Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kevin Carson says it so I don't have to.

"I am no social democrat. I'm under no illusions about the central role of big business in formulating the New Deal. I don't like statism of any kind. In my opinion, New Deal liberalism and the Reagan-Thatcher model of neoliberalism are like two farmers. The first farmer thinks he can get more work out of his livestock, in the long run, if he feeds them well and gives them comfortable shelter and sufficient rest. The second farmer thinks he can get more work out of them if he works them to death and then replaces them. There's no question that both "farmers" view us as "livestock," and that their prime concern is with their own profit. But I know which farm I'd rather live on.

Quite frankly, if my only choices are corporate liberalism and social democracy, and a banana republic on the neoliberal model, I'll take the former any day. If I get to choose between the paternalism of Brave New World and the jackboot in my face of 1984, it won't take me long to decide. I'm not ashamed to say that if my only choices are the welfare statist and neoliberal versions of statism, I'll take the kind of statism whose yoke weighs less heavily on my own back."
(emphasis mine)

In my view, that's a big "if" though. Given the advanced instability of modern production and finance, and the increasing growth of global black and grey markets, I suspect that neither form of farming will be sustainable for much longer, and it's long past time for the livestock to take over. That said, we must beware of any doctrine of "some animals are more equal than others".

I'd also like to point out an interesting thought by "Bunty" in the comments section:
"There could lie root of the problem, in the vulgar view, the market seems to be something external, a strict ruleset/framework in which people have to participate competitively (even those up the ladder have to keep fighting for market share; or fall, meaning that any means justify that end). It is an old skool religion, with banks as churches and and priests and sacrifice and Greed itself as a god."

This is why I don't trust minarchists, to an extent. But either way, it is an EXTREMELY GRAVE error to view "markets" as anything at all. The word is an abstraction to describe the sum of exchanges among people. In this sense a "free market" means a situation in which all of these exchanges are voluntary.

1 comment:

Kevin Carson said...

Thanks for the link, Anna.

Your point is well taken. I wouldn't be surprised if we've reached (or are shortly to reach), thanks to the progression of network society and encryption and so forth, a singularity beyond which either system of power becomes unenforceable. A small foretaste of this is the impotent thrashing around of the RIAA, Microsoft, and other assorted Copyright Nazis trying to prevenent the inevitable death of their business model.