political philosophy and economic theory
Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of self-ownership, private property, and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists hold that, in the absence of statute (law by centralized decrees and legislation), society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through the discipline of the free market (in what its proponents describe as a voluntary society).
I believe in individual freedom; that's my primary and complete commitment—individual liberty. That’s what it's all about. And that's what socialism was supposed to be about, or anarchism was supposed to be about, and tragically has been betrayed.
- Murray Bookchin, speaking to a crowd of anarcho-capitalists and other libertarians at a Libertarian Party Conference, depicted in Anarchism in America, directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher (15 January 1983).
- Although anarchism rests on liberal intellectual foundations, notably the distinction between state and society, the protean character of the doctrine makes it difficult to disinguish clearly different schools of anarchist thought. But one important distinction is between individualist anarchism and social anarchism. The former emphasizes individual liberty, the sovereignty of the individual, the importance of private property or possession, and the iniquity of all monopolies. It may be seen as liberalism taken to an extreme conclusion. 'Anarcho-capitalism' is a contemporary variant of this school.
- Thomas Bottomore, Dictionary of Marxist Thought, Anarchism entry, p. 21 (1992).
- Anarcho-capitalism, in my opinion, is a doctrinal system which, if ever implemented, would lead to forms of tyranny and oppression that have few counterparts in human history. There isn't the slightest possibility that its (in my view, horrendous) ideas would be implemented, because they would quickly destroy any society that made this colossal error. … I should add, however, that I find myself in substantial agreement with people who consider themselves anarcho-capitalists on a whole range of issues; and for some years, was able to write only in their journals. And I also admire their commitment to rationality — which is rare — though I do not think they see the consequences of the doctrines they espouse, or their profound moral failings.
- Noam Chomsky in Z Net, Answers from Chomsky to eight questions on anarchism, 1996.
- Perhaps the best way to see why anarcho-capitalism would be much more peaceful than our present system is by analogy. Consider our world as it would be if the cost of moving from one country to another were zero. Everyone lives in a housetrailer and speaks the same language. One day, the president of France announces that because of troubles with neighboring countries, new military taxes are being levied and conscription will begin shortly. The next morning the president of France finds himself ruling a peaceful but empty landscape, the population having been reduced to himself, three generals, and twenty-seven war correspondents.
- David Friedman, Chapter: "The Stability Problem", The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism (2nd ed.), p. 123.
- We must ask, not whether an anarcho-capitalis society would be safe from a power grab by the men with the guns (safety is not an available option), but whether it would be safer than our society is from a comparable seizure of power by the men with the guns. I think the answer is yes. In our society, the men who must engineer such a coup are politicians, military officers, and policemen, men selected precisely for the characteristic of desiring power and being good at using it. They are men who already believe that they have a right to push other men around - that is their job. They are particularly well qualified for the job of seizing power. Under anarcho-capitalism the men in control of protection agencies are selected for their ability to run an efficient business and please their customers. It is always possible that some will turn out to be secret power freaks as well, but it is surely less likely than under our system where the corresponding jobs are labeled 'non-power freaks need not apply'.
- David Friedman, Chapter: "The Stability Problem", The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism (2nd ed.), p. 123–124.
- Laissez-faire capitalism, or anarchocapitalism, is simply the economic form of the libertarian ethic. Laissez-faire capitalism encompasses the notion that men should exchange goods and services, without regulation, solely on the basis of value for value. It recognizes charity and communal enterprises as voluntary versions of this same ethic. Such a system would be straight barter, except for the widely felt need for a division of labor in which men, voluntarily, accept value tokens such as cash and credit. Economically, this system is anarchy, and proudly so.
- Karl Hess, "The Death of Politics", essay published in Playboy (July 1976).
- Also available in Hess's autobiography, Mostly on the Edge.
- [A]fter I got evicted from the Republican Party, I began reading considerably more of the works of American anarchists, thanks largely to Murray Rothbard … and I was just amazed.
- Karl Hess, Anarchism in America, directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher (15 January 1983).
- The American Benjamin Tucker (1854-1939) believed that maximum individual liberty would be assured where the free market was not hindered or controlled by the State and monopolies. The affairs of society would be governed by myriad voluntary societies and cooperatives, by, as he aptly put it, “un-terrified” Jeffersonian democrats, who believed in the least government possible. Since World War II this tradition has been reborn and modified in the United States as anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism.
- Carl Levyl, Anarchism, under the "Anarcho-individualism" heading, Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2006.
- Individualist anarchism … stands in rigorous opposition to attacking the person or property of individuals. The philosophy revolves around the "Sovereignty of the Individual"—as an early champion, Josiah Warren, phrased it. … Largely due to the path breaking work of Murray Rothbard, 20th century individualist anarchism is no longer inherently suspicious of profit-making practices, such as charging interest. Indeed, it embraces the free market as the voluntary vehicle of economic exchange. But as individualist anarchism draws increasingly upon the work of Austrian economists such as Mises and Hayek, it draws increasingly farther away from left anarchism.
- Wendy McElroy, "Anarchism: Two Kinds", Mises Daily (The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 13 December 1999).
- 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. It is a lie . . . Patently unbridled capitalism . . . needs some force at its disposal to maintain class privileges, either from the State itself or from private armies. What they believe in is in fact a limited State -- that is, one in which the State has one function, to protect the ruling class, does not interfere with exploitation, and comes as cheap as possible for the ruling class. The idea also serves another purpose . . . a moral justification for bourgeois consciences in avoiding taxes without feeling guilty about it.
- Albert Meltzer, Anarchism: Arguments For and Against (1981), p. 50.
- I'm a, what, an anarcho-capitalist socialist… I don't know… I'm kinda a moderate, I think I'm moderate.
- Krist Novoselic, interviewed by Nick Gillespie, "Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems", ReasonTV (19 June 2014), 11:33–11:42.
- Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism.
- Murray N. Rothbard, "Exclusive Interview With Murray Rothbard", The New Banner: A Fortnightly Libertarian Journal (25 February 1972).
- I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of any individual. Anarchists oppose the State because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights.