.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

My Photo
Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mutualist Political Economy in Kindle Format

Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, previously available only in print, can now be purchased in Kindle format:

U.S. Kindle Store
UK Kindle Store
German Kindle Store

Thanks a lot to Thomas Eicher for reformatting the pdf file to .doc so I could upload it.

At C4SS: Criminalizing Competition

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bleg re Mutualist Political Economy

I'd like to do a Kindle version of MPE, and unfortunately all the versions I can find (including on thumb drives saved from my old hard drives) are in pdf format. If anyone has it in Word, Open Office or .doc, I'd appreciate if you'd email me a copy.

At C4SS: Corporations Are People? So Was Hitler

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Organization Theory Available in Kindle Format

Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective at Kindle Store. Also available at Amazon.uk and Amazon.de.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homebrew Industrial Revolution Available in Kindle Format

Since I've been informed that the text is indeed readable, I'm announcing once again that Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto is for sale in Kindle format.

Bleg re Homebrew Industrial Revolution on Kindle

I'd appreciate some feedback from anyone who's purchased The Homebrew Industrial Revolution on Kindle.

Is it in a readable format? Any serious glitches, like strings of empty pages? I announced some time ago that I couldn't vouch for its quality, but there have been occasional Kindle purchases since then. (I haven't checked it myself in a long time because I don't have a reader and -- aside from the sheer hassle of navigating the CreateSpace dashboard -- I don't know if the version that appears there is an accurate representation of what a reader on Kindle sees).

If it's OK, I'll start promoting it again.


I'm on Twitter now @KevinCarson1

Just occasional brief updates about new publications and appearances. "Occasional," especially, because I have to tweet from public computers; Twitter doesn't load properly on my Firefox browser at home.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

At C4SS: We're All "Social Democrats" Now

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Welfare State for the Rich

Living as I do in Arkansas, I'm privileged to read the commentary of Bradley Gitz, a conservative columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who occasionally makes libertarian noises. I wish there was a Thomas Sowell Award For By-the-Numbers Regurgitation Of Republican Talking Points, so I could nominate Mr. Gitz.

In his column of Aug. 1, Gitz notes the tendency of welfare states to push themselves to bankruptcy. He quotes the old saw, attributed in urban legend to 18th century Scottish historian Alexander Tytler, that democracies only survive until "voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury."

Politicians shower the general public with unearned benefits, rather than telling them to "find jobs, work hard, and save"; you get a lot more votes for having "compassion" than for being "cruel and heartless."

Reading Gitz, you'd get the impression that the main beneficiaries of the welfare state are working people and the poor. But genuine welfare for the poor, like TANF and food stamps, barely amounts to a CBO rounding error. Adding up the so-called "defense" budget, two unfunded wars, "national security" spending on DHS, CIA, DOE and NASA, and interest on debt from past wars, the bulk of the federal government's budget goes to welfare for the Military-Industrial Complex.

Indeed, the dominant feature of the American polity is welfare for big business and the rich. This welfare consists of a wide array of government interventions into the market to enforce artificial scarcities and artificial property rights.

These interventions include patents and copyrights. They include enforcement of absentee title to vacant and unimproved land, which has never been altered by human labor -- the only legitimate means of appropriating land in a free market (in fact, the government pays landowners tens of billions to hold land out of cultivation). They include enforcement of entry barriers to free competition in the supply of credit. And they include enforcement of regulatory cartels, mandated artificially high capital outlays, and all sorts of other entry barriers.

The cumulative effect is to make land and capital artificially scarce, impose overhead costs and other penalties on self-employment, and raise the price of the means of production and subsistence relative to the price of labor. As a result, government intervention shifts income from those who work to those who live off the rents of artificial property rights and artificial scarcity.

