Mutualism is a libertarian socialist economic theory and anarchist school of thought that advocates a society with free markets and occupation and use, or usufruct, property norms. One implementation of this scheme involves the establishment of a mutual-credit bank that would lend to producers at a minimal interest rate, just high enough to cover administration. Mutualism is based on a version of the labor theory of value holding that when labor or its product is sold, in exchange it ought to receive goods or services embodying "the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility".
Mutualism originated from the writings of philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Mutualists disagree with the idea of individuals receiving an income through loans, investments and rent as they believe these individuals are not laboring. Although Proudhon opposed this type of income, he expressed that he had never intended "to forbid or suppress, by sovereign decree, ground rent and interest on capital. I think that all these manifestations of human activity should remain free and voluntary for all: I ask for them no modifications, restrictions or suppressions, other than those which result naturally and of necessity from the universalization of the principle of reciprocity which I propose". Insofar as they ensure the worker's right to the full product of their labor, mutualists support markets and property in the product of labor. However, they argue for conditional titles to land, whose ownership is legitimate only so long as it remains in use or occupation (which Proudhon called "possession"), advocating personal property instead of private property.
As libertarian socialists, they have distinguished mutualism from state socialism and do not advocate state control over the means of production. Instead, each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market. Benjamin Tucker said of Proudhon that "though opposed to socializing the ownership of capital, he aimed nevertheless to socialize its effects by making its use beneficial to all instead of a means of impoverishing the many to enrich the few [...] by subjecting capital to the natural law of competition, thus bringing the price of its own use down to cost".
Although mutualism is similar to the economic doctrines of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists, it is in favor of large industries. Mutualism has been retrospectively characterized sometimes as being a form of individualist anarchism and as ideologically situated between individualist and collectivist forms of anarchism as well. Proudhon himself described the "liberty" he pursued as "the synthesis of communism and property". Some consider Proudhon to be an individualist anarchist while others regard him to be a social anarchist.
As a term, mutualism has seen a variety of related uses. Charles Fourier first used the French term mutualisme in 1822, although the reference was not to an economic system. The first use of the noun mutualist was in the New-Harmony Gazette by an American Owenite in 1826. In the early 1830s, a French labor organization in Lyons called themselves the Mutuellists.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was involved with the Lyons mutualists and later adopted the name to describe his own teachings. In What Is Mutualism?, Clarence Lee Swartz gives his own account of the origin of the term, claiming that "[t]he word "mutualism" seems to have been first used by John Gray, an English writer, in 1832". When Gray's 1825 Lecture on Human Happiness was first published in the United States in 1826, the publishers appended the Preamble and Constitution of the Friendly Association for Mutual Interests, Located at Valley Forge. 1826 also saw the publication of the Constitution of the Friendly Association for Mutual Interests at Kendal, Ohio.
By 1846, Proudhon was speaking of mutualité in his writings and he used the term mutuellisme at least as early as 1848 in his "Programme Révolutionnaire". In 1850, William B. Greene used the term mutualism to describe a mutual credit system similar to that of Proudhon. In 1850, the American newspaper The Spirit of the Age, edited by William Henry Channing, published proposals for a mutualist township by Joshua King Ingalls and Albert Brisbane, together with works by Proudhon, Greene, Pierre Leroux and others.
Proudhon ran for the French Constituent Assembly in April 1848, but was not elected, although his name appeared on the ballots in Paris, Lyon, Besançon and Lille. He was successful in the complementary elections of June 4 and served as a deputy during the debates over the National Workshops, created by the 25 February 1848 decree passed by Republican Louis Blanc. The workshops were to give work to the unemployed. Proudhon was never enthusiastic about such workshops, perceiving them to be essentially charitable institutions that did not resolve the problems of the economic system. He was against their elimination unless an alternative could be found for the workers who relied on the workshops for subsistence.
Proudhon was surprised by the French Revolution of 1848. He participated in the February uprising and the composition of what he termed "the first republican proclamation" of the new republic. However, he had misgivings about the new provisional government headed by Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure (1767–1855), who since the French Revolution in 1789 had been a longstanding politician, although often in the opposition. Proudhon published his own perspective for reform which was completed in 1849, Solution du problème social (Solution of the Social Problem), in which he laid out a program of mutual financial cooperation among workers. He believed this would transfer control of economic relations from capitalists and financiers to workers. The central part of his plan was the establishment of a bank to provide credit at a very low rate of interest and the issuing of exchange notes that would circulate instead of money based on gold.
