I.4 How could an anarchist economy function?

This is an important question facing all opponents of a given system - what will you replace it with? We can say, of course, that it is pointless making blue-prints of how a future anarchist society will work as the future will be created by everyone, not just the few anarchists and libertarian socialists who write books and FAQs. This is very true, we cannot predict what a free society will actually be like or develop and we have no intention to do so here. However, this reply (whatever its other merits) ignores a key point, people need to have some idea of what anarchism aims for before they decide to spend their lives trying to create it.

So, how would an anarchist system function? That depends on the economic ideas people have. A mutualist economy will function differently than a communist one, for example, but they will have similar features. As Rudolf Rocker put it, "[c]ommon to all Anarchists is the desire to free society of all political and social coercive institutions which stand in the way of the development of a free humanity. In this sense, Mutualism, Collectivism, and Communism are not to be regarded as closed systems permitting no further development, but merely assumptions as to the means of safeguarding a free community. There will even probably be in the society of the future different forms of economic cooperation existing side-by-side, since any social progress must be associated with that free experimentation and practical testing-out for which in a society of free communities there will be afforded every opportunity." [Anarcho-Syndicalism, p.16]

So, given the common aims of anarchists, its unsurprising that the economic systems they suggest will have common features. For all anarchists, a "voluntary association that will organise labour, and be the manufacturer and distributor of necessary commodities... is to make what is useful. The individual is to make what is beautiful." [Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, page 25] Or, to bring this ideal up to day, as Chomsky put it, "[t]he task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary participation of people who produce and create, live their lives freely within institutions they control, and with limited hierarchical structures, possibly none at all."

In other words, anarchists desire to organise voluntary workers associations which will try to ensure a minimisation of mindless labour in order to maximise the time available for creative activity both inside and outside "work." This is to be achieved by free cooperation between equals, for while competition may be the "law" of the jungle, cooperation is the law of civilisation.

This cooperation is not based on "altruism," but self-interest As Proudhon argued, "Mutuality, reciprocity exists when all the workers in an industry instead of working for an entrepreneur who pays them and keeps their products, work for one another and thus collaborate in the making of a common product whose profits they share amongst themselves. Extend the principle of reciprocity as uniting the work of every group, to the Workers' Societies as units, and you have created a form of civilisation which from all points of view - political, economic and aesthetic - is radically different from all earlier civilisations." [quoted by Martin Buber, Paths in Utopia, page 29-30] In other words, solidarity and cooperation allows us time to enjoy life and to gain the benefits of our labour ourselves - Mutual Aid results in a better life than mutual struggle and so "the association for struggle will be a much more effective support for civilisation, progress, and evolution than is the struggle for existence with its savage daily competitions." [Luigi Geallani, The End of Anarchism, p. 26]

Combined with this desire for free cooperation, is a desire to end centralised systems. The opposition to centralisation is often framed in a distinctly false manner. This can be seen when Alex Nove, a leading market socialist, argues that "there are horizontal links (market), there are vertical links (hierarchy). What other dimension is there?" [Alex Nove, The Economics of Feasible Socialism, p. 226] In other words, Nove states that to oppose central planning means to embrace the market. This, however, is not true. Horizontal links need not be market based any more than vertical links need be hierarchical. But the core point in his argument is very true, an anarchist society must be based essentially on horizontal links between individuals and associations, freely cooperating together as they (not a central body) sees fit. This cooperation will be source of any "vertical" links in an anarchist economy. When a group of individuals or associations meet together and discuss common interests and make common decisions they will be bound by their own decisions. This is radically different from a a central body giving out orders because those affected will determine the content of these decisions. In other words, instead of decisions being handed down from the top, they will be created from the bottom up.

So, while refusing to define exactly how an anarchist system will work, we will explore the implications of how the anarchist principles and ideals outlined above could be put into practice. Bare in mind that this is just a possible framework for a system which has few historical examples to draw upon as evidence. This means that we can only indicate the general outlines of what an anarchist society could be like. Those seeking "recipes" and exactness should look elsewhere. In all likelihood, the framework we present will be modified and changed (even ignored) in light of the real experiences and problems people will face when creating a new society. Lastly we should point out that there may be a tendency for some to compare this framework with the theory of capitalism (i.e. perfectly functioning "free" markets or quasi-perfect ones) as opposed to its reality. A perfectly working capitalist system only exists in text books and in the heads of ideologues who take the theory as reality. No system is perfect, particularly capitalism, and to compare "perfect" capitalism with any system is a pointless task.

I.4.1 What is the point of economic activity in anarchy?

The basic point of economic activity is an anarchist society is to ensure that we produce what we desire to consume and that our consumption is under our own control and not vice versa. The second point may seem strange, how can consumption control us for we consume what we desire and no one forces us to do so. However, this is not quite true under a capitalist economy. Capitalism, in order to survive, must expand, must create more and more profits. This leads to irrational side effects, for example, the advertising industry. While it does without saying that producers need to let consumers know what is available for consumption, capitalism ensures advertising goes beyond this by creating needs that did not exist.

Therefore, the point of economic activity in an anarchist society is to produce as and when required and not, as under capitalism, to organise production for the sake of production. For anarchists, "Real wealth consists of things of utility and beauty, in things that help create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in." [Emma Goldman, Red Emma Speaks, p. 53]

This means that, in an anarchist society, economic activity is the process by which we produce what is both useful and beautiful in a way that empowers the individual. As Oscar Wilde put it, individuals will produce what is beautiful, based upon the "study of the needs of mankind, and the means of satisfying them with the least possible waste of human energy" [Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, p. 175] This means that anarchist economic ideas are the same as what Political Economy should be, not what it actually is, namely the "essential basis of all Political Economy, [is] the study of the most favourable conditions for giving society the greatest amount of useful products with the least waste of human energy" and, we may add today, the least disruption of nature then capitalism is condemned. [The Conquest of Bread, p. 144] The anarchists charge capitalism with wasting human energy due to its irrational nature and workings, energy that could be spent creating what is beautiful.

Under capitalism, instead of humans controlling production, production controls them. Anarchists want to change this and desire to create an economic network which will allow the maximisation of an individual's free time in order for them to express and develop their individuality (or to "create what is beautiful"). So instead of aiming just to produce because the economy will collapse if we did not, anarchists want to ensure that we produce what is useful in a manner which liberates the individual and empowers them in all aspects of their lives. They share this desire with the classical Liberals and agree totally with Humbolt's statement that "the end of man . . . is the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole." [cited by J.S. Mill in On Liberty, chapter III]

This desire means that anarchists reject the capitalist definition of "efficiency." Anarchists would agree with Albert and Hahnel when they argue that "since people are conscious agents whose characteristics and therefore preferences develop over time, to access long-term efficiency we must access the impact of economic institutions on people's development." [The Political Economy of Participatory Economics, p.9] Capitalism, as we have explained before, is highly inefficient in this light due to the effects of hierarchy and the resulting marginalisation and disempowerment of the majority of society. As Albert and Hehnel go on to note, "self-management, solidarity, and variety are all legitimate valuative criteria for judging economic institutions . . . Asking whether particular institutions help people attain self-management, variety, and solidarity is sensible." [Op. Cit., p.9]

In other words, anarchists think that any economic activity in a free society is to do useful things in such a way that gives those doing it as much pleasure as possible. The point of such activity is to express the individuality of those doing it, and for that to happen they must control the work process itself. Only by self-management can work become a means of empowering the individual and developing his or her powers.

In a nutshell, useful work will replace useless toil in an anarchist society.

I.4.2 Why do anarchists desire to abolish work?

Anarchists desire to see humanity liberate itself from "work." This may come as a shock for many people and will do much to "prove" that anarchism is essentially utopian. However, we think that such an abolition is not only necessary, it is possible. This is because "work" is one of the major dangers to freedom we face.

If by freedom we mean self-government, then its clear that being subjected to hierarchy in the workplace subverts our abilities to think and judge for ourselves. Like any skill, critical analysis and independent thought have to be practiced continually in order to remain at their full potential. However, as well as hierarchy, the workplace environment created by these power structures also helps to undermine these abilities. This was recognised by Adam Smith:

"The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments." That being so, "the man whose life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or nearly the same, has no occasion to extend his understanding... and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to be... But in every improved and civilised society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes pains to prevent it." [Adam Smith, quoted by Noam Chomsky, Year 501, p. 18]

Smith's argument (usually ignored by those who claim to follow his ideas) is backed up by extensive evidence. The different types of authority structures and different technologies have different effects on those who work within them. Carole Pateman (in Participation and Democratic Theory) notes that the evidence suggests that "[o]nly certain work situations were found to be conductive to the development of the psychological characteristics [suitable for freedom, such as] . . . the feelings of personal confidence and efficacy that underlay the sense of political efficacy." [p. 51] Within capitalist companies based upon highly rationalised work environment, extensive division of labour and "no control over the pace or technique of his [or her] work, no room to exercise skill or leadership" [Op. Cit., p.51] workers, according to a psychological study, is "resigned to his lot . . . more dependent than independent . . .he lacks confidence in himself . . .he is humble . . .the most prevalent feeling states . . .seem to be fear and anxiety." [p. 52]

However, in workplaces where "the worker has a high degree of personal control over his work . . . and a very large degree of freedom from external control . . .[or has] collective responsibility of a crew of employees . . .[who] had control over the pace and method of getting the work done, and the work crews were largely internally self-disciplining" [p. 52] a different social character is seen. This was characterised by "a strong sense of individualism and autonomy, and a solid acceptance of citizenship in the large society . . .[and] a highly developed feeling of self-esteem and a sense of self-worth and is therefore ready to participate in the social and political institutions of the community." [p. 52]

She notes that R. Blauner (in Alienation and Freedom) states that the "nature of a man's work affects his social character and personality" and that an "industrial environment tends to breed a distinct social type." [cited by Pateman, p. 52] As Bob Black argues:

"You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances are you'll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home in the end, are habituated to hierarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias. Their obedience training at work carries over into the families they start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from people at work, they'll likely submit to hierarchy and expertise in everything. They're used to it." [The Abolition of Work]

For this reason anarchists desire, to use Bob Black's phrase, "the abolition of work." "Work," in this context, does not mean any form of productive activity. Far from it. "Work" (in the sense of doing necessary things) will always be with us. There is no getting away from it, crops need to be grow, schools built, houses fixed, and so on. No, "work" in this context means any form of labour in which the worker does not control his or her own activity. In other words wage labour in all its many forms.

A society based upon wage labour (i.e. a capitalist society) will result in a society within which the typical worker uses few of their abilities, exercise little or no control over their work because they are governed by a boss during working hours. This has been proved to lower the individual's self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, as would be expected in any social relationship that denied self-government to workers. Capitalism is marked by an extreme division of labour, particularly between mental labour and physical labour. It reduces the worker to a mere machine operator, following the orders of his or her boss. Therefore, a libertarian that does not support economic liberty (i.e. self-management) is no libertarian at all.

