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<html>
<head>
<title>F.2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom"?
</title>
</head>
<p>
<h1>F.2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom"?</h1>
<p>
For "anarcho"-capitalists, the concept of freedom is limited to the idea
of <i>"freedom from."</i>  For them, freedom means simply freedom from the
<i>"initiation of force,"</i> or the <i>"non-aggression against anyone's person and
property."</i> [Murray Rothbard, <b>For a New Liberty</b>, p. 23] The notion that
real freedom must combine both freedom <i>"to"</i> <b>and</b> freedom <i>"from"</i> is
missing in their ideology, as is the social context of the so-called
freedom they defend.
<p>
Before starting, it is useful to quote Alan Haworth when he notes that
<i>"[i]n fact, it is surprising how <b>little</b> close attention the concept 
of freedom receives from libertarian writers. Once again <b>Anarchy, 
State, and Utopia</b> is a case in point. The word 'freedom' doesn't 
even appear in the index. The word 'liberty' appears, but only to 
refer the reader to the 'Wilt Chamberlain' passage. In a supposedly 
'libertarian' work, this is more than surprising. It is truly 
remarkable."</i> [<b>Anti-Libertarianism</b>, p. 95] 
<p>
Why this is the case can be seen from how the "anarcho"-capitalist 
defines freedom.
<p>
In a right-libertarian or "anarcho"-capitalist society, freedom is
considered to be a product of property. As Murray Rothbard puts it, <i>"the
libertarian defines the concept of 'freedom' or 'liberty'. . .[as a]
condition in which a person's ownership rights in his body and his
legitimate material property rights are not invaded, are not aggressed
against. . . . Freedom and unrestricted property rights go hand in hand."</i>
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p.41]
<p>
This definition has some problems, however. In such a society, one cannot
(legitimately) do anything with or on another's property if the owner
prohibits it.  This means that an individual's only <b>guaranteed</b> freedom
is determined by the amount of property that he or she owns. This has the
consequence that someone with no property has no guaranteed freedom at
all (beyond, of course, the freedom not to be murdered or otherwise 
harmed by the deliberate acts of others). In other words, a distribution 
of property is a distribution of freedom, as the right-libertarians 
themselves define it. It strikes anarchists as strange that an ideology 
that claims to be committed to promoting freedom entails the conclusion 
that some people should be more free than others. However, this is the 
logical implication of their view, which raises a serious doubt as to 
whether "anarcho"-capitalists are actually interested in freedom. 
<p>
Looking at Rothbard's definition of "liberty" quoted above, we can 
see that freedom is actually no longer considered to be a fundamental,
independent concept.  Instead, freedom is a derivative of something 
more fundamental, namely the <i>"legitimate rights"</i> of an individual, 
which are identified as property rights.  In other words, given that 
"anarcho"-capitalists and right libertarians in general consider the 
right to property as "absolute," it follows that freedom and property 
become one and the same.  This suggests an alternative name for the right
Libertarian, namely <b><i>"Propertarian."</i></b> And, needless to say, if we do not 
accept the right-libertarians' view of what constitutes "legitimate" 
"rights," then their claim to be defenders of liberty is weak.
<p>
Another important implication of this "liberty as property" concept is
that it produces a strangely alienated concept of freedom. Liberty, as 
we noted, is no longer considered absolute, but a derivative of property 
-- which has the important consequence that you can "sell" your liberty 
and still be considered free by the ideology. This concept of liberty
(namely "liberty as property") is usually termed "self-ownership." But, 
to state the obvious, I do not "own" myself, as if were an object somehow 
separable from my subjectivity -- I <b>am</b> myself. However, the concept of 
"self-ownership" is handy for justifying various forms of domination and 
oppression -- for by agreeing (usually under the force of circumstances, 
we must note) to certain contracts, an individual can "sell" (or rent out) 
themselves to others (for example, when workers sell their labour power to 
capitalists on the "free market"). In effect, "self-ownership" becomes the 
means of justifying treating people as objects -- ironically, the very thing 
the concept was created to stop! As L. Susan Brown notes, <i>"[a]t the moment 
an individual 'sells' labour power to another, he/she loses self-determination
and instead is treated as a subjectless instrument for the fulfilment of 
another's will."</i> [<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 4]
<p>
Given that workers are paid to obey, you really have to wonder which planet
Murray Rothbard is on when he argues that a person's <i>"labour service is
alienable, but his <b>will</b> is not"</i> and that he [sic!] <i>"cannot alienate his 
<b>will</b>, more particularly his control over his own mind and body."</i> [<b>The 
Ethics of Liberty</b>, p. 40, p. 135] He contrasts private property and
self-ownership by arguing that <i>"[a]ll physical property owned by a person 
is alienable . . . I can give away or sell to another person my shoes, my 
house, my car, my money, etc. But there are certain vital things which, in 
natural fact and in the nature of man, are <b>in</b>alienable . . . [his] will 
and control over his own person are inalienable."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 134-5] 
<p>
But <i>"labour services"</i> are unlike the private possessions Rothbard lists
as being alienable. As we argued in section B.1 (<a href="secB1.html">"Why do anarchists oppose 
hierarchy"</a>) a person's <i>"labour services"</i> and <i>"will"</i> cannot be divided -- if 
you sell your labour services, you also have to give control of your body 
and mind to another person! If a worker does not obey the commands of her 
employer, she is fired. That Rothbard denies this indicates a total lack 
of common-sense. Perhaps Rothbard will argue that as the worker can quit at 
any time she does not alienate their will (this seems to be his case against 
slave contracts -- see <a href="secF2.html#secf26">section F.2.6</a>). But this ignores the fact that between 
the signing and breaking of the contract and during work hours (and perhaps 
outside work hours, if the boss has mandatory drug testing or will fire 
workers who attend union or anarchist meetings or those who have an 
"unnatural" sexuality and so on) the worker <b>does</b> alienate his will 
and body. In the words of Rudolf Rocker, <i>"under the realities of the 
capitalist economic form . . . there can be no talk of a 'right over one's
own person,' for that ends when one is compelled to submit to the economic
dictation of another if he does not want to starve."</i> [<b>Anarcho-Syndicalism</b>,
p. 17]
<p>
Ironically, the rights of property (which are said to flow from 
an individual's self-ownership of themselves) becomes the means, under
capitalism, by which self-ownership of non-property owners is denied. The 
foundational right (self-ownership) becomes denied by the derivative right 
(ownership of things). Under capitalism, a lack of property can be just
as oppressive as a lack of legal rights because of the relationships of
domination and subjection this situation creates.
<p>
So Rothbard's argument (as well as being contradictory) misses the point 
(and the reality of capitalism). Yes, <b>if</b> we define freedom as <i>"the absence 
of coercion"</i> then the idea that wage labour does not restrict liberty is 
unavoidable, but such a definition is useless. This is because it hides 
structures of power and relations of domination and subordination. As Carole 
Pateman argues, <i>"the contract in which the worker allegedly sells his labour 
power is a contract in which, since he cannot be separated from his 
capacities, he sells command over the use of his body and himself. . . 
To sell command over the use of oneself for a specified period . . . 
is to be an unfree labourer."</i> [<b>The Sexual Contract</b>, p. 151]
<p>
In other words, contracts about property in the person inevitably create
subordination. "Anarcho"-capitalism defines this source of unfreedom away,
but it still exists and has a major impact on people's liberty. Therefore 
freedom is better described as "self-government" or "self-management" -- 
to be able to govern ones own actions (if alone) or to participate in the 
determination of join activity (if part of a group). Freedom, to put it
another way, is not an abstract legal concept, but the vital concrete 
possibility for every human being to bring to full development all their 
powers, capacities, and talents which nature has endowed them. A key
aspect of this is to govern one own actions when within associations
(self-management). If we look at freedom this way, we see that coercion 
is condemned but so is hierarchy (and so is capitalism for during working 
hours, people are not free to make their own plans and have a say in what 
affects them. They are order takers, <b>not</b> free individuals). 
<p>
It is because anarchists have recognised the authoritarian nature of 
capitalist firms that they have opposed wage labour and capitalist
property rights along with the state. They have desired to replace 
institutions structured by subordination with institutions constituted 
by free relationships (based, in other words, on self-management) in
<b>all</b> areas of life, including economic organisations. Hence Proudhon's 
argument that the <i>"workmen's associations . . . are full of hope both as a
protest against the wage system, and as an affirmation of <b>reciprocity</b>"</i>
and that their importance lies <i>"in their denial of the rule of capitalists,
money lenders and governments."</i> [<b>The General Idea of the Revolution</b>, 
pp. 98-99]
<p>
Unlike anarchists, the "anarcho"-capitalist account of freedom allows an 
individual's freedom to be rented out to another while maintaining that the 
person is still free. It may seem strange that an ideology proclaiming its 
support for liberty sees nothing wrong with the alienation and denial of 
liberty but, in actual fact, it is unsurprising. After all, contract theory 
is a <i>"theoretical strategy that justifies subjection by presenting it as
freedom"</i> and nothing more. Little wonder, then, that contract <i>"creates
a relation of subordination"</i> and not of freedom [Carole Pateman, <b>Op. Cit.</b>,
p. 39, p. 59] 
<p>
Any attempt to build an ethical framework starting from the abstract 
individual (as Rothbard does with his <i>"legitimate rights"</i> method) will 
result in domination and oppression between people, <b>not</b> freedom. 
Indeed, Rothbard provides an example of the dangers of idealist 
philosophy that Bakunin warned about when he argued that while
<i>"[m]aterialism denies free will and ends in the establishment of 
liberty; idealism, in the name of human dignity, proclaims free 
will, and on the ruins of every liberty founds authority."</i> [<b>God 
and the State</b>, p. 48] This is the case with "anarcho"-capitalism 
can be seen from Rothbard's wholehearted support for wage labour 
and the rules imposed by property owners on those who use, but do 
not own, their property. Rothbard, basing himself on abstract
individualism, cannot help but justify authority over liberty.
<p>
Overall, we can see that the logic of the right-libertarian definition of 
"freedom" ends up negating itself, because it results in the creation 
and encouragement of <b>authority,</b> which is an <b>opposite</b> of freedom. For
example, as Ayn Rand points out, <i>"man has to sustain his life by his own
effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means
to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his
product, is a slave."</i> [<b>The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z</b>, 
pp. 388-9] But, as was shown in <a href="secCcon.html">section C</a>, capitalism is based on, as 
Proudhon put it, workers working <i>"for an entrepreneur who pays them and 
keeps their products,"</i> and so is a form of <b>theft.</b> Thus, by "libertarian"
capitalism's <b>own</b> logic, capitalism is based not on freedom, but on
(wage) slavery; for interest, profit and rent are derived from a worker's
<b>unpaid</b> labour, i.e. <i>"others dispose of his [sic] product."</i>
<p>
And if a society <b>is</b> run on the wage- and profit-based system suggested
by the "anarcho" and "libertarian" capitalists, freedom becomes a
commodity. The more money you have, the more freedom you get. Then, since
money is only available to those who earn it, Libertarianism is based on
that classic saying <i>"work makes one free!"</i> (<b><i>Arbeit macht frei!</i></b>), which
the Nazis placed on the gates of their concentration camps. Of course,
since it is capitalism, this motto is somewhat different for those at the
top. In this case it is <i>"other people's work makes one free!"</i> -- a truism
in any society based on private property and the authority that stems from
it.
