Cork, I have actually read the entirety of Benjamin Tucker’s “Instead of a Book” and haven’t solely received my information from secondary sources. I quoted An Anarchist FAQ simply because it already clearly explains my own conclusions about Tucker. Ok, let’s make the issue of Benjamin Tucker’s capitalism really simple. Did he or did he not proclaim himself to be a socialist? Can a socialist be a capitalist? The answers to these questions are hopefully obvious enough to circumvent your attempted revisionism of Benjamin Tucker’s socialism. He declared himself a socialist in “State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree, And Wherein They Differ” and a socialist obviously can’t be a capitalist. Benjamin Tuker was a smart enough thinker that I seriously doubt he has made a mistake in calling himself a socialist.
I have looked over some material and have found where Benjamin Tucker supported wage labor and became inconsistent with his own ideas about “occupancy and use” while still coming to extremely anti-capitalist conclusions. Observe Tucker’s “Should Labor be Paid or Not?” In it Tucker says that he supports the ability of individuals to buy the labor of others, while in the same breath opposing “the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labor, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labor by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labor, and that, but for the privilege, would be enjoyed by all gratuitously.” Even here he is completely at odds with some of the fundamental aspects of capitalist private property rights.
Tucker goes on to say, “the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers. Not to abolish wages, but to make every man dependent upon wages and to secure to every man his whole wages is the aim of Anarchistic Socialism. What Anarchistic Socialism aims to abolish is usury. It does not want to deprive labor of its reward; it wants to deprive capital of its reward. It does not hold that labor should not be sold; it holds that capital should not be hired at usury.” The erasure of a distinction between “wage-payers” and “wage-receivers” as well as "depriving capital of its reward" sounds very much like opposition to the very foundation of capitalism to me.
The problem seems to be arising here because Benjamin Tucker is confusing the word “wages” by not considering its possible usage in reference to different kinds of economic relationships. Tucker is using the word “wage” to refer to “any kind of compensation for labor” when it is typically used to refer to “compensation received from a capitalist owner/boss.” For Tucker a “wage” would occur when “an individual is hired to mow a lawn” while most of us think of a “wage” as meaning “a capitalist hiring an employee.” I am in favor of the former and opposed to the latter. Think about the difference between a wage and a salary. In a worker co-operative everyone is technically a self-employed owner, and thus there is no wage labor. In the lawn mowing scenario, there is no employee-employer relationship, so most of us don’t consider that a “wage”, but Benjamin Tucker has confusingly referred to it as such.
Also consider the context within which Tucker is saying that he is for individual ownership over the means of production and the ability to hire the labor of others. Benjamin Tucker is referring to a world containing predominately self-employed peasant/artisan production. That means no employee-employer relationship involved in the idea (in your words) that “literally everyone should sell their labor.” For him even if there were some labor sold in the sense of an employee-employer relationship, the abolishment of the money, land, tariff, and patent/copyright monopolies would still ensure people receive their “whole wages” within the workings of a socialist free market. You can’t have capitalism without capital ownership receiving tribute in the form of profit, interest, and rent. So even by erroneously being for what he calls “wage” labor and individual ownership over the means of production, Benjamin Tucker is still espousing ideas that are very much against capitalist property rights. He is just doing it inconsistently. Ultimately, Benjamin Tucker’s saying that he is for wage labor in our current world would be in direct conflict with his ideas about “occupancy and use” which must logically be extended to the workplace containing the means of production.
