Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Difference between Social Anarchism and Individual Anarchism

  1. Oct 12, 2005 #1
    Okay, first some definitions:

    - A command economy is an economic system in which production and distribution of resources is decided on by a state structure.

    -Libertarianism is the political philosophy that holds that all individuals deserve the liberty to do as they wish with themselves as long as those actions do not infringe on the same liberty of others.

    Like I said before, it comes down to a difference in philosophical issues. Can a state that is a liberal, representative democracy, but with a command economy, be considered libertarian?

    Anarchism recognizes this difference in philosophy in the difference between Social Anarchism and Individual Anarchism. Social Anarchism holds that private property is anti-productive towards a libertarian society, while individual anarchists argue it is essential to individual freedom. So, Social Anarchists would, while criticizing the existance of a state structure, say it is equally or more libertarian than a free market economy controlled by the same kind of government. Individual Anarchists would disagree.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2005 #2
    Another argument is wether or not more choices give you more freedom. You will always (short of an all oppressive regime) have the option to do it yourself. So, does an economic system which gives you 3 colors to choose from instead of 1 really give you more freedom?
  4. Oct 12, 2005 #3
    Simple question....what is your definition of the factors of production?

    I need you to be very precise with your definition here Smurf....

    For example your definition of a factor of production should be able to tell me if people are a factor of production in which a command economy owns by definition. If that is the case then immediately your command economy goes against the ideals of libertarians since from a libertarian point of view a person is free to do with themselves as they wish. That is certainly not a trait that is associated with a piece of property that is owned.

    So you make your definition and then we will be able to see if a command economy does in fact maintain maximum liberty of the individual.
  5. Oct 12, 2005 #4
    If you always have the option to do it yourself then what is to stop everyone from doing it their selves in cooperation with everyone else?

    For example my friends and family may decide to form a coopertative community in which we all take part in helping to support eachother. There would be production and what not but it would in fact require that the smaller community own some of the factors of production. How else can they produce food and whatever else they need? In fact, even if you were to do it all on your own you would have to have control over some of the factors of production.

    So if there is a command economy, everyone must participate or die...simple as that. How should each individual participate? Are people free to make those decisions for themselves or do they have to capitulate to what the government wants them to do? Does that really support the idea that people should be as free as possible so long as their actions don't infringe on the rights of others?
  6. Oct 12, 2005 #5
    Is it not the same in a free market economy?:rolleyes:
    Well like I said, it's a matter of philosophy. In a world with scarce resources, does having private ownership over them infringe on people's liberties? Many anarchists would see both Market and Command economy as being equally detrimental.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2005
  7. Oct 12, 2005 #6
    Of course not...America has had a free market since it started and many people did not participate so long as they could in fact own some of the factors of production like land. In a command economy this is impossible. Either you work for the government or you die.
    People having private ownership of resources is not an infringement on your rights in any way. If someone uses their factors of production in a manner that is incosistent with the well being of society then and only then is that person violating your rights as a free person. For example if I owned Honda and I used illegal business practice that are detrimental to society then I have violated your rights and so the government protects you in such cases by attempting to prevent me from commiting such crimes. The same thing is true for pollutants or what ever else the factors of production could be used for that might infringe on your rights as a person.
    I cannot understand why...I am trying to see this point but I just don't see it at all.
  8. Oct 12, 2005 #7
    So long as any "economic system", in which the production and distribution of resources is decided by subjective individuals that are not aware of what "right" is and therefore do no know what is NEEDED, is supported ANYWHERE, the planet and ALL of its inhabitants are on a path to CERTAIN extinction.

    Of course, until the nations change all economic systems to be right, or until you become extinct, pass the 'time' by dickering back and forth over words such as "command economy", and "Libertarianism", and "representative democracy", and "Social Anarchism", and any other particular word you 'want' to argue about.

    Let it be known: It was not possible to know "right" while i intended to argue.

  9. Oct 12, 2005 #8
    If someone else is making decision for you, no matter how enlightened he/she/it might be, you are being coerced. That's the basic ideological premise, which exists in a vacuum. When stepping into the real world, a Libertarian would try to limit to the absolute minimum the authority others have over your life.

    A way to do so, advocated by F. A. Hayek, is establishing clear rules and boundaries, so that you can know what to expect of others, and what the limits of your own actions are, leaving to authority very little discretion in matters legal, economic, and social.

    So 1) you are free to pursue your own path, and 2) you know what to expect of others; the purpose being to limit arbitrary coercion from individuals, and discretionary action from authority.