<p>
Thus it is debatable that a libertarian or "anarcho" capitalist society 
would have less unfreedom or coercion in it than "actually existing 
capitalism." In contrast to anarchism, "anarcho"-capitalism, with its 
narrow definitions, restricts freedom to only a few aspects of social life 
and ignores domination and authority beyond those aspects. As Peter Marshall 
points out, the right-libertarian's <i>"definition of freedom is entirely 
negative.  It calls for the absence of coercion but cannot guarantee the 
positive freedom of individual autonomy and independence."</i> [<b>Demanding 
the Impossible</b>, p. 564] By confining freedom to such a narrow range of 
human action, "anarcho"-capitalism is clearly <b>not</b> a form of anarchism. 
Real anarchists support freedom in every aspect of an individual's life.
<p>
<a name="secf21"><h2>F.2.1 What are the implications of defining liberty in terms of (property) rights?</h2>
<p>
The change from defending liberty to defending (property) rights has 
important implications. For one thing, it allows right libertarians to 
imply that private property is similar to a "fact of nature," and so to 
conclude that the restrictions on freedom produced by it can be ignored. 
This can be seen in Robert Nozick's argument that decisions are voluntary 
if the limitations on one's actions are not caused by human action which 
infringe the rights of others. Thus, in a "pure" capitalist society the 
restrictions on freedom caused by wage slavery are not really restrictions 
because the worker voluntarily consents to the contract. The circumstances 
that drive a worker to make the contract are irrelevant because they are 
created by people exercising their rights and not violating other peoples' 
ones (see the section on <i>"Voluntary Exchange"</i> in <b>Anarchy, State, and 
Utopia</b>, pp. 262-265).
<p>
This means that within a society <i>"[w]hether a person's actions are voluntary 
depends on what limits his alternatives. If facts of nature do so, the 
actions are voluntary. (I may voluntarily walk to someplace I would prefer 
to fly to unaided)."</i> [<b>Anarchy, State, and Utopia</b>, p. 262] Similarly,
the results of voluntary actions and the transference of property can
be considered alongside the "facts of nature" (they are, after all, the 
resultants of "natural rights"). This means that the circumstances created 
by the existence and use of property can be considered, in essence, as
a "natural" fact and so the actions we take in response to these circumstances 
are therefore "voluntary" and we are "free" (Nozick presents the example 
[p. 263] of someone who marries the only available person -- all the more 
attractive people having already chosen others -- as a case of an action 
that is voluntary despite removal of all but the least attractive alternative 
through the legitimate actions of others. Needless to say, the example can 
be -- and is -- extended to workers on the labour market -- although, of
course, you do not starve to death if you decide not to marry).
<p>
However, such an argument fails to notice that property is different from
gravity or biology. Of course not being able to fly does not restrict 
freedom. Neither does not being able to jump 10 feet into the air.  But 
unlike gravity (for example), private property has to be protected by laws 
and the police. No one stops you from flying, but laws and police forces 
must exist to ensure that capitalist property (and the owners' authority 
over it) is respected. The claim, therefore, that private property in 
general, and capitalism in particular, can be considered as "facts of 
nature," like gravity, ignores an important fact:  namely that the 
people involved in an economy must accept the rules of its operation -- 
rules that, for example, allow contracts to be enforced; forbid using 
another's property without his or her consent ("theft," trespass, copyright 
infringement, etc.); prohibit "conspiracy," unlawful assembly, rioting, 
and so on; and create monopolies through regulation, licensing, charters, 
patents, etc.  This means that capitalism has to include the mechanisms 
for deterring property crimes as well as mechanisms for compensation and 
punishment should such crimes be committed. In other words, capitalism 
is in fact far more than "voluntary bilateral exchange," because it <b>must</b> 
include the policing, arbitration, and legislating mechanisms required 
to ensure its operation. Hence, like the state, the capitalist market 
is a social institution, and the distributions of goods that result 
from its operation are therefore the distributions sanctioned by a 
capitalist society. As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, <i>"Private property
. . . is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that 
Society."</i>
<p>
Thus, to claim with Sir Isaiah Berlin (the main, modern, source of the 
concepts of <i>"negative"</i> and <i>"positive"</i> freedom -- although we must add that 
Berlin was not a right-Libertarian), that <i>"[i]f my poverty were a kind of
disease, which prevented me from buying bread . . . as lameness prevents 
me from running, this inability would not naturally be described as a 
lack of freedom"</i> totally misses the point [<i>"Two Concepts of Liberty"</i>, 
in <b>Four Essays on Liberty</b>, p. 123]. If you are lame, police officers 
do not come round to stop you running. They do not have to. However, they 
<b>are</b> required to protect property against the dispossessed and those who 
reject capitalist property rights. 
<p>
This means that by using such concepts as "negative" liberty and ignoring 
the social nature of private property, right-libertarians are trying to 
turn the discussion away from liberty toward "biology" and other facts
of nature.  And conveniently, by placing property rights alongside gravity
and other natural laws, they also succeed in reducing debate even about
rights. 
<p>
Of course, coercion and restriction of liberty <b>can</b> be resisted, unlike
"natural forces" like gravity.  So if, as Berlin argues, <i>"negative"</i>
freedom means that you <i>"lack political freedom only if you are prevented
from attaining a goal by human beings,"</i> then capitalism is indeed based on
such a lack, since property rights need to be enforced by human beings (<i>"I
am prevented by others from doing what I could otherwise do"</i>). After all,
as Proudhon long ago noted, the market is manmade, hence any constraint 
it imposes is the coercion of man by man and so economic laws are not as
inevitable as natural ones [see Alan Ritter's <b>The Political Thought of 
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon</b>, p. 122]. Or, to put it slightly differently, 
capitalism requires coercion in order to work, and hence, is <b>not</b> 
similar to a "fact of nature," regardless of Nozick's claims (i.e. 
property rights have to be defined and enforced by human beings, although 
the nature of the labour market resulting from capitalist property 
definitions is such that direct coercion is usually not needed). This 
implication is actually recognised by right-libertarians, because they 
argue that the rights-framework of society should be set up in one way 
rather than another. In other words, they recognise that society is not 
independent of human interaction, and so can be changed. 
<p>
Perhaps, as seems the case, the "anarcho"-capitalist or right-Libertarian
will claim that it is only <b>deliberate</b> acts which violate your (libertarian
defined) rights by other humans beings that cause unfreedom (<i>"we define 
freedom . . . as the <b>absence of invasion</b> by another man of an man's 
person or property"</i> [Rothbard, <b>The Ethics of Liberty</b>, p. 41]) and so
if no-one deliberately coerces you then you are free. In this way the 
workings of the capitalist market can be placed alongside the "facts of 
nature" and ignored as a source of unfreedom. However, a moments thought 
shows that this is not the case. Both deliberate and non-deliberate acts 
can leave individuals lacking freedom. 
<p>
Let us assume (in an example paraphrased from Alan Haworth's excellent 
book <b>Anti-Libertarianism</b>, p. 49) that someone kidnaps you and places you 
down a deep (naturally formed) pit, miles from anyway, which is impossible 
to climb up. No one would deny that you are unfree. Let us further assume
that another person walks by and accidentally falls into the pit with you. 
<p>
According to right-libertarianism, while you are unfree (i.e. subject to 
deliberate coercion) your fellow pit-dweller is perfectly free for they 
have subject to the "facts of nature" and not human action (deliberate or 
otherwise). Or, perhaps, they "voluntarily choose" to stay in the pit, 
after all, it is "only" the "facts of nature" limiting their actions. But, 
obviously, both of you are in <b>exactly the same position,</b> have <b>exactly 
the same choices</b> and so are <b>equally</b> unfree! Thus a definition of 
"liberty" that maintains that only deliberate acts of others -- for 
example, coercion -- reduces freedom misses the point totally.
<p>
Why is this example important? Let us consider Murray Rothbard's analysis
of the situation after the abolition of serfdom in Russia and slavery in
America. He writes:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The <b>bodies</b> of the oppressed were freed, but the property which they
had worked and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their
former oppressors. With economic power thus remaining in their hands, the
former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more of what
were now free tenants or farm labourers. The serfs and slaves had tasted
freedom, but had been cruelly derived of its fruits."</i> [<b>The Ethics of
Liberty</b>, p. 74]
</blockquote><p>
However, contrast this with Rothbard's claims that if market forces 
("voluntary exchanges") result in the creation of free tenants or labourers
then these labourers and tenants are free (see, for example, <b>The Ethics of
Liberty</b>, pp. 221-2 on why "economic power" within capitalism does not
exist). But the labourers dispossessed by market forces are in <b>exactly</b> 
the same situation as the former serfs and slaves. Rothbard sees the 
obvious <i>"economic power"</i> in the later case, but denies it in the former. 
But the <b>conditions</b> of the people in question are identical and it 
is these conditions that horrify us. It is only his ideology that stops 
Rothbard drawing the obvious conclusion -- identical conditions produce 
identical social relationships and so if the formally "free" ex-serfs are
subject to <i>"economic power"</i> and <i>"masters"</i> then so are the formally "free" 
labourers within capitalism! Both sets of workers may be formally free,
but their circumstances are such that they are "free" to "consent" to
sell their freedom to others (i.e. economic power produces relationships
of domination and unfreedom between formally free individuals).
<p>
Thus Rothbard's definition of liberty in terms of rights fails to provide
us with a realistic and viable understanding of freedom. Someone can be
a virtual slave while still having her rights non-violated (conversely,
someone can have their property rights violated and still be free; for
example, the child who enters your backyard without your permission to
get her ball hardly violates your liberty -- indeed, you would never know
that she has entered your property unless you happened to see her do it).
So the idea that freedom means non-aggression against person and their 
legitimate material property justifies extensive <b>non-freedom</b> for the 
working class. The non-violation of property rights does <b>not</b> imply freedom, 
as Rothbard's discussion of the former slaves shows. Anyone who, along with 
Rothbard, defines freedom <i>"as the <b>absence of invasion</b> by another man of 
any man's person or property"</i> in a deeply inequality society is supporting,
and justifying, capitalist and landlord domination. As anarchists have
long realised, in an unequal society, a contractarian starting point 
implies an absolutist conclusion.