Honestly, it is impossible for someone who says “Interest is Theft, Rent Robbery, and Profit Only Another Name for Plunder," to be considered a genuine proponent of capitalist property rights even with tenuous inconsistent points of contact with capitalism. You say, “I didn’t say he supported profit, I said that he supported capitalist property rights.” Tell me then, where do profits come from? They can only come from capitalist property rights, which mean private ownership over the means of production/survival. Interest, rent, and profit all stem from capitalist property rights. Sorry, but you simply can’t oppose those things without rejecting capitalist property rights. Tucker has very clearly placed restraints on the amount of property one can own, which is in direct conflict with the most fundamental principles of capitalist property rights. Also note that I am fine with anarcho-capitalists voluntarily organizing around capitalist principles as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others to completely disassociate with their system of “voluntary slavery.” So in that sense only I am not opposed to people freely forming wage labor relationships, while personally being opposed to wage slavery. So in that sense, like Benjamin Tucker, I am for the “untrammelled right to take usury” while being personally opposed to any of its exercise. It is interesting to observe how Tucker himself makes this distinction in “Right and Individual Rights” where he says, “In defending the right to take usury, we do not defend the right of usury.”
Yes, occupancy and use is still a system of property ownership. I have already said that. However, it is not a capitalist form of property rights. You are correct that if someone was occupying and using every part of the island it wouldn’t change the guy’s circumstances much. The important idea being that the desperate shipwrecked man’s need to occupy and use part of the island would involve another individual not being able to sustain their own life. Otherwise, there are no legitimate grounds for denying the shipwrecked man anything. If there is only one glass of fresh water available and both of us need to drink its entirety to survive another day, then one of us is going to be out of luck. Sometimes scarcity is an unavoidable aspect of a situation. The problem with capitalist private property is that it produces artificial scarcity whereas possession does not. Capitalism is building a fence around an oasis in the desert, claiming it as your homesteaded capitalist private property, and denying thirsty passersby a drink even though there is enough fresh water there to sustain yourself and countless others. It is certainly much more unlikely that so much of an island would be occupied and used that no arrangement could be made to sustain the shipwrecked man without harming or killing another inhabitant of the island. On the other hand, there are real world examples of privately owned islands where capitalists would no doubt support the owner’s right to shoot or remove trespassers. Again, the important difference is genuine scarcity involved in possession as opposed to the artificial scarcity of capitalist private property. Capitalism adds a layer of artificial scarcity to the genuine scarcity of our planet’s land and resources.
Hotels, parking lots, college dorms, roads, and recreation centers can all be organized by people on co-operative basis. There is already co-operative housing that addresses the issue of hotels and college dorms. Instead of privately owned roads you can have co-operatively owned roads such as the ones in rural Finland. We already have some utility co-operatives providing things like electricity . You can do this same sort of thing for parking lots and recreation centers. Any of your left-Rothbardian capitalist private business model solutions to hotels, parking lots, college dorms, roads, and recreation centers can be accomplished by workplace democracy in accord with the co-operative organizational form.
So according to you it is a good thing that bigger businesses destroy smaller businesses. Nice, so we would have an even greater narrowing of choice and the limiting of individual autonomy. We should have an even greater consolidation of coercive economic power into the hands of a few. Therefore, you obviously would be fine if one person or a few people could come to own the entire world just as I suspected. You can’t be for individual liberty and be okay with capitalist businesses forming huge, hierarchical, inefficient, state-like, bureaucratic, and centralized monopolies that deny people any say in the running of their own lives. The choice to work for one of several capitalist boss masters or suffer hunger, thirst, homelessness, poverty, sickness, and death is no choice at all. To be free you must be your own boss. I am actually fine with whatever size organizations can reach as long as the people involved have a direct say in decisions proportionate to the degree that they are affected by them. Naturally this means that organizations would be much smaller, sustainable, and more local than they are today.
Ask anarcho-capititalists if it is legitimate for someone to sell him or herself into irrevocable slavery and you will soon find out just how opposed to slavery they really are. Yes, African Americans today are still debt slaves. There are very real socioeconomic and structural reasons why there is such a low degree of social mobility for African Americans. You better believe that being kept without property, in debt, and dependent upon state-government welfare has a lot to do with this and that the reason isn’t because African Americans are inherently lazy, ignorant, violent, and stupid. “The average African-American family has about 60 percent of the income as the average white family. But the disparity of wealth is a lot greater. The average African-American family has only 18 percent of the wealth of the average white family.” Total debt as a percent of net worth for African Americans is 42.3% while it is 16.5% for Whites. Many of us, not just African American’s, are in fact debt slaves. See the fantastic educational animation “Money As Debt” to better understand our unsustainable monetary system which is producing an out of control spiral of indebtedness to banks.
