Role of competition in the anagora

If we go with so expansive a definition of market as “all things voluntary,” then of course only tyrants occupy the non-market ideological space, and in that case anagorism, despite the name, is a market-based ideology.

If competitiveness is a defining feature of markets, then that is at least one criterion in addition to voluntary association. If not, then a non-competitive markets would be a non-oxymoron. If voluntarism and competitiveness are both essential qualities of markets, then people who don’t voluntarily engage in competition don’t exist. There’s a place for competition in anagorist society, but it’s more in the realm of amateur athletic competition than economic competition. If economic competition simply must be a feature of society, let it at least be competition over luxuries and perhaps non-fungible types of status. A competition-optional society is amenable enough.

Here is a list of qualities that are often associated with markets:

  • accountability
  • voluntary association
  • voluntary non-association (i.e. non-entitlement, and ultimately expendability)
  • barrier-free entry and exit
  • competitiveness
  • unique qualification at efficient allocation
  • the profit motive

Pursuant to social conditions that are livable for a person of my temperament, it would be good to have the positive features of markets (voluntary association, barrier-free access, efficiency), without (or with a muted version of) those aspects of markets that make them a stressful “truck and barter” type experience, such as expendability, competitiveness, and the necessity of profit seeking or even profit maximization. At least, the luxury of at least some fraction of a human lifespan during which body and soul can be held together without the need to look at every situation with the attitude of “where’s the opportunity in this.” A little opportunism, like a little competitiveness, may be salutary, but hopefully it need not be a cradle-to-grave obsession, just to tread water. Ideally it will someday be something for those bizarrely imprinted biots who actually enjoy such things to do on their own time.

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Quotebag #109

“Due to vast disparities in power and wealth, people will be aggressively clamoring for any moment of time or spare dollar from the wallet of the elites — [Tyler Cowen] uses the analogy of a billionaire rolling in a limousine through the streets of Calcutta, and anyone who has stepped off the plane in a poor country and been immediately inundated with salesmen and con artists can relate (except those people will now be us).”—escapefromwisconsin

“When soldiers go to die in Iraq and say ‘We are going there to defend our freedoms’, this doesn’t mean that Iraq is threatening their freedom of speech or [of] conscience directly. It means that they are fulfilling their part of the bargain where the state guarantees them these freedoms and they are prepared to die when the state needs it.”—Clarissa

“Try reading some of John Young’s correspondence, particularly his exchanges with journalists. There you will learn how to be more concise and pack a lot more meaning into a lot less words…He has left me open-mouthed at times, … ”—Todd Judge

Ethics Unwrapped’s Concepts Unwrapped Series, CC-BY-SA-3.0 by Soniamelendez

“I think I will coin a phrase. It is an historical fact that gov’t embrace of ‘pro-market’ policies always means (1) more bureaucrats, (2) more complex regulations, (3) larger zones of human life that fall under rubric of state regulations, and hence, violence. I propose to call this ‘the libertarian paradox.’ Or should I call it ‘the liberal paradox’? Is that too antiquated a usage now?”—David Graeber

“Indeed, more money is being poured into AI research by Goldman-Sachs alone than by the top five academic centers, put together, and all of it helping to engender systems with a central ethos of predatory opportunism and parasitic amorality.”—David Brin

“Lotto of yotta-payments next: ‘Spotify (on-par with other streamers) pays only .00065 cents per play.’ ”—

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Quotebag #108

“Any time someone sets up a ‘heads I win, tails I-don’t-lose’ arrangement, there’s a good bet that someone else is losing.”—Michael O. Church

“I believe that this is because, for some inexplicable reason, we treat economy like a ‘force’ (like gravity or electromagnetism) instead of as a ‘creation’ (like a government). I don’t really see why, since all economies are ultimately made up of people, some of whom have a lot more power than others…just like government.”—m1sterlurk

“Smash the economic panopticon!”—Brainpolice2

“Still, as I say, the only criteria that should be a constant is human health and happiness, not the noise we often engage in when discussing business models and theories. Leave the disruption to the likes of Snowden, so that Snowden’s form of disruption performs a salutary check on government overreach and empire…”—Mitchell J. Freedman

“Volunteering for community: Yes! Working for tech company for free for work dudes get paid for: No! ”—Robyn O.

