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A two-colored flag, split diagonally, with yellow at the top and black at the bottom
The black and gold flag, a symbol of anarchism (black) and capitalism (gold) which according to Murray Rothbard was first flown in 1963 in Colorado[1] and is also used by the Swedish AnarkoKapitalistisk Front[2]

Anarcho-capitalism (colloquially: ancap or an-cap) is an anti-statist,[3] libertarian[4] political philosophy and economic theory that seeks to abolish centralized states in favor of stateless societies with systems of private property enforced by private agencies, based on concepts such as the non-aggression principle, free markets and self-ownership. Anarcho-capitalist philosophy extends the concept of ownership to include control of private property as part of the self, and, in some cases, control of other people as private property.[5][6] In the absence of statute, anarcho-capitalists hold that society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through participation in the free market, which they describe as a voluntary society involving the voluntary exchange of goods and services.[7][8][9][10] In a theoretical anarcho-capitalist society the system of private property would still exist, as it would be enforced by private defense agencies and/or insurance companies that were selected by property owners, whose ownership rights or claims would be enforced by private defence agencies and/or insurance companies. These agencies or companies would operate competitively in a market and fulfill the roles of courts and the police, similar to a state apparatus. Some anarcho-capitalist authors have argued that slavery is compatible with anarcho-capitalist ideals.[5][6]

According to its proponents, various historical theorists have espoused philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism.[11] While the earliest extant attestation of "anarchocapitalism" [sic] is in Karl Hess's essay "The Death of Politics" published by Playboy in March 1969,[12][13] American economist Murray Rothbard was credited with coining the terms anarcho-capitalist[14][15] and anarcho-capitalism in 1971.[16] A leading figure in the 20th-century American libertarian movement,[10] Rothbard synthesized elements from the Austrian School, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists and mutualists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker, while rejecting the labor theory of value.[17][18][19] Rothbard's anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow".[20] This legal code would recognize contracts between individuals, private property, self-ownership and tort law in keeping with the non-aggression principle.[10][20][21] Anyone who disagreed with the legal code would ultimately be subject to enforcement measures such as those utilised by a state. Rothbard views the power of the state as unjustified, arguing that it restricts individual rights and prosperity, and creates social and economic problems.[10]

Anarcho-capitalists and right-libertarians cite several historical precedents of what they believe to be examples of quasi-anarcho-capitalism,[26] including the Republic of Cospaia,[27] Acadia,[28] Anglo-Saxon England,[3][7] Medieval Iceland,[28] the American Old West,[28] Gaelic Ireland,[10] and merchant law, admiralty law, and early common law.

Anarcho-capitalism is distinguished from minarchism, which advocates a minimal governing body (typically a night-watchman state limited to protecting individuals from aggression and enforcing private property) and from Objectivism which is a broader philosophy advocating a limited role, yet unlimited size, of said government.[29] Unlike most anarchists, anarcho-capitalists support private property and private institutions.[3]

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Anarcho-capitalism developed from radical American anti-state libertarianism and individualist anarchism.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36] A strong current within anarchism does not consider anarcho-capitalism to be part of the anarchist movement because they argue that anarchism has historically been an anti-capitalist movement and for definitional reasons which see anarchism as incompatible with capitalist forms.[37][38][39][40][41][42] According to several scholars, Anarcho-capitalism lies outside the tradition of the vast majority of anarchist schools of thought and is more closely affiliated with capitalism, right-libertarianism and neoliberalism.[37][43][44][45][46][47] Social anarchists oppose and reject capitalism, and consider "anarcho-capitalism" to be a contradiction in terms,[48][49][50] although some, including anarcho-capitalists and right-libertarians, consider anarcho-capitalism to be a form of anarchism.[51][52][53][54]

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica:[10]

Anarcho-capitalism challenges other forms of anarchism by supporting private property and private institutions with significant economic power.

Anarcho-capitalism is occasionally seen as part of the New Right.[55][56]


Murray Rothbard in the 1970s
Murray Rothbard (1926–1995), who is credited with coining the words anarcho-capitalist[14][15] and anarcho-capitalism.[16]

Author J Michael Oliver says that during the 1960s, a philosophical movement arose in the US that championed "reason, ethical egoism, and free-market capitalism". According to Oliver, anarcho-capitalism is a political theory which logically follows the philosophical conclusions of Objectivism, a philosophical system developed by Ayn Rand, but he acknowledges that his advocacy of anarcho-capitalism is "quite at odds with Rand's ardent defense of 'limited government'".[57] Professor Lisa Duggan also says that Rand's anti-statist, pro–"free market" stances went on to shape the politics of anarcho-capitalism.[58]

According to Patrik Schumacher, the political ideology and programme of anarcho-capitalism envisages the radicalization of the neoliberal "rollback of the state", and calls for the extension of "entrepreneurial freedom" and "competitive market rationality" to the point where the scope for private enterprise is all-encompassing and "leaves no space for state action whatsoever".[59]

On the state

Anarcho-capitalists oppose the state and seek to privatize any useful service the government presently provides, such as education, infrastructure, or the enforcement of law.[59][60][61] They see capitalism and the "free market" as the basis for a free and prosperous society. Murray Rothbard stated that the difference between free-market capitalism and state capitalism is the difference between "peaceful, voluntary exchange" and a "collusive partnership" between business and government that "uses coercion to subvert the free market".[62] Rothbard argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by "the voluntary decisions of consumers purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs" and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in.[63]: 1051

Rothbard used the term anarcho-capitalism to distinguish his philosophy from anarchism that opposes private property[64] as well as to distinguish it from individualist anarchism.[65] Other terms sometimes used by proponents of the philosophy include:

  • Individualist anarchism[66][67]
  • Natural order[11]
  • Ordered anarchy[11]
  • Private-law society[11]
  • Private-property anarchy[11]
  • Radical capitalism[11]

Maverick Edwards of the Liberty University describes anarcho-capitalism as a political, social, and economic theory that places markets as the central "governing body" and where government no longer "grants" rights to its citizenry.[68]

Non-aggression principle

Writer Stanisław Wójtowicz says that although anarcho-capitalists are against centralized states, they hold that all people would naturally share and agree to a specific moral theory based on the non-aggression principle.[69] While the Friedmanian formulation of anarcho-capitalism is robust to the presence of violence and in fact, assumes some degree of violence will occur,[70] anarcho-capitalism as formulated by Rothbard and others holds strongly to the central libertarian nonaggression axiom,[69] sometimes non-aggression principle. Rothbard wrote:

The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or "mixes his labor with". From these twin axioms – self-ownership and "homesteading" – stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free-market society. This system establishes the right of every man to his own person, the right of donation, of bequest (and, concomitantly, the right to receive the bequest or inheritance), and the right of contractual exchange of property titles.[21]

Rothbard's defense of the self-ownership principle stems from what he believed to be his falsification of all other alternatives, namely that either a group of people can own another group of people, or that no single person has full ownership over one's self. Rothbard dismisses these two cases on the basis that they cannot result in a universal ethic, i.e. a just natural law that can govern all people, independent of place and time. The only alternative that remains to Rothbard is self-ownership which he believes is both axiomatic and universal.[71]

In general, the non-aggression axiom is described by Rothbard as a prohibition against the initiation of force, or the threat of force, against persons (in which he includes direct violence, assault and murder) or property (in which he includes fraud, burglary, theft and taxation).[20]: 24–25  The initiation of force is usually referred to as aggression or coercion. The difference between anarcho-capitalists and other libertarians is largely one of the degree to which they take this axiom. Minarchist libertarians such as libertarian political parties would retain the state in some smaller and less invasive form, retaining at the very least public police, courts, and military. However, others might give further allowance for other government programs. In contrast, Rothbard rejects any level of "state intervention", defining the state as a coercive monopoly and as the only entity in human society, excluding acknowledged criminals, that derives its income entirely from coercion, in the form of taxation, which Rothbard describes as "compulsory seizure of the property of the State's inhabitants, or subjects."[71]

