At the excellent Freeebay blog, Brent Emerson provides four criteria of success for social anarchy (emphasis mine):
- [Participants] are free from economic oppression and coercion, exercising decisionmaking authority in proportion to the degree they are affected by outcomes ;
- survive and are healthy;
- have equal opportunity to participate in the production & consumption of goods and services and are justly remunerated for their labor;
- are content and happy.
These are basically the principles underlying my choice of anagorism over agorism; particularly #2 and #3 above. Starting with #2, I regard the difference between survival and health to be one of degree, not kind. Any survival strategy that significantly compromises health strategy should be regarded as at least a partial failure of survival, and any market economy in which the going rate for one’s services falls short of survival or literally uses up one’s life expectancy, should stand alongside Ayn Rand’s straw-man conception of “altruism” as a system that demands the literal sacrifice of individual lives.
Concerning #3 above, the market paradigm itself is predicated on a principle of non-entitlement. With anagorism I hope to prioritize inclusivity over non-entitlement. I am aware, of course, of the conflict between universal inclusion and total non-coercion. Perhaps a no-compromise solution is not possible and we need to shoot for maximally efficient tradeoffs.
The article linked above explores Parecon as a strategy for implementing social anarchy, which may explain the reference to “decisionmaking authority in proportion to the degree they are affected by outcomes.” I’m not sure how this quantity can be accounted for, but I think it’s a more authentic measure of “having skin in the game” than is amount of equity investment, which leads to the “one share, one vote” non-democracy of joint stock companies. The article plots a course from the status quo to Parecon by way of a social democratic state. While I am open to either the immediate or gradual removal of the state, this particular game plan raises some concerns. The role of the state during the intermediate phase is described as follows:
- Redistributes wealth through transfer schemes working on both ends of the income/wealth spectrum: a truly progressive income tax and a substantially enlarged estate tax, and stateadministered basic income coupons for various essential markets, such as food, housing and health care;
- Welcomes women fully into the workforce by “reward[ing] family care and promot[ing] gender equality at the same time”, through reforms such as reducing employment hours for everyone to coincide with the hours children spend in school, providing universal preschool, mandating “use it or lose it” paid parental leave for all parents, taxing married individuals separately, eliminating the tax deduction for ablebodied adult “dependents” while providing generous deductions for people actually needing care, extending prorated benefits to all parttime workers, and requiring employment as a condition for benefits coverage ; and
- Promotes and supports worker cooperatives in the economy and encourages decentral protoplanning among worker coops: alliances to collectively complete supply chains, determine efficient allocations, and find opportunities for new firms.
No doubt agorists both right and left will object most strenuously to #1, or denying people of the fruits of one’s labors. More concerning to me, though, is #3; tasking the hopefully now-vestigial state with the coordination and perhaps architecture of decentralized economic planning. This is the one activity which, in my opinion, must be undertaken within the non-governmental sector of pre-anarchist society, if nothing else, to prove that it can be done independently of government—what the non-market, non-state sector needs more than anything else is proof-of-concept.