<p>
Why is this? Simply because freedom is a result of <b>social</b> interaction,
not the product of some isolated, abstract individual (Rothbard uses the
model of Robinson Crusoe to construct his ideology). But as Bakunin 
argued, <i>"the freedom of the individual is a function of men in society,
a necessary consequence of the collective development of mankind."</i> He
goes on to argue that <i>"man in isolation can have no awareness of his 
liberty . . .  Liberty is therefore a feature not of isolation but of
interaction, not of exclusion but rather of connection."</i> [<b>Selected
Writings</b>, p. 146, p. 147] Right Libertarians, by building their
definition of freedom from the isolated person, end up by supporting
restrictions of liberty due to a neglect of an adequate recognition 
of the actual interdependence of human beings, of the fact what each
person does is effected by and affects others. People become aware of
their humanity (liberty) in society, not outside it. It is the <b>social 
relationships</b> we take part in which determine how free we are and
any definition of freedom which builds upon an individual without 
social ties is doomed to create relations of domination, not freedom,
between individuals -- as Rothbard's theory does (to put it another
way, voluntary association is a necessary, but not sufficient,
condition for freedom. Which is why anarchists have always stressed
the importance of equality -- see <a href="secF3.html">section F.3</a> for details).
<p>
So while facts of nature can restrict your options and freedom, it is the 
circumstances within which they act and the options they limit that are 
important (a person trapped at the bottom of a pit is unfree as the options 
available are so few; the lame person is free because their available options 
are extensive). In the same manner, the facts of society can and do restrict 
your freedom because they are the products of human action and are defined 
and protected by human institutions, it is the circumstances within which 
individuals make their decisions and the social relationships these decisions 
produce that are important (the worker driven by poverty to accept a slave 
contract in a sweat shop is unfree because the circumstances he faces have 
limited his options and the relations he accepts are based upon hierarchy; 
the person who decides to join an anarchist commune is free because the 
commune is non-hierarchical and she has the option of joining another
commune, working alone and so forth).
<p>
All in all, the right-Libertarian concept of freedom is lacking. For an 
ideology that takes the name "Libertarianism" it is seems happy to ignore 
actual liberty and instead concentrate on an abstract form of liberty which 
ignores so many sources of unfreedom as to narrow the concept until it 
becomes little more than a justification for authoritarianism. This can be 
seen from right-Libertarian attitudes about private property and its effects
on liberty (as discussed in the <a href="secF2.html#secf22">next section</a>).
<p>
<a name="secf22"><h2>F.2.2 How does private property affect freedom?</h2>
<p>
The right-libertarian does not address or even acknowledge that the 
(absolute) right of private property may lead to extensive control by 
property owners over those who use, but do not own, property (such as
workers and tenants). Thus a free-market capitalist system leads to a 
very selective and class-based protection of "rights" and "freedoms." 
For example, under capitalism, the "freedom" of employers inevitably 
conflicts with the "freedom" of employees. When stockholders or their 
managers exercise their "freedom of enterprise" to decide how their 
company will operate, they violate their employee's right to decide 
how their labouring capacities will be utilised. In other words, under 
capitalism, the "property rights" of employers will conflict with and 
restrict the "human right" of employees to manage themselves. Capitalism 
allows the right of self-management only to the few, not to all. Or, 
alternatively, capitalism does not recognise certain human rights as 
<b>universal</b> which anarchism does.
<p>
This can be seen from Austrian Economist W. Duncan Reekie's defence of
wage labour. While referring to <i>"intra-firm labour markets"</i> as <i>"hierarchies"</i>,
Reekie (in his best <i>ex cathedra</i> tone) states that <i>"[t]here is nothing 
authoritarian, dictatorial or exploitative in the relationship. Employees 
order employers to pay them amounts specified in the hiring contract just 
as much as employers order employees to abide by the terms of the contract."</i> 
[<b>Markets, Entrepreneurs and Liberty</b>, p. 136, p. 137]. Given that <i>"the 
terms of contract"</i> involve the worker agreeing to obey the employers orders 
and that they will be fired if they do not, its pretty clear that the 
ordering that goes on in the <i>"intra-firm labour market"</i> is decidedly <b>one 
way</b>. Bosses have the power, workers are paid to obey. And this begs the 
question, <b>if</b> the employment contract creates a free worker, why must 
she abandon her liberty during work hours?
<p>
Reekie actually recognises this lack of freedom in a "round about" way 
when he notes that <i>"employees in a firm at any level in the hierarchy can 
exercise an entrepreneurial role. The area within which that role can be 
carried out increases the more authority the employee has."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 142] Which means workers <b>are</b> subject to control from above which 
restricts the activities they are allowed to do and so they are <b>not</b> 
free to act, make decisions, participate in the plans of the organisation, 
to create the future and so forth within working hours. And it is strange 
that while recognising the firm as a hierarchy, Reekie tries to deny that 
it is authoritarian or dictatorial -- as if you could have a 
hierarchy without authoritarian structures or an unelected person in 
authority who is not a dictator. His confusion is shared by Austrian guru 
Ludwig
von Mises, who asserts that the <i>"entrepreneur and capitalist are not
irresponsible autocrats"</i> because they are <i>"unconditionally subject to
the sovereignty of the consumer"</i> while, <b>on the next page</b>, 
admitting
there is a <i>"managerial hierarchy"</i> which contains <i>"the average subordinate
employee."</i> [<b>Human Action</b>, p. 809 and p. 810] It does not 
enter his
mind that the capitalist may be subject to some consumer control while
being an autocrat to their subordinated employees. Again, we find the
right-"libertarian" acknowledging that the capitalist managerial 
structure is a hierarchy and workers are subordinated while denying 
it is autocratic to the workers! Thus we have "free" workers within a
relationship distinctly <b>lacking</b> freedom (in the sense of 
self-government)
-- a strange paradox. Indeed, if your personal life were as closely 
monitored and regulated as the work life of millions of people across
the world, you would rightly consider it oppression.
<p>
Perhaps Reekie (like most right-libertarians) will maintain that workers
voluntarily agree ("consent") to be subject to the bosses dictatorship (he 
writes that <i>"each will only enter into the contractual agreement known as 
a firm if each believes he will be better off thereby. The firm is simply 
another example of mutually beneficial exchange"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 137]). 
However, this does not stop the relationship being authoritarian or 
dictatorial (and so exploitative as it is <b>highly</b> unlikely that those 
at the top will not abuse their power). And as we argue further in the 
<a href="secF2.html#secf23">next section</a> (and also see sections <a href="secB4.html">B.4</a>, <a href="secF3.html#secf31">F.3.1</a> and <a href="secF10.html#secf102">F.10.2</a>), in a capitalist 
society workers have the option of finding a job or facing abject poverty 
and/or starvation.
<p> 
Little wonder, then, that people "voluntarily" sell their labour and
"consent" to authoritarian structures! They have little option to do 
otherwise. So, <b>within</b> the labour market, workers <b>can</b> and <b>do</b> seek 
out the best working conditions possible, but that does not mean that 
the final contract agreed is "freely" accepted and not due to the 
force of circumstances, that both parties have equal bargaining power 
when drawing up the contract or that the freedom of both parties is 
ensured. Which means to argue (as many right-libertarians do) that 
freedom cannot be restricted by wage labour because people enter 
into relationships they consider will lead to improvements over their 
initial situation totally misses the points. As the initial situation 
is not considered relevant, their argument fails. After all, agreeing
to work in a sweatshop 14 hours a day <b>is</b> an improvement over starving
to death -- but it does not mean that those who so agree are free 
when working there or actually <b>want</b> to be there. They are not and
it is the circumstances, created and enforced by the law, that have 
ensured that they "consent" to such a regime (given the chance, they 
would desire to <b>change</b> that regime but cannot as this would violate 
their bosses property rights and they would be repressed for trying).
<p>
So the right-wing "libertarian" right is interested only in a narrow 
concept of freedom (rather than in "freedom" or "liberty" as such).
This can be seen in the argument of Ayn Rand (a leading ideologue of
"libertarian" capitalism) that <i>"<b>Freedom</b>, in a political context, means
freedom from government coercion. It does <b>not</b> mean freedom from the
landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature
which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from
the coercive power of the state -- and nothing else!"</i> [<b>Capitalism: The
Unknown Ideal</b>, p. 192] By arguing in this way, right libertarians ignore
the vast number of authoritarian social relationships that exist in
capitalist society and, as Rand does here, imply that these social
relationships are like "the laws of nature." However, if one looks at the
world without prejudice but with an eye to maximising freedom, the major
coercive institution is seen to be not the state  but capitalist social
relationships (as indicated in <a href="secB4.html">section B.4</a>). 
<p>
The right "libertarian," then, far from being a defender of freedom, is 
in fact a keen defender of certain forms of authority and domination. As
Peter Kropotkin noted, the <i>"modern Individualism initiated by Herbert
Spencer is, like the critical theory of Proudhon, a powerful indictment
against the dangers and wrongs of government, but its practical solution
of the social problem is miserable -- so miserable as to lead us to
inquire if the talk of 'No force' be merely an excuse for supporting
landlord and capitalist domination."</i> [<b>Act For Yourselves</b>, p. 98]
<p>
To defend the "freedom" of property owners is to defend authority and 
privilege -- in other words, statism. So, in considering the concept of 
liberty as "freedom from," it is clear that by defending private property 
(as opposed to possession) the "anarcho"-capitalist is defending the power 
and authority of property owners to govern those who use "their" property. 
And also, we must note, defending all the petty tyrannies that make the 
work lives of so many people frustrating, stressful and unrewarding.
<p>
However, anarchism, by definition, is in favour of organisations and social 
relationships which are non-hierarchical and non-authoritarian. Otherwise, 
some people are more free than others. Failing to attack hierarchy leads 
to massive contradiction. For example, since the British Army is a volunteer 
one, it is an "anarchist" organisation! (see <a href="secF2.html#secf23">next section</a> for a 
discussion on why the "anarcho"-capitalism concept of freedom also allows 
the state to appear "libertarian"). 
<p>
In other words, "full capitalist property rights" do not protect freedom,
in fact they actively deny it. But this lack of freedom is only inevitable
if we accept capitalist private property rights. If we reject them, we
can try and create a world based on freedom in all aspects of life, 
rather than just in a few.
<p>
<a name="secf23"><h2>F.2.3 Can "anarcho"-capitalist theory justify the state?</h2>
<p>
Ironically enough, "anarcho"-capitalist ideology actually allows the state
to be justified along with capitalist hierarchy. This is because the reason
why capitalist authority is acceptable to the "anarcho"-capitalist is 
because it is "voluntary" -- no one forces the worker to join or remain
within a specific company (force of circumstances are irrelevant in this 
viewpoint). Thus capitalist domination is not really domination at all. But
the same can be said of all democratic states as well. Few such states bar 
exit for its citizens -- they are free to leave at any time and join any 
other state that will have them (exactly as employees can with companies). 
Of course there <b>are</b> differences between the two kinds of authority -- 
anarchists do not deny that -- but the similarities are all too clear.
