Sunday, September 29, 2013

On Left Libertarianism

Mike Hoffman emails:
 I've been loving the material on the website lately Robert. A friend of mine is an anarcho capitalist like me, but has been reading the works of Roderick Long and Kevin Carson as have I. I seem to think the Left libertarians make a few good points on some things but don't see too much difference between them and Ancaps. Whats your postion on Left Libertarians as another "off shoot" of Libertarianism when compared to yours and others associated with the Mises Institute?
While they are good on many points, I see them as holding some very odd views relative to pure libertarianism. They are anti-corporatist and pro-labor, which to me seems to be in contradiction with the libertarianism. If a group of people want to form a corporation, and others want to trade with them, what's the problem? It is only if a corporation joins with government to use coercion in some manner that I see a problem, but not in corporations, themselves.

The pro-labor view is also an odd one from my perspective. If you just allow free transactions between individuals, there is no need for a "pro-labor" stand, just allow markets to determine the nature of transactions and group formations. However, Sheldon Richman writes, "left-libertarians favor worker solidarity vis-à-vis bosses." What if someone just wants a job and doesn't care about "worker solidarity"? Free markets are about promoting free exchange and free organizations, it is odd to promote one type of organization, especially one that would seem to have limited possibilities of forming in a free market.

Richman also writes, "left-libertarians tend to harbor a bias against wage employment." What is the problem with wage employment? Many people seemingly want to put in a good day's work and leave the headaches of dealing with marketing, overall production and matching up different laborers for projects, to others. I know lots of people like this.What is wrong with this?

Richman writes, "In a freed market left-libertarians expect to see less wage employment and more worker-owned enterprises, co-ops, partnerships, and single proprietorships." Naturally, any type of worker organization should be allowed in a libertarian society, but nothing stops worker-owned organisations and co-ops  from operating now, that they don't, in general, suggests they are not very efficient. And, again, if you are a laborer with a certain skill, why would you want to spend your time in co-op meetings, where every nut job in the room gets to advance his nutty theory? Why not leave business running to businessmen, where you don't have to worry about anything but doing your job?

Bottom line: I see left libertarians as those who  would like you to join into different organizations that don't appear to be very efficient. I would take them over a coercive government , but I wonder what side of the line they would fall on if they got to see their non-coercive world develop in a way that resulted in many larges corporations (in addition to small ones)  forming and mostly non-labor union work forces. Would they remain anti-government intervention? If so, they are simply libertarians, with I believe, impractical views on how a libertarian society would develop. If not, well then they are simply interventionists, with a helluva a cover story. .