Professor Joseph Peden, the basic political unit of ancient Ireland was the tuath, which is portrayed as "a body of persons voluntarily united for socially beneficial purposes" with its territorial claim being limited to "the sum total of the landed properties of its members". Civil disputes were settled by private arbiters called "brehons" and the compensation to be paid to the wronged party was insured through voluntary surety relationships. Commenting on the "kings" of tuaths, Rothbard stated:
The king was elected by the tuath from within a royal kin-group (the derbfine), which carried the hereditary priestly function. Politically, however, the king had strictly limited functions: he was the military leader of the tuath, and he presided over the tuath assemblies. But he could only conduct war or peace negotiations as agent of the assemblies; and he was in no sense sovereign and had no rights of administering justice over tuath members. He could not legislate, and when he himself was party to a lawsuit, he had to submit his case to an independent judicial arbiter.
Law merchant, admiralty law and early common law
In his work Power and Market, Rothbard stated:
The law merchant, admiralty law, and much of the common law began to be developed by privately competitive judges, who were sought out by litigants for their expertise in understanding the legal areas involved. The fairs of Champagne and the great marts of international trade in the Middle Ages enjoyed freely competitive courts, and people could patronize those that they deemed most accurate and efficient.:1051
Somalia from 1991 to 2006
Economist Alex Tabarrok claimed that Somalia in its stateless period provided a "unique test of the theory of anarchy", in some aspects near of that espoused by anarcho-capitalists David D. Friedman and Murray Rothbard. Nonetheless, both anarchists and some anarcho-capitalists argue that Somalia was not an anarchist society.
State, justice and defense
Anarchists such as Brian Morris argue that anarcho-capitalism does not in fact get rid of the state. He says that anarcho-capitalists "simply replaced the state with private security firms, and can hardly be described as anarchists as the term is normally understood". In "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy", anarchist Peter Sabatini notes:
Within Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However Rothbard's claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist vendors. [...] Rothbard sees nothing at all wrong with the amassing of wealth, therefore those with more capital will inevitably have greater coercive force at their disposal, just as they do now.
Similarly, Bob Black argues that an anarcho-capitalist wants to "abolish the state to his own satisfaction by calling it something else". He states that they do not denounce what the state does, they just "object to who's doing it". It has also been argued that anarcho-capitalism dissolves into city states. Some critics argue that anarcho-capitalism turns justice into a commodity as private defense and court firms would favour those who pay more for their services. Randall G. Holcombe argues that defense agencies could form cartels and oppress people without fear of competition. Philosopher Albert Meltzer argued that since anarcho-capitalism promotes the idea of private armies, it actually supports a "limited State". He contends that it "is only possible to conceive of Anarchism which is free, communistic and offering no economic necessity for repression of countering it".
Robert Nozick argues that a competitive legal system would evolve toward a monopoly government—even without violating individuals rights in the process. In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Nozick argues that an anarcho-capitalist society would inevitably transform into a minarchist state through the eventual emergence of a monopolistic private defense and judicial agency that no longer faces competition. He argues that anarcho-capitalism results in an unstable system that would not endure in the real world. While anarcho-capitalists such as Roy Childs and Murray Rothbard have rejected Nozick's arguments, John Jefferson actually advocates Nozick's argument and states that such events would best operate in laissez-faire. Paul Birch argues that legal disputes involving several jurisdictions and different legal systems will be too complex and costly, therefore the largest private protection business in a territory will develop into a natural monopoly. Robert Ellickson states that anarcho-capitalists "by imagining a stable system of competing private associations, ignore both the inevitability of territorial monopolists in governance, and the importance of institutions to constrain those monopolists' abuses".
Rights and freedom
Negative and positive rights are rights that oblige either action (positive rights) or inaction (negative rights). Anarcho-capitalists believe that negative rights should be recognized as legitimate, but positive rights should be rejected as an intrusion. Some critics reject the distinction between positive and negative rights. Peter Marshall also states that the anarcho-capitalist definition of freedom is entirely negative and that it cannot guarantee the positive freedom of individual autonomy and independence.