“So, we sell the stuff we catch overseas, and then import our stuff from China. Of course I’m sure economists will beat us over the head with Ricardian Equivalence to explain how this shipping of seafood thousands of miles across the globe every day is economically ‘efficient,’ and that our silly little common sense it totally wrong. After all, economics is ‘science!’ But does anyone think this energy efficient? How much fossil fuels are used in this system?”—escapefromwisconsin

“The ‘promise’ of automation has historically been ‘freeing workers from drudgery’ — that’s code for ‘unemployment.’ Benefits accrue upwards.”—LibrarianShipwreck

“Forcing people to ‘verify their identity&rsqou; via utility bills is thinly veiled classism. They want homeowners and master tenants.”—I really like bears.

“The everyday experiences of most people should attest to the fact that consumer sovereignty is a myth and that the voluntary nature of employment is a myth.”—Brainpolice2

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HAT: at the intersection of data research and data monetization?

HAT (Hub of All Things) incorporates sombunall (some but not all) aspects of pubwan. Basically, they’re working with rather than against the idea of ownership of data, but at least they encourage an active rather than passive role for individuals in the datascape. There’s also the detail of HUB being something that actually exists, unlike pubwan. Perhaps this is yet another data point in support of the utterly depressing conclusion that monetization is a pre-requisite for activity. Unschoolers notwithstanding, I see the fact that it’s run by academics as a definite positive, although these, sadly, are on the entreprenoorial end of the academic spectrum:

Q: How is the HAT different form other home hub projects?
A: Are there other technologies, hubs or platforms out there? Of course! But there are very few teams of researchers out there who can deliver a real live working market platform as an outcome of a research project. Most will deliver a technology demonstrator or basic proof of concept, but to build a market requires real people, real money, real businesses and real products/services; that’s why we’re different, and as a bonus we also hope to change the world while doing it! Check this post on how we are different.

And of course they have to rub in the necessity of the business model by talking about changing the wooooorld! as if HAT is yet another social entreprenoorship fad.

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Let’s equivocate

The left column consists of verbatim quotes from Left-Libertarianism: Its Past, Its Present, Its Prospects, with occasional emphasis, mine.

left-libertarianism of the C4SS variety anagorism as advanced by Lorraine Lee
commitment to freed markets, private property, and laissez-faire; b) an orientation toward class analysis and a rejection of hierarchical workplaces, corporate dominance, and gross economic inequality as evils both akin to and largely enabled by statism (especially by regulations that allow favoured corporations to reap the benefits of economies of scale while socialising the costs of diseconomies of scale), in favour of horizontal organisation and worker self-management; and c) a concern with combating forms of social privilege such as patriarchy and misogyny, white supremacy, heteronormativity and homophobia, cissexism, and ableism, again as evils both akin to statism and standing in relationships of mutual support with it. Opposition to militarism and nationalism, and support for environmentalism and open borders, are also part of the mix. same principles, reversed priorities: (a) commitment to class consciousness and zero tolerance for hierarchy, dominance, inequality, privilege, militarism and nationalism as evils of comparable magnitude to the problem of statism and (b) orientation toward non-coercion, rights of personal property owners and live-and-let-live; and (c) zero tolerance for social privilege in the form of patriarchy, misogyny, white supremacy, heteronormativity, etc., and an interest in anti-statism to the extent that it is useful as a means to the end of destroying hierarchy in the abstract
left-libertarians are closest to the pro-free-market, anti-capitalist, anti-privilege position of such 19th-century individualist anarchists as Stephen Pearl Andrews, Voltairine de Cleyre, William B. Greene, Ezra Heywood, Thomas Hodgskin, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, and Josiah Warren. The 19th century heroes of anagorism tend to include more Europeans (Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Rocker) than Americans, but include such Americans as Goldman, Spies, Parsons.
left-libertarians would agree with BHLs that banning sweatshops would harm workers, but rather than praising sweatshops would favour striving to undermine the social and political structures that systematically deprive impoverished workers of better options than sweatshops. I believe that “banning” can be effected without statecraft, and my attitude toward the “sweating system” is termination with extreme prejudice.
Left-libertarians tend to see existing economic institutions as far more deformed in the direction of inequality and privilege by government intervention than the majority of BHL proponents do. Anagorists tend to see deformation as primarily something that economic institutions exert upon government (which is generally a weaker social force), although both politics and economics need to be abolished, or at least obviated.
Relatedly, left-libertarians tend to look with greater favour on the labour movement and on unions. I’m pro-union without reservations.
One might say that if the dominant BHL aim is to fuse Hayek with Rawls, the dominant left-libertarian aim is to fuse Murray Rothbard with David Graeber. Hmm, haven’t thought about that one enough. I say for now I’m trying to fuse Michael Albert with Paul Goodman.
One concept often associated with left-libertarianism is that of “thick libertarianism”7 – the idea that there are certain value commitments which, while not logically entailed by libertarian principles, are nevertheless bound up either conceptually or causally with those principles in such a way as to make them part of reasonable libertarian advocacy. For example, some of these additional commitments may be part of, or implied by, the most reasonable defense of libertarianism, or may be needed in order to choose between alternative ways of applying libertarian principles, or in order to make a libertarian social order achievable or sustainable. For most thick-libertarian advocates, this does not mean that those who reject such commitments do not count as libertarians; but it does mean that their libertarianism is less than fully realised. Achievable or sustainable? How quaint. How about non-dystopian? I’m for thick libertarianism, but when push comes to shove I will prioritize the thick part over the libertarian part. I’m also for thick individualism, thick voluntarism, thick contractarianism and thick transparency.

