Mutualism began in 18th-century English and French labour movements before taking an anarchist form associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in France and others in the United States. Proudhon proposed spontaneous order, whereby organisation emerges without central authority, a "positive anarchy" where order arises when everybody does "what he wishes and only what he wishes" and where "business transactions alone produce the social order". It is important to recognize that Proudhon distinguished between ideal political possibilities and practical governance. For this reason, much in contrast to some of his theoretical statements concerning ultimate spontaneous self-governance, Proudhon was heavily involved in French parliamentary politics and allied himself not with anarchist, but rather with socialist factions of workers movements and in addition to advocating state-protected charters for worker-owned cooperatives he also promoted certain nationalization schemes during his life of public service.
Benjamin Tucker originally subscribed to the idea of land ownership associated with mutualism which does not grant that this creates property in land, but rather holds that when people customarily use given land and in some versions goods other people should respect that use or possession. Unlike with property, ownership is no longer recognized when that use stops. The mutualist theory holds that the stopping of use or occupying land reverts it to the commons or to an unowned condition, and makes it available for anyone that wishes to use it. As a result, there would be no market in land that is not in use. However, Tucker later abandoned natural rights theory and said that land ownership is legitimately transferred through force unless specified otherwise by contracts: "Man's only right to land is his might over it. If his neighbor is mightier than he and takes the land from him, then the land is his neighbor's, until the latter is dispossessed by one mightier still". He expected that individuals would come to the realization that the "occupancy and use" was a "generally trustworthy guiding principle of action" and that individuals would likely contract to an occupancy and use policy.
Murray Rothbard asserted that "capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism"
Classical liberalJohn Locke argues that as people apply their labor to unowned resources, they make those resources their property. For Locke, there are only two legitimate ways people can acquire new property, namely by mixing their labor with unowned resources or by voluntary trade for created goods. In accordance with Locke's philosophy, Rothbardian free-market anarchists believe that property may only originate by being the product of labor and that its ownership may only legitimately change as a result of exchange or gift. They derive this homestead principle from what they call the principle of self-ownership. Locke had a proviso which says that the appropriator of resources must leave "enough and as good in common to others", but Rothbard's market anarchist followers do not agree with this proviso, believing instead that the individual may originally appropriate as much as she wishes through the application of her labor and that property thus acquired remains hers until she chooses otherwise, terming this as neo-Lockean.
Anarcho-capitalists see this as consistent with their opposition to initiatory coercion since only land which is not already owned can be taken without compensation. If something is unowned, there is no person against whom the original appropriator is initiating coercion. They do not think that a claim of and by itself can create ownership, but rather that the application of one's labor to the unowned object as for example beginning to farm unowned land. They accept voluntary forms of common ownership, which means property open to all individuals to access.Samuel Edward Konkin III, the founder of agorism, was also a Rothbardian.
Left-libertarians favor worker solidarity vis-à-vis bosses, support poor people's squatting on government or abandoned property, and prefer that corporate privileges be repealed before the regulatory restrictions on how those privileges may be exercised. They see Walmart as a symbol of corporate favoritism—supported by highway subsidies and eminent domain—view the fictive personhood of the limited-liability corporation with suspicion, and doubt that Third Worldsweatshops would be the "best alternative" in the absence of government manipulation. Left-libertarians tend to eschew electoral politics, having little confidence in strategies that work through the government. They prefer to develop alternative institutions and methods of working around the state.
The genealogy of contemporary market-oriented left-libertarianism, sometimes labeled left-wing market anarchism, overlaps to a significant degree with that of Steiner–Vallentyne left-libertarianism as the roots of that tradition are sketched in The Origins of Left-Libertarianism. Carson–Long-style left-libertarianism is rooted in 19th-century mutualism and in the work of figures such as the British Thomas Hodgskin and the American individualist anarchistsBenjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner. While with notable exceptions market-oriented libertarians after Tucker tended to ally with the political right, relationships between such libertarians and the New Left thrived in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for modern left-wing market anarchism.
