Re: Libertarian or "Dynamic" Socialism (fixed)

Guru George (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 00:29:42 GMT

Jamal, I respect your attempt to support a libertarian form of socialism,
and I have no doubt that such a thing would work (to a certain extent -
see below) in a self-selected society, perhaps in space colonies in the

But I think you have some really wacky ideas about capitalism (at least
so far as modern procapitalists would see it)! All the marks of what
you call capitalism are marks of mercantilism, the union of business and
state interests. This is not capitalism as anarcho-capitalists and most
other procapitalists see it. Our modern Western society is mixed

Capitalism in the modern procapitalist sense means: rule of law (natural
law, meaning law centred around the principles of individualism - right
to life, liberty and property), functioning markets and a functioning
price system. It is a pure socialist myth that this kind of system
(which has never been fully implemented anywhere in the world, but
is, so to speak threaded through the mercantilist economy we have today,
and is responsible for whatever progress and happiness we enjoy) leads
naturally to monopoly. Monopoly, the natural business mode of mercantilism,
can only arise from the kind of collusion between business and government
that is *expressly forbidden* by the concept 'rule of law'. Mercantilism,
after a brief retreat during the 19th century, has reasserted itself
precisely because of *lack*of observation of the principle 'rule of law'.

You must understand that when someone gets a job that is a 'win' for
them, OTHERWISE THEY WOULDN'T TAKE IT. You may argue that in certain
circumstances they 'have no choice'. True, in a sense, but then, as we
procapitalists see it, the*less* capitalism there is around, the*less*
choice they will have. Examples of exploitation in Third World
countries are the result of *lack* of capitalism (most Third World
countries have been more or less socialist/mercantilist since their
independence - true or false?).

Fascism is an extreme form of mercantilism, not of capitalism. Again,
the sorts of things fascists indulge in are expressly forbidden by the
'rule of law' principle, therefore they are not capitalist as modern
procapitalists understand capitalism.

I might add that anarcho-capitalists are such because they believe that
their system would result in a better observation of the rule of law
than state-monopoly-based systems.

Finally, it is highly doubtful whether even a libertarian form of
socialism would result in the kind of technological progress that
capitalism (or rather, the relative degree of capitalism we see around
us) results in. Without a functioning market and price system, it is
impossible to discover whether or not anything that is produced is (to
bastardize a bit of Marxist jargon) 'socially necessary'. This
impossibility means that any attempt to centrally control an economy is
doomed to produce stagnation (and lesser attempts to centrally control
produce lesser amounts of stagnation, as in most Western societies), but
it poses an equally strong challenge to any form of syndicalism or
left-anarchy. I am heavily condensing an argument known as the 'economic
calculation' argument (or 'problem'), which is well known to procapitalist
economists, who have long predicted that socialist economies would
collapse (as indeed they did, and will continue to do). Check out a
book written by
an ex- Marxist, David Ramsay Steele, called "From Marx to Mises: Post-
Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation.",
1992, Open Court publishing. Mr Steele goes into some detail re.
anarcho-syndicalism and similar ideas.

As an ex-socialist myself, I have strong sympathies with the possibility
of consenting socialism. But I believe it is only possible within a
'rule of law' framework. If you want to be a libertarian socialist, you
must first be a libertarian.

Good luck!