Capitalism bases its rationale for itself on consumption. However, this results in a viewpoint which minimises the importance of the time we spend in productive activity. Anarchists consider that it is essential for individual's to use and develop their unique attributes and capacities in all walks of life, to maximise their powers. Therefore the idea that "work" should be ignored in favour of consumption is totally mad. Productive activity is an important way of developing our inner-powers and express ourselves, in other words be creative. Capitalism's emphasis on consumption sg]hows the poverty of that system. As Alexander Berkman argues:

"We do not live by bread alone. True, existence is not possible without opportunity to satisfy our physical needs. But the gratification of these by no means constitutes all of life. Our present system of disinheriting millions, made the belly the centre of the universe, so to speak. But in a sensible society . . . [t]he feelings of human sympathy, of justice and right would have a chance to develop, to be satisfied, to broaden and grow." [ABC of Anarchism, p. 15]

Therefore, capitalism is based on a constant process of alienated consumption, as workers try to find the happiness associated within productive, creative, self-managed activity in a place it does not exist - on the shop shelves. This can partly explain the rise of both mindless consumerism and of religions, as individuals try to find meaning for their lives and happiness, a meaning and happiness frustrated in wage labour and hierarchy.

Capitalism's impoverishment of the individual's spirit is hardly surprising. As William Godwin argued, "[t]he spirit of oppression, the spirit of servility, and the spirit of fraud, these are the immediate growth of the established administration of property. They are alike hostile to intellectual and moral improvement." [The Anarchist Reader, p. 131] In other words, any system based in wage labour or hierarchical relationships in the workplace will result in a deadening of the individual and the creation of a "servile" character. This crushing of individuality springs directly from what Godwin called "the third degree of property" namely "a system. . . by which one man enters into the faculty of disposing of the produce of another man's industry" in other words, capitalism. [Op. Cit., p. 129]

Anarchists desire to change this and create a society based upon freedom in all aspects of life. Hence anarchists desire to abolish work, simply because it restricts the liberty and distorts the individuality of those who have to do it. To quote Emma Goldman:

"Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope."

Anarchists do not think that by getting rid of work we will not have to produce necessary goods and so on. Far from it, an anarchist society "doesn't mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic revolution . . .a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn't passive." [Bob Black, Op. Cit.]

This means that in an anarchist society every effort would be made to reduce boring, unpleasant activity to a minimum and ensure that whatever productive activity is required to be done is as pleasant as possible and based upon voluntary labour. However, it is important to remember Cornelius Castoriadis point that a "Socialist society will be able to reduce the length of the working day, and will have to do so, but this will not be the fundamental preoccupation. Its first task will be to . . .transform the very nature of work. The problem is not to leave more and more 'free' time to individuals - which might well be empty time - so that they may fill it at will with 'poetry' or the craving of wood. The problem is to make all time a time of liberty and to allow concrete freedom to find expression in creative activity." [Workers' Councils and the Economics of a Self-Managed Society, p. 14] Essentially, "the problem is to put poetry into work." [Op. Cit., p. 15]

This is why anarchists desire to abolish "work" (i.e. wage labour), to ensure that whatever work (i.e. economic activity) is required to be done is under the direct control of those who do it. In this way it can be liberated and so become a means of self-realization and not a form of self-negation. In other words, anarchists want to abolish work because "Life, the art of living, has become a dull formula, flat and inert." [A. Berkman, Op. Cit., p. 27] Anarchists want to bring the spontaneity and joy of life back into productive activity and save humanity from the dead hand of capital.

All this does not imply that anarchists do think that individuals will not seek to "specialise" in one form of productive activity rather than another. Far from it, people in a free society will pick activities which interest them as the main focal point of their means of self-expression. This "division of work" is common in humanity and can be seen under capitalism - most children and teenagers pick a specific line of work because they are interested, or at least desire to do a specific kind of work. This natural desire to do what interests you and what you are good at will encouraged in an anarchist society. The difference is that individuals will manage all aspects of the "work" required (for example, engineers will also take part in self-managing their workplaces) and the strict division of labour of capitalism will be abolished (see section I.4.3). In other words, anarchists want to replace the division of labour by the division of work.

I.4.3 How do anarchists intent to abolish work?

Basically by workers' self-management of production and community control of the means of production. It is hardly in the interests of those who do the actual "work" to have bad working conditions, boring, repetitive labour, and so on. Therefore, a key aspect of the liberation from work is to create a self-managed society, "a society in which everyone has equal means to develop and that all are or can be at the time intellectual and manual workers, and the only differences remaining between men [and women] are those which stem from the natural diversity of aptitudes, and that all jobs, all functions, give an equal right to the enjoyment of social possibilities." [Errico Malatesta, Anarchy, p. 40]

Essential to this task is decentralisation and the use of appropriate technology. Decentralisation is important to ensure that those who do work can determine how to liberate it. A decentralised system will ensure that ordinary people can identify areas for technological innovation, and so understand the need to get rid of certain kinds of work. Unless ordinary people understand and control the introduction of technology, then they will never be fully aware of the benefits of technology and resist advances which may be in their best interests to introduce. This is the full meaning of appropriate technology, namely the use of technology which those most affected feel to be best in a given situation. Such technology may or may not be technologically "advanced" but it will be of the kind which ordinary people can understand and, most importantly, control.

The potential for rational use of technology can be seen from capitalism. Under capitalism technology is used to increase profits, to expand the economy, not to liberate all individuals from useless toil (it does, of course, liberate a few from such "activity"). As Ted Trainer argues:

"Two figures drive the point home. In the long term, productivity (i.e. output per hour of work) increases at about 2 percent per annum, meaning that each 35 years we could cut the work week by half while producing as much as we were at the beginning. A number of OECD. . . countries could actually have cut from a five-day work week to around a one-day work week in the last 25 years while maintaining their output at the same level. In this economy we must therefore double the annual amount we consume per person every 35 years just to prevent unemployment from rising and to avoid reduction in outlets available to OASK up investable capital.

"Second, according to the US Bureau for Mines, the amount of capital per person available for investment in the United States will increase at 3.6 percent per annum (i.e. will double in 20-year intervals). This indicates that unless Americans double the volume of goods and services they consume every 20 years, their economy will be in serious difficulties"

"Hence the ceaseless and increasing pressure to find more business opportunities" ["What is Development", p 57-90, Society and Nature, Issue No. 7, p.49]

And, remember, these figures include production in many areas of the economy that would not exist in a free society - state and capitalist bureaucracy, weapons production, and so on. In addition, it does not take into account the labour of those who do not actually produce anything useful and so the level of production for useful goods would be higher than Trainer indicates. In addition, goods will be built to last and so much production will become sensible and not governed by an insane desire to maximise profits at the expense of everything else.

The decentralisation of power will ensure that self-management becomes universal. This will see the end of division of labour as mental and physical work becomes unified and those who do the work also manage it. This will allow "the free exercise of all the faculties of man" [Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, p. 148] both inside and outside "work."

Work will become, primarily, the expression of a person's pleasure in what they are doing and become like an art - an expression of their creativity and individuality. Work as an art will become expressed in the workplace as well as the work process, with workplaces transformed and integrated into the local community and environment (see section I.4.14 - What will the workplace of tomorrow be like?). This will obviously apply to work conducted in the home as well, otherwise the "half of humanity subjected to the slavery of the hearth would still have to rebel against the other half." [Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread]

In other words, anarchists desire "to combine the best part (in fact, the only good part) of work -- the production of use-values -- with the best of play. . . its freedom and its fun, its voluntariness and its intrinsic gratification" - the transformation of what economists call production into productive play. [Bob Black, Smokestack Lightning]

In addition, a decentralised system will build up a sense of community and trust between individuals and ensure the creation of an ethical economy, one based on interactions between individuals and not commodities caught in the flux of market forces. This ideal of a "moral economy" can be seen in both social anarchists desire for the end of the market system and the individualists insistence that "cost be the limit of price." Anarchists recognise that the "traditional local market. . .is essentially different from the market as it developed in modern capitalism. Bartering on a local market offered an opportunity to meet for the purpose of exchanging commodities. Producers and customers became acquainted; they were relatively small groups. . .The modern market is no longer a meeting place but a mechanism characterized by abstract and impersonal demand. One produces for this market, not for a known circle of customers; its verdict is based on laws of supply and demand." [Man for Himself, pp. 67-68]

Anarchists reject the capitalist notion that economic activity should be based on maximising profit as the be all and end all of such work (buying and selling on the "impersonal market"). As markets only work through people, individuals, who buy and sell (but, in the end, control them - in "free markets" only the market is free) this means that for the market to be "impersonal" as it is in capitalism it implies that those involved have to be unconcerned about personalities, including their own. Profit, not ethics, is what counts. The "impersonal" market suggests individuals who act in an impersonal, and so unethical, manner. The morality of what they produce is irrelevant, as long as profits are produced.

Instead, anarchists consider economic activity as an expression of the human spirit, an expression of the innate human need to express ourselves and to create. Capitalism distorts these needs and makes economic activity a deadening experience by the division of labour and hierarchy. Anarchists think remember that "industry is not an end in itself, but should only be a means to ensure to man his material subsistence and to make accessible to him the blessings of a higher intellectual culture. Where industry is everything and man is nothing begins the realm of a ruthless economic despotism whose workings are no less disastrous than those of any political despotism. The two mutually augment one another, and they are fed from the same source." [Rudolph Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism].

Anarchists think that a decentralised social system will allow "work" to be abolished and economic activity humanised and made a means to an end (namely producing useful things and liberated individuals). This would be achieved by, as Rudolf Rocker puts it, the "alliance of free groups of men and women based on co-operative labor and a planned administration of things in the interest of the community." [Ibib.]

However, as things are produced by people, it could be suggested that a "planned administration of things" implies a "planned administration of people" (although few who suggest this danger apply it to capitalist firms which are like mini-centrally planned states). This objection false simply because anarchism aims "to reconstruct the economic life of the peoples from the ground up and build it up in the spirit of Socialism." [Ibib.]

In other words, those who produce also administer and so govern themselves in free association (and it should be pointed out that any group of individuals in association will make "plans" and "plan," the important question is who does the planning and who does the work. Only in anarchy are both functions united into the same people). Rocker emphasizes this point when he writes that

"Anarcho-syndicalists are convinced that a Socialist economic order cannot be created by the decrees and statutes of a government, but only by the solidaric collaboration of the workers with hand and brain in each special branch of production; that is, through the taking over of the management of all plants by the producers themselves under such form that the separate groups, plants, and branches of industry are independent members of the general economic organism and systematically carry on production and the distribution of the products in the interest of the community on the basis of free mutual agreements." [Op. Cit. p. 94]

In other words, the "planned administration of things" would be done by the producers themselves, in independent groupings. This would likely take the form (as we indicated in section I.3) of confederations of syndicates who communicate information between themselves and response to changes in the production and distribution of products by increasing or decreasing the required means of production in a cooperative (i.e. "planned") fashion. No "central planning" or "central planners" governing the economy, just workers cooperating together as equals.

Therefore, an anarchist society would abolish work by ensuring that those who do the work actually control it. They would do so in a network of self-managed associations, a society "composed of a number of societies banded together for everything that demands a common effort: federations of producers for all kinds of production, of societies for consumption . . . All these groups will unite their efforts through mutual agreement . . . Personal initiative will be encouraged and every tendency to uniformity and centralisation combated" [Peter Kropotkin, quoted by Buber in Paths in Utopia]

In response to consumption patterns, syndicates will have to expand or reduce production and will have to attract volunteers to go the necessary work. The very basis of free association will ensure the abolition of work, as individuals will apply for "work" they enjoy doing and so would be interested in reducing "work" they did not want to do to a minimum. Such a decentralisation of power would unleash a wealth of innovation and ensure that unpleasant work be minimalised and fairly shared (see section I.4.13).