About anarcho-capitalism, Noam Chomsky says:
Anarcho-capitalism, in my opinion, is a doctrinal system which, if ever implemented, would lead to forms of tyranny and oppression that have few counterparts in human history. There isn't the slightest possibility that its (in my view, horrendous) ideas would be implemented, because they would quickly destroy any society that made this colossal error. The idea of "free contract" between the potentate and his starving subject is a sick joke, perhaps worth some moments in an academic seminar exploring the consequences of (in my view, absurd) ideas, but nowhere else.
Economics and property
Anarchists argue that certain capitalist transactions are not voluntary and that maintaining the class structure of a capitalist society requires coercion which violates anarchist principles. Anthropologist David Graeber noted his skepticism about anarcho-capitalism along the same lines, arguing:
To be honest I'm pretty skeptical about the idea of anarcho-capitalism. If a-caps imagine a world divided into property-holding employers and property-less wage laborers, but with no systematic coercive mechanisms[;] well, I just can't see how it would work. You always see a-caps saying "if I want to hire someone to pick my tomatoes, how are you going to stop me without using coercion?" Notice how you never see anyone say "if I want to hire myself out to pick someone else's tomatoes, how are you going to stop me?" Historically nobody ever did wage labor like that if they had pretty much [any] other option.
Some critics argue that the anarcho-capitalist concept of voluntary choice ignores constraints due to both human and non-human factors such as the need for food and shelter as well as active restriction of both used and unused resources by those enforcing property claims. If a person requires employment in order to feed and house himself, the employer–employee relationship could be considered involuntary. Another criticism is that employment is involuntary because the economic system that makes it necessary for some individuals to serve others is supported by the enforcement of coercive private property relations. Some philosophies view any ownership claims on land and natural resources as immoral and illegitimate. Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger criticizes anarcho-capitalism by arguing that "capitalism requires government", questioning who or what would enforce treaties and contracts.
Some right-libertarian critics of anarcho-capitalism who support the full privatization of capital such as geolibertarians argue that land and the raw materials of nature remain a distinct factor of production and cannot be justly converted to private property because they are not products of human labor. Some socialists, including other market anarchists such as mutualists, adamantly oppose absentee ownership. Anarcho-capitalists have strong abandonment criteria, namely that one maintains ownership (more or less) until one agrees to trade or gift it. Anti-state critics of this view tend to have comparatively weak abandonment criteria. One loses ownership more or less when one stops personally occupying and using it. Furthermore, the idea of perpetually binding original appropriation is anathema to socialism and traditional schools of anarchism as well as to any moral or economic philosophy that takes equal natural rights to land and the Earth's resources as a premise.
The following is a partial list of notable nonfiction works discussing anarcho-capitalism.
- Murray Rothbard, founder of anarcho-capitalism:
- David D. Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom
- Michael Huemer, The Problem of Political Authority
- Linda and Morris Tannehill, The Market for Liberty
- Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Anarcho-Capitalism: An Annotated Bibliography
- Bruce L. Benson, The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without The State
- To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice
- Auberon Herbert, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State
- Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, the State, Franz Oppenheimer's thesis applied to early United States history
- Herbert Spencer, Social Statics
- George H. Smith, "Justice Entrepreneurship in a Free Market"
- Edward P. Stringham, Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice
Anarcho-capitalism has been examined in and influenced by certain works of literature, particularly science fiction. One of the earliest and influential works is Robert A. Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress in which a penal colony on the Moon revolts against the rule of Earth, creating a society based on what the author terms "rational anarchism".
Sharper Security: A Sovereign Security Company Novel, part of a series by Thomas Sewell, is "set a couple of decades into the near-future with a liberty view of society based on individual choice and free market economics" and features a society where individuals hire a security company to protect and insure them from crime. The security companies are sovereign, but customers are free to switch between them. They behave as a combination of insurance/underwriting and para-military police forces. Anarcho-capitalist themes abound, including an exploration of not honoring sovereign immunity, privately owned road systems, a laissez-faire market and competing currencies.