Some anarcho-capitalists such as Rothbard accept the non-aggression axiom on an intrinsic moral or natural law basis. It is in terms of the non-aggression principle that Rothbard defined his interpretation of anarchism, "a system which provides no legal sanction for such aggression ['against person and property']"; and wrote that "what anarchism proposes to do, then, is to abolish the State, i.e. to abolish the regularized institution of aggressive coercion".[72] In an interview published in the American libertarian journal The New Banner, Rothbard stated that "capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism".[51]


Private property

Anarcho-capitalists postulate the privatization of everything, including cities with all their infrastructures, public spaces, streets and urban management systems.[59][73]

Central to Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism are the concepts of self-ownership and original appropriation that combines personal and private property. Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote:

Everyone is the proper owner of his own physical body as well as of all places and nature-given goods that he occupies and puts to use by means of his body, provided only that no one else has already occupied or used the same places and goods before him. This ownership of "originally appropriated" places and goods by a person implies his right to use and transform these places and goods in any way he sees fit, provided only that he does not change thereby uninvitedly the physical integrity of places and goods originally appropriated by another person. In particular, once a place or good has been first appropriated by, in John Locke's phrase, 'mixing one's labor' with it, ownership in such places and goods can be acquired only by means of a voluntary – contractual – transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.[74]

Rothbard however rejected the Lockean proviso, and followed the rule of "first come, first served", without any consideration of how much resources are left for other individuals.[75][76]

Anarcho-capitalists advocate private ownership of the means of production and the allocation of the product of labor created by workers within the context of wage labour and the free market – that is through decisions made by property and capital owners, regardless of what an individual needs or does not need.[77] Original appropriation allows an individual to claim any never-before-used resources, including land and by improving or otherwise using it, own it with the same "absolute right" as their own body, and retaining those rights forever, regardless of whether the resource is still being used by them. According to Rothbard, property can only come about through labor, therefore original appropriation of land is not legitimate by merely claiming it or building a fence around it – it is only by using land and by mixing one's labor with it that original appropriation is legitimized: "Any attempt to claim a new resource that someone does not use would have to be considered invasive of the property right of whoever the first user will turn out to be". Rothbard argued that the resource need not continue to be used in order for it to be the person's property as "for once his labor is mixed with the natural resource, it remains his owned land. His labor has been irretrievably mixed with the land, and the land is therefore his or his assigns' in perpetuity".[78]: 170 

Rothbard also spoke about a theory of justice in property rights:

It is not enough to call simply for the defense of "the rights of private property"; there must be an adequate theory of justice in property rights, else any property that some State once decreed to be "private" must now be defended by libertarians, no matter how unjust the procedure or how mischievous its consequences.[65]

In Justice and Property Rights, Rothbard wrote that "any identifiable owner (the original victim of theft or his heir) must be accorded his property".[79][80] In the case of slavery, Rothbard claimed that in many cases "the old plantations and the heirs and descendants of the former slaves can be identified, and the reparations can become highly specific indeed". Rothbard believed slaves rightfully own any land they were forced to work on under the homestead principle. If property is held by the state, Rothbard advocated its confiscation and "return to the private sector",[81] writing that "any property in the hands of the State is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated as quickly as possible".[82] Rothbard proposed that state universities be seized by the students and faculty under the homestead principle. Rothbard also supported the expropriation of nominally "private property" if it is the result of state-initiated force such as businesses that receive grants and subsidies.[83] Rothbard further proposed that businesses who receive at least 50% of their funding from the state be confiscated by the workers,[84][85] writing: "What we libertarians object to, then, is not government per se but crime, what we object to is unjust or criminal property titles; what we are for is not 'private' property per se but just, innocent, non-criminal private property".[82]

Similarly, Karl Hess wrote that "libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but that it in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which now is called private ... Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title. All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system".[86]

Anarchists view capitalism as an inherently authoritarian and hierarchical system and seek the abolishment of private property.[87] There is disagreement between anarchists and anarcho-capitalists[88] as the former generally rejects anarcho-capitalism as a form of anarchism and considers anarcho-capitalism a contradiction in terms,[89][90][91] while the latter holds that the abolishment of private property would require expropriation which is "counterproductive to order" and would require a state.[92]

Common property

As opposed to anarchists,[93] most anarcho-capitalists reject the commons.[94] However, some of them propose that non-state public or community property can also exist in an anarcho-capitalist society.[94] For anarcho-capitalists, what is important is that it is "acquired" and transferred without help or hindrance from what they call the "compulsory state". Deontological anarcho-capitalists believe that the only just and most economically beneficial way to acquire property is through voluntary trade, gift, or labor-based original appropriation, rather than through aggression or fraud.[95]

Anarcho-capitalists state that there could be cases where common property may develop in a Lockean natural rights framework. Anarcho-capitalists make the example of a number of private businesses which may arise in an area, each owning the land and buildings that they use, but they argue that the paths between them become cleared and trodden incrementally through customer and commercial movement. These thoroughfares may become valuable to the community, but according to them ownership cannot be attributed to any single person and original appropriation does not apply because many contributed the labor necessary to create them. In order to prevent it from falling to the "tragedy of the commons", anarcho-capitalists suggest transitioning from common to private property, wherein an individual would make a homesteading claim based on disuse, acquire title by the assent of the community consensus, form a corporation with other involved parties, or other means.[94]

American economist Randall G. Holcombe sees challenges stemming from the idea of common property under anarcho-capitalism, such as whether an individual might claim fishing rights in the area of a major shipping lane and thereby forbid passage through it.[94] In contrast, Hoppe's work on anarcho-capitalist theory is based on the assumption that all property is privately held, "including all streets, rivers, airports, and harbors" which forms the foundation of his views on immigration.[94]

Intellectual property

Some anarcho-capitalists strongly oppose intellectual property (i.e., trademarks, patents, copyrights). Stephan N. Kinsella argues that ownership only relates to tangible assets.[96]

Contractual society

The society envisioned by anarcho-capitalists has been labelled by them as a "contractual society" which Rothbard described as "a society based purely on voluntary action, entirely unhampered by violence or threats of violence"[78]: 84  The system relies on contracts between individuals as the legal framework which would be enforced by private police and security forces as well as private arbitrations.[97][98][99]

Rothbard argues that limited liability for corporations could also exist through contract, arguing that "[c]orporations are not at all monopolistic privileges; they are free associations of individuals pooling their capital. On the purely free market, those men would simply announce to their creditors that their liability is limited to the capital specifically invested in the corporation".[63]

There are limits to the right to contract under some interpretations of anarcho-capitalism. Rothbard believes that the right to contract is based in inalienable rights[71] and because of this any contract that implicitly violates those rights can be voided at will, preventing a person from permanently selling himself or herself into unindentured slavery. That restriction aside, the right to contract under anarcho-capitalist order would be pretty broad. For example, Rothbard went as far as to justify stork markets, arguing that a market in guardianship rights would facilitate the transfer of guardianship from abusive or neglectful parents to those more interested or suited to raising children.[100][101] Other anarcho-capitalists have also suggested the legalization of organ markets, as in Iran's renal market. Other interpretations conclude that banning such contracts would in itself be an unacceptably invasive interference in the right to contract.[102]

Included in the right of contract is "the right to contract oneself out for employment by others". While anarchists criticize wage labour describing it as wage slavery, anarcho-capitalists view it as a consensual contract.[103] Some anarcho-capitalists prefer to see self-employment prevail over wage labor. David D. Friedman has expressed a preference for a society where "almost everyone is self-employed" and "instead of corporations there are large groups of entrepreneurs related by trade, not authority. Each sells not his time, but what his time produces".[103]