Now, any form of association requires agreement. Therefore, even a society based on the communist-anarchist maxim "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" will need to make agreements in order to ensure cooperative ventures succeed. In other words, members of a cooperative commonwealth would have to make and keep to their agreements between themselves. This means that syndicates would agree joint starting and finishing times, require notice if individuals want to change "jobs" and so on within and between syndicates. Any joint effort requires some degree of cooperation and agreement. Therefore, between syndicates, an agreement would be reached (in all likelihood) that determined the minimum working hours required by all members of society able to work. How that minimum was actually organised would vary between workplace and commune, with worktimes, flexi-time, job rotation and so on determined by each syndicate (for example, one syndicate may work 8 hours a day, another 4, one may use flexi-time, another more rigid starting and stopping times).

As Kropotkin argued, an anarchist-communist society would be based upon the following kind of "contract" between its members:

"We undertake to give you the use of our houses, stores, streets, means of transport, schools, museums, etc., on condition that, from twenty to forty-five or fifty years of age, you consecrate four or five hours a day to some work recognised as necessary to existence. Choose yourself the producing group which you wish to join, or organize a new group, provided that it will undertake to produce necessaries. And as for the remainder of your time, combine together with whomsoever you like, for recreation, art, or science, according to the bent of your taste . . . Twelve or fifteen hundred hours of work a year . . . is all we ask of you." [The Conquest of Bread, p. 153-4]

With such work "necessary to existence" being recognised by individuals and expressed by demand for labour from productive syndicates. It is, of course, up to the individual to decide which work he or she desires to perform from the positions available in the various associations in existence. A union card would be the means by which work hours would be recorded and access to the common wealth of society ensured. And, of course, individuals and groups are free to work alone and exchange the produce of their labour with others, including the confederated syndicates, if they so desired. An anarchist society will be as flexible as possible.

Therefore, we can imagine a social anarchist society being based on two basic arrangements -- firstly, an agreed minimum working week of, say, 20 hours, in a syndicate of your choice, plus any amount of hours doing "work" which you feel like doing - for example, art, experimentation, DIY, composing, gardening and so on. The aim of technological progress would be to reduce the basic working week more and more until the very concept of necessary "work" and free time enjoyments is abolished. In addition, in work considered dangerous or unwanted, then volunteers could trade doing a few hours of such activity for more free time (see section I.4.13 for more on this).

It can be said that this sort of agreement is a restriction of liberty because it is "man-made" (as opposed to the "natural law" of "supply and demand"). This is a common defense of the free market by individualist anarchists against anarcho-communism, for example. However, while in theory individualist-anarchists can claim that in their vision of society, they don't care when, where, or how a person earns a living, as long as they are not invasive about it the fact is that any economy is based on interactions between individuals. The law of "supply and demand" easily, and often, makes a mockery of the ideas that individuals can work as long as they like - usually they end up working as long as required by market forces (ie the actions of other individuals, but turned into a force outwith their control, see section I.1.3). This means that individuals do not work as long as they like, but as long as they have to in order to survive. Knowing that "market forces" is the cause of long hours of work hardly makes them any nicer.

And it seems strange to the communist-anarchist that certain free agreements made between equals can be considered authoritarian while others are not. The individualist-anarchist argument that social cooperation to reduce labour is "authoritarian" while agreements between individuals on the market are not seems illogical to social anarchists. They cannot see how its better for individuals to be pressured into working longer than they desire by "invisible hands" than to come to an arrangement with others to manage their own affairs to maximise their free time.

Therefore, free agreement between free and equal individuals is considered the key to abolishing work, based upon decentralisation of power and the use of appropriate technology.

I.4.4 What economic decision making criteria could be used in anarchy?

Firstly, it should be noted that anarchists do not have any set idea about the answer to this question. Most anarchists are communists, desiring to see the end of the wages system but that does not mean they want to impose communism onto people. Far from it, communism can only be truly libertarian if it is organised from the bottom up. So, anarchists would agree with Kropotkin that it is a case of not "determining in advance what form of distribution the producers should accept in their different groups - whether the communist solution, or labor checks, or equal salaries, or any other method" [Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 166] while considering a given solution best in their opinion. Free experiment is a key aspect of anarchism.

However, we will outline some possible means of economic decision making criteria as this question is an important one (it is the crux of the "libertarian socialism is impossible" argument for example). Therefore, we will indicate what possible solutions exist in different forms of anarchism.

In a mutualist or collectivist system, the answer is easy. Prices will exist and be used as a means of making decisions. Mutualism will be more market orientated than collectivism, with collectivism being based on confederations of collectives to respond to changes in demand (i.e. to determine investment decisions and ensure that supply is kept in line with demand). Mutualism, with is system of market based distribution around a network of cooperatives and mutual banks, does not really need a further discussion as its basic operations are the same as in any non-capitalist market system. Collectivism and communism will have to be discussed in more detail. However, all systems are based on workers' self-management and so the individuals directly affected make the decisions concerning what to produce, when to do it, and how to do it. In this way workers retain control of the product of their labour. It is the social context of these decisions and what criteria workers use to make their decisions that differ between anarchist schools of thought.

Although collectivism promotes the greatest autonomy for worker associations, it should not be confused with a market economy as advocated by supporters of mutualism (particularly in its Individualist form). The goods produced by the collectivized factories and workshops are exchanged not according to highest price that can be wrung from consumers, but according to their actual production costs. The determination of these honest prices is to be by a "Bank of Exchange" in each community (obviously an idea borrowed from Proudhon). These "Banks" would represent the various producer confederations and consumer/citizen groups in the community and would seek to negotiate these "honest" prices (which would, in all likelihood, include "hidden" costs like pollution). These agreements would be subject to ratification by the assemblies of the those involved.

As Guillaume puts it "...the value of the commodities having been established in advance by a contractual agreement between the regional cooperative federations [i.e. confederations of syndicates] and the various communes, who will also furnish statistics to the Banks of Exchange. The Bank of Exchange will remit to the producers negotiable vouchers representing the value of their products; these vouchers will be accepted throughout the territory included in the federation of communes." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 366] These vouchers would related to hours worked, for example, and when used as a guide for investment decisions could be supplemented with cost-benefit analysis of the kind possibly used in a communist-anarchist society (see below).

Although this scheme bears a strong resemblance to Proudhonian "People's Banks," it should be noted that the Banks of Exchange, along with a "Communal Statistical Commission," are intended to have a "planning" function as well to ensure that supply meets demand. This does not imply a "command" economy, but simple book keeping for "each Bank of Exchange makes sure in advance that these products are in demand [in order to risk] nothing by immediately issuing payment vouchers to the producers." [Op. Cit., p. 367] The workers syndicates would still determine what orders to produce and each commune would be free to choose its suppliers.

As will be discussed in more depth later (see section I.4.7) information about consumption patterns will be recorded and used by workers to inform their production and investment decisions. In addition, we can imagine that production syndicates would encourage communes as well as consumer groups and cooperatives to participate in making these decisions. This would ensure that produced goods reflect consumer needs. Moreover, as conditions permit, the exchange functions of the communal "banks" would (in all likelihood) be gradually replaced by the distribution of goods "in accordance with the needs of the consumers." In other words, most supporters of collectivist anarchism see it has a temporary measure before anarcho-communism could develop.

Communist anarchism would be similar to collectivism, i.e. a system of confederations of collectives, communes and distribution centers ("Communal stores"). However, in an anarcho-communist system, prices are not used. How will economic decision making be done? One possible solution is as follows:

"As to decisions involving choices of a general nature, such as what forms of energy to use, which of two or more materials to employ to produce a particular good, whether to build a new factory, there is a ... technique... that could be [used]... 'cost-benefit analysis'... in socialism a points scheme for attributing relative importance to the various relevant considerations could be used... The points attributed to these considerations would be subjective, in the sense that this would depend on a deliberate social decision rather than some objective standard, but this is the case even under capitalism when a monetary value has to be attributed to some such 'cost' or 'benefit'... In the sense that one of the aims of socialism is precisely to rescue humankind from the capitalist fixation with production time/money, cost-benefit analyses, as a means of taking into account other factors, could therefore be said to be more appropriate for use in socialism than under capitalism. Using points systems to attribute relative importance in this way would not be to recreate some universal unit of evaluation and calculation, but simple to employ a technique to facilitate decision-making in particular concrete cases." [Adam Buick and John Crump, State Capitalism: The Wages System Under New Management, pp. 138-139]

This points system would be the means by which producers and consumers would be able to determine whether the use of a particular good is efficient or not. Unlike prices, this cost-benefit analysis system would ensure that production and consumption reflects social and ecological costs, awareness and priorities. Of course, as well as absolute scarcity, prices also reflect relative scarcity (while in the long term, market prices tend towards their production price, in the short term prices can change as a result of changes in supply and demand under capitalism). How a communist society could take into account such short term changes and communicate them through out the economy is discussed in section I.4.5 (What about "supply and demand"?). Needless to say, production and investment decisions based upon such cost-benefit analysis would take into account the current production situation and so the relative scarcity of specific goods.

Therefore, a communist-anarchist society would be based around a network of syndicates who communicate information between each other. Instead of the "price" being communicated between workplaces as in capitalism, actual physical data will be sent. This data is a summary of the use values of the good (for example labour time and energy used to produce it, pollution details, relative scarcity and so forth). With this information a cost-benefit analysis will be conducted to determine which good will be best to use in a given situation based upon mutually agreed common values. The data for a given workplace could be compared to the industry as a whole (as confederations of syndicates would gather and produce such information - see section I.3.5) in order to determine whether a specific workplace will efficiently produce the required goods (this system has the additional advantage of indicating which workplaces require investment to bring them in line, or improve upon, the industrial average in terms of working conditions, hours worked and so on). In addition, common rules of thumb would possibly be agreed, such as agreements not to use scarce materials unless there is no alternative (either ones that use a lot of labour, energy and time to produce or those whose demand is currently exceeding supply capacity).

Similarly, when ordering goods, the syndicate, commune or individual involved will have to inform the syndicate why it is required in order to allow the syndicate to determine if they desire to produce the good and to enable them to prioritise the orders they receive. In this way, resource use can be guided by social considerations and "unreasonable" requests ignored (for example, if an individual "needs" a ship-builders syndicate to build a ship for his personal use, the ship-builders may not "need" to build it and instead builds ships for the transportation of freight). However, in almost all cases of individual consumption, no such information will be needed as communal stores would order consumer goods in bulk as they do now. Hence the economy would be a vast network of cooperating individuals and workplaces and the dispersed knowledge which exists within any society can be put to good effect (better effect than under capitalism because it does not hide social and ecological costs in the way market prices do and cooperation will eliminate the business cycle and its resulting social problems).

Therefore, production units in a social anarchist society, by virtue of their autonomy within association, are aware of what is socially useful for them to produce and, by virtue of their links with communes, also aware of the social (human and ecological) cost of the resources they need to produce it. They can combine this knowledge, reflecting overall social priorities, with their local knowledge of the detailed circumstances of their workplaces and communities to decide how they can best use their productive capacity. In this way the division of knowledge within society can be used by the syndicates effectively as well as overcoming the restrictions within knowledge communication imposed by the price mechanism.