That's welfare for the rich. Every time a consumer pays $200 for a CD of MS Windows or Word, when the free market price absent copyright would be $10, she's taxed to pay welfare to Bill Gates. Every time she pays $200 for a prescription that would cost $10 without patents, the patent markup is a tax for welfare to Pfizer. Every time a tenant pays an extra $100 in rent because untold hundreds of millions of square miles of land are closed to development, the extra rent is welfare for the landlord.

The problem is that this welfare state for the rich shifts income from classes with a propensity to spend to classes with a propensity to save and invest. The rentier classes have far more investment capital on their hands than they can find productive outlets for, because there's insufficient demand to fully utilize existing productive capacity. So government resorts to things like the perpetual warfare state, the drug war and prison-industrial complex, and boondoggles like the Interstate Highway System, to use up surplus capital and productive capacity and stave off depression. The financial sector grows steadily, and becomes increasingly prone to speculative bubbles, as investors seek outlets for excess capital.

The welfare state for the poor was actually created to solve the problems created by the welfare state for the rich. New Deal programs like Social Security and AFDC were promoted by "socialists" like GE head Gerard Swope and the Business Advisory Council in order to put a floor under aggregate demand. Government-enforced monopoly and unequal exchange redistribute wealth upward with a backhoe, and then the welfare state for the poor gives back some of it with a teaspoon.

If it weren't for the welfare state for the rich, we wouldn't need welfare for the poor.

Friday, August 05, 2011

At C4SS: Welfare State for the Rich

Two Letters to Lawrence O'Donnell

These are two emails I sent to Lawrence O'Donnell -- thelastword@msnbc.com -- regarding this incident.

Reason and the Police

August 3, 2011
Dear Mr. O'Donnell:

Before you called the Reason staff "right-wing Republicans" and asserted they never criticized the police, perhaps you should have Googled "site:reason.com police" or "site:reason.com 'radley balko'" to see what they've actually written about the police.

Well, better late than never. Now you should do the above-mentioned searches -- followed up by a retraction and an apology.

This is the sort of canard that, if anyone else had done it, you would have used as fodder for a rewrite and demanded a public apology for. If you fail to do so in this instance, you should be ashamed.

Kevin Carson

Tu Quoque
August 6, 2011
Dear Mr. O'Donnell:

Remember earlier this year when you aired footage of Gov. Christie telling an ordinary woman in his audience that his schooling choices were "none of her business," followed by footage of him politely explaining the reasons for his schooling choices to a Fox News host? You said the difference was that the talking head show host was entitled to courtesy because he was somebody; the ordinary woman wasn't because she was nobody.

Fast forward to your remarks about Reason magazine's coverage of the police. Now, I know you're a smart man. There's no doubt in my mind you've found out by now that Reason does -- and more specifically Radley Balko -- does, in fact, do very extensive coverage of police abuses. In fact, as I'm sure you've found out, Balko has the best claim to being the Internet go-to guy on the subject. And I have no doubt you've realized that you screwed up enormously, and that there's a somewhat embarrassing kerfluffle about it in the libertarian blogosphere.

So what to do about it? If you'd made the erroneous accusation against Somebody, you'd have already apologized -- as you've done many times before under similar circumstances when the target had a high enough profile. But since the target was Nobody -- a commentator from a comparatively marginal political movement most of your audience is familiar with only second-hand -- you can afford to just stonewall and wait for the issue to go away.

Does that about sum it up?

Kevin Carson

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

At C4SS: Democracy(TM) -- Coming Soon to a Corporate Welfare State Near You

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

AnCap Tees

I pretty adamantly eschew the ancap label, but Sasha Shepherd's new AnCap Tees website has a lot of T-shirts whose sentiments left-leaning market anarchists like me (and anarchists of all stripes) would stand behind. There are some shirts that are too pro-capitalist for my taste, but Sasha is genuinely anti-corporatist despite the ancap label and has a lot of really great anti-authoritarian stuff for sale. I ordered these two for myself:

Free Software, Free Society
God Bless America(c) (with corporate logo flag)

There's also a lot of great antiwar, anti-drug war, anti-police, and anti-tsa stuff.