Law and order and the use of violence

Different anarcho-capitalists propose different forms of anarcho-capitalism and one area of disagreement is in the area of law. In The Market for Liberty, Morris and Linda Tannehill object to any statutory law whatsoever. They argue that all one has to do is ask if one is aggressing against another in order to decide if an act is right or wrong.[104] However, while also supporting a natural prohibition on force and fraud, Rothbard supports the establishment of a mutually agreed-upon centralized libertarian legal code which private courts would pledge to follow, as he presumes a high degree of convergence amongst individuals about what constitutes natural justice.[105]

Unlike both the Tannehills and Rothbard who see an ideological commonality of ethics and morality as a requirement, David D. Friedman proposes that "the systems of law will be produced for profit on the open market, just as books and bras are produced today. There could be competition among different brands of law, just as there is competition among different brands of cars".[106] Friedman says whether this would lead to a libertarian society "remains to be proven". He says it is a possibility that very un-libertarian laws may result, such as laws against drugs, but he thinks this would be rare. He reasons that "if the value of a law to its supporters is less than its cost to its victims, that law ... will not survive in an anarcho-capitalist society".[107]

Anarcho-capitalists only accept the collective defense of individual liberty (i.e. courts, military, or police forces) insofar as such groups are formed and paid for on an explicitly voluntary basis. However, their complaint is not just that the state's defensive services are funded by taxation, but that the state assumes it is the only legitimate practitioner of physical force – that is, they believe it forcibly prevents the private sector from providing comprehensive security, such as a police, judicial and prison systems to protect individuals from aggressors. Anarcho-capitalists believe that there is nothing morally superior about the state which would grant it, but not private individuals, a right to use physical force to restrain aggressors. If competition in security provision were allowed to exist, prices would also be lower and services would be better according to anarcho-capitalists. According to Molinari: "Under a regime of liberty, the natural organization of the security industry would not be different from that of other industries".[108] Proponents believe that private systems of justice and defense already exist, naturally forming where the market is allowed to "compensate for the failure of the state", namely private arbitration, security guards, neighborhood watch groups and so on.[109][110][111][112] These private courts and police are sometimes referred to generically as private defense agencies. The defense of those unable to pay for such protection might be financed by charitable organizations relying on voluntary donation rather than by state institutions relying on taxation, or by cooperative self-help by groups of individuals.[20]: 223  Edward Stringham argues that private adjudication of disputes could enable the market to internalize externalities and provide services that customers desire.[113][114]

The death of General Joseph Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolutionary War, a war which anarcho-capitalists such as Murray Rothbard admired and believed it was the only American war that could be justified[115]

Rothbard stated that the American Revolutionary War and the War of Southern Secession were the only two just wars in American military history.[116] Some anarcho-capitalists such as Rothbard feel that violent revolution is counter-productive and prefer voluntary forms of economic secession to the extent possible.[117] Retributive justice is often a component of the contracts imagined for an anarcho-capitalist society. According to Matthew O'Keefee[who?], some anarcho-capitalists believe prisons or indentured servitude would be justifiable institutions to deal with those who violate anarcho-capitalist property relations while others believe exile or forced restitution are sufficient.[118] Rothbard stressed the importance of restitution as the primary focus of a libertarian legal order[75] and advocated for corporal punishment for petty vandals and the death penalty for murders.

American economist Bruce L. Benson argues that legal codes may impose punitive damages for intentional torts in the interest of deterring crime. Benson gives the example of a thief who breaks into a house by picking a lock. Even if caught before taking anything, Benson argues that the thief would still owe the victim for violating the sanctity of his property rights. Benson opines that despite the lack of objectively measurable losses in such cases, "standardized rules that are generally perceived to be fair by members of the community would, in all likelihood, be established through precedent, allowing judgments to specify payments that are reasonably appropriate for most criminal offenses".[119]

Morris and Linda Tannehill raise a similar example, saying that a bank robber who had an attack of conscience and returned the money would still owe reparations for endangering the employees' and customers' lives and safety, in addition to the costs of the defense agency answering the teller's call for help. However, they believe that the robber's loss of reputation would be even more damaging. They suggest that specialized companies would list aggressors so that anyone wishing to do business with a man could first check his record, provided they trust the veracity of the companies' records. They further theorise that the bank robber would find insurance companies listing him as a very poor risk and other firms would be reluctant to enter into contracts with him.[120]


Murray Rothbard has listed different ideologies of which his interpretations, he said, have influenced anarcho-capitalism.[17][18] This includes his interpretation of anarchism, and more precisely individualist anarchism; classical liberalism and the Austrian School of economic thought. Scholars additionally associate anarcho-capitalism with neo-classical liberalism, radical neoliberalism and right-libertarianism.[43][46][121]


In both its social and individualist forms, anarchism is usually considered an anti-capitalist[122][123] and radical left-wing or far-left[124][125][54] movement that promotes libertarian socialist economic theories such as collectivism, communism, individualism, mutualism and syndicalism.[126] Because anarchism is usually described alongside libertarian Marxism as the libertarian wing of the socialist movement and as having a historical association with anti-capitalism and socialism, anarchists believe that capitalism is incompatible with social and economic equality and therefore do not recognize anarcho-capitalism as an anarchist school of thought.[43][121][46] In particular, anarchists argue that capitalist transactions are not voluntary and that maintaining the class structure of a capitalist society requires coercion which is incompatible with an anarchist society.[127][128] The usage of libertarian is also in dispute.[129] While both anarchists and anarcho-capitalists have used it, libertarian was synonymous with anarchist until the mid-20th century, when anarcho-capitalist theory developed.[121][130]

Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from the dominant anarchist tradition by their relation to property and capital. While both anarchism and anarcho-capitalism share general antipathy towards government authority, anarcho-capitalism favors free-market capitalism. Anarchists, including egoists such as Max Stirner, have supported the protection of an individual's freedom from powers of both government and private property owners.[131] In contrast, while condemning governmental encroachment on personal liberties, anarcho-capitalists support freedoms based on private property rights. Anarcho-capitalist theorist Murray Rothbard argued that protesters should rent a street for protest from its owners. The abolition of public amenities is a common theme in some anarcho-capitalist writings.[132]

As anarcho-capitalism puts laissez-faire economics before economic equality, it is commonly viewed as incompatible with the anti-capitalist and egalitarian tradition of anarchism. Although anarcho-capitalist theory implies the abolition of the state in favour of a fully laissez-faire economy,[133] it lies outside the tradition of anarchism.[135] While using the language of anarchism,[136] anarcho-capitalism only shares anarchism's antipathy towards the state[133] and not anarchism's antipathy towards hierarchy as theorists expect from anarcho-capitalist economic power relations.[136] It follows a different paradigm from anarchism and has a fundamentally different approach and goals.[136] In spite of the anarcho- in its title,[136] anarcho-capitalism is more closely affiliated with capitalism, right-libertarianism, and liberalism than with anarchism.[47][137] Some within this laissez-faire tradition reject the designation of anarcho-capitalism, believing that capitalism may either refer to the laissez-faire market they support or the government-regulated system that they oppose.[138]

Rothbard argued that anarcho-capitalism is the only true form of anarchism – the only form of anarchism that could possibly exist in reality as he maintained that any other form presupposes authoritarian enforcement of a political ideology such as "redistribution of private property", which he attributed to anarchism.[51] According to this argument, the capitalist free market is "the natural situation" that would result from people being free from state authority and entails the establishment of all voluntary associations in society such as cooperatives, non-profit organizations, businesses and so on. Moreover, anarcho-capitalists, as well as classical liberal minarchists, argue that the application of anarchist ideals as advocated by what they term "left-wing anarchists" would require an authoritarian body of some sort to impose it. Based on their understanding and interpretation of anarchism, in order to forcefully prevent people from accumulating capital, which they believe is a goal of anarchists, there would necessarily be a redistributive organization of some sort which would have the authority to in essence exact a tax and re-allocate the resulting resources to a larger group of people. They conclude that this theoretical body would inherently have political power and would be nothing short of a state. The difference between such an arrangement and an anarcho-capitalist system is what anarcho-capitalists see as the voluntary nature of organization within anarcho-capitalism contrasted with a "centralized ideology" and a "paired enforcement mechanism" which they believe would be necessary under what they describe as a "coercively" egalitarian-anarchist system.[127]