- Anarchism and capitalism
- Anarcho-capitalism and minarchism
- Consequentialist libertarianism
- Creative disruption
- Dark Enlightenment
- Definition of anarchism and libertarianism
- Individualist anarchism
- Issues in anarchism
- The Libertarian Forum
- Left-wing market anarchism
- Natural-rights libertarianism
- Privatization in criminal justice
- Stateless society
- Morriss, Andrew (2008). "Anarcho-capitalism". In Hamowy, Ronald (ed.). Anarcho-Capitalism. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 13–14. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n8. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. OCLC 750831024.
- Edward Stringham. Anarchy and the law: the political economy of choice. p. 51.
- Heinz Duthel (2013). Anarchism II: What is Anarchism?. Books on Demand. p. 194. ISBN 978-3732253920.
- Peter Marshall. "The New Right and Anarcho-capitalism". Retrieved 2 July 2020.
- Murphy, Ryan H. (2019). Markets against Modernity: Ecological Irrationality, Public and Private. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 84. ISBN 978-1498591188.
- Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (31 December 2001). "Anarcho-Capitalism: An Annotated Bibliography". Lew Rockwell.com. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
- Robert Leeson (2017). Hayek: A Collaborative Biography, Part IX: The Divine Right of the 'Free' Market. Springer. p. 180. ISBN 978-3-319-60708-5.
To the original 'anarchocapitalist' (Rothbard coined the term) [...].
- Miller, David, ed., et al. (1987). Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-631-17944-3. "A student and disciple of the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, Rothbard combined the laissez-faire economics of his teacher with the absolutist views of human rights and rejection of the state he had absorbed from studying the individualist American anarchists of the 19th century such as Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker."
- Bottomore, Tom (1991). "Anarchism". A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Reference. p. 21. ISBN 0-63118082-6.
- Outhwaite, William (2003). The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. "Anarchism". Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 13. ISBN 9780631221647. "Their successors today, such as Murray Rothbard, having abandoned the labor theory of value, describe themselves as anarcho-capitalists."
- Rothbard, Murray (1978). For a New Liberty. "12 The Public Sector, III: Police, Law, and the Courts". Auburn: Mises Institute. p. 282. ISBN 9781610164481
- Rothbard, Murray (Spring 1982). "Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution". Cato Journal. 2 (1): 55–99.
- Long, Roderick T.; Machan, Tibor R., eds. (2008). Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country? Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-6066-8.
- Crowder, George (1991). Classical Anarchism: The Political Thought of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 9780198277446. "The ownership [anarchists oppose] is basically that which is unearned [...] including such things as interest on loans and income from rent. This is contrasted with ownership rights in those goods either produced by the work of the owner or necessary for that work, for example his dwelling-house, land and tools. Proudhon initially refers to legitimate rights of ownership of these goods as 'possession,' and although in his latter work he calls this 'property,' the conceptual distinction remains the same."
- Hargreaves, David H. (2019). Beyond Schooling: An Anarchist Challenge. London: Routledge. pp. 90–91. ISBN 9780429582363. "Ironically, Proudhon did not mean literally what he said. His boldness of expression was intended for emphasis, and by 'property' he wished to be understood what he later called 'the sum of its abuses'. He was denouncing the property of the man who uses it to exploit the labour of others without any effort on his own part, property distinguished by interest and rent, by the impositions of the non-producer on the producer. Towards property regarded as 'possession' the right of a man to control his dwelling and the land and tools he needs to live, Proudhon had no hostility; indeed, he regarded it as the cornerstone of liberty, and his main criticism of the communists was that they wished to destroy it."
- McKay, Iain (2008). An Anarchist FAQ. I. "Why do anarchists oppose the current system?" "Why are anarchists against private property?" Oakland/Edinburgh: AK Press. ISBN 978-1902593906.
- McKay, Iain (2008). An Anarchist FAQ. I. "Anarchism and 'anarcho'-capitalism" Oakland/Edinburgh: AK Press. ISBN 978-1902593906.