The main difference is, I use equivocal language to the extent that I advocate for liberty, and unequivocal language in defense of equality.

photo by star athena (CC-BY-2.0) (see Famous Blue Raincoat)
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Why I use the term “left-styled libertarian”

This has come up in C4SS, referencing a post in anti-libertarian blog Anti-Libertarian Criticism. Simpy put, the difference between left-libertarians and anarcho-capitalists is one of style, not substance. The left-libertarian definition of capitalism is exactly equal to the anarcho-capitalist (and also, increasingly, tea party) definition of corporatism, and the left-libertarian definition of free market is exactly equal to the anarcho-capitalist definition of capitalism. They both hold the so-called non-aggression principle not only as non-negotiable, but as the central feature of their ideology; the necessary and sufficient condition from which the rest of either left-libertarian or anarcho-capitalist theory can be derived.
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Quotebag #107

“How do you reconcile a right to resources based on making them ‘productive’ with the need for places on this earth that are not cultivated?”—Mel

“In 2002, I stood up to question law professor Larry Lessig at an American Library Assn. meeting about copyright issues where I said large corporations are the gorilla in the room because, if, as he was saying, we strengthen or expand ‘fair use’ exceptions for copyright, large corporations will very quickly expose and exploit loopholes that will undermine the rights of smaller copyright holders. If, however, we limit ‘fair use,’ we get the Mickey Mouse Police and abusive ‘cease and desist’ orders that also undermine ‘free speech.’ Lessig, at the time, belittled my concern, but a few years later, recognized the validity of the concern. He finally saw the gorilla in the room.”—Mitchell J. Freedman

“Is there such a thing as the ‘sharing economy,’ or are some people more interested in sharing, while others are interested in the economy?”—Tom Slee

“The power is where the data isn’t.”—Cathy O’Neill

“This unwavering faith in ‘bootstrapping’ often leads to a sort of perverse entrepreneurialism.”—Matt Cole

“I’ve always feared that if humans became technologically immortal, but if we did not succeed in ending scarcity, the first thing that an elite would do would be to create a “zombie” class of people who (like us mortals) lose most or all memory every hundred years or so, lest they acquire the knowledge that enable them to compete with the existing elite. They would continue to die (in effect) but be biologically maintained as peak-of-their-prime adults (to perform work, for others’ behalf) and probably conceive of themselves as immortal.”—Michael O. Church

“Anarchists on the right want a nation of guns, not laws. Anarchists on the left see a nation of guns, not laws.”—Dale Carrico

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