<p>
The "anarcho"-capitalist could argue that changing jobs is easier than 
changing states and, sometimes, this is correct -- but not always. Yes, 
changing states does require the moving of home and possessions over 
great distances but so can changing job (indeed, if a worker has 
to move half-way across a country or even the world to get a job 
"anarcho"-capitalists would celebrate this as an example of the 
benefits of a "flexible" labour market). Yes, states often conscript
citizens and send them into dangerous situations but bosses often force
their employees to accept dangerous working environments on pain of 
firing. Yes, many states do restrict freedom of association and speech,
but so do bosses. Yes, states tax their citizens but landlords and 
companies only let others use their property if they get money in
return (i.e. rent or profits). Indeed, if the employee or tenant does not
provide the employer or landlord with enough profits, they will quickly
be shown the door. Of course employees can start their own companies 
but citizens can start their own state if they convince an existing state 
(the owner of a set of resources) to sell/give land to them. Setting up 
a company also requires existing owners to sell/give resources to those 
who need them. Of course, in a democratic state citizens can influence 
the nature of laws and orders they obey. In a capitalist company, this 
is not the case.
<p>
This means that, logically, "anarcho"-capitalism must consider a series
of freely exitable states as "anarchist" and not a source of domination. 
If consent (not leaving) is what is required to make capitalist domination 
not domination then the same can be said of statist domination. Stephen
L. Newman makes the same point:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"When the price of exercising one's freedom is terribly high, what practical
difference is there between the commands of the state and those issued
by one's employer? . . . Though admittedly the circumstances are not
identical, telling disgruntled empowers that they are always free to leave
their jobs seems no different in principle from telling political dissidents
that they are free to emigrate."</i> [<b>Liberalism at Wit's End</b>, pp. 45-46]
</blockquote><p>
Murray Rothbard, in his own way, agrees:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"<b>If</b> the State may be said too properly <b>own</b> its territory, then it is
proper for it to make rules for everyone who presumes to live in that
area. It can legitimately seize or control private property because there
<b>is</b> no private property in its area, because it really owns the entire 
land surface. <b>So long</b> as the State permits its subjects to leave its 
territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who
sets down rules for people living on his property."</i> [<b>The Ethics of
Liberty</b>, p. 170]
</blockquote><p>
Rothbard's argues that this is <b>not</b> the case simply because the state
did not acquire its property in a <i>"just"</i> manner and that it claims 
rights over virgin land (both of which violates Rothbard's "homesteading"
theory of property -- see <a href="secF4.html#secf41">section F.4.1</a> for details and a critique).
Rothbard argues that this defence of statism (the state as property owner)
is unrealistic and ahistoric, but his account of the origins of property 
is equally unrealistic and ahistoric and that does not stop him supporting 
capitalism. People in glass houses should not throw stones!
<p>
Thus he claims that the state is evil and its claims to authority/power 
false simply because it acquired the resources it claims to own <i>"unjustly"</i> 
-- for example, by violence and coercion (see <b>The Ethics of Liberty</b>, 
pp. 170-1, for Rothbard's attempt to explain why the state should not be 
considered as the owner of land). And even <b>if</b> the state <b>was</b> the owner 
of its territory, it cannot appropriate virgin land (although, as he 
notes elsewhere, the <i>"vast"</i> US frontier no longer exists <i>"and there 
is no point crying over the fact"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 240]). 
<p>
So what makes hierarchy legitimate for Rothbard is whether the property
it derives from was acquired justly or unjustly. Which leads us to a 
few <b>very</b> important points. 
<p>
Firstly, Rothbard is explicitly acknowledging the similarities between 
statism and capitalism. He is arguing that <b>if</b> the state had developed 
in a <i>"just"</i> way, then it is perfectly justifiable in governing (<i>"set[ting] 
down rules"</i>) those who "consent" to live on its territory in <b>exactly</b> 
the same why a property owner does. In other words, private property 
can be considered as a "justly" created state! These similarities between
property and statism have long been recognised by anarchists and that
is why we reject private property along with the state (Proudhon did,
after all, note that <i>"property is despotism"</i> and well as <i>"theft"</i>). But, 
according to Rothbard, something can look like a state (i.e. be a 
monopoly of decision making over an area) and act like a state (i.e.
set down rules for people, govern them, impose a monopoly of force)
but not be a state. But if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, 
it is a duck. Claiming that the origins of the thing are what counts is
irrelevant --  for example, a cloned duck is just as much a duck as 
a naturally born one. A statist organisation is authoritarian whether 
it comes from <i>"just"</i> or <i>"unjust"</i> origins. Does transforming the 
ownership of the land from states to capitalists <b>really</b> make the
relations of domination created by the dispossession of the many 
less authoritarian and unfree? Of course not.
<p>
Secondly, much property in "actually existing" capitalism is the product 
(directly or indirectly) of state laws and violence (<i>"the emergence of
both agrarian and industrial capitalism in Britain [and elsewhere, we
must add] . . . could not have got off the ground without resources
to state violence -- legal or otherwise"</i> [Brian Morris, <b>Ecology &
Anarchism</b>, p. 190]). If state claims of ownership are invalid due to 
their history, then so are many others (particularly those which claim 
to own land). As the initial creation was illegitimate, so are the 
transactions which have sprung from it. Thus if state claims of property 
rights are invalid, so are most (if not all) capitalist claims. If the 
laws of the state are illegitimate, so are the rules of the capitalist. 
If taxation is illegitimate, then so are rent, interest and profit. 
Rothbard's "historical" argument against the state can also be applied 
to private property and if the one is unjustified, then so is the other.
<p>
Thirdly, <b>if</b> the state had evolved "justly" then Rothbard would actually 
have nothing against it! A strange position for an anarchist to take. 
Logically this means that if a system of corporate states evolved 
from the workings of the capitalist market then the "anarcho"-capitalist 
would have nothing against it. This can be seen from "anarcho"-capitalist
support for company towns even though they have correctly been described
as <i>"industrial feudalism"</i> (see <a href="secF6.html">section F.6</a> for more on this).
<p>
Fourthly, Rothbard's argument implies that similar circumstances producing 
similar relationships of domination and unfreedom are somehow different 
if they are created by <i>"just"</i> and <i>"unjust"</i> means. Rothbard claims that
because the property is <i>"justly"</i> acquired it means the authority a 
capitalist over his employees is totally different from that of a state 
over its subject. But such a claim is false -- both the subject/citizen 
and the employee are in a similar relationship of domination and 
authoritarianism. As we argued in <a href="secF2.html#secf22">section F.2.2</a>, how a person got 
into a situation is irrelevant when considering how free they are. 
Thus, the person who "consents" to be governed by another because all 
available resources are privately owned is in exactly the same situation
as a person who has to join a state because all available resources are 
owned by one state or another. Both are unfree and are part of authoritarian 
relationships based upon domination.
<p>
And, lastly, while "anarcho"-capitalism may be a "just" society, it is
definitely <b>not</b> a free one. It will be marked by extensive hierarchy, 
unfreedom and government, but these restrictions of freedom will be of a 
private nature. As Rothbard indicates, the property owner and the state 
create/share the same authoritarian relationships. If statism is unfree, 
then so is capitalism. And, we must add, how "just" is a system which 
undermines liberty. Can "justice" ever be met in a society in which 
one class has more power and freedom than another. If one party is in 
an inferior position, then they have little choice but to agree to the 
disadvantageous terms offered by the superior party (see <a href="secF3.html#secf31">section F.3.1</a>). 
In such a situation, a "just" outcome will be unlikely as any contract 
agreed will be skewed to favour one side over the other.
<p>
The implications of these points are important. We can easily imagine 
a situation within "anarcho"-capitalism where a few companies/people 
start to buy up land and form company regions and towns. After all, 
this <b>has</b> happened continually throughout capitalism. Thus a "natural" 
process may develop where a few owners start to accumulate larger and 
larger tracks of land "justly". Such a process does not need to result
in <b>one</b> company owning the world. It is likely that a few hundred,
perhaps a few thousand, could do so. But this is not a cause for 
rejoicing -- after all the current "market" in "unjust" states also
has a few hundred competitors in it. And even if there is a large
multitude of property owners, the situation for the working class is
exactly the same as the citizen under current statism! Does the fact 
that it is "justly" acquired property that faces the worker really
change the fact she must submit to the government and rules of another 
to gain access to the means of life?
<p>
When faced with anarchist criticisms that <b>circumstances</b> force workers
to accept wage slavery the "anarcho"-capitalist claims that these are to
be considered as objective facts of nature and so wage labour is not 
domination. However, the same can be said of states -- we are born into 
a world where states claim to own all the available land. If states are 
replaced by individuals or groups of individuals does this change the 
essential nature of our dispossession? Of course not. 
<p>
Rothbard argues that <i>"[o]bviously, in a free society, Smith has 
the ultimate decision-making power over his own just property, Jones 
over his, etc."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 173] and, equally obviously, this 
ultimate-decision making power extends to those who <b>use,</b> but do 
not own, such property. But how "free" is a free society where the 
majority have to sell their liberty to another in order to live? 
Rothbard (correctly) argues that the State <i>"uses its monopoly of 
force . . . to control, regulate, and coerce its hapless subjects. 
Often it pushes its way into controlling the morality and the very
lives of its subjects."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 171] However he fails to note 
that employers do exactly the same thing to their employees. This, 
from an anarchist perspective, is unsurprising, for (after all) the 
employer <b>is</b> <i>"the ultimate decision-making power over his just 
property"</i> just as the state is over its "unjust" property. That
similar forms of control and regulation develop is not a surprise
given the similar hierarchical relations in both structures.
<p>
That there is a choice in available states does not make statism 
any less unjust and unfree. Similarly, just because we have a choice
between employers does not make wage labour any less unjust or unfree.
But trying to dismiss one form of domination as flowing from "just"
property while attacking the other because it flows from "unjust"
property is not seeing the wood for the trees. If one reduces liberty, 
so does the other. Whether the situation we are in resulted from "just" 
or "unjust" steps is irrelevant to the restrictions of freedom we face 
because of them (and as we argue in <a href="secF2.html#secf25">
section F.2.5</a>, "unjust" situations
can easily flow from "just" steps).
<p>
The "anarcho"-capitalist insistence that the voluntary nature of an 
association determines whether it is anarchistic is deeply flawed -- so 
flawed in fact that states and state-like structures (such as capitalist
firms) can be considered anarchistic! In contrast, anarchists think that 
the hierarchical nature of the associations we join is equally as 
important as its voluntary nature when determining whether it is 
anarchistic or statist. However this option is not available to the 
"anarcho"-capitalist as it logically entails that capitalist companies 
are to be opposed along with the state as sources of domination, 
oppression and exploitation.
<p>
<a name="secf24"><h2>F.2.4 But surely transactions on the market are voluntary?