Rothbard also argued that the capitalist system of today is not properly anarchistic because it often colludes with the state. According to Rothbard, "what Marx and later writers have done is to lump together two extremely different and even contradictory concepts and actions under the same portmanteau term. These two contradictory concepts are what I would call 'free-market capitalism' on the one hand, and 'state capitalism' on the other". "The difference between free-market capitalism and state capitalism", writes Rothbard, "is precisely the difference between, on the one hand, peaceful, voluntary exchange, and on the other, violent expropriation". He continues: "State capitalism inevitably creates all sorts of problems which become insoluble".[51]

Traditional anarchists reject the notion of capitalism, hierarchies and private property.[139][140][48] Albert Meltzer argued that anarcho-capitalism simply cannot be anarchism because capitalism and the state are inextricably interlinked and because capitalism exhibits domineering hierarchical structures such as that between an employer and an employee.[141] Anna Morgenstern approaches this topic from the opposite perspective, arguing that anarcho-capitalists are not really capitalists because "mass concentration of capital is impossible" without the state.[142] According to Jeremy Jennings, "[i]t is hard not to conclude that these ideas," referring to anarcho-capitalism, have "roots deep in classical liberalism" and "are described as anarchist only on the basis of a misunderstanding of what anarchism is." For Jennings, "anarchism does not stand for the untrammelled freedom of the individual (as the 'anarcho-capitalists' appear to believe) but, as we have already seen, for the extension of individuality and community."[143] Similarly, Barbara Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, argues that anarcho-capitalism's "true place is in the group of right-wing libertarians", not in anarchism.[144]

Some right-libertarian scholars like Michael Huemer, who identify with the ideology, describe anarcho-capitalism as a "variety of anarchism".[52] British author Andrew Heywood also believes that "individualist anarchism overlaps with libertarianism and is usually linked to a strong belief in the market as a self-regulating mechanism, most obviously manifest in the form of anarcho-capitalism".[53] Frank H. Brooks, author of The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881–1908), believes that "anarchism has always included a significant strain of radical individualism, from the hyperrationalism of Godwin, to the egoism of Stirner, to the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists of today".[54]

While both anarchism and anarcho-capitalism are in opposition to the state, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition because anarchists and anarcho-capitalists interpret state-rejection differently.[145][146][147][148] Austrian school economist David Prychitko, in the context of anarcho-capitalism says that "while society without a state is necessary for full-fledged anarchy, it is nevertheless insufficient".[148] According to Ruth Kinna, anarcho-capitalists are anti-statists who draw more on right-wing liberal theory and the Austrian School than anarchist traditions. Kinna writes that "[i]n order to highlight the clear distinction between the two positions", anarchists describe anarcho-capitalists as "propertarians".[60] Anarcho-capitalism is usually seen as part of the New Right.[55][56]

Some anarcho-capitalists argue that, according to them, anarchists consider the word "anarchy" as to be the antithesis of hierarchy, and therefore, that "anarcho-capitalism" is sometimes considered to be a term with differences philosophically to what they personally consider to be true anarchism, as an anarcho-capitalist society would inherently contain hierarchy.[9][149][150] Additionally, Rothbard discusses the difference between "government" and "governance"[151] thus, proponents of anarcho-capitalism think the philosophy's common name is indeed consistent, as it promotes private governance, but is vehemently anti-government.[113][114]

"I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of any individual. Anarchists oppose the State because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights." —Murray Rothbard in Society Without a State[151]

Classical liberalism

Historian and libertarian Ralph Raico argued that what liberal philosophers "had come up with was a form of individualist anarchism, or, as it would be called today, anarcho-capitalism or market anarchism".[152] He also said that Gustave de Molinari was proposing a doctrine of the private production of security, a position which was later taken up by Murray Rothbard.[152] Some anarcho-capitalists consider Molinari to be the first proponent of anarcho-capitalism.[153] In the preface to the 1977 English translation by Murray Rothbard called The Production of Security the "first presentation anywhere in human history of what is now called anarcho-capitalism", although admitting that "Molinari did not use the terminology, and probably would have balked at the name".[154] Hans-Hermann Hoppe said that "the 1849 article 'The Production of Security' is probably the single most important contribution to the modern theory of anarcho-capitalism". According to Hans-Hermann Hoppe, one of the 19th century precursors of anarcho-capitalism were philosopher Herbert Spencer, classical liberal Auberon Herbert and liberal socialist Franz Oppenheimer.[11]

Ruth Kinna credits Murray Rothbard with coining the term anarcho-capitalism, which is – Kinna proposes – to describe "a commitment to unregulated private property and laissez-faire economics, prioritizing the liberty-rights of individuals, unfettered by government regulation, to accumulate, consume and determine the patterns of their lives as they see fit". According to Kinna, anarcho-capitalists "will sometimes label themselves market anarchists because they recognize the negative connotations of 'capitalism'. But the literature of anarcho-capitalism draws on classical liberal theory, particularly the Austrian SchoolFriedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises – rather than recognizable anarchist traditions. Ayn Rand's laissez-faire, anti-government, corporate philosophy – Objectivism – is sometimes associated with anarcho-capitalism".[60] Other scholars similarly associate anarcho-capitalism with anti-state classical liberalism, neo-classical liberalism, radical neoliberalism and right-libertarianism.[43][121][46][155]

Paul Dragos Aligica writes that there is a "foundational difference between the classical liberal and the anarcho-capitalist positions". Classical liberalism, while accepting critical arguments against collectivism, acknowledges a certain level of public ownership and collective governance as necessary to provide practical solutions to political problems. In contrast anarcho-capitalism, according to Aligica, denies any requirement for any form of public administration, and allows no meaningful role for the public sphere, which is seen as sub-optimal and illegitimate.[156]

Individualist anarchism

Lysander Spooner, an American individualist anarchist and mutualist, who is claimed to have influenced anarcho-capitalism

Murray Rothbard, a student of Ludwig von Mises, stated that he was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists.[157] In the winter of 1949, Rothbard decided to reject minimal state laissez-faire and embrace his interpretation of individualist anarchism.[158] In 1965, Rothbard wrote that "Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker were unsurpassed as political philosophers and nothing is more needed today than a revival and development of the largely forgotten legacy they left to political philosophy".[159] However, Rothbard thought that they had a faulty understanding of economics as the 19th-century individualist anarchists had a labor theory of value as influenced by the classical economists, while Rothbard was a student of Austrian School economics which does not agree with the labor theory of value.[17] Rothbard sought to meld 19th-century American individualist anarchists' advocacy of economic individualism and free markets with the principles of Austrian School economics, arguing that "[t]here is, in the body of thought known as 'Austrian economics', a scientific explanation of the workings of the free market (and of the consequences of government intervention in that market) which individualist anarchists could easily incorporate into their political and social Weltanschauung".[160] Rothbard held that the economic consequences of the political system they advocate would not result in an economy with people being paid in proportion to labor amounts, nor would profit and interest disappear as they expected. Tucker thought that unregulated banking and money issuance would cause increases in the money supply so that interest rates would drop to zero or near to it.[159] Peter Marshall states that "anarcho-capitalism overlooks the egalitarian implications of traditional individualist anarchists like Spooner and Tucker".[43] Stephanie Silberstein states that "While Spooner was no free-market capitalist, nor an anarcho-capitalist, he was not as opposed to capitalism as most socialists were."[77]

