Maybe Anarchism is Capitalism and Communism

Maybe anarchism, the political philosophy of rulerless society, is capitalism and communism. Hear me out.

Anarchists of the leftist variety (anarcho-communists) scoff at the idea that anarchism has anything to do with capitalism. To them, capitalism is the state using its monopoly on violence to subsidize business and industry. Historically, they aren’t wrong.

Anarchists of the rightist variety (for contrast, anarcho-capitalists) scoff at the leftist view that capitalism should be equated with corporatism, rather than equated with stateless, unfettered, totally free, or freed, markets. In theory, they aren’t wrong.

What seems to be the root of the issue are their definitions of property. Ancoms believe only in personal property, that which you carry on your back, every other scarce resource owned collectively by the community, to be allocated on the basis of direct democracy, I suppose.

Ancaps believe in this type of personal property, but extend it to every other scarce resource homesteaded out of state of nature (original appropriation) or traded for. Any and everything may be privately owned.

Both ancoms and ancaps believe in rulerless society, rulerless in the sense that non-property-owners aren’t forcing property-owners to give them their property or to control it in some way. Where they differ is on what constitutes property.

Let us set that aside for a moment, going beyond definitions, and arriving at goals.

What is the goal of the anarcho-communist in his quest for a rulerless society? It is my understand that the goal is a reduction in poverty and suffering and interpersonal conflict, ie. abundance and happiness.

What is the goal of the anarcho-capitalist in his quest for a rulerless society? It is my understanding as one who identifies as ancap (in the politico-economic realm of my brand of voluntaryism) that the goal is a reduction in poverty and suffering and interpersonal conflict, ie. abundance and happiness.

The goal of ancoms and ancaps are therefore identical. Let us find there our common ground. We are all good people, desiring what we believe is best for ourselves, our loved ones, and the rest of mankind.

So then what is needed for us to realize the proper means to our shared ends? That’s a scientific question that can only be answered scientifically, ie. logically and rationally.

Appeals to emotion are irrelevant.

To determine how both the ancom and ancap may realize their shared goal of abundance and happiness for all, we must acknowledge the existence of scarcity all around us.

And which discipline is best equipped to study the problem of scarcity and its solutions?

That would be economics. We should set aside philosophy and ethics and political science and all the rest and focus our attention on economics.

Only then will we make progress on understanding the nature of scarcity, that great precursor to all interpersonal conflict, and enemy to abundance and happiness.

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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.