Moreover, production units, by their association within confederations (or Guilds) ensure that there is effective communication between them. This results in a process of negotiated coordination between equals (i.e horizontal links and agreements) for major investment decisions, thus bringing together supply and demand and allowing the plans of the various units to be coordinated. By this process of co-operation, production units can reduce duplicating effort and so reduce the waste associated with over-investment (and so the irrationalities of booms and slumps associated with the price mechanism, which does not provide sufficient information to allow workplaces to efficiently coordinate their plans - see section C.7.1).

One final point on this subject. As social anarchists consider it important to encourage all to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, it would be the role of communal confederations to determine the relative points value of given inputs and outputs. In this way, all individuals in a community determine how their society develops, so ensuring that economic activity is responsible to social needs and takes into account the desires of everyone affected by production. In this way the problems associated with the "Isolation Paradox" (see section B.6) can be over come and so consumption and production can be harmonised with the needs of individuals as members of society and the environment they live in.

I.4.5 What about "supply and demand"?

Anarchists do not ignore the facts of life, namely that at a given moment there is so much a certain good produced and so much of is desired to be consumed or used. Neither do we deny that different individuals have different interests and tastes. However, this is not what is usually meant by "supply and demand." In often in general economic debate, this formula is given a certain mythical quality which ignores the underlying realities which it reflects as well as some unwholesome implications of the theory. So, before discussing "supply and demand" in an anarchist society, it is worthwhile to make a few points about the "law of supply and demand" in general.

Firstly, as E.P. Thompson argues, "supply and demand" promotes "the notion that high prices were a (painful) remedy for dearth, in drawing supplies to the afflicted region of scarcity. But what draws supply are not high prices but sufficient money in their purses to pay high prices. A characteristic phenomenon in times of dearth is that it generates unemployment and empty pursues; in purchasing necessities at inflated prices people cease to be able to buy inessentials [causing unemployment] . . . Hence the number of those able to pay the inflated prices declines in the afflicted regions, and food may be exported to neighbouring, less afflicted, regions where employment is holding up and consumers still have money with which to pay. In thus sequence, high prices can actually withdraw supply from the most afflicted area." [Customs in Common, pp. 283-4]

Therefore "the law of supply and demand" may not be the "most efficient" means of distribution in a society based on inequality. This is clearly reflected in the "rationing" by purse which this system is based on. While in the economics books, price is the means by which scare resources are "rationed" in reality this creates many errors. Adam Smith argued that high prices discourage consumption, putting "everybody more or less, but particularly the inferior ranks of people, upon thrift and good management." [cited by Thompson, Op. Cit., p. 284] However, as Thompson notes, "[h]owever persuasive the metaphor, there is an elision of the real relationships assigned by price, which suggests. . .ideological sleight-of-mind. Rationing by price does not allocate resources equally among those in need; it reserves the supply to those who can pay the price and excludes those who can't. . .The raising of prices during dearth could 'ration' them [the poor] out of the market altogether." [Op. Cit., p. 285]

In other words, the market cannot be isolated and abstracted from the network of political, social and legal relations within which it is situated. This means that all that "supply and demand" tells us is that those with money can demand more, and be supplied with more, that those without. Whether this is the "most efficient" result for society cannot be determined (unless, of course, you assume that rich people are more valuable than working class ones because they are rich). This has an obvious effect on production, with "effective demand" twisting economic activity. As Chomsky notes, "[t]hose who have more money tend to consume more, for obvious reasons. So consumption is skewed towards luxuries for the rich, rather than necessities for the poor." George Barret brings home of the evil of such a "skewed" form of production:

"To-day the scramble is to compete for the greatest profits. If there is more profit to be made in satisfying my lady's passing whim than there is in feeding hungry children, then competition brings us in feverish haste to supply the former, whilst cold charity or the poor law can supply the latter, or leave it unsupplied, just as it feels disposed. That is how it works out." [Objections to Anarchism]

Therefore, as far as "supply and demand" is concerned, anarchists are well aware of the need to create and distribute necessary goods to those who require them. This, however, cannot be achieved under capitalism. In effect, supply and demand under capitalism results in those with most money determining what is an "efficient" allocation of resources for if financial profit is the sole consideration for resource allocation, then the wealthy can outbid the poor and ensure the highest returns. The less wealthy can do without.

However, the question remains of how, in an anarchist society, do you know that valuable labour and materials might be better employed elsewhere? How do workers judge which tools are most appropriate? How do they decide among different materials if they all meet the technical specifications? How important are some goods than others? How important is cellophane compared to vacuum-cleaner bags?

It is answers like this that the supporters of the market claim that their system answers. However, as indicated it does answer them in irrational and dehumanising ways under capitalism but the question is can anarchism answer them? Yes, although the manner this is done varies between anarchist threads. In a mutualist economy, based on independent and cooperative labour, differences in wealth would be vastly reduced, so ensuring that irrational aspects of the market that exist within capitalism would be minimalised. The workings of supply and demand would provide a more just result than under the current system.

However, collectivist, syndicalist and communist anarchists reject the market. This rejection often implies, to some, central planning. As the market socialist David Schweickart puts it, "[i]f profit considerations do not dictate resource usage and production techniques, then central direction must do so. If profit is not the goal of a productive organisation, then physical output (use values) must be." [Against Capitalism, p. 86]

However, Schweickart is wrong. Horizontal links need not be market based and cooperation between individuals and groups need not be hierarchical. Therefore, it is a question of distributing information between producers and consumers, information which the market often hides or activity blocks. This information network has partly been discussed in the last section where a method of comparison between different materials, techniques and resources based upon use value was discussed. However, the need to indicate the current fluctuations in production and consumption needs to be indicated which complements that method.

In a non-Mutualist anarchist system it is assumed that confederations of collectives will wish to adjust they capacity if they are aware of the need to do so. Hence, price changes in response to changes in demand would not be necessary to provide the information that such changes are required. This is because a "change in demand first becomes apparent as a change in the quantity being sold at existing prices [or being consumed in a moneyless system] and is therefore reflected in changes in stocks or orders. Such changes are perfectly good indicators or signals that an imbalance between demand and current output has developed. If a change in demand for its products proved to be permanent, a production unit would find its stocks being run down and its order book lengthening, or its stocks increasing and orders falling....Price changes in response to changes in demand are therefore not necessary for the purpose of providing information about the need to adjust capacity" [Pat Devine, Democracy and Economic Planning, p. 242]

Therefore, to indicate the relative changes in scarcity of a given good it will be necessary to calculate a "scarcity index." This would inform potential users of this good so that they may effectively adjust their decisions in light of the decisions of others. This index could be, for example, a percentage value which indicates the relation of orders placed for a commodity to the amount actually produced. For example, a good which has a demand higher than its supply would have an index value of 101% or higher. This value would inform potential users to start looking for substitutes for it or to economise on its use. Such a scarcity figure would exist for each collective as well as (possibly) a generalised figure for the industry as a whole on a regional, "national," etc. level. In this way, a specific good could be seen to be in high demand and so only those producers who really required it would place orders for it (so ensuring effective use of resources). Needless to say, stock levels and other basic book-keeping techniques would be utilised in order to ensure a suitable buffer level of a specific good to take into account unexpected changes in consumption. This may result in some excess supply of goods being produced and used as used as stock to buffer out unexpected changes in the aggregate demand for a good.

This, combined with cost-benefit analysis described in section I.4.4, would allow information about changes within the "economy" to rapidly spread throughout the whole system and influence all decision makers without the great majority knowing anything about the original causes of these changes (which rest in the decisions of those directly affected). The relevant information is communicated to all involved, without having to be order by an "all-knowing" central body as in a Leninist centrally planned economy. As argued in section I.1.2, anarchists have long realised that no centralised body could possibly be able to possess all the information dispersed throughout the economy and if such a body attempted to do so, the resulting bureaucracy would effectively reduce the amount of information available to society and so cause shortages and inefficiencies.

Therefore, each syndicate receives its own orders and supplies and sends its own produce out. Similarly, communal distribution centers would order required goods from syndicates it determines. In this way consumers can change to syndicates which respond to their needs and so production units are aware of what it is socially useful for them to produce as well as the social cost of the resources they need to produce it. In this way a network of horizontal relations spread across society, with coordination achieved by equality of association and not the hierarchy of the corporate structure. This system ensures a cooperative response to changes in supply and demand and so reduces the communication problems associated with the market which help causes periods of unemployment and economic downturn (see section C.7.1).

While anarchists are aware of the "isolation paradox" (see section B.6) this does not mean that they think the commune should make decisions for people on what they were to consume. This would be a prison. No, all anarchists agree that is up to the individual to determine their own needs and for the collectives they join to determine social requirements like parks, infrastructure improvements and so on. However, social anarchists think that it would be beneficial to discuss the framework around which these decisions would be made. This would mean, for example, that communes would agree to produce eco-friendly products, reduce waste and generally make decisions enriched by social interaction. Individuals would still decide which sort goods they desire, based on what the collectives produce but these goods would be based on a socially agreed agenda. In this way waste, pollution and other "externalities" of atomised consumption could be reduced. For example, while it is rational for individuals to drive a car to work, collectively this results in massive irrationality (for example, traffic jams, pollution, illness, unpleasant social infrastuctures). A sane society would discuss the problems associated with car use and would agree to produce a fully integrated public transport network which would reduce pollution, stress, illness, and so on.

Therefore, while anarchists recognise individual tastes and desires, they are also aware of the social impact of them and so try to create a social environment where individuals can enrich their personal decisions with the input of other people's ideas.

On a related subject, it is obvious that different collectives would produce slightly different goods, so ensuring that people have a choice. It is doubtful that the current waste implied in multiple products from different companies (sometimes the same company) all doing the same job would be continued in an anarchist. However, production will be "variations on a theme" in order to ensure consumer choice and to allow the producers to know what features consumers prefer. It would be impossible to sit down before hand and make a list of what features a good should have - that assumes perfect knowledge and that technology is fairly constant. Both these assumptions are of limited use in real life. Therefore, cooperatives would produce goods with different features and production would change to meet the demand these differences suggest (for example, factory A produces a new CD player, and consumption patterns indicate that this is popular and so the rest of the factories convert). This is in addition to R&D experiments and test populations. In this way consumer choice would be maintained, and enhanced as consumers would be able to influence the decisions of the syndicates as producers (in some cases) and through syndicate/commune dialogue.

Therefore, anarchists do not ignore "supply and demand." Instead, they recognise the limitations of the capitalist version of this truism and point out that capitalism is based on effective demand which has no necessary basis with efficient use of resources. Instead of the market, social anarchists advocate a system based on horizontal links between producers which effectively communicates information across society about the relative changes in supply and demand which reflect actual needs of society and not bank balances. The response to changes in supply and demand will be discussed in section I.4.7 (What are the criteria for investment decisions?) and section I.4.13 ( Who will do the dirty or unpleasant work?) will discuss the allocation of work tasks.

I.4.6 Surely anarchist-communism would just lead to demand exceeding supply?

Its a common objection that free communism would lead to people wasting resources by taking more than they need. This is because "free communism . . . places the product reaped or manufactured at the disposal of all, leaving to each the liberty to consume them as he pleases in his own home." [Peter Kropotkin, The Place of Anarchism in the Evolution of Socialist Thought, p. 7] Without wages, it is claimed, resources would be wasted.