- Marshall, Peter (1992). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: HarperCollins. pp. 564–565. ISBN 978-0-00-217855-6. "Anarcho-capitalists are against the State simply because they are capitalists first and foremost. [...] They are not concerned with the social consequences of capitalism for the weak, powerless and ignorant. [...] As such, anarcho-capitalism overlooks the egalitarian implications of traditional individualist anarchists like Spooner and Tucker. In fact, few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice. Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the state, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists."
- Jennings, Jeremy (1993). "Anarchism". In Eatwell, Roger; Wright, Anthony (eds.). Contemporary Political Ideologies. London: Pinter. pp. 127–146. ISBN 978-0-86187-096-7. "[...] anarchism does not stand for the untrammelled freedom of the individual (as the 'anarcho-capitalists' appear to believe) but, as we have already seen, for the extension of individuality and community" (p. 143).
- Gay, Kathlyn; Gay, Martin (1999). Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy. ABC-CLIO. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-87436-982-3. "For many anarchists (of whatever persuasion), anarcho-capitalism is a contradictory term, since 'traditional' anarchists oppose capitalism".
- Morriss, Andrew (2008). "Anarcho-capitalism". In Hamowy, Ronald (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 13–14. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n8. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. OCLC 191924853. "Social anarchists, those anarchists with communitarian leanings, are critical of anarcho-capitalism because it permits individuals to accumulate substantial power through markets and private property."
- Franks, Benjamin (August 2013). Freeden, Michael; Stears, Marc (eds.). "Anarchism". The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press: 385–404. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199585977.013.0001. "Individualisms that defend or reinforce hierarchical forms such as the economic-power relations of anarcho-capitalism [...] are incompatible with practices of social anarchism. [...] Increasingly, academic analysis has followed activist currents in rejecting the view that anarcho-capitalism has anything to do with social anarchism" (pp. 393–394).
- Funnell, Warwick (2007). "Accounting and the Virtues of Anarchy". Australasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal. 1 (1) 18–27. doi:10.14453/aabfj.v1i1.2.
- Robinson, Christine M. (2009). "The Continuing Significance of Class: Confronting Capitalism in an Anarchist Community". Working USA. 12 (3): 355–370. doi:10.1111/j.1743-4580.2009.00243.x.
- Jun, Nathan (September 2009). "Anarchist Philosophy and Working Class Struggle: A Brief History and Commentary". WorkingUSA. 12 (3): 507–508. doi:10.1111/j.1743-4580.2009.00251.x. ISSN 1089-7011. "[Anarchists oppose] all centralized and hierarchical forms of government (e.g., monarchy, representative democracy, state socialism, etc.), economic class systems (e.g., capitalism, Bolshevism, feudalism, slavery, etc.), autocratic religions (e.g., fundamentalist Islam, Roman Catholicism, etc.), patriarchy, heterosexism, white supremacy, and imperialism."
- El-Ojeili, Chamsy (2012). "Anarchism as the Contemporary Spirit of Anti-Capitalism? A Critical Survey of Recent Debates". Critical Sociology. 40 (3): 451–468. doi:10.1177/0896920512452023.
- Williams, Dana (2012). "From Top to Bottom, a Thoroughly Stratified World: An Anarchist View of Inequality and Domination". Race, Gender & Class. 19 (3/4): 9–34. JSTOR 43497486.
- White, Richard; Williams, Colin (2014). "Anarchist Economic Practices in a 'Capitalist' Society: Some Implications for Organisation and the Future of Work". Ephermera: Theory and Politics in Organization. 14 (4): 947–971. SSRN 2707308.
- Williams, Dana M. (2018). "Contemporary Anarchist and Anarchistic Movements". Sociology Compass. Wiley. 12 (6): 4. doi:10.1111/soc4.12582. ISSN 1751-9020.
- Tame, Chris R. (October 1983). The Chicago School: Lessons from the Thirties for the Eighties. Economic Affairs. p. 56.
- Friedman, David D. (1973) The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism Harper & Row ISBN 978-0-06-091010-5 ch29 Archived 31 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Stacy, Don (2011). "Review of Kosanke's Instead of Politics – Don Stacy". Libertarian Papers. 3 (3).
