You have some interesting ideas. But I’ve always found it rather bizarre that mutualists tend to ignore private security and oppression when devising their ideological models. As far as I can tell, the issue of force and capital accumulation are central to any mutualist free-market model.
I’ve never gotten a satisfactory response about this. The last mutualist I debated with said the question “didn’t interest him.”
What would you say re: capital accumulation as an Achilles’ heel of free-market mutualism?
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the question, DF. If you’re referring to the alleged tendency of capital to accumulate in a few hands as winners are sorted out from losers, even in a non-capitalist market, you might check out the sidebar on Marxist critiques in Ch. 4 of HIR.
Thanks. I didn’t make it clear enough though: the other criticism was about private security forces, such as Xe Svcs (formerly Blackwater), and their potential value – particularly in the context of decentralized free markets – in determining “unfair” market conditions for their clients.
I think firms like Blackwater do a lot better in rigged corporatist markets where they can externalize a major part of their costs on the taxpayers. Under state capitalism, the enforcement costs of privilege are exogenous. When they’re endogenous — paid for by the beneficiaries — the cost of enforcing privilege is likely to exceed the benefit.
I don’t know if this will be anything you address in your book, but the other day I thought about the possibility of watchdog environmentalism, where people monitor pollution and habitat health with tools and protocols of their own (Surfrider Foundation comes to mind). Its more monitoring than “regulating,” but could lead to the latter.
Also, in regards to land management of property set aside for habitat conservation. Rather than having a state entity like DFG, the local community could ‘police’/regulate properties with patrols on perimeter trails, and wildlife cameras (which are set up monitor wildlife, and nab poachers).
Lastly, many operations like construction and manufacturing, for example, have certain specs or best practices for quality ‘control.’ “Inspectors” are usually employed to assure they are met. With proper documentation of the process via paper records and video, the need for inspections could be reduced, but I suppose the ultimate question is “who decides what specs and quality control are the standard by which certain things are to be built?” It doesn’t have to be the State, as many industries come up with their own or surpass the minimum set by the State.
I realize this is a very rough draft but I’m loving what I’ve been reading so far.
Chapter 4 about phyles is especially interesting.
I have three questions/suggestions, mostly (but not only) relevant to chapter 4:
1. I noticed a placeholder in chapter 6 with a reference to Proudhon’s idea of the “agro-industrial federation”. Will you consider possible ways that this idea may be useful in other chapters / related to other topics than education and credentialing?
For example, I would think looking back into what Proudhon said on federation can be relevant to the theme of phyles in chapter 4.
2. I see a section title in chapter 4 (the content of the section still missing for now) named “The Hub”. Is your intention to write about the-hub.net, the co-working network, or hubculture.com, the international community that uses Ven as a currency (and also uses co-working in its ‘pavilions’)?
I personally think that the latter has several features that are compatible with you theme of phyles and I would like to know what you think of it in this context.
3. This suggestion is a very vague one, but still: I think you should look into the concept of reputation systems and the work of people like Rachel Botsman and other who study them (Botsman’s focus is specifically on how they facilitate what she calls ‘collaborative consumption’ but other contexts, like regulation, also come to mind).
You already mention trust in chapter 4 section XXII, “Emergent Cities”, I just hope you can elaborate on that and maybe go into detail.