Indeed, some argue, what if an individual says they "need" a luxury house or a personal yacht? Simply put, workers may not "need" to produce for that need. As Tom Brown puts it, "such things are the product of social labour. . . Under syndicalism. . .it is improbable that any greedy, selfish person would be able to kid a shipyard full of workers to build him a ship all for his own hoggish self. There would be steam luxury yachts, but they would be enjoyed in common." [Syndicalism, p. 51]

So communist-anarchists are not blind to the fact that free access to products is based upon the actual work of real individuals - "society" provides nothing, individuals working together do. This is reflected in the classic statement of communism - "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs." Therefore, the needs of both consumer and producer are taken into account. This means that if no syndicate or individual desires to produce a specific order an order then this order can be classed as an "unreasonable" demand - "unreasonable" in this context meaning that no one freely agrees to produce it. Of course, individuals may agree to barter services in order to get what they want produced if they really want something but such acts in no way undermines a communist society.

Therefore, communist-anarchist recognise that production, like consumption, must be based on freedom. However, it has been argued that free access would lead to waste as people take more than they would under capitalism. This objection is not as serious as it first appears. There are plenty of examples within current society to indicate that free access will not lead to abuses. Let us take three examples, public libraries, water and pavements. In public libraries people are free to sit and read books all day. However, few if any actually do so. Neither do people always take the maximum number of books out at a time. No, they use the library as they need to and feel no need to maximise their use of the institution. Some people never use the library, although it is free. In the case of water supplies, its clear that people do not leave taps on all day because water is often supplied freely or for a fixed charge. Similarly with pavements, people do not walk everywhere because to do so is free. In both cases individuals use the resource as and when they need to.

We can expect a similar effect as other resources become freely available. In effect, this argument makes as much sense as arguing that individuals will travel to stops beyond their destination if public transport is based on a fixed charge! And only an idiot would travel further than required in order to get "value for money."

However, there is a deeper point to be made here about consumerism. Capitalism is based on hierarchy and not liberty. This leads to a weakening of individuality and a lose of self-identity and sense of community. Both these senses are a deep human need and consumerism is often a means by which people overcome their alienation from their selves and others (religion, ideology and drugs are other means of escape). Therefore the consumption within capitalism reflects its values, not some abstract "human nature." As Bob Black argues:

"what we want, what we are capable of wanting is relative to the forms of social organization. People 'want' fast food because they have to hurry back to work, because processed supermarket food doesn't taste much better anyway, because the nuclear family (for the dwindling minority who have even that to go home to) is too small and too stressed to sustain much festivity in cooking and eating -- and so forth. It is only people who can't get what they want who resign themselves to want more of what they can get. Since we cannot be friends and lovers, we wail for more candy." [Smokestack Lightning]

Therefore, most anarchists think that consumerism is a product of a hierarchical society within which people are alienated from themselves and the means by which they can make themselves really happy (i.e. meaningful relationships, liberty, work, and experiences). Consumerism is a means of filling the spiritual hole capitalism creates within us by denying our freedom.

This means that capitalism produces individuals who define themselves by what they have, not who they are. This leads to consumption for the sake of consumption, as people try to make themselves happy by consuming more commodities. But, as Erich Fromm points out, this cannot work for and only leads to even more insecurity (and so even more consumption):

"If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I? Nobody but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living. Because I can lose what I have, I am necessarily constantly worried that I shall lose what I have." [To Have Or To Be, p. 111]

Such insecurity easily makes consumerism seem a "natural" way of life and so make communism seem impossible. However, rampant consumerism is far more a product of lack of meaningful freedom within an alienated society than a "natural law" of human existence. In a society that encouraged and protected individuality by non-hierarchical social relationships and organisations, individuals would have a strong sense of self and so be less inclined to mindlessly consume. As Fromm puts it, "If I am what I am and not what I have, nobody can deprive me of or threaten my security and my sense of identity. My centre is within myself." [Op. Cit., p. 112] Such self-centred individuals do not have to consume endlessly to build a sense of security or happiness within themselves (a sense which can never actually be created by those means).

In other words, the well-developed individuality that an anarchist society would develop would have less need to consume than the average person in a capitalist one. This is not to suggest that life will be bare and without luxuries in an anarchist society, far from it. An society based on the free expression of individuality could be nothing but rich in wealth and diverse in goods and experiences. What we arguing here is that an anarchist-communist society would not have to fear rampant consumerism making demand outstrip supply constantly and always precisely because freedom will result in a non-alienated society of well developed individuals.

Of course, this may sound totally utopian. Possibly it is, however as Oscar Wilde said, a map of the world without Utopia on it is not worth having. One thing is sure, if the developments we have outlined above fail to appear and attempts at communism fail due to waste and demand exceeding supply then a free society would make the necessary decisions and introduce some means of limiting supply (such as, for example, labour notes, equal wages, and so on). Whether or not full communism can be introduced instantly is a moot point amongst anarchists, although most would like to see society develop towards a communist goal eventually.

I.4.7 What are the criteria for investment decisions?

Obviously, a given society needs to take into account changes in consumption and so invest in new means of production. An anarchist society is no different. As G.D.H Cole points out, "it is essential at all times, and in accordance with considerations which vary from time to time, for a community to preserve a balance between production for ultimate use and production for use in further production. And this balance is a matter which ought to be determined by and on behalf of the whole community." [Guild Socialism Restated, p. 144]

How this balance is determined varies according to the school of anarchist thought considered. All agree, however, that such an important task should be under effective community control. The mutualists see the solution to the problems of investment as creating a system of mutual banks, which reduce interest rates to zero. This would be achieved "[b]y the organisation of credit, on the principle of reciprocity or mutualism. . .In such an organisation credit is raised to the dignity of a social function, managed by the community; and, as society never speculates upon its members, it will lend its credit . . .at the actual cost of transaction. " [Charles A. Dana, Proudhon and his "Bank of the People", p. 36] This would allow money to be made available to those who needed it and so break the back of the capitalist business cycle (i.e. credit would be available as required, not when it was profitable for bankers to supply it) as well as capitalist property relations. Under a mutualist regime, credit for investment would be available from two sources. Firstly, an individual's or cooperatives own saved funds and, secondly, as zero interest loans from mutual banks, credit unions and other forms of credit associations. Loans would be allocated to projects which the mutual banks considered likely to succeed and repay the original loan.

Collectivist and communist anarchists recognise that credit is based on human activity, which is represented as money. As the Guild Socialist G.D.H. Cole pointed out, "The understanding of this point [on investment] depends on a clear appreciation of the fact that all real additions to capital take the form of directing a part of the productive power of labour and using certain materials not for the manufacture of products and the rendering of services incidental to such manufacture for purposes of purposes of further production." [Guild Socialism Restated, p. 143] Collectivist and Communist anarchists agree with their Mutualist cousins when they state that "[a]ll credit presupposes labor, and, if labor were to cease, credit would be impossible" and that the "legitimate source of credit" was "the labouring classes" who "ought to control it" and "whose benefit [it should] be used" [Charles A. Dana, Op. Cit., p. 35]

Therefore, in collectivism, investment funds would exist in the confederations of collectives, community "banks" and other such means by which depreciation funds could be stored and as well as other funds agreed to by the collectives (for example, collectives may agree to allocate a certain percentage of their labour notes to a common account in order to have the necessary funds available for new investment). In a communist-anarchist society, the collectives would agree that a certain part of their output and activity will be directed to new means of production. In effect, each collective is able to draw upon the sums approved of by the Commune in the form of an agreed claim on the labour power of all the collectives. In this way, mutual aid ensures a suitable pool of resources for the future from which all benefit.

As to when investment is needed, its clear that this will be based on the changes in demand for goods. As Guilliame points it, "[b]y means of statistics gathered from all the communes in a region, it will be possible to scientifically balance production and consumption. In line with these statistics, it will also be possible to add more help in industries where production is insufficient and reduce the number of men where there is a surplus of production." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 370] Obviously, investment in branches of production with a high demand would be essential and this would be easily seen from the statistics generated by the collectives and communes. Tom Brown states this obvious point:

"Goods, as now, will be produced in greater variety, for workers like producing different kinds, and new models, of goods. Now if some goods are unpopular, they will be left on the shelves. . . Of other goods more popular, the shops will be emptied. Surely it is obvious that the assistant will decrease his order of the unpopular line and increase his order of the popular." [Syndicalism, p. 55]

As a rule of thumb, syndicates that produce investment goods would be inclined to supply other syndicates who are experiencing excess demand before others, all other things being equal. Such guidelines and communication between producers, investment would go to those industries that actually required them.

As production would be decentralised as far as possible, each locality would be able to understand its own requirements and apply them as it sees fit.

This, combined with an extensive communications network, would ensure that investment not only did not duplicate unused plant within the economy but that investments take into account the specific problems and opportunities each locality has. Of course, collectives would experiment with new lines and technology as well as existing lines and so invest in new technologies and products. As occurs under capitalism, extensive consumer testing would occur before dedicating major investment decisions to new products. In the case of new technology and plant, cost benefit analysis (as outlined in section I.4.4) would be used to determine which technology would produce the best results and whether changes should be made in plant stock.

Similarly with communities. A commune will obviously have to decide upon and plan civic investment (e.g. new parks, housing and so forth). They will also have the deciding say in industrial developments in their area as it would be unfair for syndicate to just decide to build a cement factory next to a housing cooperative if they did not want it. There is a case for arguing that the local commune will decide on investment decisions for syndicates in its area (for example, a syndicate may produce X plans which will be discussed in the local commune and 1 plan finalised from the debate). For regional decisions (for example, a new hospital) would be decided at the appropriate level, with information fed from the health syndicate and consumer cooperatives. The actual location for investment decisions will be worked out by those involved. However, local syndicates must be the focal point for developing new products and investment plans in order to encourage innovation.

Therefore, under social anarchism no capital market is required to determine whether investment is required and what form it would take. The work that apologists for capitalism claim currently is done by the stock market can be replaced by cooperation and communication between workplaces in a decentralised, confederated network. The relative needs of different consumers of a product can be evaluated by the producers and an informed decision reached on where it would best be used.

Without a capital market, housing, workplaces and so on will no longer be cramped into the smallest space possible. Instead, housing, schools, hospitals, workplaces and so on will be built within a "green" environment. This means that human constructions will be placed within a natural environment and no longer stand apart from it. In this way human life can be enriched and the evils of cramping as many humans and things into a small a space as is "economical" can be overcome.

In addition, the stock market is hardly the means by which capital is actually raised within capitalism. As Engler points out, "Supporters of the system... claim that stock exchanges mobilise funds for business. Do they? When people buy and sell shares, 'no investment goes into company treasuries... Shares simply change hands for cash in endless repetition.' Company treasuries get funds only from new equity issues. These accounted for an average of a mere 0.5 per cent of shares trading in the US during the 1980s." [Apostles of Greed, pp. 157-158] And it hardly needs to be repeated that capitalism results in production being skewed away from the working class and that the "efficiency" of market allocation is highly suspect.

Only by taking investment decisions away from "experts" and placing it in the hands of ordinary people will current generations be able to invest according to their, and future generations, self-interest. It is hardly in our interest to have a institution whose aim is to make the wealthy even wealthier and on whose whims are dependent the lives of millions of people.