In "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View", Rothbard explained his disagreements. Rothbard disagreed with Tucker that it would cause the money supply to increase because he believed that the money supply in a free market would be self-regulating. If it were not, then Rothbard argued inflation would occur so it is not necessarily desirable to increase the money supply in the first place. Rothbard claimed that Tucker was wrong to think that interest would disappear regardless because he believed people, in general, do not wish to lend their money to others without compensation, so there is no reason why this would change just because banking was unregulated.[159] Tucker held a labor theory of value and thought that in a free market people would be paid in proportion to how much labor they exerted and that exploitation or usury was taking place if they were not. As Tucker explained in State Socialism and Anarchism, his theory was that unregulated banking would cause more money to be available and that this would allow the proliferation of new businesses which would, in turn, raise demand for labor.[161] This led Tucker to believe that the labor theory of value would be vindicated and equal amounts of labor would receive equal pay. As an Austrian School economist, Rothbard did not agree with the labor theory and believed that prices of goods and services are proportional to marginal utility rather than to labor amounts in the free market. As opposed to Tucker he did not think that there was anything exploitative about people receiving an income according to how much "buyers of their services value their labor" or what that labor produces.[159]

Benjamin Tucker, another individualist anarchist, who identified as a socialist and his individualist anarchism as anarchistic socialism versus state socialism, said to have influenced anarcho-capitalism

Without the labor theory of value,[66] some argue that 19th-century individualist anarchists approximate the modern movement of anarcho-capitalism,[17][18][19] although this has been contested[45] or rejected.[162][163][164] As economic theory changed, the popularity of the labor theory of classical economics was superseded by the subjective theory of value of neoclassical economics and Rothbard combined Mises' Austrian School of economics with the absolutist views of human rights and rejection of the state he had absorbed from studying the individualist American anarchists of the 19th century such as Tucker and Spooner.[165] In the mid-1950s, Rothbard wrote an unpublished article named "Are Libertarians 'Anarchists'?" under the pseudonym "Aubrey Herbert", concerned with differentiating himself from communist and socialistic economic views of anarchists, including the individualist anarchists of the 19th century, concluding that "we are not anarchists and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground and are being completely unhistorical. On the other hand, it is clear that we are not archists either: we do not believe in establishing a tyrannical central authority that will coerce the noninvasive as well as the invasive. Perhaps, then, we could call ourselves by a new name: nonarchist."[166] Joe Peacott, an American individualist anarchist in the mutualist tradition, criticizes anarcho-capitalists for trying to hegemonize the individualist anarchism label and make appear as if all individualist anarchists are in favor of capitalism.[163] Peacott states that "individualists, both past and present, agree with the communist anarchists that present-day capitalism is based on economic coercion, not on voluntary contract. Rent and interest are the mainstays of modern capitalism and are protected and enforced by the state. Without these two unjust institutions, capitalism could not exist".[167]

Anarchist activists and scholars do not consider anarcho-capitalism as a part of the anarchist movement, arguing that anarchism has historically been an anti-capitalist movement and see it as incompatible with capitalist forms.[169] Although some regard anarcho-capitalism as a form of individualist anarchism,[17][18][19] many others disagree or contest the existence of an individualist–socialist divide.[45][170] In coming to terms that anarchists mostly identified with socialism, Rothbard wrote that individualist anarchism is different from anarcho-capitalism and other capitalist theories due to the individualist anarchists retaining the labor theory of value and socialist doctrines.[166] Similarly, many writers deny that anarcho-capitalism is a form of anarchism or that capitalism is compatible with anarchism.[171]

The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism writes that "[a]s Benjamin Franks rightly points out, individualisms that defend or reinforce hierarchical forms such as the economic-power relations of anarcho-capitalism are incompatible with practices of social anarchism based on developing immanent goods which contest such as inequalities". Laurence Davis cautiously asks "[I]s anarcho-capitalism really a form of anarchism or instead a wholly different ideological paradigm whose adherents have attempted to expropriate the language of anarchism for their own anti-anarchist ends?" Davis cites Iain McKay, "whom Franks cites as an authority to support his contention that 'academic analysis has followed activist currents in rejecting the view that anarcho-capitalism has anything to do with social anarchism'", as arguing "quite emphatically on the very pages cited by Franks that anarcho-capitalism is by no means a type of anarchism". McKay writes that "[i]t is important to stress that anarchist opposition to the so-called capitalist 'anarchists' does not reflect some kind of debate within anarchism, as many of these types like to pretend, but a debate between anarchism and its old enemy capitalism. ... Equally, given that anarchists and 'anarcho'-capitalists have fundamentally different analyses and goals it is hardly 'sectarian' to point this out".[136]

Davis writes that "Franks asserts without supporting evidence that most major forms of individualist anarchism have been largely anarcho-capitalist in content, and concludes from this premise that most forms of individualism are incompatible with anarchism". Davis argues that "the conclusion is unsustainable because the premise is false, depending as it does for any validity it might have on the further assumption that anarcho-capitalism is indeed a form of anarchism. If we reject this view, then we must also reject the individual anarchist versus the communal anarchist 'chasm' style of argument that follows from it".[136] Davis maintains that "the ideological core of anarchism is the belief that society can and should be organised without hierarchy and domination. Historically, anarchists have struggles against a wide range of regimes of domination, from capitalism, the state system, patriarchy, heterosexism, and the domination of nature to colonialism, the war system, slavery, fascism, white supremacy, and certain forms of organised religion". According to Davis, "[w]hile these visions range from the predominantly individualistic to the predominantly communitarian, features common to virtually all include an emphasis on self-management and self-regulatory methods of organisation, voluntary association, decentralised society, based on the principle of free association, in which people will manage and govern themselves".[136] Finally, Davis includes a footnote stating that "[i]ndividualist anarchism may plausibly be re regarded as a form of both socialism and anarchism. Whether the individualist anarchists were consistent anarchists (and socialists) is another question entirely. ... McKay comments as follows: 'any individualist anarchism which supports wage labour is inconsistent anarchism. It can easily be made consistent anarchism by applying its own principles consistently. In contrast 'anarcho'-capitalism rejects so many of the basic, underlying, principles of anarchism ... that it cannot be made consistent with the ideals of anarchism'".[136]

Historical precedents

Several anarcho-capitalists and right-libertarians have discussed historical precedents of what they believe were examples of anarcho-capitalism.[172]

Free cities of medieval Europe

Economist and libertarian scholar Bryan Caplan considers the free cities of medieval Europe as examples of "anarchist" or "nearly anarchistic" societies,[22] further arguing:

One case that has inspired both sorts of anarchists is that of the free cities of medieval Europe. The first weak link in the chain of feudalism, these free cities became Europe's centers of economic development, trade, art, and culture. They provided a haven for runaway serfs, who could often legally gain their freedom if they avoided re-capture for a year and a day. And they offer many examples of how people can form mutual-aid associations for protection, insurance, and community. Of course, left-anarchists and anarcho-capitalists take a somewhat different perspective on the free cities: the former emphasize the communitarian and egalitarian concerns of the free cities, while the latter point to the relatively unregulated nature of their markets and the wide range of services (often including defense, security, and legal services) which were provided privately or semi-privately.[22]

Medieval Iceland

19th-century interpretation of the Althing in the Icelandic Commonwealth which authors such as David D. Friedman believe to have some features of anarcho-capitalist society

