The libertarian left, the folkx who embrace markets while rejecting capitalism, are always quick to point out that “free market” used as a media buzzword refers to something that is anything but free, and the think tanks and lobbyists who advocate what they call free market are in practice proponents and beneficiaries of subsidy and rent. This adequately distances the left libertarian movement from “free market” ideology as bankrolled by big business interests. The thing is, the genuinely principled advocates of laissez-faire capitalism are also critical of “free market” as all-too-commonly understood, and are quite orthodox about advocating an utterly subsidy-free society. How does the left-libertarian view of what does or doesn’t constitute a free market, constrast with that of principled, no-quarter right libertiarianism, of the type that calls itself anarcho-capitalism? Maybe there’s no difference of opinion there about what free market is; with any differences being about what it implies. To quote Hagbard Celine’s tract Never Whistle While You’re Pissing:
ANARCHISM: That organization of society in which the Free Market operates freely, without taxes, urury, landlordism, tariffs, or other forms of coercion or privilege. RIGHT ANARCHISTS predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to compete more often than to cooperate. LEFT ANARCHISTS predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to cooperate more often than to compete.
Of course, I’ve always assumed that competition is a defining feature of the Free Market, so it has always seemed natural to me that anyone who prefers cooperation over competition should be anti-market (anagorist). One thing I must find is developments of market theory (if any) that don’t start with the assumption that human nature is competitive.
Could it be that “free market anticapitalism” incorporates a non-hackneyed definition of free market and a hackneyed definition of capitalism? The left libertarians seem at least to be on speaking terms with the people who say capitalism is simply another term for voluntary activity. I have a problem with that definition as, given a choice, I’d rather not practice capitalism, which I understand to mean “running a business.” To me, capitalism is just another word for opportunism. Not something I consider a crime, but not something I consider an admirable personality trait, either. I only resent opportunism when it seems to be a prerequisite for survival, you know, the need to “hustle and grub in the world of commerce.”