- Roberta Modugno Crocetta, Murray Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism in the contemporary debate. A critical defense, Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
- Michael Oliver, "Exclusive Interview With Murray Rothbard", originally published in The New Banner: A Fortnightly Libertarian Journal, 25 February 1972. For an earlier published use of anarcho-capitalism by Rothbard, see his "Know Your Rights" WIN: Peace and Freedom through Nonviolent Action, Volume 7, No. 4, 1 March 1971, 6–10.
- Rothbard, Murray N., A Future of Peace and Capitalism; Murray N. Rothbard, Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty.
- Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1840). What is Property?
- Murray Rothbard. "Concepts of the role of intellectuals in social change toward laissez faire" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- Weick, David. Anarchist Justice. pp. 223–24
- Sabatini, Peter. Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy.
- Kropotkin, Peter. Anarchism.
- Rothbard, Murray (1977) . Power and Market (2nd ed.). published in Rothbard, Murray (2009). Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market (2nd ed.). Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-933550-27-5. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- Linda and Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81.
- Friedman, David D. The Machinery of Freedom. Chapter 42
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- Carson, Kevin (28 September 2012). "The Left-Rothbardians, Part I: Rothbard". Center for a Stateless Society. "What most people ordinarily identify as the stereotypical 'libertarian' privatization proposal, unfortunately, goes something like this: sell it to a giant corporation on terms that are most advantageous to the corporation. Rothbard proposed, instead, was to treat state property as unowned, and allowing it to be homesteaded by those actually occupying it and mixing their labor with it. This would mean transforming government utilities, schools and other services into consumer cooperatives and placing them under the direct control of their present clientele. It would mean handing over state industry to workers' syndicates and transforming it into worker-owned cooperatives". Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- Rothbard, Murray (Spring 1965). "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty". Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought. 1 (1): 4–22.
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Notably, in light of latter-day anarchocapitalism, Tucker had also advocated the privatisation of the policing and security functions of the state to protect people and property and accepted the use of violence as means of enforcing contracts.
- Nathan W. Schlueter; Nikolai G. Wenzel (2018). Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives?. Stanford University Press. p. 138. ISBN 9781503600294.
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- Murray Rothbard. "Children and Rights". Mises Institute.
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- Brooks, Frank H. (1994). The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881–1908). Transaction Publishers. p. xi. ISBN 1-56000-132-1.
- Kahn, Joseph (2000). "Anarchism, the Creed That Won't Stay Dead; The Spread of World Capitalism Resurrects a Long-Dormant Movement". The New York Times (5 August).
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- Goodway, David (2006). Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 4. "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Rothbard and Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition."
- Newman, Saul (2010). The Politics of Postanarchism. Edinburgh University Press. p. 43. "It is important to distinguish between anarchism and certain strands of right-wing libertarianism which at times go by the same name (for example, Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism)." ISBN 0748634959.
- McKay, Iain (2008). An Anarchist FAQ. 1. "What are the myths of capitalist economics?" "Is 'anarcho'-capitalism a type of anarchism?" Oakland/Edinburgh: AK Press. ISBN 978-1902593906.
- Marshall, Peter (1992). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: HarperCollins. p. 641. ISBN 978-0-00-217855-6. "For a long time, libertarian was interchangeable in France with anarchist but in recent years, its meaning has become more ambivalent."
- Cohn, Jesse (20 April 2009). "Anarchism". In Ness, Immanuel (ed.). The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1–11. doi:10.1002/9781405198073.wbierp0039. ISBN 978-1-4051-9807-3. "[...] 'libertarianism' [...] a term that, until the mid-twentieth century, was synonymous with 'anarchism' per se" (p. 6).
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- Jun, Nathan J. (2017). Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Brill. p. 293. ISBN 978-9004356887.
- Jennings, Jeremy (1999). "Anarchism". In Eatwell, Roger; Wright, Anthony (eds.). Contemporary Political Ideologies (reprinted, 2nd ed.). London: A & C Black. p. 147. ISBN 9780826451736.
- Goodwin, Barbara (2007). Using Political Ideas. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. p. 143. ISBN 9780470025529.