According to the libertarian theorist David D. Friedman, "[m]edieval Icelandic institutions have several peculiar and interesting characteristics; they might almost have been invented by a mad economist to test the lengths to which market systems could supplant government in its most fundamental functions".[23] While not directly labeling it anarcho-capitalist, Friedman argues that the legal system of the Icelandic Commonwealth comes close to being a real-world anarcho-capitalist legal system.[173] Although noting that there was a single legal system, Friedman argues that enforcement of the law was entirely private and highly capitalist, providing some evidence of how such a society would function. Friedman further wrote that "[e]ven where the Icelandic legal system recognized an essentially 'public' offense, it dealt with it by giving some individual (in some cases chosen by lot from those affected) the right to pursue the case and collect the resulting fine, thus fitting it into an essentially private system".[23]

Friedman and Bruce L. Benson argued that the Icelandic Commonwealth saw significant economic and social progress in the absence of systems of criminal law, an executive, or bureaucracy. This commonwealth was led by chieftains, whose position could be bought and sold like that of private property. Being a member of the chieftainship was also completely voluntary.[10]

American Old West

According to Terry L. Anderson and P. J. Hill, the Old West in the United States in the period of 1830 to 1900 was similar to anarcho-capitalism in that "private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved" and that the common popular perception that the Old West was chaotic with little respect for property rights is incorrect.[174] Since squatters had no claim to western lands under federal law, extra-legal organizations formed to fill the void. Benson explains:

The land clubs and claim associations each adopted their own written contract setting out the laws that provided the means for defining and protecting property rights in the land. They established procedures for registration of land claims, as well as for the protection of those claims against outsiders, and for adjudication of internal disputes that arose. The reciprocal arrangements for protection would be maintained only if a member complied with the association's rules and its court's rulings. Anyone who refused would be ostracized. A boycott by a land club meant that an individual had no protection against aggression other than what he could provide himself.[175]

According to Anderson, "[d]efining anarcho-capitalist to mean minimal government with property rights developed from the bottom up, the western frontier was anarcho-capitalistic. People on the frontier invented institutions that fit the resource constraints they faced".[citation needed]

Gaelic Ireland

Provinces of Ireland in 900

In his work For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard has claimed ancient Gaelic Ireland as an example of nearly anarcho-capitalist society.[20] In his depiction, citing the work of Professor Joseph Peden,[176] the basic political unit of ancient Ireland was the tuath, which is portrayed as "a body of persons voluntarily united for socially beneficial purposes" with its territorial claim being limited to "the sum total of the landed properties of its members".[20] Civil disputes were settled by private arbiters called "brehons" and the compensation to be paid to the wronged party was insured through voluntary surety relationships. Commenting on the "kings" of tuaths,[20] Rothbard stated:

The king was elected by the tuath from within a royal kin group (the derbfine), which carried the hereditary priestly function. Politically, however, the king had strictly limited functions: he was the military leader of the tuath, and he presided over the tuath assemblies. But he could only conduct war or peace negotiations as an agent of the assemblies, and he was in no sense sovereign and had no rights of administering justice over tuath members. He could not legislate, and when he himself was party to a lawsuit, he had to submit his case to an independent judicial arbiter.[20]

Law merchant, admiralty law, and early common law

Some libertarians have cited law merchant, admiralty law and early common law as examples of anarcho-capitalism.[177][178][failed verification][179]

In his work Power and Market,[63] Rothbard stated:

The law merchant, admiralty law, and much of the common law began to be developed by privately competitive judges, who were sought out by litigants for their expertise in understanding the legal areas involved. The fairs of Champagne and the great marts of international trade in the Middle Ages enjoyed freely competitive courts, and people could patronize those that they deemed most accurate and efficient.[63]: 1051 

Somalia from 1991 to 2012

Economist Alex Tabarrok argued that Somalia in its stateless period provided a "unique test of the theory of anarchy", in some aspects near of that espoused by anarcho-capitalists David D. Friedman and Murray Rothbard.[25] Nonetheless, both anarchists and some anarcho-capitalists argue that Somalia was not an anarchist society.[180][181]

Analysis and criticism

State, justice and defense

Anarchists such as Brian Morris argue that anarcho-capitalism does not in fact get rid of the state. He says that anarcho-capitalists "simply replaced the state with private security firms, and can hardly be described as anarchists as the term is normally understood".[182] In "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy", anarchist Peter Sabatini notes:

Within Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However, Rothbard's claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist vendors. ... Rothbard sees nothing at all wrong with the amassing of wealth, therefore those with more capital will inevitably have greater coercive force at their disposal, just as they do now.[183]

Similarly, Bob Black argues that an anarcho-capitalist wants to "abolish the state to his own satisfaction by calling it something else". He states that they do not denounce what the state does, they just "object to who's doing it".[184]

Paul Birch argues that legal disputes involving several jurisdictions and different legal systems will be too complex and costly. He therefore argues that anarcho-capitalism is inherently unstable, and would evolve, entirely through the operation of free market forces, into either a single dominant private court with a natural monopoly of justice over the territory (a de facto state), a society of multiple city states, each with a territorial monopoly, or a 'pure anarchy' that would rapidly descend into chaos.[185]

Randall G. Holcombe argues that anarcho-capitalism turns justice into a commodity as private defense and court firms would favour those who pay more for their services.[186] He argues that defense agencies could form cartels and oppress people without fear of competition.[186] Philosopher Albert Meltzer argued that since anarcho-capitalism promotes the idea of private armies, it actually supports a "limited State". He contends that it "is only possible to conceive of Anarchism which is free, communistic and offering no economic necessity for repression of countering it".[187]

Libertarian Robert Nozick argues that a competitive legal system would evolve toward a monopoly government – even without violating individuals' rights in the process.[188] In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Nozick defends minarchism and argues that an anarcho-capitalist society would inevitably transform into a minarchist state through the eventual emergence of a monopolistic private defense and judicial agency that no longer faces competition. He argues that anarcho-capitalism results in an unstable system that would not endure in the real world. While anarcho-capitalists such as Roy Childs and Murray Rothbard have rejected Nozick's arguments,[189] with Rothbard arguing that the process described by Nozick, with the dominant protection agency outlawing its competitors, in fact violates its own clients' rights,[190] John Jefferson actually advocates Nozick's argument and states that such events would best operate in laissez-faire.[191] Robert Ellickson presented a Hayekian case against anarcho-capitalism, calling it a "pipe-dream" and stating that anarcho-capitalists "by imagining a stable system of competing private associations, ignore both the inevitability of territorial monopolists in governance, and the importance of institutions to constrain those monopolists' abuses".[192]

Some libertarians argue that anarcho-capitalism would result in different standards of justice and law due to relying too much on the market. Friedman responded to this criticism by arguing that it assumes the state is controlled by a majority group that has similar legal ideals. If the populace is diverse, different legal standards would therefore be appropriate.[10]

Rights and freedom

Negative and positive rights are rights that oblige either action (positive rights) or inaction (negative rights). Anarcho-capitalists believe that negative rights should be recognized as legitimate, but positive rights should be rejected as an intrusion. Some critics reject the distinction between positive and negative rights.[193] Peter Marshall also states that the anarcho-capitalist definition of freedom is entirely negative and that it cannot guarantee the positive freedom of individual autonomy and independence.[43]

About anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-syndicalist and anti-capitalist intellectual Noam Chomsky says:

Anarcho-capitalism, in my opinion, is a doctrinal system that, if ever implemented, would lead to forms of tyranny and oppression that have few counterparts in human history. There isn't the slightest possibility that its (in my view, horrendous) ideas would be implemented because they would quickly destroy any society that made this colossal error. The idea of "free contract" between the potentate and his starving subject is a sick joke, perhaps worth some moments in an academic seminar exploring the consequences of (in my view, absurd) ideas, but nowhere else.[194]

Economics and property

Social anarchists argue that anarcho-capitalism allows individuals to accumulate significant power through free markets and private property.[7] Friedman responded by arguing that the Icelandic Commonwealth was able to prevent the wealthy from abusing the poor by requiring individuals who engaged in acts of violence to compensate their victims financially.[10]

