Seize or Build the Means of Production?

I recently blogged that leftists seem to be so opposed to work that they’d rather take what someone else has built instead of putting in the effort to build it themselves.

You often hear left anarchists (anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, etc.) promoting the idea of “seizing the means of production” and smashing corporate hierarchy, and whatnot (regular communists and syndicalists, too, of course).

But aside from corporate hierarchy that persists as the result of political privilege, why should anyone seize the means of production rather than building the means of production for themselves?

What’s wrong with enterprising individuals borrowing capital to build a factory and buy machines, and then finding others willing to operate those machines under management for a wage? Even if those they hire are “desperate” and willing to work for a competitive wage, paid immediately, so long as nobody’s pointing guns, the arrangement is perfectly just in my opinion.

The entrepreneurs and capitalists are creating options for poorer workers, options that didn’t exist before. They should be applauded. That their employees should turn around and violently take over the factory is completely unjustified. They have every right and ability to save and invest and one day start their own businesses. That’s quite possibly how their own bosses got to where they’re at. And they didn’t do so to become victims of those lower on the economic ladder.

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

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.