</h2><p>
Of course, it is usually maintained by "anarcho"-capitalists that no-one 
puts a gun to a worker's head to join a specific company. Yes, indeed,
this is true -- workers can apply for any job they like. But the point
is that the vast majority cannot avoid having to sell their liberty to 
others (self-employment and co-operatives <b>are</b> an option, but they
account for less than 10% of the working population and are unlikely
to spread due to the nature of capitalist market forces -- see sections 
<a href="secJ5.html#secj511">J.5.11</a> and <a href="secJ5.html#secj512">J.5.12</a> for details). And as Bob Black pointed out, right
libertarians argue that <i>"'one can at least change jobs.' but you can't
avoid having a job -- just as under statism one can at least change
nationalities but you can't avoid subjection to one nation-state
or another. But freedom means more than the right to change masters."</i>
[<b>The Libertarian as Conservative</b>]
<p> 
So why do workers agree to join a company? Because circumstances force 
them to do so - circumstances created, we must note, by <b>human</b> actions
and institutions and not some abstract "fact of nature." And if the world 
that humans create by their activity is detrimental to what we should 
value most (individual liberty and individuality) then we should consider 
how to <b>change that world for the better.</b> Thus "circumstances" (current 
"objective reality") is a valid source of unfreedom and for human 
investigation and creative activity -- regardless of the claims of 
right-Libertarians.
<p>
Let us look at the circumstances created by capitalism. Capitalism is 
marked by a class of dispossessed labourers who have nothing to sell by 
their labour. They are legally barred from access to the means of life 
and so have little option but to take part in the labour market. As 
Alexander Berkman put it:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The law says your employer does not sell anything from you, because it
is done with your consent. You have agreed to work for your boss for 
certain pay, he to have all that you produce . . .
<p>
"But did you really consent?
<p>
"When the highway man holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables
over to him. You 'consent' all right, but you do so because you cannot
help yourself, because you are <b>compelled</b> by his gun.
<p>
"Are you not <b>compelled</b> to work for an employer? Your need compels you
just as the highwayman's gun. You must live. . . You can't work for
yourself . . .The factories, machinery, and tools belong to the 
employing class, so you <b>must</b> hire yourself out to that class in order
to work and live. Whatever you work at, whoever your employer may be, it
is always comes to the same: you must work <b>for him</b>. You can't help
yourself. You are <b>compelled</b>."</i> [<b>What is Communist Anarchism?</b>, p. 9]
<p></blockquote>
Due to this class monopoly over the means of life,  workers (usually) are 
at a disadvantage in terms of bargaining power -- there are more workers
than jobs (see sections <a href="secB4.html#secb43">B.4.3</a> and 
<a href="secF10.html#secf102">F.10.2</a> for a discussion why this is
the normal situation on the labour market).
<p>
As was indicated in section B.4 (<a href="secB4.html">How does capitalism affect liberty?</a>), 
within capitalism there is no equality between owners and the dispossessed, 
and so property is a source of <b>power.</b> To claim that this power should be 
"left alone" or is "fair" is <i>"to the anarchists. . . preposterous. Once a 
State has been established, and most of the country's capital privatised, 
the threat of physical force is no longer necessary to coerce workers 
into accepting jobs, even with low pay and poor conditions. To use Ayn 
Rand's term, 'initial force' has <b>already taken place,</b> by those who now 
have capital against those who do not. . . . In other words, if a thief 
died and willed his 'ill-gotten gain' to his children, would the children 
have a right to the stolen property? Not legally. So if 'property is theft,' 
to borrow Proudhon's quip, and the fruit of exploited labour is simply legal 
theft, then the only factor giving the children of a deceased capitalist a 
right to inherit the 'booty' is the law, the State. As Bakunin wrote, 
'Ghosts should not rule and oppress this world, which belongs only to 
the living'"</i> [Jeff Draughn, <b>Between Anarchism and Libertarianism</b>]. 
<p>
Or, in other words, right-Libertarianism fails to <i>"meet the charge that 
normal operations of the market systematically places an entire class of 
persons (wage earners) in circumstances that compel them to accept the 
terms and conditions of labour dictated by those who offer work. While 
it is true that individuals are formally free to seek better jobs or 
withhold their labour in the hope of receiving higher wages, in the end 
their position in the market works against them; they cannot live if they 
do not find employment. When circumstances regularly bestow a relative 
disadvantage on one class of persons in their dealings with another class, 
members of the advantaged class have little need of coercive measures to 
get what they want."</i> [Stephen L. Newman, <b>Liberalism at Wit's End</b>, 
p. 130]
<p>
To ignore the circumstances which drive people to seek out the most 
"beneficial exchange" is to blind yourself to the power relationships
inherent within capitalism -- power relationships created by the
unequal bargaining power of the parties involved (also see 
<a href="secF3.html#secf31">section F.3.1</a>). And to argue that "consent" ensures freedom is false; if you 
are "consenting" to be join a dictatorial organisation, you "consent" 
<b>not</b> to be free (and to paraphrase Rousseau, a person who renounces 
freedom renounces being human). 
<p>
Which is why circumstances are important -- if someone truly wants to
join an authoritarian organisation, then so be it. It is their life. But 
if circumstances ensure their "consent" then they are not free. The
danger is, of course, that people become <b>accustomed</b> to authoritarian 
relationships and end up viewing them as forms of freedom. This can be 
seen from the state, which the vast majority support and "consent" to.
And this also applies to wage labour, which many workers today accept 
as a "necessary evil" (like the state) but, as we indicate in 
<a href="secF8.html#secf86">section F.8.6</a>, the first wave of workers viewed with horror as a form of (wage) 
slavery and did all that they could to avoid. In such situations all
we can do is argue with them and convince them that certain forms of
organisations (such as the state and capitalist firms) are an evil 
and urge them to change society to ensure their extinction.
<p>
So due to this lack of appreciation of circumstances (and the fact that 
people become accustomed to certain ways of life) "anarcho"-capitalism 
actively supports structures that restrict freedom for the many. And how 
is "anarcho"-capitalism <b>anarchist</b> if it generates extensive amounts of 
archy? It is for this reason that all anarchists support self-management 
within free association -- that way we maximise freedom both inside <b>and</b> 
outside organisations. But only stressing freedom outside organisations,
"anarcho"-capitalism ends up denying freedom as such (after all, we 
spend most of our waking hours at work). If "anarcho"-capitalists 
<b>really</b> desired freedom, they would reject capitalism and become 
anarchists -- only in a libertarian socialist society would agreements 
to become a wage worker be truly voluntary as they would not be driven 
by circumstances to sell their liberty.
<p>
This means that while right-Libertarianism appears to make "choice" an ideal 
(which sounds good, liberating and positive) in practice it has become a 
"dismal politics," a politics of choice where most of the choices are bad. 
And, to state the obvious, the choices we are "free" to make are shaped by
the differences in wealth and power in society (see 
<a href="secF3.html#secf31">section F.3.1</a>) as 
well as such things as "isolation paradoxes" (see <a href="secB6.html">
section B.6</a>) and the 
laws and other human institutions that exist. If we ignore the context 
within which people make their choices then we glorify abstract processes 
at the expense of real people. And, as importantly, we must add that many 
of the choices we make under capitalism (shaped as they are by the 
circumstances within which they are made), such as employment contracts, 
result in our "choice" being narrowed to "love it or leave it" in the 
organisations we create/join as a result of these "free" choices. 
<p>
This ideological blind spot flows from the "anarcho"-capitalist definition
of "freedom" as "absence of coercion" -- as workers "freely consent" to
joining a specific workplace, their freedom is unrestricted. But to 
defend <b>only</b> "freedom from" in a capitalist society means to defend 
the power and authority of the few against the attempts of the many to 
claim their freedom and rights. To requote Emma Goldman, <i>"'Rugged 
individualism' has meant all the 'individualism' for the masters . . . , 
in whose name political tyranny and social oppression are defended and 
held up as virtues' while every aspiration and attempt of man to gain 
freedom . . . is denounced as . . . evil in the name of that same 
individualism."</i> [<b>Red Emma Speaks</b>, p. 112]
<p>
In other words, its all fine and well saying (as right-libertarians do) 
that you aim to abolish force from human relationships but if you support 
an economic system which creates hierarchy (and so domination and oppression) 
by its very workings, "defensive" force will always be required to maintain
and enforce that domination. Moreover, if one class has extensive power 
over another due to the systematic (and normal) workings of the market,  
any force used to defend that power is <b>automatically</b> "defensive". Thus 
to argue against the use of force and ignore the power relationships that 
exist within and shape a society (and so also shape the individuals within 
it) is to defend and justify capitalist and landlord domination and 
denounce any attempts to resist that domination as "initiation of
force." 
<p>
Anarchists, in contrast, oppose <b>hierarchy</b> (and so domination
within relationships -- bar S&M personal relationships, which are a 
totally different thing altogether; they are truly voluntary and they
also do not attempt to hide the power relationships involved by using 
economic jargon). This opposition, while also including opposition to 
the use of force against equals (for example, anarchists are opposed
to forcing workers and peasants to join a self-managed commune or 
syndicate), also includes support for the attempts of those subject 
to domination to end it (for example, workers striking for union 
recognition are not "initiating force", they are fighting for their 
freedom). 
<p>
In other words, apparently "voluntary" agreements can and do limit 
freedom and so the circumstances that drive people into them <b>must</b> be 
considered when deciding whether any such limitation is valid. By 
ignoring circumstances, "anarcho"-capitalism ends up by failing to 
deliver what it promises -- a society of free individuals -- and
instead presents us with a society of masters and servants. The question
is, what do we feel moved to insist that people enjoy? Formal, abstract
(bourgeois) self-ownership ("freedom") or a more substantive control
over one's life (i.e. autonomy)?
<p>
<a name="secf25"><h2>F.2.5 But surely circumstances are the result of liberty and so cannot be objected to?</h2>
<p>
It is often argued by right-libertarians that the circumstances we face 
within capitalism are the result of individual decisions (i.e. individual 
liberty) and so we must accept them as the expressions of these acts (the 
most famous example of this argument is in Nozick's <b>Anarchy, State, and 
Utopia</b> pp. 161-163 where he maintains that <i>"liberty upsets patterns"</i>). 
This is because whatever situation evolves from a just situation by just 
(i.e. non-coercive steps) is also (by definition) just. 
<p>
However, it is not apparent that adding just steps to a just situation 
will result in a just society. We will illustrate with a couple of 
banal examples. If you add chemicals which are non-combustible together
you can create a new, combustible, chemical (i.e. X becomes not-X by 
adding new X to it). Similarly, if you have an odd number and add another 
odd number to it, it becomes even (again, X becomes not-X by adding a new
X to it). So it <b>is</b> very possible to go from an just state to an unjust
state by just step (and it is possible to remain in an unjust state by
just acts; for example if we tried to implement "anarcho"-capitalism
on the existing -- unjustly created -- situation of "actually existing"
capitalism it would be like having an odd number and adding even numbers 
to it). In other words, the outcome of "just" steps can increase inequality 
within society and so ensure that some acquire an unacceptable amount of 
power over others, via their control over resources. Such an inequality of
power would create an "unjust" situation where the major are free to
sell their liberty to others due to inequality in power and resources 
on the "free" market.
<p>
Ignoring this objection, we could argue (as many "anarcho"-capitalists
and right-libertarians do) that the unforeseen results of human action 
are fine unless we assume that these human actions are in themselves bad 
(i.e. that individual choice is evil). 
<p>
Such an argument is false for three reasons. 