    It is entirely irrelevant whether we are talking about a democracy or a totalitarian regime. Democratic coercion is as insidious as other kinds. Thus the notion of *any* kind of body (democratic, religious, fascist, alien) making binding decisions for the rest would be opposed by a Libertarian.

    A couple of problems emerge: how can diverse life be captured in as few and clear rules as one would desire in order to prevent arbitrariness? And how can there be institutional change?

    The key word to keep in mind is "approach". We "approach" autonomy and liberty, but there will always arise imperfections and incoherences, which force us to break our own rules.

    What doesn't make any sense (and whoever taught you this doesn't know what the hell he/she is talking about) is liberty minus private property and the ability to work, invest, associate, and trade freely.

    Smurf, if you are serious about studying this subject you should order right now F. A. Hayek - The Constitution of Liberty, and a basic economics textbook such as Samuelson/Nordhaus's, since I've seen you write much nonsense on economics :tongue:
  10. Oct 12, 2005 #9
    Examples of coercion:

    * the government forbids you from importing clothes from China because of local producers' pressures.
    * the government forces you to invest (through taxation) in certain industries deemed "strategic", such as aerospace.
    * the government takes money from you and uses it to subsidize farmers.
    * the government forces you to hire (or prevents you from firing) someone because of racial considerations.
    * the government forbids you from entering a profession or practice because of union pressures.
    * the government prevents from starting a new business by demanding onerous, costly, and time-consuming paperwork.
    * the government prevents you from running your business as you see fit by imposing arbitrary regulations.
  11. Oct 12, 2005 #10
    Exactly, you have to buy all the factors you need to sustain yourself independantly. You can't get the money to buy that without participating in the system, and of course, buying them is participating in the system. Hell, owning them could be seen as participating in the system - if to a lesser degree. And of course if something happens once you've got yourself set up you have to go and buy replacements - more wood, more nails, (a forge to make your own nails :rolleyes:) ect,.

    Well it is hard to understand as there are many different viewpoints out there. Some would tolerate private property to the degree of worker solidarity and would be against private trading of property. This is mainly because it's the beginning of a system that favors the rich.
    And of course, there's the above argument. You can't live in a free market society (which requires private property and trading of) without participating in the system, therefore you are automatically limited in your freedom. They would probably say the same about a command economy.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2005
  12. Oct 12, 2005 #11
    And how will the process of anointing the ones deciding what's right work? What will happen to the ones who disagree with what's right?
  13. Oct 12, 2005 #12
    Can you rephrase that in English please? I don't speak gibberish.
    Are you arguing for a command economy or for a market economy?:confused:
  14. Oct 12, 2005 #13
    In all honesty, you disappoint me :frown:
  15. Oct 13, 2005 #14
    This depends on how you define 'command economy'. If the command economy is run by the people themselves (or truly democratically elected representatives of the people), then you either work for the *community* (rather than the government) or you die. Just another way of looking at this issue...

  16. Oct 13, 2005 #15
    With the incredible crisis situations we are facing right now (I agree with jimmie that we are facing extinction if we don't sort some crucial stuff out really, really soon), it is not difficult to know what is right.
    Here is my list of ideas on what is right:
    * do whatever it takes (at whatever loss of profit it takes) to stop global warming and reverse the environmental damage that threatens not only humanity but all life on this planet
    * move on from the inherently and inevitably destructive system of global capitalism, which widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots and destabilises the world, to a more evolved and humane system of organising world affairs in which everyone has a stake in living.
    Those people who worry so much about losing their 'individual freedom' are either, IMO, totally deluded about how much freedom they do, in fact, have or are so short-sighted they can't see where this is all heading. Soon we will all be totally free to live on a planet that can no longer support life - all because we are so determined to protect individuals/corporations/whatever who are just out to make a profit. Where is the sense in that?
  17. Oct 13, 2005 #16
    You have a good heart, but sadly don't know much about how the world works. Sensible people such as yourself should work the hardest to understand how things really are. Maybe I'm wrong, but I honestly don't believe Socialist dogmatism can provide solutions to the very urgent and real problems you describe.
  18. Oct 14, 2005 #17
    I didn't see her expressing any "socialist dogmatism" in that thread.
  19. Oct 14, 2005 #18
    see below.

  20. Oct 14, 2005 #19
    so dissent with the system is "socialist dogmatism" now?
  21. Oct 14, 2005 #20
    That's the same rhetoric from the Soviet days. Heck, from the Second International days.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?