Kevin Amos Carson (born 1963) is an American social and political theorist and scholar of political economy writing in the mutualist and individualist anarchist traditions. Part of a series on Libertarianism Origins Age of Enlightenment, Aristotelianism, Classical liberalism, Concepts Anti-authoritarianism, Anti-militarism, Anti-statism, Anti-war, Argumentation ethics, Class struggle, Communes, Counter-economics, Crypto-anarchism, Decentralization, Direct action, Dispute resolution organization, Economic freedom, Egalitarianism, Expropriative anarchism, Free market, Free-market environmentalism, Free society, Free trade, Free will, Freedom of association, Freedom of contract, Gift economy, Homestead principle, Illegalism, Individual, Individualism, Individual reclamation, Laissez-faire, Liberty, Limited government, Localism, Marriage privatization, Natural and legal rights, Night-watchman state, Non-aggression principle, Non-interventionism, Non-politics, Non-voting, Participatory economics, Polycentric law, Private defense agency, Propaganda by the deed, Property, Really Really Free Market, Refusal of work, Self-governance, Self-ownership, Spontaneous order, Squatting, Stateless society, Tax resistance, Title-transfer theory of contract, Voluntary association, Voluntary society, Wage slavery, Workers' self-management, Schools Agorism, Anarchism, Anarchist communism, Autarchism, Christian libertarianism, Collectivist anarchism, Consequentialist libertarianism, Free-market anarchism, Fusionism, Geolibertarianism, Green anarchism, Green libertarianism, Individualist anarchism, Insurrectionary anarchism, Left-libertarianism, Libertarian Marxism, Libertarian socialism, Minarchism, Mutualism, Natural-rights libertarianism, Paleolibertarianism, Panarchism, Right-libertarianism, Social anarchism, Voluntaryism, People Émile Armand, Mikhail Bakunin, Rudolf Rocker, Frédéric Bastiat, Murray Bookchin, Walter Block, Noam Chomsky, Voltairine de Cleyre, Joseph Déjacque, David D. Friedman, Errico Malatesta, Milton Friedman, Ricardo Flores Magón, Henry George, William Godwin, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Friedrich Hayek, Johann Most, Henry Hazlitt, Gustav Landauer, Auberon Herbert, Kevin Carson, Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, Karl Hess, Louise Michel, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Leo Tolstoy, Stephan Kinsella, Nestor Makhno, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Peter Kropotkin, Étienne de La Boétie, Buenaventura Durruti, Rose Wilder Lane, Paul Goodman (writer), Roderick Long, Luigi Galleani, Tibor R. Machan, Wendy McElroy, Carl Menger, John Stuart Mill, Gustave de Molinari, Albert Jay Nock, Robert Nozick, Isabel Paterson, Ron Paul, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Jean-Baptiste Say, Joseph Schumpeter, Herbert Spencer, Lysander Spooner, Max Stirner, Robert Taft, Voline, Linda and Morris Tannehill, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Benjamin Tucker, Josiah Warren, Penn Jillette, Aspects Anarcho-capitalism and, minarchism , Criticisms, Intellectual property, Internal debates, LGBT rights, Objectivism, Political parties, Theories of law, Related topics Civil libertarianism, Civil societarianism, Constitutionalism, Fusionism, Green libertarianism, Libertarian conservatism, Libertarian Democrat, Libertarian Republican, Libertarian science fiction, Libertarian transhumanism, Libertarianism in the United States, Market liberalism, Objectivism, Public choice theory, Small government, Outline of libertarianism, Libertarianism portal, Liberalism portal, v, t, e, Carson describes his politics as on "the outer fringes of both free market libertarianism and socialism." He has identified the work of Benjamin Tucker, Ralph Borsodi, Lewis Mumford, and Ivan Illich as sources of inspiration for his approach to politics and economics. Contents 1 Thought 1.1 Free markets vs. capitalism, 1.2 "Vulgar libertarianism", , 2 Center For A Stateless Society, 3 Criticisms, 4 Publications 4.1 Selected works, , 5 See also, 6 References, 7 External links, Thought: Part of the Politics series on Anarchism Schools of thought Black, Buddhist, Capitalist, Christian, Collectivist, Communist, Egoist, Existentialist, Feminist, Green, Individualist, Infoanarchism, Insurrectionary, Leftist, Magonist, Mutualist, Nationalist, Naturist, Pacifist, Philosophical, Platformist, Post-anarchist, Post-colonial, Post-left, Primitivist, Queer, Social, Syndicalist, Synthesist, Vegan, Without adjectives, Theory, Practice, Anarchy, Anarchist Black Cross, Anti-authoritarianism, Anti-militarism, Affinity group, Black bloc, Class struggle, Communes, Consensus democracy, Conscientious objector, Decentralization, Deep ecology, Direct action, Direct democracy, Dual power, Especifismo, Expropriative anarchism, Free association, Free love, Free school, Freethought, Horizontalidad, Illegalism, Individualism, Individual reclamation, Isocracy, Law, Participatory politics, Permanent autonomous zone, Prefigurative