I.4.8 What about funding for basic research?

In a libertarian-socialist society, people are likely to "vote" to allocate significant amounts of resources for basic research from the available social output. This is because the results of this research would be freely available to all enterprises and so would aid everyone in the long term. In addition, because workers directly control their workplace and the local community effectively "owns" it, all affected would have an interest in exploring research which would reduce labour, pollution, raw materials and so on or increase output with little or no social impact.

This means that research and innovation would be in the direct interests of everyone involved. Under capitalism, this is not the case. Most research is conducted in order to get an edge in the market by increasing productivity or expanding production into new (previously unwanted) areas. Any increased productivity often leads to unemployment, deskilling and other negative effects for those involved. Libertarian socialism will not face this problem.

It should also be mentioned here that research would be pursued more and more as people take an increased interest in both their own work and education. As people become liberated from the grind of everyday life, they will explore possibilities as their interests take them and so research will take place on many levels within society - in the workplace, in the community, in education and so on.

In addition, it should be noted that basic research is not something which capitalism does well. The rise of the Pentagon system in the USA indicates that basic research often needs state support in order to be successful. As Kenneth Arrow noted over thirty years ago that market forces are insufficient to promote basic research:

"Thus basic research, the output of which is only used as an informational input into other inventive activities, is especially unlikely to be rewarded. In fact, it is likely to be of commercial value to the firm undertaking it only if other firms are prevented from using the information. But such restriction reduces the efficiency of inventive activity in general, and will therefore reduce its quantity also" ["Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Inventiveness," in National Bureau of Economic Research, The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity, Princeton Univ. Press, 1962, p. 618].

Would modern society have produced so many innovations if it had not been for the Pentagon system, the space race and so on? Taking the Internet, for example, it is unlikely that this would have got off the ground if it had not been for the state.

I.4.9 Should technological advance be seen as anti-anarchistic?

Not necessarily. Because technology allows us to "do more with less," technological progress can improve standards of living for all people, and technologies can be used to increase personal freedom: medical technology, for instance, can free people from the scourges of pain, illness, and a "naturally" short lifespan; agricultural technology can be used to free labor from the mundane chore of food production; advanced communications technology can enhance our ability to freely associate. The list goes on and on. However, most anarchists agree with Kropotkin when he pointed out that the "development of [the industrial] technique at last gives man [sic!] the opportunity to free himself from slavish toil." [Ethics, p.2]

Of course technology be used for oppressive ends, as indicated in section D.10. Human knowledge, like all things, can be used to increase freedom or to decrease it. Technology is neither "good," nor "bad" per se, but may be used for either. What can be said is that in a hierarchical society, technology will be introduced by serves the interests of the powerful and helps marginalise and disempower the majority. This means that in an anarchist society, technology would be developed which empowered those who used it, so reducing any oppressive aspects of it, and, in the words of Cornelius Castoriadais, the "conscious transformation of technology will . . .be a central task of a society of free workers." [Workers' Councils and the Economics of a Self-Managed Society, p. 13]

For example, increased productivity under capitalism usually leads to further exploitation, displaced workers, etc. But it doesn't have to in an anarchist world. By way of example, consider a small, self-sufficient group in which all resources are distributed equally amongst the members. Let's say that this group has 5 people and, for the sake of argument, 20 man-hours of production per week is spent on baking bread for the group. Now, what happens if the introduction of automation reduces the amount of labor required for bread production to 5 man-hours per week? Clearly, no one stands to lose - even if someone's work is "displaced", that person will continue to receive the same resource income as before - and they might even gain. This last is due to the fact that 15 man-hours have been freed up from the task of bread production, and those man-hours may now be used elsewhere or converted to leisure, either way increasing each person's standard of living.

Obviously, this happy outcome derives not only from the technology, but from its use in an equitable economic system. Certainly, a wide variety of outcomes would be possible under alternative allocations. Yet, we have managed to prove our point: in the end, there's no reason why increases in productivity need lead to a lower standard of living! Therefore, "[f]or the first time in the history of civilisation, mankind has reached a point where the means of satisfying its needs are in excess of the needs themselves. To impose, therefore, as hitherto been done, the curse of misery and degradation upon vast divisions of mankind, in order to secure well-being and further development for the few, is needed no more: well-being can be secured for all, without placing on anyone the burden of oppressive, degrading toil and humanity can at last build its entire social life on the bases of justice" [Ethics, p. 2]

Its for these reasons that anarchists have held a wide range of opinions concerning the relationship between human knowledge and anarchism. Some, such as Peter Kropotkin, were themselves scientists and saw great potential for the use of advanced technology to expand human freedom. Others have held technology at arm's length, concerned about its oppressive uses, and a few have rejected science and technology completely. All of these are, of course, possible anarchist positions. But most anarchists support Kropotkin's viewpoint, but with a healthy dose of practical Luddism when viewing how technology is (ab)used in capitalism.

So technological advancement is important in a free society in order to maximise the free time available for everyone and replace mindless toil with meaningful work. The means of so doing is the use of appropriate technology (and not the worship of technology as such). Only by critically evaluating technology and introducing such forms which empower, are understandable and are controllable by individuals and communities as well as minimising ecological distribution (in other words, what is termed appropriate technology) can this be achieved. Only this critical approach to technology can do justice to the power of the human mind and reflect the creative powers which developed the technology in the first place. Unquestioning acceptance of technological progress is just as bad as being unquestioning anti-technology.

So whether technological advance is a good thing or sustainable depends on the choices we make, and on the social, political, and economic systems we use. We live in a universe which contains effectively infinite resources of matter and energy, yet at the moment we are stuck on a planet whose resources can only be stretched so far. Anarchists (and others) differ as to their assessments of how much development the earth can take, and of the best course for future development, but there's no reason to believe that advanced technological societies per se cannot be sustained into the foreseeable future if they are structured and used properly.

I.4.10 What would be the advantage of a wide basis of surplus distribution?

We noted earlier (H.4) that competition between syndicates can lead to "petty-bourgeois cooperativism," and that to eliminate this problem, the basis of collectivisation needs to be widened so that surpluses are distributed industry-wide or even society-wide. We also pointed out another advantage of a wide surplus distribution: that it allows for the consolidation of enterprises that would otherwise compete, leading to a more efficient allocation of resources and technical improvements. Here we will back up this claim with illustrations from the Spanish Revolution.

Collectivization in Catalonia embraced not only major industries like municipal transportation and utilities, but smaller establishments as well: small factories, artisan workshops, service and repair shops, etc. Augustin Souchy describes the process as follows: "The artisans and small workshop owners, together with their employees and apprentices, often joined the union of their trade. By consolidating their efforts and pooling their resources on a fraternal basis, the shops were able to undertake very big projects and provide services on a much wider scale. . . . The collectivisation of the hairdressing shops provides an excellent example of how the transition of a small-scale manufacturing and service industry from capitalism to socialism was achieved."

"Before July 19th, 1936 [the date of the Revolution], there were 1,100 hairdressing parlors in Barcelona, most of them owned by poor wretches living from hand to mouth. The shops were often dirty and ill-maintained. The 5,000 hairdressing assistants were among the most poorly paid workers. . . Both owners and assistants therefore voluntarily decided to socialize all their shops.

"How was this done? All the shops simply joined the union. At a general meeting they decided to shut down all the unprofitable shops. The 1,100 shops were reduced to 235 establishments, a saving of 135,000 pesetas per month in rent, lighting, and taxes. The remaining 235 shops were modernized and elegantly outfitted." From the money saved, income per worker was increased by 40 percent, with everyone having the right to work and all earning the same amount. "The former owners were not adversely affected by socialization. They were employed at a steady income. All worked together under equal conditions and equal pay. The distinction between employers and employees was obliterated and they were transformed into a working community of equals -- socialism from the bottom up" ["Collectivisation in Catalonia," in Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives, pp. 93-94].

Therefore, cooperation ensures that resources are efficiently allocated and waste is minimised by cutting down needless competition. As consumers have choices in which syndicate to consume from as well as having direct communication between consumer cooperatives and productive units, there is little danger that rationalisation in production will hurt the interests of the consumer.

I.4.11 If libertarian socialism eliminates the profit motive, won't creativity and performance suffer?

According to Alfie Kohn, a growing body of psychological research suggests that rewards can lower performance levels, especially when the performance involves creativity ["Studies Find Reward Often No Motivator," Boston Globe, Monday 19 January 1987]. Kohn notes that "a related series of studies shows that intrinsic interest in a task -- the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake -- typically declines when someone is rewarded for doing it."

Much of the research on creativity and motivation has been performed by Theresa Amabile, associate professor of psychology at Brandeis University. One of her recent experiments involved asking elementary school and college students to make "silly" collages. The young children were also asked to invent stories. Teachers who rated the projects found that those students who had contracted for rewards did the least creative work. "It may be that commissioned work will, in general, be less creative than work that is done out of pure interest," Amabile says.

In 1985, Amabile asked 72 creative writers at Brandeis and at Boston University to write poetry. "Some students then were given a list of extrinsic (external) reasons for writing, such as impressing teachers, making money and getting into graduate school, and were asked to think about their own writing with respect to these reasons. Others were given a list of intrinsic reasons: the enjoyment of playing with words, satisfaction from self-expression, and so forth. A third group was not given any list. All were then asked to do more writing.

"The results were clear. Students given the extrinsic reasons not only wrote less creatively than the others, as judged by 12 independent poets, but the quality of their work dropped significantly. Rewards, Amabile says, have this destructive effect primarily with creative tasks, including higher-level problem-solving. 'The more complex the activity, the more it's hurt by extrinsic reward, she said'" [Ibib.].

In another study, by James Gabarino of Chicago's Erikson Institute for Advanced Studies in Child Development, it was found that girls in the fifth and sixth grades tutored younger children much less effectively if they were promised free movie tickets for teaching well. "The study, showed that tutors working for the reward took longer to communicate ideas, got frustrated more easily, and did a poorer job in the end than those who were not rewarded" [Ibib.]

Such studies cast doubt on the claim that financial reward is the only effective way -- or even the best way -- to motivate people. As Kohn notes, "[t]hey also challenge the behaviorist assumption that any activity is more likely to occur if it is rewarded." Amabile concludes that her research "definitely refutes the notion that creativity can be operantly conditioned."

Such studies cast doubt on the claim that financial reward is the only effective way -- or even the best way -- to motivate people. As Kohn notes, "[t]hey also challenge the behaviorist assumption that any activity is more likely to occur if it is rewarded." Amabile concludes that her research "definitely refutes the notion that creativity can be operantly conditioned."

These findings re-inforce the findings of other scientific fields. Biology, social psychology, ethnology and anthropology all present evidence that support cooperation as the natural basis for human interaction. For example, ethnological studies indicate that virtually all indigenous cultures operate on the basis of highly cooperative relationships and anthropologist's have presented evidence to show that the predominant force driving early human evolution was cooperative social interaction, leading to the capacity of hominids to develop culture. This is even sinking into capitalism, with industrial psychology now promoting "worker participation" and team functioning because it is decisively more productive than hierarchical management. More importantly, the evidence shows that cooperative workplaces are more productive than those organized on other principles. All other things equal, producers' cooperatives will be more productive than capitalist or state enterprises, on average. Cooperatives can often achieve higher productivity even when their equipment and conditions are worse. Furthermore, the better the organization approximates the cooperative ideal, the better the productivity.