Mutualism has been associated with two types of currency reform. Labor notes were first discussed in Owenite circles and received their first practical test in 1827 in the Time Store of former New Harmony member and individualist anarchist Josiah Warren. Mutual banking aimed at the monetization of all forms of wealth and the extension of free credit. It is most closely associated with William B. Greene, but Greene drew from the work of Proudhon, Edward Kellogg and William Beck as well as from the land bank tradition.
Mutualism can in many ways be considered the original anarchy since Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the first to identify himself as an anarchist. Although mutualism is generally associated with anarchism, it is not necessarily anarchist. Historian Wendy McElroy reports that American individualist anarchism received an important influence of three European thinkers. One of the most important of these influences was the French political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, whose words "Liberty is not the Daughter But the Mother of Order" appeared as a motto on Liberty's masthead. Liberty was an influential American individualist anarchist publication of Benjamin Tucker. For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, "[i]t is apparent [...] that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. [...] William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form".
After 1850, Greene became active in labor reform. He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon's scheme of mutual banking; and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union. He then publishes Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875). He saw mutualism as the synthesis of "liberty and order". His "associationism [...] is checked by individualism. [...] "Mind your own business", "Judge not that ye be not judged". Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason, he demands "mutuality" in marriage—the equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property".
Tucker later connected his economic views with those of Proudhon, Warren and Karl Marx, taking sides with the first two while also arguing against American anti-socialists who declared socialism as imported, stating:
The economic principles of Modern Socialism are a logical deduction from the principle laid down by Adam Smith in the early chapters of his "Wealth of Nations," – namely, that labor is the true measure of price. [...] Half a century or more after Smith enunciated the principle above stated, Socialism picked it up where he had dropped it, and in following it to its logical conclusions, made it the basis of a new economic philosophy. [...] This seems to have been done independently by three different men, of three different nationalities, in three different languages: Josiah Warren, an American; Pierre J. Proudhon, a Frenchman; Karl Marx, a German Jew. [...] That the work of this interesting trio should have been done so nearly simultaneously would seem to indicate that Socialism was in the air, and that the time was ripe and the conditions favorable for the appearance of this new school of thought. So far as priority of time is concerned, the credit seems to belong to Warren, the American, – a fact which should be noted by the stump orators who are so fond of declaiming against Socialism as an imported article.
Mutualist ideas found fertile ground in the nineteenth century in Spain. In Spain, Ramón de la Sagra established the anarchist journal El Porvenir in A Coruña in 1845 which was inspired by Proudhon's ideas. The Catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish and later briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while being the leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party. According to George Woodcock, "[t]hese translations were to have a profound and lasting effect on the development of Spanish anarchism after 1870, but before that time Proudhonian ideas, as interpreted by Pi, already provided much of the inspiration for the federalist movement which sprang up in the early 1860's". According to the Encyclopædia Britannica: "During the Spanish revolution of 1873, Pi y Margall attempted to establish a decentralized, or cantonalist, political system on Proudhonian lines". Pi i Margall was a dedicated theorist in his own right, especially through book-length works such as La reacción y la revolución (Reaction and Revolution from 1855), Las nacionalidades (Nationalities from 1877) and La Federación (The Federation from 1880). For prominent anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker, "[t]he first movement of the Spanish workers was strongly influenced by the ideas of Pi y Margall, leader of the Spanish Federalists and disciple of Proudhon. Pi y Margall was one of the outstanding theorists of his time and had a powerful influence on the development of libertarian ideas in Spain. His political ideas had much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order".
According to historian of the First International G. M. Stekloff, in April 1856 "arrived from Paris a deputation of Proudhonist workers whose aim it was to bring about the foundation of a Universal League of Workers. The object of the League was the social emancipation of the working class, which, it was held, could only be achieved by a union of the workers of all lands against international capital. Since the deputation was one of Proudhonists, of course this emancipation was to be secured, not by political methods, but purely by economic means, through the foundation of productive and distributive co-operatives". Stekloff contines by saying that "[i]t was in the 1863 elections that for the first time workers' candidates were run in opposition to bourgeois republicans, but they secured very few votes. [...] [A] group of working-class Proudhonists (among whom were Murat and Tolain, who were subsequently to participate in the founding of the (First) International issued the famous Manifesto of the Sixty, which, though extremely moderate in tone, marked a turning point in the history of the French movement. For years and years the bourgeois liberals had been insisting that the revolution of 1789 had abolished class distinctions. The Manifesto of the Sixty loudly proclaimed that classes still existed. These classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The latter had its specific class interests, which none but workers could be trusted to defend. The inference drawn by the Manifesto was that there must be independent working-class candidates".
