The Knowledge Problem of Privilege

•August 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

knowledge The Knowledge Problem of Privilege

by Nathan Goodman

“Just as with economics, these social problems of epistemological hubris become bigger when government gets involved. By definition, politicians do not have the knowledge of everyone their policies will impact. But often, when marginalized groups are impacted, politicians become extra prone to ignore those from an affected population. For example, Congress has held hearings on whether to undermine the privacy rights of “mentally ill” Americans but not allowed anyone with psychiatric disabilities to testify, not deeming them sufficiently “competent.” Another example is that those incarcerated in our prison system are barred from voting in elections. The government exacerbates its natural tendency towards lacking sufficient knowledge by disenfranchising members of marginalized groups it seeks to control. Politicians need to consider, as Hayek said, “how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” They need to consider the experiences and knowledge of those their policies might hurt. They need to check their privilege.”

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S4SS: Order Without Power

•March 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

 “Order Without Power”

by Murray Rothbard (produced by Students for a Stateless Society)

“Furthermore, the more that people are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress against their neighbors, the more successfully any social system will work, and the fewer resources will need to be devoted to police protection. The anarchist view holds that, given the “nature of man,” given the degree of goodness or badness at any point in time, anarchism will maximize the opportunities for the good and minimize the channels for the bad. The rest depends on the values held by the individual members of society. The only further point that needs to be made is that by eliminating the living example and the social legitimacy of the massive legalized crime of the state, anarchism will to a large extent promote peaceful values in the minds of the public.”

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S4SS: An Invitation to Anarchism

•March 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“An Invitation to Anarchism”

by Students for a Stateless Society

“The word “anarchist” is thrown around a lot these days. When discussing their mild disagreements over foreign policy, healthcare, tax rates, gun control, immigration, torture, or the war on drugs, it’s not uncommon for a Republican or Democrat to hurl the word at each other. In the name of civility, it’s time for someone to put an end to these baseless insults. It’s time for anarchists to speak for themselves. The Students for a Stateless Society aims to do just that. Affiliated with the Center for a Stateless Society, we were formed to bring together a diverse group of anarchist students and further common goals. Out of those goals we share, the primary one is a desire and demand for the immediate abolition of the State and other authoritarian social relationships moreover. We do not want to “take over” the government,* but to end it altogether. Those functions it performs now that are worth doing, we propose to be performed by free people acting in free association.”

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Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis

•February 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis”

by Kevin Carson

“The dominant market anarchist view of property takes for granted individual, fee-simple ownership through individual appropriation as the only natural form of property. Right-wing libertarian and Objectivist forums are full of statements that “there’s no such thing as collective property,” “all property rights are individual,” and the like. But as Karl Hess argued, libertarian property can take on a wide variety of legitimate forms. Communal ownership of land is a legitimate and plausible model for property rights in a stateless society based on free association. Historically, the overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that the first appropriation of land for agriculture was almost universally by peasant villages working as a social unit. The village commune and open field system were, almost universally, the dominant property model in societies which, so far in human history, came closest to approximating the libertarian ideal of statelessness and voluntary association: the neolithic village societies between the agricultural revolution and the rise of the state.”

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History of an Idea

•January 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“History of an Idea: How an Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Socialism Became an Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Capitalism”

by Roderick Long

“Everyone knows about economies of scale; after all, that’s why we have firms in the first place. What Rothbard’s analysis shows is that there are also diseconomies of scale, and that these grow more severe as vertical integration increases. What happens when a firm grows so large, its internal operations so insulated from the price system, that the diseconomies of scale begin to outweigh the economies? Well, that depends on the institutional context. In a free market, if the firm doesn’t catch wise and start scaling back, it will grow increasingly inefficient and so will lose customers to competitors; markets thus serve as an automatic check on the size of the firm.”

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Thermidor of the Progressives: Liberalism’s Hostility to Decentralized Organization

•December 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Thermidor of the Progressives: Liberalism’s Hostility to Decentralized Organization”

by Kevin Carson

” ‘Progressive’ intellectuals have become attached to the fortunes of the large bureaucratic organization in the same way that the politiques were attached to the court of the Sun King… This general affinity for large-scale organization and hierarchy, more recently, has been reflected in hostility to the new forms of networked organization permitted by the emerging technologies of the late twentieth century. The reaction to decentralized and networked organization, among conventional liberals, seems to be uniformly and viscerally negative. The professional vs. the do-it-yourself, the hierarchical vs. the networked, the managed vs. the ad hoc, the large and hierarchical vs. the small-scale—in every case, the antipathies are predictable to the point of stereotype.”

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Resilient Communities: Society After State Capitalism

•December 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

“Resilient Communities: Society After State Capitalism”

by Kevin Carson

“For centuries, as described by Pyotr Kropotkin and other thinkers, the institutions of civil society have been crowded out or actively suppressed by the state. As the state capitalist system reaches its limits and the state exhausts its capacity to prop up the system further, we can expect a revival of civil society—a Great Thaw in which all the human capacities for voluntary cooperation and mutual aid, atrophied for so long, will revive and flourish. Past examples and current experiments in creating resilient local communities are especially promising building blocks for a post-corporate society.”

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Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy

•December 1, 2011 • 1 Comment

“Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy”

by Kevin Carson

“Mass production requires running machinery at full speed to minimize unit costs, without regard to preexisting demand. This large batch production model carries with it, in turn, the imperative of controlling the outside society to guarantee demand for the product, so the economy is not glutted with unsold inventory. This is accomplished, in part, by mechanisms of push distribution: high-pressure marketing and planned obsolescence. It is accomplished as well, at the macro level, by the existence of entire sectors of the economy whose primary function is to absorb surplus capital and production capacity.”

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Desktop Manufacturing: A Homebrew Industrial Revolution

•November 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Desktop Manufacturing: A Homebrew Industrial Revolution”

by Kevin Carson

“The crushing costs of formal business and the implosion of the debt-bubble economy is driving millions into the informal economy of barter, trade and ‘underground’ work. As small businesses close their doors and corporations lay off thousands, the unemployed will of necessity shift their focus from finding a new formal job (essentially impossible for most) to fashioning new livelihoods…”

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Just A Downturn: The Decline and Fall of Sloanist Mass Production

•November 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Just A Downturn: The Decline and Fall of Sloanist Mass Production”

by Kevin Carson

“The truth of the matter is, the present economic crisis is not cyclical, but structural. There is excess industrial capacity that will be rust in a few years because we are entering a period of permanently low consumer demand. As Peter Kirwan at Wired puts it, the mainstream talking heads are mistaking for a cyclical downturn what is really “permanent structural change” and “industrial collapse.” …a better way of stating it would be “a structural shift toward a less-work, less-output, less-planned-obsolescence, and less-embedded-rents-on-IP-and-ephemera dynamic, with no reduction in material standard of living. A structural dynamic toward working fewer hours to produce less stuff because it lasts longer instead of going to the landfill after a brief detour in our living rooms, would indeed be a good thing.”

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