<p>
First, when we make our choices the aggregate impact of these choices are 
unknown to us -- and not on offer when we make our choices. Thus we cannot 
be said to "choose" these outcomes, outcomes which we may consider deeply 
undesirable, and so the fact that these outcomes are the result of 
individual choices is besides the point (if we knew the outcome
we could refrain from doing them). The choices themselves, therefore, 
do not validate the outcome as the outcome was not part of the choices 
when they where made (i.e. the means do not justify the ends). In other
words, private acts often have important public consequences (and 
"bilateral exchanges" often involve externalities for third parties). 
Secondly, if the outcome of individual choices is to deny or restrict 
individual choice on a wider scale at a later stage, then we are hardly 
arguing that individual choice is a bad thing. We want to arrange it so 
that the decisions we make now do not result in them restricting our 
ability to make choices in important areas of life at a latter stage. 
Which means we are in favour of individual choices and so liberty, not
against them. Thirdly, the unforeseen or unplanned results of individual 
actions are not necessarily a good thing. If the aggregate outcome of 
individual choices harms individuals then we have a right to modify the 
circumstances within which choices are made and/or the aggregate results 
of these choices. 
<p>
An example will show what we mean (again drawn from Haworth's excellent
<b>Anti-Libertarianism</b>, p. 35). Millions of people across the world bought 
deodorants which caused a hole to occur in the ozone layer surrounding
the Earth. The resultant of these acts created a situation in which 
individuals and the eco-system they inhabited were in great danger. 
The actual acts themselves were by no means wrong, but the aggregate
impact was. A similar argument can apply to any form of pollution.
Now, unless the right-Libertarian argues that skin cancer or other
forms of pollution related illness are fine, its clear that the 
resultant of individual acts can be harmful to individuals. 
<p>
The right-Libertarian could argue that pollution is an "initiation of
force" against an individual's property-rights in their person and so
individuals can sue the polluters. But hierarchy also harms the individual
(see <a href="secB1.html">section B.1</a>) -- and so can be considered as an infringement of 
their "property-rights" (i.e. liberty, to get away from the insane 
property fetish of right-Libertarianism). The loss of autonomy can be
just as harmful to an individual as lung cancer although very different
in form. And the differences in wealth resulting from hierarchy is
well known to have serious impacts on life-span and health. 
<p>
As noted in <a href="secF2.html#secf21">section F.2.1</a>, the market is just as man-made as pollution. This 
means that the "circumstances" we face are due to aggregate of millions of 
individual acts and these acts occur within a specific framework of rights, 
institutions and ethics. Anarchists think that a transformation of our 
society and its rights and ideals is required so that the resultant of 
individual choices does not have the ironic effect of limiting individual 
choice (freedom) in many important ways (such as in work, for example). 
<p>
In other words, the <b>circumstances</b> created by capitalist rights and 
institutions requires a <b>transformation</b> of these rights and institutions 
in such a way as to maximise individual choice for all -- namely, to abolish 
these rights and replace them with new ones (for example, replace property 
rights with use rights). Thus Nozick's claims that <i>"Z does choose voluntarily 
if the other individuals A through Y each acted voluntarily and within their
rights"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 263] misses the point -- it is these rights that are 
in question (given that Nozick <b>assumes</b> these rights then his whole thesis 
is begging the question).
<p>
And we must add (before anyone points it out) that, yes, we are aware that 
many decisions will unavoidably limit current and future choices. For 
example, the decision to build a factory on a green-belt area will make 
it impossible for people to walk through the woods that are no longer 
there. But such "limitations" (if they can be called that) of choice are 
different from the limitations we are highlighting here, namely the lose 
of freedom that accompanies the circumstances created via exchange in the 
market. The human actions which build the factory modify reality but 
do not generate social relationships of domination between people in 
so doing. The human actions of market exchange, in contrast, modify the 
relative strengths of everyone in society and so has a distinct impact 
on the social relationships we "voluntarily" agree to create. Or, to put 
it another way, the decision to build on the green-belt site does "limit" 
choice in the abstract but it does <b>not</b> limit choice in the kind of 
relationships we form with other people nor create authoritarian 
relationships between people due to inequality influencing the content
of the associations we form. However, the profits produced from using the 
factory increases inequality (and so market/economic power) and so weakens 
the position of the working class in respect to the capitalist class within
society. This increased inequality will be reflected in the "free" 
contracts and working regimes that are created, with the weaker "trader"
having to compromise far more than before. 
<p>
So, to try and defend wage slavery and other forms of hierarchy by arguing 
that "circumstances" are created by individual liberty runs aground on its 
own logic. If the circumstances created by individual liberty results in 
pollution then the right-Libertarian will be the first to seek to change 
those circumstances. They recognise that the right to pollute while producing
is secondary to our right to be healthy. Similarly, if the circumstances 
created by individual liberty results in hierarchy (pollution of the mind 
and our relationships with others as opposed to the body, although it 
affects that to) then we are entitled to change these circumstances too 
and the means by which we get there (namely the institutional and rights 
framework of society). Our right to liberty is more important than the 
rights of property -- sadly, the right-Libertarian refuses to recognise 
this.
<p>
<a name="secf26"><h2>F.2.6 Do Libertarian-capitalists support slavery?</h2> 
<p>
Yes. It may come as a surprise to many people, but right-Libertarianism is 
one of the few political theories that justifies slavery. For example, Robert 
Nozick asks whether <i>"a free system would allow [the individual] to sell 
himself into slavery"</i> and he answers <i>"I believe that it would."</i> [<b>Anarchy,
State and Utopia</b>, p. 371] While some right-Libertarians do not agree with 
Nozick, there is no logical basis in their ideology for such disagreement.
<p>
The logic is simple, you cannot really own something unless you can sell 
it. Self-ownership is one of the cornerstones of laissez-faire capitalist 
ideology. Therefore, since you own yourself you can sell yourself. 
<p>
(For Murray Rothbard's claims of the <i>"unenforceability, in libertarian 
theory, of voluntary slave contracts"</i> see <b>The Ethics of Liberty</b>, pp. 
134-135 -- of course, <b>other</b> libertarian theorists claim the exact 
opposite so <i>"libertarian theory"</i> makes no such claims, but nevermind! 
Essentially, his point revolves around the assertion that a person 
<i>"cannot, in nature, sell himself into slavery and have this sale enforced 
- for this would mean that his future will over his own body was being 
surrendered in advance"</i> and that if a <i>"labourer remains totally subservient 
to his master's will voluntarily, he is not yet a slave since his submission 
is voluntary."</i> [p. 40] However, as we noted in <a href="secF2.html">
section F.2</a>, Rothbard 
emphasis on quitting fails to recognise that actual denial of will and 
control over ones own body that is explicit in wage labour. It is this 
failure that pro-slave contract "libertarians" stress -- as we will 
see, they consider the slave contract as an extended wage contract. 
Moreover, a modern slave contract would likely take the form of a
<i>"performance bond"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 136] in which the slave agrees to 
perform X years labour or pay their master substantial damages. The
threat of damages that enforces the contract and such a "contract" 
Rothbard does agree is enforceable -- along with <i>"conditional exchange"</i>
[p. 141] which could be another way of creating slave contracts.)
<p>
The right-Libertarian J. Philmore argues there is a <i>"fundamental contradiction"</i> 
in a modern liberal society for the state to prohibit slave contracts. Lets, 
however, not do these arguers for slavery an injustice. They are arguing for
a <i>"<b>civilised</b> form of contractual slavery"</i> (our emphasis). [J. Philmore, 
<i>"The Libertarian Case for Slavery"</i>, <b>The Philosophical Forum</b>, xiv, 1982, 
p. 55, p. 58] Such a "civilised" form of slavery could occur when an 
individual would "agree" to sell themselves to themselves to another (as 
when a starving worker would "agree" to become a slave in return for food).
In addition, the contract would be able to be broken under certain conditions
(perhaps in return for breaking the contract, the former slave would have
pay damages to his or her master for the labour their master would lose - 
a sizeable amount no doubt and such a payment could result in debt slavery,
which is the most common form of "civilised" slavery. Such damages
may be agreed in the contract as a "performance bond" or "conditional
exchange"). 
<p>
So, right-Libertarians are talking about "civilised" slavery (or, in 
other words, civil slavery) and not forced slavery.
<p>
We must stress that this is no academic debate. "Voluntary" slavery has 
been a problem in many societies and still exists in many countries today
(particularly third world ones where bonded labour -- i.e. where debt is
used to enslave people -- is the most common form). With the rise of sweat 
shops and child labour in many "developed" countries such as the USA, 
"voluntary" slavery (perhaps via debt and bonded labour) may become 
common in all parts of the world -- an ironic (if not surprising) result
of "freeing" the market and being indifferent to the actual freedom of 
those within it. 
<p>
And it is interesting to note that even Murray Rothbard is not against
the selling of humans. He argued that children are the property of their 
parents. They can (bar actually murdering them by violence) do whatever 
they please with them, even sell them on a <i>"flourishing free child market."</i> 
[<b>The Ethics of Liberty</b>, p. 102] Combined with a whole hearted support 
for child labour (after all, the child can leave its parents if it objects 
to working for them) such a "free child market" could easily become a 
"child slave market" -- with entrepreneurs making a healthy profit selling 
infants to other entrepreneurs who could make profits from the toil of 
"their" children (and such a process did occur in 19th century Britain). 
Unsurprisingly, Rothbard ignores the possible nasty aspects of such a 
market in human flesh (such as children being sold to work in factories, 
homes and brothels). And, of course, such a market could see women 
"specialising" in producing children for it (the use of child labour 
during the Industrial Revolution actually made it economically sensible 
for families to have more children) and, perhaps, gluts and scarcities 
of babies due to changing market conditions. But this is besides the 
point.
<p>
Of course, this theoretical justification for slavery at the heart of an 
ideology calling itself "libertarianism" is hard for many right-Libertarians
to accept. Some of the "anarcho"-capitalist type argue that such contracts 
would be very hard to enforce in their system of capitalism. This attempt 
to get out of the contradiction fails simply because it ignores the nature
of the capitalist market. If there is a demand for slave contracts to be 
enforced, then companies will develop to provide that "service" (and it would 
be interesting to see how two "protection" firms, one defending slave contracts 
and another not, could compromise and reach a peaceful agreement over whether 
slave contracts were valid). Thus we could see a so-called "anarchist" or 
"free" society producing companies whose specific purpose was to hunt down 
escaped slaves (i.e. individuals in slave contracts who have not paid 
damages to their owners for freedom). Of course, perhaps Rothbard would
claim that such slave contracts would be "outlawed" under his "general
libertarian law code" but this is a denial of market "freedom". If slave 
contracts <b>are</b> "banned" then surely this is paternalism, stopping 
individuals from contracting out their "labour services" to whom and 
however long they "desire". You cannot have it both ways.