For Stekloff, "the Proudhonists, who were at that date the leaders of the French section of the International. They looked upon the International Workingmen's Association as a sort of academy or synagogue, where Talmudists or similar experts could "investigate" the workers' problem; wherein the spirit of Proudhon they could excogitate means for an accurate solution of the problem, without being disturbed by the stresses of a political campaign. Thus Fribourg, voicing the opinions of the Parisian group of the Proudhonists (Tolain and Co.) assured his readers that "the International was the greatest attempt ever made in modern times to aid the proletariat towards the conquest, by peaceful, constitutional, and moral methods, of the place which rightly belongs to the workers in the sunshine of civilisation". According to Stekoff, the Belgian Federation "threw in its lot with the anarchist International at its Brussels Congress, held in December, 1872. [...] [T]hose taking part in the socialist movement of the Belgian intelligentsia were inspired by Proudhonist ideas which naturally led them to oppose the Marxist outlook".
19th-century mutualists considered themselves libertarian socialists and are still considered libertarian socialists to this day. While oriented towards cooperation, mutualists favor free market solutions, believing that most inequalities are the result of preferential conditions created by government intervention. Mutualism is something of a middle way between classical economics and socialism of the collectivist variety, with some characteristics of both. Modern-day mutualist Kevin Carson considers mutualism to be free-market socialism. Proudhon supported labor-owned cooperative firms and associations, for "we need not hesitate, for we have no choice. [...] [I]t is necessary to form an association among workers [...] because without that, they would remain related as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two [...] castes of masters and wage-workers, which is repugnant to a free and democratic society" and so "it becomes necessary for the workers to form themselves into democratic societies, with equal conditions for all members, on pain of a relapse into feudalism". As for capital goods (man-made, non-land means of production), mutualist opinions differs on whether these should be commonly managed public assets or private property.
Mutualism also had a considerable influence in the Paris Commune. George Woodcock manifests that "a notable contribution to the activities of the Commune and particularly to the organization of public services was made by members of various anarchist factions, including the mutualists Courbet, Longuet, and Vermorel, the libertarian collectivists Varlin, Malon, and Lefrangais, and the bakuninists Elie and Elisée Reclus and Louise Michel".
Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist and author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. In its preface, Carson describes this work as "an attempt to revive individualist anarchist political economy, to incorporate the useful developments of the last hundred years, and to make it relevant to the problems of the twenty-first century". Contemporary mutualists are among those involved in the Alliance of the Libertarian Left and in the Voluntary Cooperation Movement.
Carson holds that capitalism has been founded on "an act of robbery as massive as feudalism" and argues that capitalism could not exist in the absence of a state. He says that "[i]t is state intervention that distinguishes capitalism from the free market". Carson does not define capitalism in the idealized sense, but he says that when he talks about capitalism he is referring to what he calls actually existing capitalism. He believes the term laissez-faire capitalism is an oxymoron because capitalism, he argues, is "organization of society, incorporating elements of tax, usury, landlordism, and tariff, which thus denies the Free Market while pretending to exemplify it". However, he says he has no quarrel with anarcho-capitalists who use the term laissez-faire capitalism and distinguish it from actually existing capitalism. Carson says he has deliberately chosen to resurrect an old definition of the term. However, many anarchists including mutualists continue to use the term and do not consider it an old definition of the term.
Carson argues that the centralization of wealth into a class hierarchy is due to state intervention to protect the ruling class by using a money monopoly, granting patents and subsidies to corporations, imposing discriminatory taxation and intervening militarily to gain access to international markets. Carson's thesis is that an authentic free-market economy would not be capitalism as the separation of labor from ownership and the subordination of labor to capital would be impossible, bringing a classless society where people could easily choose between working as a freelancer, working for a fair wage, taking part of a cooperative, or being an entrepreneur. As did Benjamin Tucker before him, he notes that a mutualist free market system would involve significantly different property rights than capitalism is based on, particularly in terms of land and intellectual property.
The primary aspects of mutualism are free association, reciprocity and gradualism, or dual power. Mutualism is often described by its proponents as advocating an anti-capitalist free market. Mutualists argue that most of the economic problems associated with capitalism each amount to a violation of the cost principle, or as Josiah Warren interchangeably said, the cost the limit of price. It was inspired by the labor theory of value which was popularized—although not invented—by Adam Smith in 1776 (Proudhon mentioned Smith as an inspiration). The labor theory of value holds that the actual price of a thing (or the true cost) is the amount of labor that was undertaken to produce it. In Warren's terms, cost should be the limit of price, with cost referring to the amount of labor required to produce a good or service. Anyone who sells goods should charge no more than the cost to himself of acquiring these goods.