- McLaughlin, Paul (2007). Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism. Ashgate. pp. 28–166. ISBN 9780754661962. "Anarchists do reject the state, as we will see. But to claim that this central aspect of anarchism is definitive is to sell anarchism short. [...] [Opposition to the state] is (contrary to what many scholars believe) not definitive of anarchism."
- Jun, Nathan (September 2009). "Anarchist Philosophy and Working Class Struggle: A Brief History and Commentary". WorkingUSA. 12 (3): 505–519. doi:10.1111/j.1743-4580.2009.00251.x. ISSN 1089-7011. "One common misconception, which has been rehearsed repeatedly by the few Anglo-American philosophers who have bothered to broach the topic [...] is that anarchism can be defined solely in terms of opposition to states and governments" (p. 507).
- Franks, Benjamin (August 2013). Freeden, Michael; Stears, Marc (eds.). "Anarchism". The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press: 385–404. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199585977.013.0001. "[M]any, questionably, regard anti-statism as the irremovable, universal principle at the core of anarchism. [...] The fact that [anarchists and anarcho-capitalists] share a core concept of 'anti-statism', which is often advanced as [...] a commonality between them [...], is insufficient to produce a shared identity [...] because [they interpret] the concept of state-rejection [...] differently despite the initial similarity in nomenclature" (pp. 386–388).
- Kinna, Ruth, ed. (2012). The Bloomsbury Companion to Anarchism. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing USA. pp. 330–331. ISBN 9781441142702.
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- Carlson, Jennifer D. (2012). "Libertarianism". In Miller, Wilburn R., ed. The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America. London: Sage Publications. pp. 1006–1007. ISBN 9781412988766.
- De Leon, David (1978). The American as Anarchist: Reflections on Indigenous Radicalism. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 127. "[...] only a few individuals like Murray Rothbard, in Power and Market, and some article writers were influenced by these men. Most had not evolved consciously from this tradition; they had been a rather automatic product of the American environment."
- Gordon, David (2007). The Essential Rothbard. Mises Institute. pp. 12–13.
- Rothbard, Murray (2000) . "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View". Journal of Libertarian Studies. 20 (1): 5–15.
- Rothbard, Murray (2000) . "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View". Journal of Libertarian Studies. 20 (1): 7.
- Tucker, Benjamin (1911). State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree & Wherein They Differ (6th ed.). London: A. C. Fifield.
- Rothbard, Murray (1950s). "Are Libertarians 'Anarchists'?" Lew Rockwell.com. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- Wieck, David (1978). "Anarchist Justice". In Chapman, John W.; Pennock, J. Roland Pennock, eds. Anarchism: Nomos XIX. New York: New York University Press. pp. 227–228. "Out of the history of anarchist thought and action Rothbard has pulled forth a single thread, the thread of individualism, and defines that individualism in a way alien even to the spirit of a Max Stirner or a Benjamin Tucker, whose heritage I presume he would claim – to say nothing of how alien is his way to the spirit of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, and the historically anonymous persons who through their thoughts and action have tried to give anarchism a living meaning. Out of this thread Rothbard manufactures one more bourgeois ideology." Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Peacott, Joe (18 April 1985). "Reply to Wendy Mc Elroy". New Libertarian (14, June 1985. Archived 7 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved September 4, 2020. "In her article on individualist anarchism in the October, 1984, New Libertarian, Wendy McElroy mistakenly claims that modern-day individualist anarchism is identical with anarchist capitalism. She ignores the fact that there are still individualist anarchists who reject capitalism as well as communism, in the tradition of Warren, Spooner, Tucker, and others. [...] Benjamin Tucker, when he spoke of his ideal 'society of contract,' was certainly not speaking of anything remotely resembling contemporary capitalist society. [...] I do not quarrel with McElroy's definition of herself as an individualist anarchist. However, I dislike the fact that she tries to equate the term with anarchist capitalism. This is simply not true. I am an individualist anarchist and I am opposed to capitalist economic relations, voluntary or otherwise."
