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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anarcho-capitalism vs. Agorism

A couple of people have asked me:

FSK frequently criticizes anarcho-capitalists as pro-State trolls. Aren't anarcho-capitalism and agorism the same thing?

I consider "agorism" and "free market anarchism" to be equivalent. Agorism and real free markets are the "One True Version of Anarchy".

The fallacy of "anarcho-capitalists" is that they fail to answer "How will the State be eliminated?" They assume that the State will gradually shrink and then voluntarily shut itself down. This will occur by voting, which is the usual (L)libertarian fantasy.

Anarcho-capitalists sometimes defend large corporations as a natural free market occurrence. Large corporations cannot exist without State subsidies.

Anarcho-capitalists defend the current State. They say "We should obey State regulations for now. In the present, the State has legitimacy. The State is evil, but we need it right now." Anarcho-capitalism is a pro-State philosophy of anarchy.

An agorist says "The State has zero legitimacy *STARTING NOW*. We will ignore all the stupid taxes and laws that restrict our productivity. We will boycott the State as much as possible, but a perfect 100% boycott is not feasible in the present." An agorist wants the State to get bigger and more inefficient and then collapse, instead of gradually shrinking and disappearing.

If you call yourself an anarcho-capitalist and aren't a fool, your beliefs will be similar to those of agorists. However, the people who call themselves anarcho-capitalists tend to fall into the usual (L)libertarian intellectual trap.

This is the problem with using labels over descriptions. I prefer to substitute definitions for what they actually mean, especially when there could be confusion.

If you aren't an idiot, when you refer to "anarchy" or "market anarchism", you mean what I call "agorism" or "really free markets". I frequently see people calling themselves anarcho-capitalists with pro-State troll false beliefs. Whenever possible, substitute labels for what you actually mean, to avoid confusing.

If you call yourself an anarcho-capitalist and you aren't an idiot, you're beliefs will be the same as what I call "agorism". However, I see a lot of pro-State trolls calling themselves anarcho-capitalists.

Agorism is the only philosophy that answers "How can the State be eliminated?" and "What will the replacement look like?" If lots of pro-State trolls start calling themselves agorists, then do I have to find a new name for my philosophy?


fritz said...

Thank you for this post and making things clear. I often have trouble on Mises live chat.And there seems to always be a person arguing Agorism philosophy against Anarcho-capitalism. But when asked the difference they are rude and tell you to look up the meaning. I really think they themselves don't know.

I believe that we have enough people to start a movement.But most people dwell in shades of gray on the fringes of Agorism. If they could mostly embrace one central philosophy.And be connected so they can network. the unfolding would gain momentum.

Mike Gogulski said...


Anarcho-capitalism is a theory of utopia.

Agorism is a revolutionary theory.

They are complementary.

Dan Patrick said...

Interesting. I've never heard someone calling themselves an-cap say that we need the State now. I definitely wouldn't agree with them.

Kelly W. Patterson said...

"If lots of pro-State trolls start calling themselves agorists, then do I have to find a new name for my philosophy?"

Therein lies the problem, at least from a standpoint of discussion. People that don't know or don't care to know what something really means glom onto it and eventually give it such an inaccurate and/or negative connotation that those who legitimately believe in it end up having to find some way to distance themselves from them and its new definition.

Kelly W. Patterson said...

BTW, the crew of the Motor Home Diaries did a rather good interview with Charles Johnson (Anarchist philosopher/blogger) concerning agorism.

Cheapo Groovo said...

I never liked labels because they put you into a box.

JM said...

Agorism is, as I understand it, a method for achieving anarcho-capitalism, so why the antagonism?

Anonymous said...

Reading Rothbard never lead me to think that anarchocapitalists have any pro state leanings. Rothbard unequivocally states that the state is the enemy, and that a theory of justice is needed which clearly defines the state as criminal, comparing his natural rights theory to utilitarianism and gradualism to perpetualism. He always calls for radicals and radical thinking. If you define anarchocapitalism as Rothbardian, then it is not a theory of state apologetics. Strategy is different, rothbard using partyarchy, but not opposed to Agorism.

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