Mutualism holds that producers should exchange their goods at cost-value using systems of contract. While Proudhon's early definitions of cost-value were based on fixed assumptions about the value of labor-hours, he later redefined cost-value to include other factors such as the intensity of labor, the nature of the work involved and so on. He also expanded his notions of contract into expanded notions of federation. As Proudhon argued:
I have shown the contractor, at the birth of industry, negotiating on equal terms with his comrades, who have since become his workmen. It is plain, in fact, that this original equality was bound to disappear through the advantageous position of the master and the dependent position of the wage-workers. In vain does the law assure the right of each to enterprise. [...] When an establishment has had leisure to develop itself, enlarge its foundations, ballast itself with capital, and assure itself a body of patrons, what can a workman do against a power so superior?
Dual power is the process of building alternatives institutions to the ones that already exist in modern society. Originally theorized by Proudhon, it has become adopted by many anti-state movements like autonomism and agorism. Proudhon described it as such:
Beneath the governmental machinery, in the shadow of political institutions, out of the sight of statemen and priests, society is producing its own organism, slowly and silently; and constructing a new order, the expression of its vitality and autonomy.
Dual power should not be confused with the dual power popularized by Vladimir Lenin as it was also theorized by Proudhon and it refers to a more specific scenario where a revolutionary entity intentionally maintains the structure of the previous political institutions until the power of the previous institution is weakened enough such that the revolutionary entity can overtake it entirely. Dual power as implemented by mutualists and agorists is the development of the alternative institution itself.
Mutualists argue that association is only necessary where there is an organic combination of forces. For instance, an operation that requires specialization and many different workers performing their individual tasks to complete a unified product, i.e. a factory. In this situation, workers are inherently dependent on each other—and without association they are related as subordinate and superior, master and wage-slave.
An operation that can be performed by an individual without the help of specialized workers does not require association. Proudhon argued that peasants do not require societal form and only feigned association for the purposes of solidarity in abolishing rents, buying clubs and so on. He recognized that their work is inherently sovereign and free. In commenting on the degree of association that is preferable, Proudhon said:
In cases in which production requires great division of labour, it is necessary to form an association among the workers [...] because without that they would remain isolated as subordinates and superiors, and there would ensue two industrial castes of masters and wage workers, which is repugnant in a free and democratic society. But where the product can be obtained by the action of an individual or a family, [...] there is no opportunity for association.
For Proudhon, mutualism involved creating industrial democracy, a system where workplaces would be "handed over to democratically organised workers' associations. [...] We want these associations to be models for agriculture, industry and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies and societies woven into the common cloth of the democratic social Republic". He urged "workers to form themselves into democratic societies, with equal conditions for all members, on pain of a relapse into feudalism". This would result in "[c]apitalistic and proprietary exploitation, stopped everywhere, the wage system abolished, equal and just exchange guaranteed". Workers would no longer sell their labour to a capitalist but rather work for themselves in co-operatives.
As Robert Graham notes: "Proudhon's market socialism is indissolubly linked to his notions of industrial democracy and workers' self-management". K. Steven Vincent notes in his in-depth analysis of this aspect of Proudhon's ideas that "Proudhon consistently advanced a program of industrial democracy which would return control and direction of the economy to the workers". For Proudhon, "strong workers' associations [...] would enable the workers to determine jointly by election how the enterprise was to be directed and operated on a day-to-day basis".
Mutualists argue that free banking should be taken back by the people to establish systems of free credit. They contend that banks have a monopoly on credit, just as capitalists have a monopoly on the means of production and landlords have a monopoly on land. Banks are essentially creating money by lending out deposits that do not actually belong to them, then charging interest on the difference. Mutualists argue that by establishing a democratically run mutual bank or credit union, it would be possible to issue free credit so that money could be created for the benefit of the participants rather than for the benefit of the bankers. Individualist anarchists noted for their detailed views on mutualist banking include Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, William B. Greene and Lysander Spooner. Some modern forms of mutual credit are LETS and the Ripple monetary system project.
In a session of the French legislature, Proudhon proposed a government-imposed income tax to fund his mutual banking scheme, with some tax brackets reaching as high as 331⁄3 percent and 50 percent, which was turned down by the legislature. This income tax Proudhon proposed to fund his bank was to be levied on rents, interest, debts and salaries. Specifically, Proudhon's proposed law would have required all capitalists and stockholders to disburse one-sixth of their income to their tenants and debtors and another sixth to the national treasury to fund the bank.
