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Debating the Anarcho-Capitalists

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The Daily Bell refers to government, by which they mean not just Big Government, but because they are anarcho-capitalists, ANY government, as the Leviathan -- a term which is simultaneously insulting and flattering, since our government can hardly could be said to function as a coordinated whole (like a singular "leviathan").   But it is not an uncommon term among those who write about government, both negatively as with the Daily Bell, or positively, as Dr. Yanis Varoufakis does here when writing of the parallel dystopian universe of the online multiplayer game Eve Online, where players can gain and lose real world money:


Unlike other multi-player games, Eve Online both tolerates and encourages players to loot, defraud, undermine, even to murder the avatars of other participants as long as such acts are carried out for "economic and material gain'. [1] This ultimate laissez faire universe, in the absence of a Leviathan to keep everyone "in awe", is what motivates players not only to be ruthless but to seek out alliances, to forge cartels, to pay protection money to powerful gangs of other players. It is what makes Eve Online fun to play. And what motivates players to spend large wads of money to purchase ISKs, the Eve Online in-game currency, so as to invest in the starships, the materials, the rights to mineral extraction from far-away asteroids, the bribes; on everything one needs to build up a respectable presence in a universe where "might is right'.

The recent spike of violence that ruined so much property, worth up to half a million dollars (according to some estimates) was due to the accidental de-stabilisation of an unstable truce. In that part of the Eve Online universe, some forgetful player merely neglected to make the usual, periodic payment to the cartel that protected his "assets' from other cartels. One thing led to another and an assault that was intended as a "lesson' to the forgetful subservient triggered off major warfare.

"The whole point about Eve Online is to corner markets, to forge cartels, to maximise one's power over price. And unlike Adam Smith's fiction, where such aspirations cancel each other out, leaving everyone with zero market power, and thus enabling the "invisible' hand to perform it magic, in Eve Online power rules OK. Which means that none of the orderly models of microeconomics are applicable -- at least not in a manner that is mathematically defensible.

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Turning to Eve Online's macro-economy, here things are straightforward. Since there is no labour market (even though there is a great deal of labour and of sub-contracting) and there is no endogenous money supply, none of the macroeconomic features of offline capitalism apply to Eve Online's Hobbesian economy"a game that transports them to a world where no one can be trusted and where dangers lurks behind every smile, every handshake, every seemingly lucrative deal. The only real similarity with the offline world is that their macroeconomy, just like ours, benefits from destruction.



So, I return to my original point with Daily Bell.   You can't have it both ways.   If one allows for unlimited corporate power by limiting the government's ability to control it, we will get the sort of corporate state we have today.   I think even Daily Bell agrees that is a bad thing, but they are so instinctively contrary, it is hard to tell for sure.

In proposing Public Banks on every practical level, Ellen Brown (and her friend and potential Libertarian Presidential candidate running mate, Bill Still), Brown is trying to decentralize the money power away from Washington and return it closer to the people.   She is also a Greenbacker, in the rough model of Lincoln (not Hitler), but this too is seen as a way to divest power from the Big Banks and return power to the People.   Daily Bell ought to embrace that, and not some armchair philosophy of anarcho-capitalism, which has never worked, could never work, and which is actually counter to the instinct of the most socially connected species on Earth - Human Beings.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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