Benjamin Tucker and his contemporaries
American individualist anarchistBenjamin Tucker identified as a socialist and argued that the elimination of what he called the four monopolies—the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffs—would undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker influenced and interacted with anarchist contemporaries—including Lysander Spooner, Voltairine de Cleyre, Dyer D. Lum and William B. Greene—who have in various ways influenced later left-libertarian thinking.
Alliance between market-oriented libertarians and the New Left
The doyen of modern American market-oriented libertarianism, Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard, was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism. However, Rothbard had long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions—one that was naturally agreeable to many on the left—and came increasingly in the 1960s to seek alliances on the left—especially with members of the New Left—in light of the Vietnam War, the military draft and the emergence of the Black Power movement.
Working with other radicals like Ronald Radosh and Karl Hess, Rothbard argued that the consensus view of American economic history, according to which a beneficent government has used its power to counter corporate predation, is fundamentally flawed. Rather, he argued, government intervention in the economy has largely benefited established players at the expense of marginalized groups, to the detriment of both liberty and equality. Moreover, the robber baron period, hailed by the right and despised by the left as a heyday of laissez-faire, was not characterized by laissez-faire at all, but it was in fact a time of massive state privilege accorded to capital. In tandem with his emphasis on the intimate connection between state and corporate power, he defended the seizure of corporations dependent on state largesse by workers and others.
Rothbard himself ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement. Drawing on the work of Rothbard during his alliance with the left and on the thought of Karl Hess, some thinkers associated with market-oriented American libertarianism came increasingly to identify with the left on a range of issues, including opposition to war, to corporate oligopolies and to state-corporate partnerships as well as an affinity for cultural liberalism. One variety of this kind of libertarianism has been a resurgent mutualism, incorporating modern economic ideas such as marginal utility theory into mutualist theory. Kevin Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy helped to stimulate the growth of new-style mutualism, articulating a version of the labor theory of value incorporating ideas drawn from Austrian economics. Other market-oriented left-libertarians have declined to embrace mutualist views of real property while sharing the mutualist opposition to corporate hierarchies and wealth concentration. Left-libertarians have placed particular emphasis on the articulation and defense of a libertarian theory of class and class conflict, although considerable work in this area has been performed by libertarians of other persuasions.
A well-known criticism of free-market anarchism is by Robert Nozick, who argued that a competitive legal system would evolve toward a monopoly government—even without violating individuals rights in the process. While free-market anarchists such as Roy Childs and Murray Rothbard have rejected Nozick's arguments, John Jefferson actually advocates Nozick's argument and states that such events would best operate in laissez-faire.
^Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson (eds). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Minor Compositions; 1st edition November 5, 2011.
^Gary Chartier, "Advocates of Freed Markets Should Oppose Capitalism," "Free-Market Anti-Capitalism?" session, annual conference, Association of Private Enterprise Education (Cæsar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV, April 13, 2010)
^Sabatini, Peter (Fall/Winter 1994–1995). "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy". Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed (41). "Within Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However Rothbard's claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist venders...so what remains is shrill anti-statism conjoined to a vacuous freedom in hackneyed defense of capitalism. In sum, the "anarchy" of Libertarianism reduces to a liberal fraud".
^Meltzer, Albert (2000). Anarchism: Arguments For and Against. AK Press. p. 50. "The philosophy of "anarcho-capitalism" dreamed up by the "libertarian" New Right, has nothing to do with Anarchism as known by the Anarchist movement proper".
^Goodway, David (2006). Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 4. "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Murray Rothbard and Robert Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition".
^Marshall, Peter (2008). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: Harper Perennial. p. 565. "In fact, few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice, Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the State, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists".
^Carson, Kevin A. (2008). Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective. Charleston, SC: BookSurge.
^Carson, Kevin (19 June 2009). "Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated". Center for a Stateless Society. "But there has always been a market-oriented strand of libertarian socialism that emphasizes voluntary cooperation between producers. And markets, properly understood, have always been about cooperation. As a commenter at Reason magazine's Hit&Run blog, remarking on Jesse Walker's link to the Kelly article, put it: "every trade is a cooperative act." In fact, it's a fairly common observation among market anarchists that genuinely free markets have the most legitimate claim to the label "socialism."