<p>
So, ironically, an ideology proclaiming itself to support "liberty" ends 
up justifying and defending slavery. Indeed, for the right-libertarian the
slave contract is an exemplification, not the denial, of the individual's 
liberty! How is this possible? How can slavery be supported as an expression 
of liberty? Simple, right-Libertarian support for slavery is a symptom of
a <b>deeper</b> authoritarianism, namely their uncritical acceptance of contract
theory. The central claim of contract theory is that contract is the means 
to secure and enhance individual freedom. Slavery is the antithesis to freedom
and so, in theory, contract and slavery must be mutually exclusive. However,
as indicated above, some contract theorists (past and present) have included 
slave contracts among legitimate contracts. This suggests that contract 
theory cannot provide the theoretical support needed to secure and enhance 
individual freedom. Why is this?
<p>
As Carole Pateman argues, <i>"contract theory is primarily about a way of 
creating social relations constituted by subordination, not about exchange."</i> 
[<b>The Sexual Contract</b>, p. 40] Rather than undermining subordination, contract 
theorists justify modern subjection - <i>"contract doctrine has proclaimed that
subjection to a master - a boss, a husband - is freedom."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 146] 
The question central to contract theory (and so right-Libertarianism) is
not "are people free" (as one would expect) but "are people free to 
subordinate themselves in any manner they please." A radically different 
question and one only fitting to someone who does not know what liberty
means.
<p>
Anarchists argue that not all contracts are legitimate and no free individual 
can make a contract that denies his or her own freedom. If an individual 
is able to express themselves by making free agreements then those free 
agreements must also be based upon freedom internally as well. Any agreement 
that creates domination or hierarchy negates the assumptions underlying the 
agreement and makes itself null and void.
<p>
This is most easily seen in the extreme case of the slave contract. John 
Stuart Mill stated that such a contract would be "null and void." He argued
that an individual may voluntarily choose to enter such a contract but
in so doing <i>"he abdicates his liberty; he foregoes any future use of it
beyond that single act. He therefore defeats, in his own case, the
very purpose which is the justification of allowing him to dispose of
himself. . .The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be
free not to be free. It is not freedom, to be allowed to alienate his
freedom."</i> He adds that <i>"these reasons, the force of which is so 
conspicuous in this particular case, are evidently of far wider 
application."</i> [cited by Pateman, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 171-2]
<p>
And it is such an application that defenders of capitalism fear (Mill did
in fact apply these reasons wider and unsurprisingly became a supporter of 
a market syndicalist form of socialism). If we reject slave contracts as 
illegitimate then, logically, we must also reject <b>all</b> contracts that 
express qualities similar to slavery (i.e. deny freedom) including wage 
slavery.
<p>
The right Libertarian J. Philmore sees what is at stake and argues that 
<i>"contractual slavery [is] . . . [an] extension of the employer-employee 
contract."</i> He asserts (correctly) that <i>"any thorough and decisive critique 
of voluntary slavery. . . would carry over to the employment contract. . . 
Such a critique would thus be a <b>reductio ad absurdum.</b>"</i> [Philmore, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 55] In other words, the difference between wage labour and slavery is 
the time scale, a slave contract is "merely" an extended employment contract. 
It is rare to find a supporter of capitalism being so honest! (And as 
Carole Pateman notes, <i>"[t]here is a nice historical irony here. In the
American South, slaves were emancipated and turned into wage labourers, 
and now American contractarians argue that all workers should have the
opportunity to turn themselves into civil slaves."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>, p. 63]).
<p>
All this does not mean that we must reject free agreement. Far from it! Free
agreement is <b>essential</b> for a society based upon individual dignity and
liberty. There are a variety of forms of free agreement and anarchists
support those based upon co-operation and self-management (i.e. individuals
working together as equals). Anarchists desire to create relationships
which reflect (and so express) the liberty that is the basis of free 
agreement. Capitalism creates relationships that deny liberty. The opposition 
between autonomy and subjection can only be maintained by modifying or
rejecting contract theory, something that capitalism cannot do and so the 
right-wing Libertarian rejects autonomy in favour of subjection (and so 
rejects socialism in favour of capitalism).
<p> 
The real contrast between anarchism and right-Libertarianism is best 
expressed in their respective opinions on slavery. Anarchism is based 
upon the individual whose individuality depends upon the maintenance of 
free relationships with other individuals. If individuals deny their
capacities for self-government from themselves through a contract 
the individuals bring about a qualitative change in their relationship 
to others - freedom is turned into mastery and subordination. For the 
anarchist, slavery is thus the paradigm of what freedom is <b>not</b>, instead
of an exemplification of what it is (as right-Libertarians state).
<p>
As Proudhon argued <i>"[i]f I were asked to answer the following question: What 
is slavery? and I should answer in one word, It is murder, my meaning would 
be understood at once. No extended argument would be required to show that 
the power to take from a man his thought, his will, his personality, is a 
power of life and death; and that to enslave a man is to kill him."</i> [<b>What
is Property?</b>, p. 37]
<p>
In contrast, the right-Libertarian effectively argues that "I support slavery 
because I believe in liberty." It is a sad reflection of the ethical and 
intellectual bankruptcy of our society that such an "argument" is actually 
taken seriously by (some) people. The concept of "slavery as freedom" is
far too Orwellian to warrant a critique - we will leave it up to right
Libertarians to corrupt our language and ethical standards with an attempt
to prove it.
<p>
From the basic insight that slavery is the opposite of freedom, the anarchist 
rejection of authoritarian social relations quickly follows (the rejection 
that Philmore and other right-Libertarians fear):
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Liberty is inviolable. I can neither sell nor alienate my liberty; every
contract, every condition of a contract, which has in view the alienation or
suspension of liberty, is null: the slave, when he plants his foot upon the
soil of liberty, at that moment becomes a free man. . . Liberty is the original 
condition of man; to renounce liberty is to renounce the nature of man: after 
that, how could we perform the acts of man?"</i> [P.J. Proudhon, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 67]
<p></blockquote>
The employment contract (i.e. wage slavery) abrogates liberty. It is based
upon inequality of power and <i>"exploitation is a consequence of the fact 
that the sale of labour power entails the worker's subordination."</i> [Carole
Pateman, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, P. 149] Hence Proudhon's (and Mill's) support of 
self-management and opposition to capitalism - any relationship that 
resembles slavery is illegitimate and no contract that creates a 
relationship of subordination is valid. Thus in a truly anarchistic 
society, slave contracts would be unenforceable -- people in a truly 
free (i.e. non-capitalist) society would <b>never</b> tolerate such a 
horrible institution or consider it a valid agreement. If someone was
silly enough to sign such a contract, they would simply have to 
say they now rejected it in order to be free -- such contracts are
made to be broken and without the force of a law system (and private
defence firms) to back it up, such contracts will stay broken.
<p>
The right-Libertarian support for slave contracts (and wage slavery) 
indicates that their ideology has little to do with liberty and far more 
to do with justifying property and the oppression and exploitation it 
produces. Their support and theoretical support for slavery indicates 
a deeper authoritarianism which negates their claims to be libertarians.
<p>
<a name="secf27"><h2>F.2.7 But surely abolishing capitalism would restrict liberty?</h2>
<p>
Many "anarcho"-capitalists and other supporters of capitalism argue that 
it would be "authoritarian" to restrict the number of alternatives that 
people can choose between by abolishing capitalism. If workers become wage 
labourers, so it is argued, it is because they "value" other things more -- 
otherwise they would not agree to the exchange. But such an argument
ignores that reality of capitalism.
<p>
By <b>maintaining</b> capitalist private property, the options available 
to people <b>are</b> restricted. In a fully developed capitalist economy the 
vast majority have the "option" of selling their labour or starving/living
in poverty -- self-employed workers account for less than 10% of the working 
population. Usually, workers are at a disadvantage on the labour market 
due to the existence of unemployment and so accept wage labour because 
otherwise they would starve (see <a href="secF10.html#secf102">
section F.10.2</a> for a discussion on why
this is the case). And as we argue in sections <a href="secJ5.html#secj511">J.5.11</a> and <a href="secJ5.html#secj512">J.5.12</a>, 
even <b>if</b> the majority of the working population desired co-operative 
workplaces, a capitalist market will not provide them with that outcome 
due to the nature of the capitalist workplace (also see Juliet C. Schor's 
excellent book <b>The Overworked American</b> for a discussion of why workers 
desire for more free time is not reflected in the labour market). In other 
words, it is a myth to claim that wage labour exists or that workplaces are 
hierarchical because workers value other things -- they are hierarchical 
because bosses have more clout on the market than workers and, to use
Schor's expression, workers end up wanting what they get rather than 
getting what they want. 
<p>
Looking at the reality of capitalism we find that because of inequality 
in resources (protected by the full might of the legal system, we should 
note) those with property get to govern those without it during working 
hours (and beyond in many cases). If the supporters of capitalism were 
actually concerned about liberty (as opposed to property) that situation 
would be abhorrent to them -- after all, individuals can no longer exercise 
their ability to make decisions, choices, and are reduced to being order 
takers. If choice and liberty are the things we value, then the ability 
to make choices in all aspects of life automatically follows (including 
during work hours). However, the authoritarian relationships and the
continual violation of autonomy wage labour implies are irrelevant to 
"anarcho"-capitalists (indeed, attempts to change this situation are 
denounced as violations of the autonomy of the property owner!). By
purely concentrating on the moment that a contract is signed they
blind themselves to the restricts of liberty that wage contracts create.
<p>
Of course, anarchists have no desire to <b>ban</b> wage labour -- we aim to 
create a society within which people are not forced by circumstances 
to sell their liberty to others. In order to do this, anarchists propose 
a modification of property and property rights to ensure true freedom of
choice (a freedom of choice denied to us by capitalism). As we have
noted many times, "bilateral exchanges" can and do adversely effect the
position of third parties if they result in the build-up of power/money 
in the hands of a few. And one of these adverse effects can be the 
restriction of workers options due to economic power. Therefore it is 
the supporter of capitalist who restricts options by supporting an economic 
system and rights framework that by their very workings reduce the options 
available to the majority, who then are "free to choose" between those 
that remain (see also <a href="secB4.html">section B.4</a>). Anarchists, in contrast, desire 
to expand the available options by abolishing capitalist private property 
rights and removing inequalities in wealth and power that help restrict 
our options and liberties artificially.
<p>
So does an anarchist society have much to fear from the spread of
wage labour within it? Probably not. If we look at societies such as 
the early United States or the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution 
in Britain, for example, we find that, given the choice, most people
preferred to work for themselves. Capitalists found it hard to find 
enough workers to employ and the amount of wages that had to be offered
to hire workers were so high as to destroy any profit margins. Moreover,
the mobility of workers and their "laziness" was frequently commented
upon, with employers despairing at the fact workers would just work 
enough to make end meet and then disappear. Thus, left to the actions
of the "free market," it is doubtful that wage labour would have spread.
But it was not left to the "free market".
<p>
In response to these "problems", the capitalists turned to the state
and enforced various restrictions on society (the most important being 
the land, tariff and money monopolies -- see sections <a href="secB3.html">B.3</a> and <a href="secF8.html">F.8</a>). In
free competition between artisan and wage labour, wage labour only 
succeeded due to the use of state action to create the required 
circumstances to discipline the labour force and to accumulate 
enough capital to  give capitalists an edge over artisan production 
(see <a href="secF8.html">section F.8</a> for more details). 