This scheme was vehemently objected to by others in the legislature, including Frédéric Bastiat. The reason given for the income tax's rejection was that it would result in economic ruin and that it violated "the right of property". In his debates with Bastiat, Proudhon did once propose funding a national bank with a voluntary tax of 1%. Proudhon also argued for the abolition of all taxes.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was one of the most famous philosophers who articulated thoughts on the nature of property. He is known for claiming that "property is theft", but is less known for the claims that "property is liberty" and "property is impossible". According to Colin Ward, Proudhon did not see a contradiction between these slogans. This was because Proudhon distinguished between what he considered to be two distinct forms of property often bound up in the single label. To the mutualist, this is the distinction between property created by coercion and property created by labor. Property is theft "when it is related to a landowner or capitalist whose ownership is derived from conquest or exploitation and [is] only maintained through the state, property laws, police, and an army". Property is freedom for "the peasant or artisan family [who have] a natural right to a home, land [they may] cultivate, [...] to tools of a trade" and the fruits of that cultivation—but not to ownership or control of the lands and lives of others. The former is considered illegitimate property, the latter legitimate property. Proudhon argued that property in the product of labor is essential to liberty while property that strayed from possession ("occupancy and use") was the basis for tyranny and would lead a society to destroy itself. The conception of entitlement property as a destructive force and illegitimate institution can be seen in this quote by Proudhon:
Then if we are associated for the sake of liberty, equality, and security, we are not associated for the sake of property; then if property is a natural right, this natural right is not social, but anti-social. Property and society are utterly irreconcilable institutions. It is as impossible to associate two proprietors as to join two magnets by their opposite poles. Either society must perish, or it must destroy property. If property is a natural, absolute, imprescriptible, and inalienable right, why, in all ages, has there been so much speculation as to its origin? – for this is one of its distinguishing characteristics. The origin of a natural right! Good God! who ever inquired into the origin of the rights of liberty, security, or equality?
In What Is Mutualism, Clarence Lee Swartz says:
It is, therefore, one of the purposes of Mutualists, not only to awaken in the people the appreciation of and desire for freedom, but also to arouse in them a determination to abolish the legal restrictions now placed upon non-invasive human activities and to institute, through purely voluntary associations, such measures as will liberate all of us from the exactions of privilege and the power of concentrated capital.
Swartz also states that mutualism differs from anarcho-communism and other collectivist philosophies by its support of private property, arguing: "One of the tests of any reform movement with regard to personal liberty is this: Will the movement prohibit or abolish private property? If it does, it is an enemy of liberty. For one of the most important criteria of freedom is the right to private property in the products of ones labor. State Socialists, Communists, Syndicalists and Communist-Anarchists deny private property". However, Proudhon warned that a society with private property would lead to statist relations between people, arguing:
The purchaser draws boundaries, fences himself in, and says, 'This is mine; each one by himself, each one for himself.' Here, then, is a piece of land upon which, henceforth, no one has right to step, save the proprietor and his friends; which can benefit nobody, save the proprietor and his servants. Let these multiply, and soon the people [...] will have nowhere to rest, no place of shelter, no ground to till. They will die of hunger at the proprietor's door, on the edge of that property which was their birth-right; and the proprietor, watching them die, will exclaim, 'So perish idlers and vagrants.'
Unlike capitalist private-property supporters, Proudhon stressed equality. He thought that all workers should own property and have access to capital, stressing that in every cooperative "every worker employed in the association [must have] an undivided share in the property of the company". This distinction Proudhon made between different kinds of property has been articulated by some later anarchist and socialist theorists as one of the first distinctions between private property and personal property, with the latter having direct use-value to the individual possessing it.
In Europe, a contemporary critic of Proudhon was the early anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque, who was able to serialise his book L'Humanisphère, Utopie anarchique (The Humanisphere: Anarchic Utopia) in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social (Libertarian: Journal of Social Movement), published in 27 issues from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 while living in New York. Unlike and against Proudhon, he argued that "it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature". In his critique of Proudhon, Déjacque also coined the word libertarian and argued that Proudhon was merely a liberal, a moderate, suggesting him to become "frankly and completely an anarchist" instead by giving up all forms of authority and property. Since then, the word libertarian has been used to describe this consistent anarchism which rejected private and public hierarchies along with property in the products of labour as well as the means of production. Libertarianism is frequently used as a synonym for anarchism and libertarian socialism.