^Carson, Kevin (2010). The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto. Charleston, SC: BookSurge.
^Chartier, Gary (2009). Economic Justice and Natural Law. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
^Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. "It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism."
^Long, Roderick T. (2000). Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand. Washington, D.C.: Objectivist Center.
^Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (2000). Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
^Wilbur, Shawn (2006). "More from the 1826 "Mutualist"?". "A member of a community". The Mutualist. This 1826 series criticised Robert Owen's proposals and has been attributed to a dissident Owenite, possibly from the Friendly Association for Mutual Interests of Valley Forge.
^Proudhon, Solution to the Social Problem, ed. H. Cohen (New York: Vanguard Press, 1927), p. 45.
^Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1979). The Principle of Federation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN0-8020-5458-7. The notion of anarchy in politics is just as rational and positive as any other. It means that once industrial functions have taken over from political functions, then business transactions alone produce the social order.
^Greene, William Batchelder (1875). "Communism versus Mutualism". Socialistic, Communistic, Mutualistic and Financial Fragments. Boston: Lee & Shepard. "Under the mutual system, each individual will receive the just and exact pay for his work; services equivalent in cost being exchangeable for services equivalent in cost, without profit or discount; and so much as the individual laborer will then get over and above what he has earned will come to him as his share in the general prosperity of the community of which he is an individual member".
^Avrich, Paul (1996). Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America. Princeton University Press. p. 6. ISBN0-691-04494-5.
^Miller, David, ed. (1991). Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Blackwell Publishing. p. 11. ISBN0-631-17944-5.
^Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1840). What Is Property?. Princeton, MA: Benjamin Tucker (1876). p. 281.
^Doherty, Brian M. (2007). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. New York: Public Affairs. p. 338.
^Rothbard; Murray; Radosh, Ronald, eds. (1972). A New History of Leviathan: Essays on the Rise of the American Corporate State. New York: Dutton.
^Hess, Karl (1975). Dear America. New York: Morrow.
^On partnerships between the state and big business and the role of big business in promoting regulation, see Kolko, Gabriel (1977). The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900–1916. New York: Free; Shaffer, Butler (2008). In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938. Auburn, AL: Mises Institute.
^Rothbard, Murray (15 June 1969). "Confiscation and the Homestead Principle." Libertarian Forum. 1 (6): pp. 3–4.
^Richman, Sheldon (13 July 2007). "Class Struggle Rightly Conceived". The Goal Is Freedom. Foundation for Economic Education; Nock, Albert Jay (1935). Our Enemy, the State; Oppenheimer, Franz (1997). The State. San Francisco: Fox; Palmer, Tom G. (2009). "Classical Liberalism, Marxism, and the Conflict of Classes: The Classical Liberal Theory of Class Conflict". Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. pp. 255–276; Conger, Wally (2006). Agorist Class Theory: A Left Libertarian Approach to Class Conflict Analysis (PDF). Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine; Kevin A. Carson, "Another Free-for-All: Libertarian Class Analysis, Organized Labor, Etc.," Mutualist Blog: Free-Market Anti-Capitalism (n.p., 26 January 2006); Walter E. Grinder and John Hagel, "Toward a Theory of State Capitalism: Ultimate Decision Making and Class Structure". Journal of Libertarian Studies 1.1 (1977): 59–79; David M. Hart, "The Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer" (PhD diss., U of Cambridge, 1994); Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis". Journal of Libertarian Studies 9.2 (1990): 79–93; Long, Roderick T. "Toward a Libertarian Theory of Class". Social Philosophy and Policy 15.2 (Sum. 1998): 303–349.
^Jeffrey Paul, Fred Dycus Miller. Liberalism and the economic order. Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 115.
^See Childs's incomplete essay, "Anarchist Illusions", Liberty against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr., ed. Joan Kennedy Taylor (San Francisco: Fox 1994) 179–183.
^Jeffrey Paul, Fred Dycus Miller. Liberalism and the economic order. Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 118.