Furthermore, there is nothing within the worker-owned business model that relegates it solely to small local businesses. What we are proposing isn’t “a bunch of dinky little co-ops” with no division of labor or economies of scale. There are already co-operative retailers that employ economies of scale on behalf of its retail members, so you are grossly mistaken that “you couldn’t even have retailers." The following are a couple of examples large enough to extinguish notions that co-operatives are incompatible with a modern industrialized economy:
Concerning Mondragon : "Located in Spain, this conglomerate has a net worth of ten billion dollars and employs three thousand worker/owners."
"Publix Super Markets, Inc. (commonly known as Publix) is an American supermarket chain based in Lakeland, Florida. Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, it is an employee-owned, privately held corporation and was ranked No. 4 on Forbes' 2006 list of "America's Largest Private Companies...Publix has operations in five states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. It employs over 146,000 people at its 922 retail locations, corporate offices, eight grocery distribution centers, and nine Publix brand manufacturing facilities which produce its dairy, deli, bakery, and other food products"
"Cooperatives range in size from large enterprises, including U.S. Fortune 500 companies, to single, small local storefronts."
"Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) : is the largest worker-cooperative in the country, providing employment opportunities to 1,050---many of whom were low-income residents of the South Bronx who transitioned from public assistance after graduating from our nationally-recognized paraprofessional training program."
Furthermore, the libertarian socialism that we are talking about has actually worked in practice. I highly recommend reading Harold Barclay's "People Without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchy." In it he explains, "anarchy is by no means unusual; that it is a perfectly common form of polity or political organization. Not only is it common, but it is probably the oldest type of polity and one which has characterized most of human history." He describes examples of anarchy among hunter-gatherer, horticultural, pastoral, and agricultural societies. He also explains, "While it may be said that anarchy occurs most frequently in a small group situation and is probably easier to perpetuate in this condition, this is not to say that it is impossible in a modern more complex context. Rather it is more correct to say that it is not very probable. Yet we do have examples of anarchic polities among peoples of the Tiv, Lugbara, Nuer and Tonga, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and with fairly dense populations, often over 100 people to the square mile."
Right, I understood that you don’t think it is possible for someone to own the entire world. I don’t think it is possible for one individual to own the entire world either. That is just an exaggerated worst case scenario that hopefully clearly exposes the flaws in capitalism. It is meant to expose the coercive nature of capitalism. The same points in my exaggerated hypothetical scenario still hold when a small group of individuals can come to owns more land, resources, wealth, and power than the rest of the population. That is the situation we are now in. Your answer that it is impossible for one person to own the entire world completely dodges the important questions. The issue I have is that you apparently think that in it would be completely legitimate for someone to own the entire world if it was really possible and it was the sole result of purely capitalist market transactions and a so-called "really, really, really satisfying customers." Thus you also obviously don’t see the trouble with having a small group of people privately own the majority of our planet’s land and resources. My problem is that you apparently don’t see the coercion contained within a situation that is completely compatible with capitalist principles.
Trust me, I know what my life is like, and you don’t. I know what attitude I have towards life in general. Naturally, my emotional state fluctuates, but in general I don’t let the bad things in life get me down. I enjoy plenty in life and I don’t let the impoverished state of the world ruin the things I love. I have no problem rebelling against everything around me that needs rebelling against. I don’t have a problem being angry at what deserves my anger. Isn’t that an unavoidable part of being an anarchist or libertarian anyways? Furthermore, most of the miserable people in this world aren’t even anarchists. There are plenty of other things in this world to be miserable about, but not everyone adopts a pessimistic outlook towards life. Despite what you think, even a libertarian socialist like myself can find happiness in an imperfect world.