Anarchists argue that certain capitalist transactions are not voluntary and that maintaining the class structure of a capitalist society requires coercion which violates anarchist principles.[195][196][197][198] Anthropologist David Graeber noted his skepticism about anarcho-capitalism along the same lines, arguing:

To be honest, I'm pretty skeptical about the idea of anarcho-capitalism. If a-caps imagine a world divided into property-holding employers and property-less wage laborers, but with no systematic coercive mechanisms[;] well, I just can't see how it would work. You always see a-caps saying "if I want to hire someone to pick my tomatoes, how are you going to stop me without using coercion?" Notice how you never see anyone say "if I want to hire myself out to pick someone else's tomatoes, how are you going to stop me?" Historically nobody ever did wage labor like that if they had pretty much [any] other option.[199]

Some critics argue that the anarcho-capitalist concept of voluntary choice ignores constraints due to both human and non-human factors such as the need for food and shelter as well as active restriction of both used and unused resources by those enforcing property claims.[200] If a person requires employment in order to feed and house himself, the employer-employee relationship could be considered involuntary. Another criticism is that employment is involuntary because the economic system that makes it necessary for some individuals to serve others is supported by the enforcement of coercive private property relations.[200] Some philosophies view any ownership claims on land and natural resources as immoral and illegitimate.[201] Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger criticizes anarcho-capitalism by arguing that "capitalism requires government", questioning who or what would enforce treaties and contracts.[202]

Some right-libertarian critics of anarcho-capitalism who support the full privatization of capital such as geolibertarians argue that land and the raw materials of nature remain a distinct factor of production and cannot be justly converted to private property because they are not products of human labor. Some socialists, including market anarchists and mutualists, adamantly oppose absentee ownership. Anarcho-capitalists have strong abandonment criteria, namely that one maintains ownership until one agrees to trade or gift it. Anti-state critics of this view posit comparatively weak abandonment criteria, arguing that one loses ownership when one stops personally occupying and using it as well as the idea of perpetually binding original appropriation is anathema to traditional schools of anarchism.[185]


The following is a partial list of notable nonfiction works discussing anarcho-capitalism.

