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Anarchist Economics - And, An Invitation

Ran across an article today about Anarchist Economics that I found very interesting.

Anarchist Economics
I've long been curious about Anarchist Philosophy, yet too much of it is ponderous and difficult to read, at least for me. This article seems extremely clear and concise.

The current popular perception of Anarchism is idealistic masked and black clad youths relishing destruction and violence, i.e. against rather than for anything.
This image is not the sum total of Anarchism, but when viewed superficially, the philosophy seems to many people to be too idealistic and naive.
Obviously the U.S. and the world in general is in dire need of a better economic system. Whether Capitalism as currently enforced with riot police needs to be just reformed, Socialism more solidly embraced, or a new system devised which is a conscious harmony of these two systems is an important question for the new Millennium.

Would love to have this discussion on my program, "A Growing Concern," this Friday evening, with someone(s) who can articulate intelligently the Anarchist Philosophy, with a special emphasis on Economics.

Does Anarchism have any solutions to our troubled economy?
And more importantly, does it have in depth analysis and solutions to the gross social injustices which is increasingly the hall mark of Capitalism?

If interested, please contact me through IMC, or in email.

I've chosen these pictures, mainly because they're all I have, but also because this is the general perspective of Anarchism. I'd like to help deepen and broaden the popular perception of this important Philosophy.

some links tocheck out 05.Dec.2011 13:23

uh yeah

 link to blogs.plos.org
"David Graeber: anthropologist, anarchist, financial analyst"

 link to delong.typepad.com
"Graeber's summary:

[W]hat anthropologists observe when neighbors do engage in something like exchange with each other, if you want your neighbor's cow, you'd say, "wow, nice cow" and he'd say "you like it? Take it!" and now you owe him one. Quite often people don't even engage in exchange at all if they were real Iroquois or other Native Americans, for example, all such things would probably be allocated by women's councils.

So the real question is not how does barter generate some sort of medium of exchange that then becomes money, but rather, how does that broad sense of "I owe you one" turn into a precise system of measurement that is: money as a unit of account?

By the time the curtain goes up on the historical record in ancient Mesopotamia, around 3200 BC, it's already happened. There's an elaborate system of money of account and complex credit systems. (Money as medium of exchange or as a standardized circulating units of gold, silver, bronze or whatever, only comes much later.)

So really, rather than the standard story first there's barter, then money, then finally credit comes out of that if anything its precisely the other way around. Credit and debt comes first, then coinage emerges thousands of years later and then, when you do find "I'll give you twenty chickens for that cow" type of barter systems, it's usually when there used to be cash markets, but for some reason as in Russia, for example, in 1998 the currency collapses or disappears.

Indeed. It really looks from the anthropologists that Adam Smith was wrong--that we are not animals that like to "truck, barter, and exchange" with strangers but rather gift-exchange pack animals--that we manufacture social solidarity by gift networks, and those who give the most valuable gifts acquire status hereby.

 link to www.nakedcapitalism.com
What is Debt? - An Interview with Economic Anthropologist David Graeber

David Graeber currently holds the position of Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University London. Prior to this he was an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University. He is the author of 'Debt: The First 5,000 Years' which is available from Amazon.

Another good resource 05.Dec.2011 15:18

construction worker

In past centuries anarchism was in many ways simply the anti-state version of communism, with it's core principle "from each according to ones abilities, to each according to ones needs."

I would argue that it's a mistake to think that there is one single type of anarchist economic model that could adequately serve every community globally. Rather, a diversity of local economic systems all based on a few key principles (making sure activities are organized so as to be safe, healthy and enjoyable, as well as productive in a way that makes sure everyone's needs get met, etc.) could all co-exist, as they have at certain times in the past. This would take into account various diverse local environmental conditions as well as cultural/historical realities. Also, if one local economic system wasn't working, then the neighboring system could be adopted instead with relative ease.

I would add that anarchist economics take the issue of how to organize economic activity seriously, as a very mature adult activity which determines much of the health of our society, rather than as a particularly elaborate and childish game of monopoly, with some people winning and losing, as capitalism is currently set up.

is a pretty excellent all-around anarchism 101 with chapters dedicated to specific topics like anarchist economics. (free pdf format book)

. 05.Dec.2011 22:38


Some anarchists seek to nurture a gift economy.

Some anarchists are opposed to these three systems of economic exploitation:
1. absentee-ownership / rent
2. moneylending / interest
3. state authority / taxation

Some anarchists wish to abolish formal employment and wages.

Some anarchists want to reduce the GNP. Work less, play more.

anok 06.Dec.2011 16:29


Anarchist economics can summed up best: The people will work it out.

Even if you're not an Anarchist, the best government is one created when the people, we the people,come together to decide, and every man woman and child has a voice not only in the way it's run, but in it's very inception. There are no leaders, there's no loyalties to be played off of, there are no special privileges to those who would sell their souls to make life just a little easier, the dropouts, the losers of society, (the Portland Police Department?).

Anarchist models of economics are the same as most or all models of economics; (for the most part, ), bullshit, an abstraction. The only model of economics that would make sense is one created organically when the people finally come together and cast of the weight of a world build on suppression and control, exploitation, to reduce life to something so arbitrary and small that only a select group of assholes with no soul to get in the way can even comprehend how to get ahead. What makes Anarchism Anarchism is the appeal that it's appeal for every man woman and child to be free and good; to work together. It can only work when people work together though.

P.S. The juxtaposition of Fuck the Troops against a sign saying "support the troops bring them home" is cracking me up. Oh yeah, and I'm not an Anarchist.