One area of disagreement between anarcho-communists and mutualists stems from Proudhon's alleged advocacy of labour vouchers to compensate individuals for their labor as well as markets or artificial markets for goods and services. Peter Kropotkin, like other anarcho-communists, advocated the abolition of labor remuneration and questioned "how can this new form of wages, the labor note, be sanctioned by those who admit that houses, fields, mills are no longer private property, that they belong to the commune or the nation?". According to George Woodcock, Kropotkin believed that a wage system in any form, whether "administered by Banks of the People or by workers' associations through labor cheques", is a form of compulsion.
Collectivist anarchist Mikhail Bakunin was an adamant critic of Proudhonian mutualism as well, stating: "How ridiculous are the ideas of the individualists of the Jean Jacques Rousseau school and of the Proudhonian mutualists who conceive society as the result of the free contract of individuals absolutely independent of one another and entering into mutual relations only because of the convention drawn up among men. As if these men had dropped from the skies, bringing with them speech, will, original thought, and as if they were alien to anything of the earth, that is, anything having social origin".
Criticism from pro-capitalist market sectors has been common as well. Economist and Objectivist George Reisman charges that mutualism supports exploitation when it does not recognize a right of an individual to protect land that he has mixed his labor with if he happens to not be using it. Reisman sees the seizure of such land as the theft of the product of labor and has said: "Mutualism claims to oppose the exploitation of labor, i.e. the theft of any part of its product. But when it comes to labor that has been mixed with land, it turns a blind eye out foursquare on the side of the exploiter".
Proudhon made the bright suggestion, in his periodical Le Représentant du peuple (April 28, 1848), that the mass democracy of the clubs could become a popular forum where the social agenda of the revolution could be prepared for use by the Constituent Assembly—a proposal that would essentially have defused the potency of the clubs as a potentially rebellious dual power.
André Liohn (born November 9, 1974) is a freelance photojournalist born in Botucatu, Brazil, frequently contributing to the publications Der Spiegel, L'Espresso, Time, Newsweek, Le Monde, Veja and others.Autarky
Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency; the term usually applies to political states or to their economic systems. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. If a self-sufficient economy also refuses all trade with the outside world then economists may term it a closed economy. The term "closed economy" is also used technically as an abstraction to allow consideration of a single economy without taking foreign trade into account – i.e. as the antonym of "open economy". Autarky in the political sense is not necessarily an economic phenomenon; for example, a military autarky would be a state that could defend itself without help from another country, or could manufacture all of its weapons without any imports from the outside world.
Autarky as an ideal or method has been embraced by a wide range of political ideologies and movements, especially left-wing creeds like African socialism, mutualism, war communism, council communism, Swadeshi, syndicalism (especially anarcho-syndicalism) and leftist populism, generally in an effort to build alternative economic structures or to control resources against structures a particular leftist movement views as hostile. It has also been used in temporary, limited ways by conservative, centrist and nationalist movements, such as in the American system, Juche, mercantilism, the Meiji Restoration, social corporatism, and traditionalist conservatism, usually in an attempt to preserve part of an existing social order or develop a particular industry. Fascist and far-right movements occasionally claimed to strive for autarky in platforms or in propaganda, but in practice crushed existing movements towards self-sufficiency and established extensive capital connections in efforts to ready for expansionist war and genocide while allying with traditional business elites.Autarky may be a policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole, but also can be limited to a narrow field such as possession of a key raw material. For example, many countries have a policy of autarky with respect to foodstuffs and water for national-security reasons. By contrast, autarky may be a result of economic isolation or external circumstances in which a state or other entity reverts to localized production when it lacks currency or excess production to trade with the outside world.Brentwood, New York
Brentwood is a hamlet in the Town of Islip in Suffolk County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the population of Brentwood was 60,664.Cincinnati Time Store
The Cincinnati Time Store (1827-1830) was the first in a series of retail stores created by American individualist anarchist Josiah Warren to test his economic labor theory of value. The experimental store operated from May 18, 1827 until May 1830. He sold things at-cost plus a small markup for his time. It is usually considered to be the first time alternative currency labor notes were used, and as such the first experiment in what would later be called mutualism. He also founded stores in New Harmony, Indiana and at Modern Times, Long Island. The store in Cincinnati closed in 1830 with Warren being satisfied he demonstrated running and managing a business without the "erection of any power over the individual". His theory — replacing money with time — was turned into an actual practical demonstration project. It was the first such activity, preceding similar labor notes in Europe by more than 20 years, and still has implications for other concepts of currency such as cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, at the time it was the most popular mercantile institution in Cincinnati.Cost the limit of price
Cost the limit of price was a maxim coined by Josiah Warren, indicating a (prescriptive) version of the labor theory of value. Warren maintained that the just compensation for labor (or for its product) could only be an equivalent amount of labor (or a product embodying an equivalent amount). Thus, profit, rent, and interest were considered unjust economic arrangements. As Samuel Edward Konkin III put it, "the labor theory of value recognizes no distinction between profit and plunder."In keeping with the tradition of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, the "cost" of labor is considered to be the subjective cost; i.e., the amount of suffering involved in it.Distributism
Distributism is an economic ideology asserting that the world's productive assets should be widely owned rather than concentrated. It was developed in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931). It views both capitalism and socialism as equally flawed and exploitative, and it favors economic mechanisms such as small-scale cooperatives and family businesses, and large-scale antitrust regulations.