<p>
Thus an anarchist society would not have to fear the spreading of
wage labour within it. This is simply because would-be capitalists 
(like those in the early United States) would have to offer such 
excellent conditions, workers' control and high wages as to make 
the possibility of extensive profits from workers' labour nearly 
impossible. Without the state to support them, they will not be
able to accumulate enough capital to give them an advantage within
a free society. Moreover, it is somewhat ironic to hear capitalists 
talking about anarchism denying choice when we oppose wage labour 
considering the fact workers were not given any choice when the 
capitalists used the state to develop wage labour in the first place!
<p>
<a name="secf28"><h2>F.2.8 Why should we reject the "anarcho"-capitalist definitions of freedom and justice?</h2>
<p>
Simply because they lead to the creation of authoritarian social relationships
and so to restrictions on liberty. A political theory which, when consistently
followed, has evil or iniquitous consequences, is a bad theory.
<p>
For example, any theory that can justify slavery is obviously a bad theory
- slavery does not cease to stink the moment it is seen to follow your
theory. As right-Libertarians can justify slave contracts as a type of wage 
labour (see <a href="secF2.html#secf26">section F.2.6</a>) as well as numerous other authoritarian social 
relationships, it is obviously a bad theory.
<p>
It is worth quoting Noam Chomsky at length on this subject:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Consider, for example, the 'entitlement theory of justice'. . . [a]ccording
to this theory, a person has a right to whatever he has acquired by means
that are just. If, by luck or labour or ingenuity, a person acquires
such and such, then he is entitled to keep it and dispose of it as he
wills, and a just society will not infringe on this right.
<p>
"One can easily determine where such a principle might lead. It is entirely
possible that by legitimate means - say, luck supplemented by contractual
arrangements 'freely undertaken' under pressure of need - one person
might gain control of the necessities of life. Others are then free to
sell themselves to this person as slaves, if he is willing to accept
them. Otherwise, they are free to perish. Without extra question-begging
conditions, the society is just.
<p>
"The argument has all the merits of a proof that 2 + 2 = 5. . . Suppose
that some concept of a 'just society' is advanced that fails to characterise
the situation just described as unjust. . . Then one of two conclusions
is in order. We may conclude that the concept is simply unimportant and
of no interest as a guide to thought or action, since it fails to
apply properly even in such an elementary case as this. Or we may conclude
that the concept advanced is to be dismissed in that it fails to correspond 
to the pretheorectical notion that it intends to capture in clear cases.
If our intuitive concept of justice is clear enough to rule social
arrangements of the sort described as grossly unjust, then the sole interest
of a demonstration that this outcome might be 'just' under a given 'theory
of justice' lies in the inference by <b>reductio ad absurdum</b> to the
conclusion that the theory is hopelessly inadequate. While it may capture
some partial intuition regarding justice, it evidently neglects others.
<p>
"The real question to be raised about theories that fail so completely
to capture the concept of justice in its significant and intuitive
sense is why they arouse such interest. Why are they not simply dismissed
out of hand on the grounds of this failure, which is striking in
clear cases? Perhaps the answer is, in part, the one given by Edward 
Greenberg in a discussion of some recent work on the entitlement theory
of justice. After reviewing empirical and conceptual shortcomings, he
observes that such work 'plays an important function in the process of
. . . 'blaming the victim,' and of protecting property against egalitarian
onslaughts by various non-propertied groups.' An ideological defence of
privileges, exploitation, and private power will be welcomed, regardless
of its merits.
<p>
"These matters are of no small importance to poor and oppressed people
here and elsewhere."</i> [<b>The Chomsky Reader</b>, pp. 187-188]
<p></blockquote>
It may be argued that the reductions in liberty associated with capitalism 
is not really an iniquitous outcome, but such an argument is hardly fitting 
for a theory proclaiming itself "libertarian." And the results of these 
authoritarian social relationships? To quote Adam Smith, under the capitalist 
division of labour the worker <i>"has no occasion to exert his understanding, or 
exercise his invention"</i> and <i>"he naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such 
exercise and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for
a human creature to become."</i> The worker's mind falls <i>"into that drowsy
stupidity, which, in a civilised society, seems to benumb the understanding 
of almost all of the inferior [sic!] ranks of people."</i> [cited by Chomsky,
<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 186]
<p>
Of course, it may be argued that these evil effects of capitalist authority 
relations on individuals are also not iniquitous (or that the very real
domination of workers by bosses is not really domination) but that suggests 
a desire to sacrifice real individuals, their hopes and dreams and lives to 
an abstract concept of liberty, the accumulative effect of which would be 
to impoverish all our lives. The kind of relationships we create <b>within</b>
the organisations we join are of as great an importance as their 
voluntary nature. Social relations <b>shape</b> the individual in many 
ways, restricting their freedom, their perceptions of what freedom 
is and what their interests actually are. This means that, in order not
to be farcical, any relationships we create must reflect in their internal
workings the critical evaluation and self-government that created them
in the first place. Sadly capitalist individualism masks structures of
power and relations of domination and subordination within seemingly
"voluntary" associations -- it fails to note the relations of domination
resulting from private property and so <i>"what has been called 'individualism'
up to now has been only a foolish egoism which belittles the individual. 
Foolish because it was not individualism at all. It did not lead to what
was established as a goal; that is the complete, broad, and most perfectly
attainable development of individuality."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Selected
Writings</b>, p. 297]
<p>
This right-Libertarian lack of concern for concrete individual freedom 
and individuality is a reflection of their support for "free markets" (or 
"economic liberty" as they sometimes phrase it). However, as Max Stirner 
noted, this fails to understand that <i>"[p]olitical liberty means that the 
<b>polis,</b> the State, is free; . . . not, therefore, that I am free of the 
State. . . It does not mean <b>my</b> liberty, but the liberty of a power that 
rules and subjugates me; it means that one of my <b>despots</b> . . . is free."</i> 
[<b>The Ego and Its Own</b>, p. 107] Thus the desire for "free markets" results 
in a blindness that while the market may be "free" the individuals within 
it may not be (as Stirner was well aware, <i>"[u]nder the <b>regime</b> of the
commonality the labourers always fall into the hands of the possessors 
. . . of the capitalists, therefore."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 115])
<p>
In other words, right-libertarians give the greatest importance to an 
abstract concept of freedom and fail to take into account the fact that 
real, concrete freedom is the outcome of self-managed activity, solidarity 
and voluntary co-operation. For liberty to be real it must exist in all 
aspects of our daily life and cannot be contracted away without seriously 
effecting our minds, bodies and lives. Thus, the right-Libertarian's 
<i>"defence of freedom is undermined by their insistence on the concept of
negative liberty, which all too easily translates in experience as the
negation of liberty."</i> [Stephan L. Newman, <b>Liberalism as Wit's End</b>, 
p. 161]
<p>
Thus right-Libertarian's fundamental fallacy is that "contract" does not
result in the end of power or domination (particularly when the bargaining 
power or wealth of the would-be contractors is not equal). As Carole 
Pateman notes, <i>"[i]ronically, the contractarian ideal cannot encompass
capitalist employment. Employment is not a continual series of discrete
contracts between employer and worker, but . . . one contract in which a
worker binds himself to enter an enterprise and follow the directions
of the employer for the duration of the contract. As Huw Benyon has
bluntly stated, 'workers are paid to obey.'"</i> [<b>The Sexual Contract</b>, 
p. 148] This means that <i>"the employment contract (like the marriage
contract) is not an exchange; both contracts create social relations
that endure over time - social relations of subordination."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
<p>
Authority impoverishes us all and must, therefore, be combated wherever 
it appears. That is why anarchists oppose capitalism, so that there shall 
be <i>"no more government of man by man, by means of accumulation of capital."</i> 
[P-J Proudhon, cited by Woodcock in <b>Anarchism</b>, p. 110] If, as Murray
Bookchin point it, <i>"the object of anarchism is to increase choice"</i> [<b>The
Ecology of Freedom</b>, p. 70] then this applies both to when we are creating
associations/relationships with others and when we are <b>within</b> these 
associations/relationships -- i.e. that they are consistent with the
liberty of all, and that implies participation and self-management <b>not</b>
hierarchy. "Anarcho"-capitalism fails to understand this essential point 
and by concentrating purely on the first condition for liberty ensures a 
society based upon domination, oppression and hierarchy and not freedom.
<p>
It is unsurprising, therefore, to find that the basic unit of analysis
of the "anarcho"-capitalist/right-libertarian is the transaction (the
"trade," the "contract"). The freedom of the individual is seen as
revolving around an act, the contract, and <b>not</b> in our relations with
others. All the social facts and mechanisms that precede, surround and 
result from the transaction are omitted. In particular, the social 
relations that result from the transaction are ignored (those, and 
the circumstances that make people contract, are the two unmentionables 
of right-libertarianism). 
<p>
For anarchists it seems strange to concentrate on the moment that a
contract is signed and ignore the far longer time the contract is
active for (as we noted in <a href="secA2.html#seca214">
section A.2.14</a>, if the worker is free when
they sign a contract, slavery soon overtakes them). Yes, the voluntary
nature of a decision is important, but so are the social relationships 
we experience due to those decisions.
<p>
For the anarchist, freedom is based upon the insight that other people, 
apart from (indeed, <b>because</b> of) having their own intrinsic value, also 
are "means to my end", that it is through their freedom that I gain my 
own -- so enriching my life. As Bakunin put it: 
<p><blockquote>
<i>"I who want to be free cannot be because all the men around me do not yet 
want to be free, and consequently they become tools of oppression against 
me."</i> [quoted by Errico Malatesta in <b>Anarchy</b>, p. 27]
<p></blockquote>
Therefore anarchists argue that we must reject the right-Libertarian
theories of freedom and justice because they end up supporting the
denial of liberty as the expression of liberty. What this fails to 
recognise is that freedom is a product of social life and that (in
Bakunin's words) <i>"[n]o man can achieve his own emancipation without 
at the same time working for the emancipation of all men around him. 
My freedom is the freedom of all since I am not truly free in thought 
and in fact, except when my freedom and my rights are confirmed and 
approved in the freedom and rights of all men who are my equals."</i> 
[<b>Ibid.</b>]
<p>
Other people give us the possibilities to develop our full human potentiality 
and thereby our freedom, so when we destroy the freedom of others we limit 
our own. <i>"To treat others and oneself as property,"</i> argues anarchist L. Susan 
Brown, <i>"objectifies the human individual, denies the unity of subject and 
object and is a negation of individual will . . . even the freedom gained
by the other is compromised by this relationship, for to negate the will
of another to achieve one's own freedom destroys the very freedom one
sought in the first place."</i> [<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 3]
<p>
Fundamentally, it is for this reason that anarchists reject the 
right-Libertarian theories of freedom and justice -- it just does 
not ensure individual freedom or individuality.
<p>
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