- Baker, J. W. "Native American Anarchism". The Raven. 10 (1): 43‒62. Retrieved 4 September 2020. "It is time that anarchists recognise the valuable contributions of individualist anarchist theory and take advantage of its ideas. It would be both futile and criminal to leave it to the capitalist libertarians, whose claims on Tucker and the others can be made only by ignoring the violent opposition they had to capitalist exploitation and monopolistic 'free enterprise' supported by the state."
- Miller, David, ed. (1987). The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 0-631-17944-5.
- Peacott, Joe (18 April 1985). "Reply to Wendy Mc Elroy". New Libertarian (14, June 1985). Archived 7 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 4 September 2020. "In her overview of anarchist history, McElroy criticizes the individualists of the past for their belief in the labor theory of value, because it fails to distinguish between profit and plunder. Some anarchist individualists still believe that profit is theft, and that living off the labor of others is immoral. And some individualists, both past and present, agree with the communist anarchists that present-day capitalism is based on economic coercion, not on voluntary contract. Rent and interest are mainstays of modern capitalism, and are protected and enforced by the state. Without these two unjust institutions, capitalism could not exist. These two institutions, and the money monopoly of the state, effectively prevent most people from being economically independent, and force them into wage labor. Saying that coercion does not exist i[n] capitalist economic relations because workers aren't forced to work by armed capitalists ignores the very real economic coercion caused by this alliance of capitalism and the state. People don't voluntarily work for wages or pay rent, except in the sense that most people 'voluntarily' pay taxes[.] Because one recognizes when she or he is up against superior force, and chooses to compromise in order to survive, does not make these activities voluntary; at least, not in the way I envision voluntary relations in an anarchist society."
- Sabatini, Peter (Fall/Winter 1994–1995). "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy". Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed (41). Retrieved September 4, 2020. "Within [capitalist] Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However Rothbard's claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist venders [...] so what remains is shrill anti-statism conjoined to a vacuous freedom in hackneyed defense of capitalism. In sum, the "anarchy" of Libertarianism reduces to a liberal fraud."
- Meltzer, Albert (2000). Anarchism: Arguments For and Against. Oakland: AK Press. p. 50. "The philosophy of 'anarcho-capitalism' dreamed up by the 'libertarian' New Right, has nothing to do with Anarchism as known by the Anarchist movement proper."
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But if we define anarchy as places without governments, and we define governments as the agencies with a legal right to impose violence on their subjects, then whatever else occurred in Haiti, Sudan, and Somalia, it wasn't anarchy. For there were well-organized gangs (e.g., governments) in each of these places, demanding tribute, and fighting others who made similar impositions. Absence of government means absence of government, whether well established ones, or fly-by-nights.
- Brian Morris, "Global Anti-Capitalism", pp. 170–176, Anarchist Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 175.
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- Anthony J. II Nocella; Richard J. White; Erika Cudworth (2015). Anarchism and Animal Liberation: Essays on Complementary Elements of Total Liberation. McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0786494576.
Anarchism is a socio-political theory which opposes all systems of domination and oppression such as racism, ableism, sexism, anti-LGBTTQIA, ageism, sizeism, government, competition, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and punitive justice, and promotes direct democracy, collaboration, interdependence, mutual aid, diversity, peace, transformative justice and equity.
- Paul McLaughlin (2007). Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 48. ISBN 978-1138276147.
Thus, as David Miller puts it, capitalism is regarded by anarchists as 'both coercive [though this word may be too strong] [sic] and exploitative – it places workers in the power of their bosses, and fails to give them a just return for their contribution to production.'
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- Anarcho-capitalism at Curlie
- Anarcho-capitalist FAQ
- Anti-state.com – described as the "online center for market anarchism", it has an active forum and archive of theoretical and practical articles from notable anarcho-capitalists
- Freedomain Radio – hosted by Stefan Molyneux, it discusses anarcho-capitalism topics
- The Libertarian Standard – website of Austrian and Rothbardian-influenced libertarians
- LewRockwell.com – website run by Lew Rockwell
- Mises Institute – research and educational center of classical liberalism, including anarcho-capitalism, Austrian School of economics and American libertarian political theory
- Property and Freedom Society – international anarcho-capitalist society
- Strike The Root – anarcho-capitalist website featuring essays, news and a forum