Some Christian Democratic political parties have advocated distributism in their economic policies.Economic secession
Economic secession has been variously defined by sources. In its narrowest sense, it is abstention from the state’s economic system – for instance by replacing the use of government money with barter, Local Exchange Trading Systems, or commodity money (such as gold). Wendell Berry may have coined the term "economic secession." He promoted his own version in his 1991 essay Conservation and Local Economy. John T. Kennedy used the term to refer to all human action that is forbidden by the State; he explains economic secession as tax avoidance or refusal to follow regulations as a method to reduce government control.
Samuel Edward Konkin III used the term "counter-economics" to refer to a similar concept.Economic secession takes government out of the equation when making economic decisions. Trading happens through payment in-kind, cash and barter.Economic secession is a way for the individuals to withdraw their wealth for both economic and political reasons. If individuals disagree with the use of tax money to fund a political agenda, they use economic secession as a means of privately protesting the control of government in their lives. The opinion that government is too involved in society fuels individuals to withdraw economically and view their withdrawal from the government system as a moral stand.Guild socialism
Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public". It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.Left-wing market anarchism
Left-wing market anarchism, also known as free-market anti-capitalism and free-market socialism, is a form of individualist anarchism and libertarian socialism associated with contemporary scholars such as Kevin Carson, Roderick T. Long, Charles W. Johnson, Brad Spangler, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Gary Chartier, who stress the value of radically free markets, termed freed markets to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges. Referred to as left-wing market anarchists or market-oriented left-libertarians, proponents of this approach strongly affirm the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets while maintaining that taken to their logical conclusions these ideas support anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist, anti-hierarchical and pro-labor positions in economics; anti-imperialism in foreign policy; and thoroughly radical views regarding cultural issues such as gender, sexuality and race.The genealogy of contemporary market-oriented left-libertarianism, sometimes labeled left-wing market anarchism, overlaps to a significant degree with that of Steiner–Vallentyne left-libertarianism as the roots of that tradition are sketched in the book The Origins of Left-Libertarianism. Carson–Long-style left-libertarianism is rooted in 19th-century mutualism and in the work of figures such as Thomas Hodgskin and American individualist anarchists Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner, among others. While with notable exceptions market-oriented libertarians after Tucker tended to ally with the political right, relationships between such libertarians and the New Left thrived in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for modern left-wing market anarchism. Left-wing market anarchism identifies with left-libertarianism which names several related yet distinct approaches to politics, society, culture and political and social theory which stress both individual freedom and social justice. Unlike right-libertarians, left-libertarians believe that neither claiming nor mixing one's labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights and maintain that natural resources such as land, oil, gold, trees and so on ought to be held in some egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.Certain American left-wing market anarchists who come from the left-Rothbardian school such as Roderick T. Long and Sheldon Richman cite Murray Rothbard's homestead principle with approval. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under occupation and use property norms or under the condition that recompense is offered to the local or global community.Local exchange trading system
A local exchange trading system (also local employment and trading system or local energy transfer system; abbreviated LETS) is a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. LETS allow people to negotiate the value of their own hours or services, and to keep wealth in the locality where it is created.Similar trading systems around the world are also known as Community Exchange Systems, Mutual Credit trading systems, Clearing Circles, Trade Exchanges or Time Banks. These all use 'metric currencies' – currencies that measure, as opposed to the fiat currencies used in conventional value exchange. These are all a type of alternative or complementary currency.In the 21st century, the internet-based networks haves been used to link individual LETS systems, into national or global networks.Multilateral exchange
A multilateral exchange is a transaction, or forum for transactions, which involve more than two parties.
