Monday, September 19, 2005

Agorism Contra Marxism, part 5

[This continues a multi-part summary of known existing portions of Samuel Edward Konkin III’s unfinished book Agorism Contra Marxism, which began, and ended, its serialization in Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance #2, 1982-83. To catch up, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.]

The Agorist Critique of Marxist Class Theory

Marx’s Class Theory failed to see that those workers classically considered proletariat would become growingly obsolescent. In North America, unionized skilled workers are in decline, being absorbed by new entrepreneurship (franchising, independent contracting and consulting), the service industry, scientific research and development, increased managerial function without human labor underneath for exploitation, and bureaucracy.

“The entrepreneurial problem is unsolvable for Marxism,” wrote SEK3, “because Marx failed to recognize the economic category. The best Marxists can do is lump them with new, perhaps mutated, capitalist forms. But if they are to fit the old class system, they are petit bourgeois, the very group that is to either collapse into proletarians or rise into the monopoly capitalist category. Small business should not increase in the ‘advanced, decadent stages of capitalism.’ ”

Marxism also does not deal with the persistent Counter-Economy (i.e., a peaceful black market or underground economy). There is a spectrum of the Counter-Economy “tainting” workers, entrepreneurs, and even capitalists. Wrote Konkin:

“Scientists, managers, even civil servants do not merely accept bribes and favors but actively seek second, unreported employment in the ‘black market.’ And the more ‘socialist’ the State, the bigger the nalevo, ‘black work’ or ‘underground’ component of the economy. ... [T]his turns Marx ‘on his head’ ...: ‘advanced capitalism’ is generating runaway free-enterprise (the Old-Fashioned kind) in reaction; the more decadent (statist) the capitalism, the more virulent the reaction and the larger the Counter-Economy.

“But even worse is the class of Counter-Economists. That is, by Marxist class structure, the black marketeers cannot be a class: workers, capitalists and entrepreneurs in active collusion against a common enemy, the State. True, many do not perceive themselves as in a common class and some even try to deny their ‘black’ activities even to themselves, thanks to religious and social guilt induction. And yet, when the agents of the State appear to enforce the ‘laws’ of the Power Elite, the Counter-Economists from tax-dodging businessman to drug-dealing hippie to illegal alien to feminist midwife are willing to signal each other with the universal: ‘Watch it, the fuzz/pigs/flics/federales/etc.!’ ...

“Even in extreme cases, the commonality of the Counter-Economist has generated an economic determinism as strong as any Marx considered to weld ‘class unity.’ But this is still not the worst.

“This class unity is not that of a workers’ class (though workers are heavily involved) nor of a capitalist class (though capitalists are involved) nor even of a ruling class — this class is based on the commonality of risk, arising from a common source (the State). And risk is not proletarian (or particularly capitalist); it is purely entrepreneurial.

“Again, to make it clear, if the ‘entrepreneuriat’ are tossed into the capitalist class, then the Marxist must face the contradiction of ‘capitalists’ at war with the capitalist-controlled State.

“At this point, Marx’s class analysis is in shreds. Clearly, oppression exists, but another model is needed to explain how it works.”

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At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Monday, September 19, 2005

A LIBERAL BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Attention you hearty liberal Corner readers. This is a good faith question. I want to know why you think big corporations are "rightwing." I have heard many arguments, and with very, very, few exceptions I find them unpersuasive or insufficient. I am eager to learn what I am missing. I'd like to hear you make the case. Please, no sophistry, circular arguments or rank assertion. Specificity, examples and defined terms would be very helpful. I'm not particularly interested in the argument that corporations are bad for the environment and therefore they are rightwing. I'm not necessarily dismissing that argument, it's just that I've heard it so many times before. Please send honest and thoughtful responses to Send dishonest and unthoughtful responses to Ramesh. I'm also interested in articles which have made this case.
Posted at 04:35 PM

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

"...all the various measures of federal regulation and welfare statism that left and right alike have always believed to be mass movements against Big Business are not only now backed to the hilt by Big Business, but were originated by it for the very purpose of shifting from a free market to a cartelized economy that would benefit it. Imperialistic foreign policy and the permanent garrison state originated in the Big Business drive for foreign investments and for war contracts at home." -- Murray N. Rothbard, "Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal"

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Marxist Politicians, having seized power over the people and gained the uncontested trusteeship of the means of production, behave like classical monopolists, except for one aspect of their processes. They discover that they are unable to hire the management teams capable of operating any economy more complex than a Medieval Manor. Those management neither exist nor can they be created. So the Marxists in power succumb to the ancient temptation~~ Force without stint or limit applied to the producers by those members who should never be allowed to govern another human being. Laws and regulations multiply, but they have no effect. Ultimately, in many industries, the raw material inputs are more valuable than the finished products; the production processes detract from the value of the output. The Leninist System must collapse.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger troutsky said...

Interesting readings of the historical record: Rothbard tells us Big Business devised the welfare state and puscat tells us Marxists couldnt manage an economy for growth.Actually,the growth rate of the USSR in the 1950s was faster than any Western countries and the economies of Eastern Europe grew almost as fast.The GDP of the Eastern Bloc of Europe,per capita, grew faster than the major industrialist countries between 1950 -1975 (IMF 1990)Rothbard needs to read the biography of FDR.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

troutsky, I dunno where you get your stats on Soviet economic growth, but you oughta check your sources. They come directly from the old Kremlin?


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