All this is unsurprising to social anarchists (and it should make individualist anarchists reconsider their position). Peter Kropotkin (in Mutual Aid) asserted that, "[i]f we . . . ask Nature: 'who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?' we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest. They have more chances to survive, and they attain, in their respective classes, the highest development of intelligence and bodily organization." From his observation that mutual aid gives evolutionary advantage to living beings, he derived his political philosophy--a philosophy which stressed community and cooperative endeavor.

Modern research has reinforced his argument. For example, Alfie Kohn is also the author of No Contest: The Case Against Competition and he spent seven years reviewing more than 400 research studies dealing with competition and cooperation. Prior to his investigation, he believed that "competition can be natural and appropriate and healthy." After reviewing research findings, he radically revised this opinion, concluding that, "The ideal amount of competition . . . in any environment, the classroom, the workplace, the family, the playing field, is none . . . [Competition] is always destructive." [Noetic Sciences Review, Spring 1990]

Here was present a very short summary of his findings. According to Kohn, there are three principle consequences of competition: Firstly, it has a negative effect on productivity and excellence. This is due to increased anxiety, inefficiency (as compared to cooperative sharing of resources and knowledge), and the undermining of inner motivation. Competition shifts the focus to victory over others, and away from intrinsic motivators such as curiosity, interest, excellence, and social interaction. Studies show that cooperative behaviour, by contrast, consistantly predicts good performance--a finding which holds true under a wide range of subject variables. Interestingly, the positive benefits of cooperation become more significant as tasks become more complex, or where greater creativity and problem-solving ability is required (as indicated above).

Secondly, competition lowers self-esteem and hampers the development of sound, self-directed individuals. A strong sense of self is difficult to attain when self-evaluation is dependent on seeing how we measure up to others. On the other hand, those whose identity is formed in relation to how they contribute to group efforts generally possess greater self-confidence and higher self-esteem.

Finally, competition undermines human relationships. Humans are social beings; we best express our humanness in interaction with others. By creating winners and losers, competition is destructive to human unity and prevents close social feeling.

Anarchists have long argued these points. In the competitive mode, people work at cross purposes, or purely for (material) personal gain. This leads to an impoverishment of society and hierarchy, with a lack of communal relations that result in an impoverishment of all the individuals involved (mentally, spiritually, ethically and, ultimately, materially). This not only leads to a weakening of individuality and social disruption, but also to economic inefficiency as energy is wasted in class conflict and invested in building bigger and better cages to protect the haves from the have-nots. Instead of creating useful things, human activity is spent in useless toil reproducing an unjustice and authoritarian system.

All in all, the results of competition (as documented by a host of scientific disciplines) shows its poverty as well as indicating that cooperation is the means by which the fittest survive.

I.4.12 Won't there be a tendency for capitalist enterprise to reappear in any socialist society?

This is a common right-libertarian objection. Robert Nozick, for example, imagines the following scenario: "[S]mall factories would spring up in a socialist society, unless forbidden. I melt some of my personal possessions and build a machine out of the material. I offer you and others a philosophy lecture once a week in exchange for yet other things, and so on. . . .some persons might even want to leave their jobs in socialist industry and work full time in this private sector. [this is] how private property even in means of production would occur in a socialist society." Hence Nozick claims that "the socialist society will have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults." [Anarchy, State and Utopia, pp. 162-3]

As Jeff Stein points out, however, "the only reason workers want to be employed by capitalists is because they have no other means for making a living, no access to the means of production other than by selling themselves. For a capitalist sector to exist there must be some form of private ownership of productive resources, and a scarcity of alternatives. The workers must be in a condition of economic desperation for them to be willing to give up an equal voice in the management of their daily affairs and accept a boss" ["Market Anarchism? Caveat Emptor!", a review of A Structured Anarchism : An Overview of Libertarian Theory and Practice by John Griffin, Libertarian Labor Review #13, Winter 1992-93, pp. 33-39].

In an anarchist society, there is no need for anyone to "forbid" capitalist acts. All people have to do is refrain from helping would-be capitalists set up monopolies of productive assets. This is because, as we have noted in B.3, capitalism cannot exist without some form of state to protect such monopolies. In a libertarian-socialist society, of course, there would be no state to begin with, and so there would be no question of it "refraining" from doing anything, including protecting would-be capitalists' monopolies of the means of production. In other words, would-be capitalists would face stiff competition for workers in an anarchist society. This is because self-managed workplaces would be able to offer workers more benefits (such as self-government) than the would-be capitalist ones. The would-be capitalists would have to offer not only excellent wages and conditions but also, in all likelihood, workers' control and hire-purchase on capital used. The chances of making a profit once the various monopolies associated with capitalism are abolished are slim.

It should be noted that Nozick makes a serious error in his case. He assumes that the "use rights" associated with an anarchist (i.e. socialist) society are identical to the "property rights" of a capitalist one. This is not the case, and so his argument is weakened and loses its force. Simply put, there is no such thing as an absolute or "natural" law of property. As J.S. Mill points out, "powers of exclusive use and control are very various, and differ greatly in different countries and in different states of society." ["Chapters on Socialism," John Stuart Mill on Politics and Society, p. 354] Therefore, Nozick slips an ideological ringer into his example by erroneously interpreting socialism (or any other society for that matter) as specifying a distribution of private property (like those he, and other supporters of capitalism, believes in) along with the wealth.

In other words, Nozick assumes that in all societies property rights must replace use rights in both consumption and production (an assumption that is ahistorical in the extreme). As Cheyney C. Ryan comments, "Different conceptions of justice differ not only in how they would apportion society's holdings but in what rights individuals have over their holdings once they have been apportioned." ["Property Rights and Individual Liberty", in Reading Nozack, p. 331]

In effect, what possessions someone holds within a libertarian socialist society will not be his or her property (in the capitalist sense) any more than a company car is the property of the employee under capitalism. This means that as long as an individual remained a member of a commune then they would have full use of the resources of that commune and could use their possessions as they saw fit. Such lack of absolute "ownership" not reduce liberty any more than the employee and the company car he or she uses (bar destruction, the employee can use it as they see fit).

Notice also that Nozick confuses exchange with capitalism ("I offer you a lecture once a week in exchange for other things"). This is a telling mistake by someone who claims to be an expert on capitalism, because the defining feature of capitalism is not exchange (which obviously took place long before capitalism existed) but labor contracts involving capitalist middlemen who appropriate a portion of the value produced by workers - in other words, wage labour. Nozick's example is merely a direct labor contract between the producer and the consumer. It does not involve any capitalist intermediary taking a percentage of the value created by the producer. It is only this latter type of transaction that libertarian socialism prevents -- and not by "forbidding" it but simply by refusing to maintain the conditions necessary for it to occur, i.e. protection of capitalist property.

Lastly, we must also note that Nozick also ignores the fact that acquisition must come before transfer, meaning that before "consenting" capitalist acts occur, individual ones must precede it. As argued above, for this to happen the would-be capitalist must steal communally owned resources by barring others from using them. This obviously would restrict the liberty of those who currently used them and so be hotly opposed by members of a community. If an individual did desire to use resources to employ wage labour then they would have effectively removed themselves from "socialist society" and so that society would bar them from using its resources (i.e. they would have to buy access to all the resources they currently took for granted).

It should also be noted here that Nozick's theory does not provide any support for such appropriation of commonly held resources, meaning that his (right) libertarianism is totally without foundations. His argument in favour of such appropriations recognises that certain liberties are very definitely restricted by private property (and it should be keep in mind that the destruction of commonly held resources, such as village commons, were enforced by the state - see section F.8.3). As Cheyney C. Ryan points out, Nozick "invoke[s] personal liberty as the decisive ground for rejecting patterned principles of justice [such as socialism] and restrictions on the ownership of capital. . .[b]ut where the rights of private property admittedly restrict the liberties of the average person, he seems perfectly happy to trade off such liberties against material gain for society as a whole." ["Property Rights and Individual Liberty", in Reading Nozack, p. 339]

Again, as pointed out in section F.2 (What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom?") right-libertarians would better be termed "Propertarians." Why is liberty according a primary importance when arguing against socialism but not private property restricts liberty? Obviously, Nozick considers the liberties associated with private property as more important than liberty in general. Likewise, capitalism must forbid corresponding socialist acts by individuals (for example, squatting unused property) and often socialist acts between consenting individuals (i.e. the formation of unions).

So, to conclude, this question involves some strange logic (and many question begging assumptions) and ultimately fails in its attempt to prove libertarian socialism must "ban" "capitalistic acts between individuals." In addition, the objection undermines capitalism because it cannot support the creation of private property out of communal property in the first place.

I.4.13 Who will do the dirty or unpleasant work?

That depends on the kind of community you are a member of. Obviously, few would argue against the idea that individuals will voluntarily work at things they enjoyed doing. However there are some jobs that few, if any, would enjoy (for example, collecting rubbish, processing sewage, dangerous work, etc.). So how would an anarchist society deal with it?

It will be clear what is considered unpleasant work in any society - few people (if any) will volunteer to do it. As in any advanced society, communities and syndicates who required extra help would inform others of their need by the various form of media that existed. In addition, it would be likely that each community would have a "division of activity" syndicate whose work would be to distribute information about these posts and to which members of a community would go to discover what placements existed for the line of "work" they were interested in. So we have a means by which syndicates and communes can ask for new hands and the means by which individuals can discover these placements. Obviously, some work will still require qualifications and that will be taken into account when syndicates and communes "advertise" for help.

For "work" placements that in which supply exceeded demand, it would be easy to arrange a work share scheme to ensure that most people get a chance to do that kind of work (see below for a discussion of what could happen if the numbers applying for a certain form of work were too high for this to work). When such placements are marked by an excess of demand by supply, its obvious that the activity in question is not viewed as pleasant or desirable. Until such time as it can be automated away, a free society will have to encourage people to volunteer for "work" placements they do not particularly want to do.

So, it is obvious that not all "jobs" are equal in interest or enjoyment. It is sometimes argued that people would start to join or form syndicates which are involved in more fun activities. By this process excess workers would be found in the more enjoyable "jobs" while the boring and dangerous ones would suffer from a scarcity of willing workers. Hence, so the argument goes, a socialist society would have to force people to do certain jobs and so that requires a state. Obviously this argument ignores the fact that under capitalism usually its the boring, dangerous work which is the least well paid with the worse working conditions. In addition this argument ignores the fact that under workers self-management boring, dangerous work would be minimised and transformed as much as possible. Only under capitalist hierarchy are people in no position to improve the quality of their work and working environment. As George Barret argues:

"Now things are so strangely organised at present that it is just the dirty and disagreeable work that men will do cheaply, and consequently there is no great rush to invent machines to take their place. In a free society, on the other hand, it is clear that the disagreeable work will be one of the first things that machinery will be called upon to eliminate. It is quite fair to argue, therefore, that the disagreeable work will, to a large extent, disappear in a state of anarchism." [Objections to Anarchism]

Moreover, most anarchists would think that the argument that there would be a flood of workers taking up "easy" workplacements is abstract and ignores the dynamics of a real society. While many individuals would try to create new productive syndicates in order to express themselves in innovative work outwith the existing research and development going on within existing syndicates, the idea that the majority of individuals would leave their current work at a drop of a hat is crazy. A workplace is a community and part of a community and people would value the links they have with their fellow workers. As such they would be aware of the impacts of their decisions on both themselves and society as a whole. So, while we would expect a turn over of workers between syndicates, the mass transfers claimed in this argument are unlikely. Most workers who did want to try their hand a new work would apply for work places at syndicates that required new people, not create their own ones. Because of this, work transfers would be moderate and easily handled.