See also


  1. ^ Rothbard, Murray N., The Betrayal of the American Right Archived 30 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine (2007): 188
  2. ^ "Flags of political parties (Sweden)". FOTW Flags of the World website. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Morriss, Andrew P. (15 August 2008). "Anarcho-Capitalism". Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2022. Although most anarchists oppose all large institutions, public or private, anarcho-capitalists oppose the state, but not private actors with significant market power.
  4. ^ Geloso, Vincent; Leeson, Peter T. (2020). "Are Anarcho-Capitalists Insane? Medieval Icelandic Conflict Institutions in Comparative Perspective". Revue d'économie politique. 130 (6): 957–974. doi:10.3917/redp.306.0115. ISSN 0373-2630. S2CID 235008718. Archived from the original on 5 August 2022. Retrieved 5 August 2022. Anarcho-capitalism is a variety of libertarianism according to which all government institutions can and should be replaced by private ones.
  5. ^ a b Block, Walter (2003). "Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Smith, Kinsella, Gordon, and Epstein". The Journal of Libertarian Studies. 17 (3).
  6. ^ a b Vandenberg, Christopher; et al. (2022). "The Case in Favor of the Voluntary Slave Contract". Political Analysis: Croatian and International Politics Quarterly. 11 (41): 22–29.
  7. ^ a b c Morriss, Andrew (2008). "Anarcho-Capitalism". In Hamowy, Ronald (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage; Cato Institute. pp. 13–14. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n8. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. OCLC 750831024. Archived from the original on 7 February 2024. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  8. ^ Stringham, Edward (2007). Anarchy and the law: the political economy of choice. Transaction Publishers. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-4128-0579-7. Archived from the original on 7 February 2024. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b Marshall, Peter. "Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism – The New Right and Anarcho-capitalism". Archived from the original on 19 April 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Costa, Daniel (21 October 2022). "Anarcho-capitalism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 25 October 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (31 December 2001). "Anarcho-Capitalism: An Annotated Bibliography" Archived 11 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Lew Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  12. ^ Hess, Karl (2003) [March 1969]. "The Death of Politics". Faré's Home Page. Playboy. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2023. Laissez-faire capitalism, or anarchocapitalism [sic], is simply the economic form of the libertarian ethic. Laissez-faire capitalism encompasses the notion that men should exchange goods and services, without regulation, solely on the basis of value for value. It recognizes charity and communal enterprises as voluntary versions of this same ethic. Such a system would be straight barter, except for the widely felt need for a division of labor in which men, voluntarily, accept value tokens such as cash and credit. Economically, this system is anarchy, and proudly so.
  13. ^ Johnson, Charles (28 August 2015). "Karl Hess on Anarcho-Capitalism". Center for a Stateless Society. Archived from the original on 4 October 2023. Retrieved 9 October 2023. In fact, the earliest documented, printed use of the word "anarcho-capitalism" that I can find [6] actually comes neither from Wollstein nor from Rothbard, but from Karl Hess's manifesto "The Death of Politics," which was published in Playboy in March, 1969. [boldface in original]
  14. ^ a b Leeson, Robert (2017). Hayek: A Collaborative Biography, Part IX: The Divine Right of the 'Free' Market. Springer. p. 180. ISBN 978-3-319-60708-5. Archived from the original on 25 April 2023. Retrieved 18 March 2023. To the original 'anarchocapitalist' (Rothbard coined the term) [...].
  15. ^ a b Roberta Modugno Crocetta, "Murray Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism in the contemporary debate. A critical defense", Ludwig Von Mises Institute. Archived from the original. quote: "Murray Rothbard suggests the anarcho-capitalist mode, [...]"
  16. ^ a b Flood, Anthony (2010). Untitled preface to Rothbard's "Know Your Rights" Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, originally published in WIN: Peace and Freedom through Nonviolent Action, Volume 7, No. 4, 1 March 1971, 6–10. Flood's quote: "Rothbard's neologism, 'anarchocapitalism,' probably makes its first appearance in print here."
  17. ^ a b c d e Miller, David; et al., eds. (1987). Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-631-17944-3. A student and disciple of the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, Rothbard combined the laissez-faire economics of his teacher with the absolutist views of human rights and rejection of the state he had absorbed from studying the individualist American anarchists of the 19th century such as Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker.
  18. ^ a b c d Bottomore, Tom (1991). "Anarchism". A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Reference. p. 21. ISBN 0-63118082-6.
  19. ^ a b c Outhwaite, William (2003). "Anarchism". The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-631-22164-7. Their successors today, such as Murray Rothbard, having abandoned the labor theory of value, describe themselves as anarcho-capitalists.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rothbard, Murray (1978). For a New Liberty. Auburn: Mises Institute. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-61016-448-1. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  21. ^ a b Rothbard, Murray (Spring 1982). "Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution" Archived 21 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Cato Journal. 2 (1): 55–99.
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  30. ^ Tormey, Simon (2004). Anti-capitalism: A Beginner's Guide. Oneworld. ISBN 978-1851683420. p. 118–119
  31. ^ Perlin, Terry M. (1979). Contemporary Anarchism. Transaction Books. p. 7
  32. ^ Raico, Ralph (2004). Authentic German Liberalism of the 19th Century. Ecole Polytechnique, Centre de Recherce en Epistemologie Appliquee, Unité associée au CNRS.
  33. ^ Heider, Ulrike (1994). Anarchism:Left, Right, and Green. City Lights. p. 3.
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  35. ^ Bottomore, Tom. Dictionary of Marxist Thought, Anarchism entry, 1991.
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  37. ^ a b "The philosophy of 'anarcho-capitalism' dreamed up by the 'libertarian' New Right, has nothing to do with Anarchism as known by the Anarchist movement proper." Meltzer, Albert. Anarchism: Arguments For and Against AK Press, (2000) p. 50
  38. ^ "In fact, few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice, Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the State, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists." Peter Marshall. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. Harper Perennial. London. 2008. p. 565
  39. ^ "It is important to distinguish between anarchism and certain strands of right-wing libertarianism which at times go by the same name (for example, Murray Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism)."Saul Newman, The Politics of Postanarchism, Edinburgh University Press, 2010, p. 43 ISBN 0748634959
  40. ^ Section F – Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism? Archived 9 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine at An Anarchist FAQ published in physical book form by An Anarchist FAQ as "Volume I"; by AK Press, Oakland/Edinburgh 2008; 558 pages, ISBN 978-1902593906
  41. ^ "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Murray Rothbard and Robert Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition." Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward by David Goodway. Liverpool University Press. Liverpool. 2006. p. 4
  42. ^ "Within Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However Rothbard's claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist what remains is shrill anti-statism conjoined to a vacuous freedom in hackneyed defense of capitalism. In sum, the "anarchy" of Libertarianism reduces to a liberal fraud."Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy" by Peter Sabatini Archived 7 January 2020 at the Wayback Machine in issue #41 (Fall/Winter 1994–95) of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Marshall, Peter (1992). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: HarperCollins. pp. 564–565. ISBN 978-0-00-217855-6. "Anarcho-capitalists are against the State simply because they are capitalists first and foremost. [...] They are not concerned with the social consequences of capitalism for the weak, powerless and ignorant. [...] As such, anarcho-capitalism overlooks the egalitarian implications of traditional individualist anarchists like Spooner and Tucker. In fact, few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice. Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the state, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists."
  44. ^ a b c d Jennings, Jeremy (1993). "Anarchism". In Eatwell, Roger; Wright, Anthony (eds.). Contemporary Political Ideologies. London: Pinter. pp. 127–146. ISBN 978-0-86187-096-7. "[...] anarchism does not stand for the untrammelled freedom of the individual (as the 'anarcho-capitalists' appear to believe) but, as we have already seen, for the extension of individuality and community" (p. 143).
  45. ^ a b c d e f Franks, Benjamin (August 2013). Freeden, Michael; Stears, Marc (eds.). "Anarchism". The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press: 385–404. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199585977.013.0001. "Individualisms that defend or reinforce hierarchical forms such as the economic-power relations of anarcho-capitalism [...] are incompatible with practices of social anarchism. [...] Increasingly, academic analysis has followed activist currents in rejecting the view that anarcho-capitalism has anything to do with social anarchism" (pp. 393–394).
  46. ^ a b c d e Newman, Saul (2010). The Politics of Postanarchism. Edinburgh University Press. p. 43. "It is important to distinguish between anarchism and certain strands of right-wing libertarianism which at times go by the same name (for example, Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism)." ISBN 0748634959.
  47. ^ a b Pele, Antonio; Riley, Stephen (2 February 2021). "For a Right to Health Beyond Biopolitics: The Politics of Pandemic and the 'Politics of Life'". Law, Culture and the Humanities. Sage Publications. doi:10.1177/1743872120978201. ISSN 1743-8721. S2CID 234042976. Archived from the original on 8 February 2024. Retrieved 19 June 2023. In his Cours on The Birth of Biopolitics, Foucault has exclusively dedicated his lectures on (neo)liberalism (e.g. German ordoliberalism and the American 'anarcho-capitalism'), offering his apologies for not having examined thoroughly this idea of biopolitics.
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  49. ^ Marshall, Peter H. (2010). Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism: be realistic! Demand the impossible!. Oakland, CA: PM Press. pp. 564–565. ISBN 978-1-60486-268-3. OCLC 611612065.
  50. ^ a b c d Gay, Kathlyn; Gay, Martin (1999). Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy. ABC-CLIO. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-87436-982-3. "For many anarchists (of whatever persuasion), anarcho-capitalism is a contradictory term, since 'traditional' anarchists oppose capitalism".
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  52. ^ a b Michael Huemer (2020). "The Right Anarchy". The Routledge Handbook of Anarchy and Anarchist Thought. Routledge. pp. 342–359. doi:10.4324/9781315185255-24. ISBN 978-1-315-18525-5. S2CID 228838944. Archived from the original on 8 February 2024. Retrieved 4 January 2021. (From abstract): There are two main varieties of anarchism: the socialist variety (aka "social anarchism" or "anarcho-socialism") and the capitalist variety ("anarcho-capitalism")
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  55. ^ a b c Meltzer, Albert (2000). Anarchism: Arguments for and Against. London: AK Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-873176-57-3. The philosophy of 'anarcho-capitalism' dreamed up by the 'libertarian' New Right, has nothing to do with Anarchism as known by the Anarchist movement proper.
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  121. ^ a b c d e Goodway, David (2006). Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 4. "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Rothbard and Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition."
  122. ^ Jun, Nathan (September 2009). "Anarchist Philosophy and Working Class Struggle: A Brief History and Commentary". WorkingUSA. 12 (3): 507–508. doi:10.1111/j.1743-4580.2009.00251.x. ISSN 1089-7011. [Anarchists oppose] all centralized and hierarchical forms of government (e.g., monarchy, representative democracy, state socialism, etc.), economic class systems (e.g., capitalism, Bolshevism, feudalism, slavery, etc.), autocratic religions (e.g., fundamentalist Islam, Roman Catholicism, etc.), patriarchy, heterosexism, white supremacy, and imperialism.
  123. ^ Williams, Dana M. (2018). "Contemporary Anarchist and Anarchistic Movements". Sociology Compass. Wiley. 12 (6): 4. doi:10.1111/soc4.12582. ISSN 1751-9020.
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  129. ^ Marshall, Peter (1992). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. London: HarperCollins. p. 641. ISBN 978-0-00-217855-6. "For a long time, libertarian was interchangeable in France with anarchist but in recent years, its meaning has become more ambivalent."
  130. ^ Cohn, Jesse (20 April 2009). "Anarchism". In Ness, Immanuel (ed.). The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1–11 (6). doi:10.1002/9781405198073.wbierp0039. ISBN 978-1-4051-9807-3. [...] 'libertarianism' [...] a term that, until the mid-twentieth century, was synonymous with 'anarchism' per se
  131. ^ Francis, Mark (December 1983). "Human Rights and Libertarians". Australian Journal of Politics & History. 29 (3): 462. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.1983.tb00212.x. ISSN 0004-9522.
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  146. ^ Jun, Nathan (September 2009). "Anarchist Philosophy and Working Class Struggle: A Brief History and Commentary". WorkingUSA. 12 (3): 505–519. doi:10.1111/j.1743-4580.2009.00251.x. ISSN 1089-7011. "One common misconception, which has been rehearsed repeatedly by the few Anglo-American philosophers who have bothered to broach the topic [...] is that anarchism can be defined solely in terms of opposition to states and governments" (p. 507).
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  157. ^ De Leon, David (1978). The American as Anarchist: Reflections on Indigenous Radicalism. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 127. "[...] Only a few individuals like Murray Rothbard, in Power and Market, and some article writers were influenced by these men. Most had not evolved consciously from this tradition; they had been a rather automatic product of the American environment."
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  164. ^ Baker, J. W. "Native American Anarchism". The Raven. 10 (1): 43‒62. Retrieved 4 September 2020. "It is time that anarchists recognise the valuable contributions of individualist anarchist theory and take advantage of its ideas. It would be both futile and criminal to leave it to the capitalist libertarians, whose claims on Tucker and the others can be made only by ignoring the violent opposition they had to capitalist exploitation and monopolistic 'free enterprise' supported by the state."
  165. ^ Miller, David, ed. (1987). The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 0-631-17944-5.
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External links

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