For example, Alice gives Bob an apple in exchange for an orange, that is a bilateral exchange.
A multilateral exchange would involve a third party, for example:
Alice gives an apple to Bob who gives an orange to Charles, who gives a pear to Alice.
In the real world, such transactions are spread over time, and involved items of different values, and involve many more parties. A special type of accounting is used for this, called mutual credit, or credit clearing.Mutual aid
Mutual aid may refer to:
Billion Dollar Gift and Mutual Aid: Canada's gift of $4 billion to Britain in the Second World War
Mutual aid (organization theory), a tenet of organization theories
Mutual aid (emergency services), an agreement between emergency responders
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, a biology book by anarchist Peter Kropotkin
Mutual aid, in social work with groups
Mutual aid society, various organizations formed for the benefit of membersMutual bank
Mutual bank or mutual banking may refer to
Mutual savings bank
Mutualism (economic theory)Mutualism
Mutualism may refer to:
Mutualism (biology), positive interactions between species
Mutualism (economic theory), associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Mutualism (movement), social movement promoting mutual organizationsMutualization
Mutualization or mutualisation is the process by which a joint stock company changes legal form to a mutual organization or a cooperative, so that the majority of the stock is owned by employees or customers. Demutualization or privatization is the reverse process.Statism
In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree.While the term "statism" has been in use since the 1850s, it gained significant usage in American political discourse throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Ayn Rand made frequent use of it in a series of articles in 1962.Take Back the Land
Take Back the Land is an American organisation based in Miami, Florida devoted to blocking evictions, and rehousing homeless people in foreclosed houses. Take Back the Land was formed in October 2006 to build the Umoja Village Shantytown on a plot of unoccupied land to protest gentrification and a lack of low-income housing in Miami. The group began opening houses in October 2007 and moved six homeless families into vacant homes in 2008. By April 2009, the group had moved 20 families into foreclosed houses. As of November 2008, the group had ten volunteers. Take Back the Land volunteers break into the houses, clean, paint and make repairs, change the locks, and help move the homeless families in. They provide supplies and furniture and help residents turn on electricity and water. Though the occupations are of contested legality, as of December 2008 local police officers were not intervening, judging it to be the responsibility of house owners to protect their property or request assistance.Voluntary Socialism
Voluntary Socialism is a work of nonfiction by the American mutualist Francis Dashwood Tandy (1867–1913). First published in 1896, it has been favorably cited by many individualist anarchists, including Clarence Lee Swartz, minarchist Robert Nozick and left-libertarian Roderick T. Long, who has noted that "many of the standard moves in market anarchist theory today are already in evidence in Tandy".Tandy was a member of the "Denver Circle", a group of men who associated with Benjamin Tucker and contributed to the periodical Liberty. In the preface to Voluntary Socialism, he declares his intent to "give a complete outline of [Voluntaryism] in its most important bearings". To that end, chapters one through four outline the foundation for Tandy's anarchism, drawing heavily from Max Stirner and Herbert Spencer. Chapters five through fourteen cover specific areas of interest, including private defense agencies, the labor theory of value, mutual banking, transportation, and political strategy.
The book is dedicated to Benjamin Tucker, "whose lucid writings and scathing criticisms have done so much to dispel the clouds of economic superstition".Workers' self-management
Workers' self-management, also referred to as self-management, labor management and autogestión (see also workers' control, industrial democracy, democratic management and worker cooperative), is a form of organizational management based on self-directed work processes on the part of an organization's workforce. Self-management is a characteristic of many forms of socialism, with proposals for self-management having appeared many times throughout the history of the socialist movement, advocated variously by libertarian and market socialists, communists and anarchists.There are many variations of self-management. In some variants, all the worker-members manage the enterprise directly through assemblies while in other forms workers exercise management functions indirectly through the election of specialist managers. Self-management may include worker supervision and oversight of an organization by elected bodies, the election of specialized managers, or self-directed management without any specialized managers as such. The goals of self-management are to improve performance by granting workers greater autonomy in their day-to-day operations, boosting morale, reducing alienation and eliminating exploitation when paired with employee ownership.An enterprise that is self-managed is referred to as a labour-managed firm. Self-management refers to control rights within a productive organization, being distinct from the questions of ownership and what economic system the organization operates under. Self-management of an organization may coincide with employee ownership of that organization, but self-management can also exist in the context of organizations under public ownership and to a limited extent within private companies in the form of co-determination and worker representation on the board of directors.
Schools of thought
|20th- and 21st century|
|Schools of thought|
|Key topics and issues|