Free-market anarchism

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Graffiti reading "Free-market anti-capitalist"

Free-market anarchism,[1] or market anarchism,[2] also known as free-market anti-capitalism,[3] is the branch of anarchism that advocates a free-market economic system based on voluntary interactions without the involvement of the state. A form of individualist anarchism,[4] and libertarian socialism,[5] it is based on the economic theories of mutualism and individualist anarchism in the United States.[3]

Samuel Edward Konkin III's agorism is a strand of left-wing market anarchism that has been associated with left-libertarianism[6] in the United States.[7][8][9] Anarcho-capitalism has also been referred to synonymously as free-market anarchism or market anarchism.[10][11][12]


According to libertarian scholar Sheldon Richman, left-libertarians "favor worker solidarity vis-à-vis bosses, support poor people's squatting on government or abandoned property, and prefer that corporate privileges be repealed before the regulatory restrictions on how those privileges may be exercised", seeing Walmart as a "symbol of corporate favoritism" which is "supported by highway subsidies and eminent domain", viewing "the fictive personhood of the limited-liability corporation with suspicion" and "doubt[ing] that Third World sweatshops would be the "best alternative" in the absence of government manipulation". These left-libertarians "tend to eschew electoral politics, having little confidence in strategies that work through the government. They prefer to develop alternative institutions and methods of working around the state".[3]

Kevin Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy helped to stimulate the growth of new-style mutualism, articulating a version of the labor theory of value incorporating ideas drawn from the Austrian School of economics. Other market-oriented left-libertarians have declined to embrace mutualist views of real property while sharing the mutualist opposition to corporate hierarchies and wealth concentration.[13]

Gary Chartier has joined Kevin Carson, Charles W. Johnson and others in maintaining that because of its heritage and its emancipatory goals and potential, radical market anarchism should be seen by its proponents and by others as part of the socialist tradition and that market anarchists can and should call themselves socialists.[14]

Roderick T. Long is an advocate of "build[ing] worker solidarity. On the one hand, this means formal organisation, including unionization – but I'm not talking about the prevailing model of "business unions," [...] but real unions, the old-fashioned kind, committed to the working class and not just union members, and interested in worker autonomy, not government patronage".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hoffman, John; Graham, Paul (2006). Introduction to Political Theory. p. 243.
  2. ^ Long, Roderick T. (January 1, 2012). "Left-Libertarianism, Market Anarchism, Class Conflict and Historical Theories of Distributive Justice". Griffith Law Review. 21 (2): 413–431. doi:10.1080/10383441.2012.10854747. S2CID 143550988 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
  3. ^ a b c d Richman, Sheldon (3 February 2011). "Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal". The American Conservative. ISSN 1540-966X. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  4. ^ Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia.
  5. ^ Carson, Kevin. "Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated". Center for a Stateless Society. "But there has always been a market-oriented strand of libertarian socialism that emphasizes voluntary cooperation between producers. And markets, properly understood, have always been about cooperation. As a commenter at Reason magazine's Hit&Run blog, remarking on Jesse Walker's link to the Kelly article, put it: "every trade is a cooperative act." In fact, it's a fairly common observation among market anarchists that genuinely free markets have the most legitimate claim to the label "socialism."
  6. ^ "Anarchism". In Gaus, Gerald F.; D'Agostino, Fred, eds. (2012). The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. p. 227. "Later [left-libertarianism] became a term for the left or Konkinite wing of the free-market libertarian movement, and has since come to cover a range of pro-market but anti-capitalist positions, mostly individualist anarchist, including agorism and mutualism, often with an implication of sympathies (such as for radical feminism or the labor movement) not usually shared by anarcho-capitalists."
  7. ^ "Interview With Samuel Edward Konkin III – Smashing the State for Fun and Profit Since 1969: An Interview With the Libertarian Icon Samuel Edward Konkin III (a.k.a. SEK3)". 2002. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  8. ^ D'Amato, David S. (27 November 2018). "Black-Market Activism: Samuel Edward Konkin III and Agorism".
  9. ^ Konkin III, Samuel Edward. An Agorist Primer (PDF). KoPubCo. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  10. ^ Carrier, James G. (1997). Meanings of the Market: The Free Market in Western Culture (1 ed.). Oxford: Berg. p. 107. ISBN 1-85973-149-X.
  11. ^ Miller, G. Tyler; Paul, Ellen Frankel; Miller Jr., Fred D., eds. (1993). Liberalism and the Economic Order, Part 2. p. 115.
  12. ^ Long, Roderick T.; Machan, Tibor R. (2016) [2008]. Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?. Ashgate.
  13. ^ See Long, Roderick T. (Winter 2006). "Land Locked: A Critique of Carson on Property Rights". Journal of Libertarian Studies. 20 (1): 87–95.
  14. ^ Gary Chartier, "Advocates of Freed Markets Should Embrace 'Anti-Capitalism'"; Gary Chartier, Socialist Ends, Market Means: Five Essays. Cp. Tucker, "Socialism."


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