However, the possibility of mass desertions does exist and so must be addressed. So how would a libertarian socialist society deal with a majority of its workers deciding to all do interesting work, leaving the boring and/or dangerous work undone? It, of course, depends on the type of anarchism in question and is directly related to the question of who will do the "dirty work" in an anarchist society. So, how will an anarchist society ensure that individual perferences for certain types of work matches the requirements of social demand for labour?

Under mutualism, those who desired a certain form of work done would reach an agreement with a workers or a cooperative and pay them to do the work in question. Individuals would form cooperatives with each cooperative would have to find its place on the market and so this would ensure that work was spread across society as required. Individuals desiring to form a new cooperative would either provide their own start up credit or arrange a interest free loan from a mutual bank. However, this could lead to some people doing unpleasant work all the time and so is hardly a solution. As in capitalism, we may see some people doing terrible work because it is better than no work at all. This is a solution few anarchists would support.

In a collectivist or communist anarchist society, such an outcome would be avoided by sharing such tasks as fairly as possible between a community's members. For example, by allocating one day in a month to all fit members of a community to do work which no one volunteers to do, it would soon be done. This, however, may not prove to a possible in some "work" placements. Possible solutions could be to take into account the undesirability of the work when considering the level of labour notes received or communal hours worked.

In other words, in a collectivist society the individuals who do unpleasant work may be "rewarded" (along with social esteem) with a slightly higher pay - the number of labour notes, for example, for such work would be a multiple of the standard amount, the actual figure being related to how much supply exceeds demand. In a communist society, the number of necessary hours required by an individual would be reduced by an amount that corresponds to the undesirability of the work involved. The actual levels of "reward" would be determined by agreements between the syndicates.

To be more precise, in a collectivist society, individuals would either use their own savings and/or arrange loans of community labour banks for credit in order to start up a new syndicate. This will obviously restrict the number of new syndicates being formed. In the case of individuals joining existing syndicates, the labour value of the work done would be related to the number of people interested in doing that work. For example, if a given type of work has 50% more people wanting to do it than actually required, then the labour value for one hours work in this industry would correspondingly be less than one hour. If it is in excess, then the labour value would increase, as would holiday time, etc.

In this way, "supply and demand" for workers would soon approximate each other. In addition, a collectivist society would be better placed than the current system to ensure work-sharing and other methods to spread unpleasant and pleasant tasks equally around society.

A communist-anarchist society's solution would be similar to the collectivist one. There would still be basic agreements between its members for work done and so for workplacements with excess supply of workers the amount of hours necessary to meet the confederations agreed minimum would correspondingly increase. For example, an industry with 100% excess supply of volunteers would see its minimum requirement increase from (say) 20 hours a week to 30 hours. An industry with less applicants than required would see the number of required hours of "work" decrease, plus increases in holiday time and so on. As G.D.H. Cole argues in respect of this point:

"Let us first by the fullest application of machinery and scientific methods eliminate or reduce . . . 'dirty work' that admit to such treatment. This has never been tried. . . under capitalism. . . It is cheaper to exploit and ruin human beings. . . Secondly, let us see what forms of 'dirty work' we can do without . . . [and] if any form of work is not only unpleasant but degrading, we will do without it, whatever the cost. No human being ought to be allowed or compelled to do work that degrades. Thirdly, for what dull or unpleasant work remains, let us offer whatever special conditions are required to attract the necessary workers, not in higher pay, but in shorter hours, holidays extending over six months in the year, conditions attractive enough to men who have other uses for their time or attention to being the requisite number to undertake it voluntarily." [Guild Socialism Restated, p. 76]

By these methods a balance between industrial sectors would be achieved as individuals would balance their desire for interesting work with their desires for free time. Over time, by using the power of appropriate technology, even such time keeping would be minimised or even got rid of as society developed freely.

And it is important to remember that the means of production required by new syndicates do not fall from the sky. Other members of society will have to work to produce the required goods. Therefore it is likely that the syndicates and communes would agree that only a certain (maximum) percentage of production would be allocated to start-up syndicates (as opposed to increasing the resources of existing confederations). Such a figure would obviously be revised periodically in order to take into account changing circumstances. Members of the community who decide to form syndicates for new productive tasks or syndicates which do the same work but are independent of existing confederations would have to get the agreement of other workers to supply them with the necessary means of production (just as today they have to get the agreement of a bank to receive the necessary credit to start a new business). By budgeting the amounts available, a free society can ensure that individual desires for specific kinds of work can be matched with the requirements of society for useful production.

And we must point out (just to make sure we are not misunderstood) that there will be no group of "planners" deciding which applications for resources get accepted. Instead, individuals and associations would apply to different production units for resources, whose workers in turn decide whether to produce the goods requested. If it is within the syndicate's agreed budget then it is likely that they will produce the required materials. In this way, a communist-anarchist society will ensure the maximum amount of economic freedom to start new syndicates and join existing ones plus ensure that social production does not suffer in the process.

Of course, no system is perfect - we are sure that not everyone will be able to do the work they enjoy the most (and that is the case under capitalism we may add). In an anarchist society ever method of ensuring that individuals pursue the work they are interested in would be investigated. If a possible solution can be found, we are sure that it will. What a free society would make sure of was that neither the capitalist market redeveloped (which ensures that the majority are marginalised into wage slavery) or a state socialist "labour army" type allocation process developed (which would ensure that free socialism did not remain free or socialist for long).

In this manner, anarchism will be able to ensure the principle of voluntary labour and free association as well as making sure that unpleasant and unwanted "work" is done. Moreover, most anarchists are sure that in a free society such requirements to encourage people to volunteer for unpleasant work will disappear over time as feelings of mutual aid and solidarity become more and more common place. Indeed, it is likely that people will gain respect for doing jobs that others might find unpleasant and so it might become "glamourous" to do such activity. Showing off to friends can be a powerful stimulus in doing any activity. So, anarchists would agree with Albert and Hahnel when they say that:

"In a society that makes every effort to depreciate the esteem that derives from anything other than conspicuous consumption, it is not surprising that great income differentials are seen as necessary to induce effort. But to assume that only conspicuous consumption can motivate people because under capitalism we have strained to make it so is unwarranted. There is plenty of evidence that people can be moved to great sacrifices for reasons other than a desire for personal wealth...there is good reason to believe that for nonpathological people wealth is generally coveted only as a means of attaining other ends such as economic security, comfort, social esteem, respect, status, or power." [The Political Economy of Participatory Economics, p. 52]

We should note here that the education syndicates would obviously take into account the trends in "work" placement requirements when deciding upon the structure of their classes. In this way, education would response to the needs of society as well as the needs of the individual (as would any productive syndicate).

I.4.14 What about the person who will not work?

Anarchism is based on voluntary labour. If people do not desire to work then they cannot (must not) be forced to. However, this does not mean that an anarchist society will continue to feed, clothe, house someone who can produce but refuses to. As Camillo Berneri points out, anarchism is based upon "no compulsion to work, but no duty towards those who do not want to work." ["The Problem of Work", in Why Work? ed. Vernon Richards, p. 74]

Obviously, there is a difference between not wanting to work and being unable to work. The sick, children, the old, pregnant women and so on will be looked after by their friends and family. As child rearing will be considered "work" along with other more obviously economic tasks, mothers and fathers will not have to leave their children unattended and work to make ends meet. Instead, consideration will be given to the needs of both parents and children as well as the creation of community nurseries and child care centres.

So, in an anarchist society, individual's have two options, either they can join a commune and work together as equals, or they can work as an individual or independent cooperative and exchange the product of their labour with others. If an individual joins a commune and does not carry their weight, even after their fellow workers ask them to, then that person will possibly be expelled and given enough land, tools or means of production to work alone. Of course, if a person is depressed, run down or otherwise finding it hard to join in communal responsibilities then their friends and fellow workers would do everything in their power to help and be flexible in their approach to the problem.

So people will have to work, but how they do so will be voluntary. If people didn't work society would obviously fall apart and to let some live off the labour of those who do work would be a reversion to capitalism. However, most social anarchists think that the problem of people trying not to work would be a very minor one in an anarchist society. This is because work is part of human life to express oneself. With work being voluntary and self-managed, it will become like current day hobbies and many people work harder at their hobbies than they do at work. It is the nature of employment under capitalism that makes it "work" instead of pleasure. Work need not be a part of the day that we wish would end.

This, combined with the workday being shortened, will help ensure that only an idiot would desire to work alone. As Malatesta argued, the "individual who wished to supply his own material needs by working alone would be the slave of his labours." [The Anarchist Revolution, p. 15]

So, enlightened self-interest would secure the voluntary labour and egalitarian distribution anarchists favour in the vast majority of the population. The parasitism associated with capitalism would be a thing of the past.

I.4.15 What will the workplace of tomorrow look like?

Given the anarchist desire to liberate the artist in all of us, we can easily imagine that a free society would transform totally the working environment. No longer would workers be indifferent to their workplaces, but they would express themselves in transforming them into pleasant places, integrated into both the life of the local community and into the local environment.

A glimpse of the future workplace can been seen from the actual class struggle. In the 40 day sit-down strike at Fisher Body plant #1 in Flint, Michigan in 1936, "there was a community of two thousand strikers . . . Committees organised recreation, information, classes, a postal service, sanitation. . .There were classes in parliamentary procedure, public speaking, history of the labour movement. Graduate students at the University of Michigan gave courses in journalism and creative writing." [Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 391]

Therefore the workplace would be expanded to include education and classes in individual development. This would allow work to become part of a wider community, drawing in people from different areas to share their knowledge and learn new insights and ideas. In addition, children would have part of their school studies with workplaces, getting them aware of the practicalities of many different forms of work and so allowing them to make informed decisions in what sort of activity they would be interested in pursuing when they were older.

Obviously, a workplace managed by its workers would also take care to make the working environment as pleasant as possible. No more "sick building syndrome" or unhealthy and stressful work areas. Buildings would be designed to maximise space and allow individual expression within them. Outside the workplace, we can imagine it surrounded by gardens and allotments which were tended by workers themselves, giving a pleasant surrounding to the workplace.

Therefore the future workplace would be an expression of the desires of those who worked there. It would be based around a pleasant working environment, within gardens and with extensive library, resources for education classes and other leisure activities. All this, and more, will be possible in a society based upon self-realisation and self-expression and one in which individuality is not crushed by authority and capitalism. Such a vision is possible and is only held back by capitalism which denounces such visions of freedom as "uneconomic" However, as William Morris points out:

"Impossible I hear an anti-Socialist say. My friend, please to remember that most factories sustain today large and handsome gardens, and not seldom parks . . .only the said gardens, etc. are twenty miles away from the factory, out of the smoke, and are kept up for one member of the factory only, the sleeping partner to wit" [ A Factory as It Might Be, pp. 7-8]

Pleasant working conditions based upon the self-management of work can produce a workplace within which economic "efficiency" can be achieved without disrupting and destroying individuality and the environment.