politics, Propaganda of the deed, Refusal of work, Revolution, Rewilding, Social center, Social ecology, Social insertion, Somatherapy, Spontaneous order, Squatting, Temporary Autonomous Zone, Union of egoists, People William Godwin, Josiah Warren, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Henry David Thoreau, Max Stirner, Mikhail Bakunin, Louise Michel, Peter Kropotkin, Benjamin Tucker, Leo Tolstoy, Johann Most, Errico Malatesta, Gustav Landauer, Emma Goldman, Émile Armand, Nestor Makhno, Rudolf Rocker, Buenaventura Durruti, Alexander Berkman, Ricardo Flores Magón, Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, Volin, Murray Bookchin, Colin Ward, Noam Chomsky, Alfredo M. Bonanno, John Zerzan, Issues Anarcho-capitalism, Crypto-anarchism, Animal rights, Capitalism, Education, Criticisms, Islam, LGBT rights, Lifestylism, Marxism, Nationalism, Orthodox Judaism, Religion, Love and sex, Violence, History Paris Commune, Hague Congress, International Conference of Rome, Trial of the thirty, Haymarket affair, May Day, Anarchist Exclusion Act, Congress of Amsterdam, Tragic Week, High Treason Incident, Manifesto of the Sixteen, 1919 United States bombings, Biennio rosso, German Revolution of 1918-1919, Bavarian Soviet Republic, Kronstadt rebellion, Third Russian Revolution, Free Territory, Amakasu Incident, Escuela Moderna, Individualist anarchism in, Europe (in France) Spanish Revolution, Barcelona May Days, Red inverted triangle, Labadie Collection, May 1968, Provo, LIP, Kate Sharpley Library, Australian Anarchist Centenary, Carnival Against Capital, 1999 WTO Conference protest, Culture Films, Anarchist Bookfair, Anarcho-punk, Arts, Culture jamming, DIY culture, Freeganism, Independent Media Center, Infoshop, The Internationale, Jewish anarchism, "Land and liberty", Lifestylism, Popular education, "Property is theft!", Radical cheerleading, Radical environmentalism, Squatting, Symbolism, Glossary, A las Barricadas, Economics Communization, Co-operatives, Cost the limit of price, Counter-economics, Economic democracy, Economic secession, Free store, Gift economy, Infoanarchism, Market abolitionism, Mutual aid, Participatory economics, Really Really Free Market, Socialization, Wage slavery, Workers' self-management, By region Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, Lists Anarcho-punk bands, Communities, Fictional characters, Jewish anarchists, Musicians, Organizations, Periodicals, Poets, Pornographers, Russian anarchists, Films, Related topics Anti-statism, Anti-war, Non-aggression principle, Libertarianism, Classical liberalism, Spontaneous order, Anti-corporatism, Anti-capitalism, Anti-consumerism, Anti-fascism, Anti-globalization, Autarchism, Autonomism, Labour movement, Left communism, Libertarian socialism, Situationist International, Anarchism portal, Politics portal, v, t, e, In addition to individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker's "big four" monopolies (land, money, tariffs, and patents), Carson argues that the state has also transferred wealth to the wealthy by subsidizing organizational centralization, in the form of transportation and communication subsidies. He believes that Tucker overlooked this issue due to Tucker's focus on individual market transactions, whereas Carson also focuses on organizational issues. The theoretical sections of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy are presented as an attempt to integrate marginalist critiques into the labor theory of value. Carson has also been highly critical of intellectual property. The primary focus of his most recent work has been decentralized manufacturing and the informal and household economies. Free markets vs. capitalism: See also: Anarchism and capitalism and Free-market anarchism Unlike some other market anarchists, Carson defines capitalism in historical terms, emphasizing the history of state intervention in market economies. He says "it is state intervention that distinguishes capitalism from the free market." He does not define capitalism in the idealized sense but says that when he talks about "capitalism" he is referring to what he calls "actually existing capitalism." He believes that "laissez-faire capitalism, historically speaking, is an oxymoron" but has no quarrel with anarcho-capitalists who use the term and distinguish it from "actually existing capitalism." In response to claims that he uses the term "capitalism" incorrectly, Carson says he is deliberately choosing to resurrect what he claims to be an old definition of the term in order to "make a point." He claims that "the term "capitalism," as it was originally used, did not refer to a free market, but to a type of statist class system in which capitalists controlled the state and the state intervened in the market on their behalf." Carson holds that "Capitalism, arising as a new class society directly from the old class society of the Middle Ages, was founded on an act of robbery as massive as the earlier feudal conquest of the land. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege without which its survival is unimaginable." Carson argues that in a truly laissez-faire system, the ability to extract a profit from labor and capital would be negligible. Carson argues the centralization of wealth into a class hierarchy is due to state intervention to protect the ruling class, by using a money monopoly, granting patents and subsidies to corporations, imposing discriminatory taxation, and intervening militarily to gain access to international markets. Carson's thesis is that under an authentic free market economy, the separation of labour from ownership and the subordination of labor to capital would be impossible, bringing a more egalitarian society in which most people could easily choose self-employment over wage labor (see The Iron Fist Behind The Invisible Hand). Carson has written sympathetically about several anarcho-capitalists, arguing that they use the word "capitalism" in a different sense than he does and that they represent a legitimate strain of anarchism. He says "most people who call themselves individualist anarchists today are followers of Murray Rothbard's Austrian economics, and have abandoned the labor theory of value." However, with the release of his book, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, he hopes to revive "mutualism." In his book he attempts to synthesize Austrian economics with the labor theory of value, or "Austrianize" it, by incorporating both subjectivism and time preference. "Vulgar libertarianism": Carson coined the pejorative term "vulgar libertarianism," a phrase that describes the use of a free market rhetoric in defense of corporate capitalism and economic inequality. According to Carson, the term is derived from the phrase "vulgar political economy," which Karl Marx described as an economic order that "deliberately becomes increasingly apologetic and makes strenuous attempts to talk out of existence the ideas which contain the contradictions existing in economic life." Carson writes that Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they're defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article in The Freeman arguing that the rich can't get rich at the expense of the poor, because "that's not how the free market works"--implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they'll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations on the basis of "free market principles." Much of Carson's writing is dedicated to critiquing other writers who he perceives as being vulgar libertarians. A sporadically recurring feature on his blog is called "Vulgar Libertarian Watch." Center For A Stateless Society: In November 2008, the Center For a Stateless Society announced that it would be hiring Carson as its Research Associate and first paid staff member. Since January 2009, Carson has produced several studies for the Center as well as numerous articles of political commentary on a variety of topics. Several of Carson's C4SS studies were re-worked into his third book, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution. Criticisms: Economist and anarcho-capitalist Walter Block characterizes Carson as a Marxist, for his embrace of labor value exploitation theory, and argues that Carson's philosophy is full of errors, mostly due to his acceptance of the labor theory of value. "For someone in this day and age to even take this doctrine seriously, let alone actually try to defend it, is equivalent to making a similarly widely and properly rejected position vis à vis the flat earth, or the phlogiston theory. It is, in a word, medieval." Carson alleges that Block misrepresents many of his views and probably did not actually read his book. Roderick T. Long criticizes Carson's claim that full private property rights do not stem from the concept of self-ownership, and presents an argument that if one accepts self-ownership, as Carson does, then non-Lockean proviso homesteading rights must be accepted. However, Long accepts the concept of public property as valid and writes that communities may acquire land "by collectively homesteading," which could "provide a basis for No-Proviso Lockeans to recognize as legitimate the property arrangements of Mutualist, Georgist, and Proviso-Lockean communities." Publications: Currently Research Associate at the Center for a Stateless Society, he is the author of three books: The Homebrew Industrial Revolution,Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and Studies in Mutualist Political Economy--the last the subject of a symposium in the Journal of Libertarian Studies. He has also authored Austrian and Marxist Theories of Monopoly-Capital,Contract Feudalism,The Ethics of Labor Struggle, and The Iron Fist behind the Invisible Hand. His articles have appeared in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty,Land&Liberty, and Just Things, and have been featured at The Art of the Possible and on the P2P Foundation blog as well as on the popular foreign policy website AntiWar.Com. His writing on the subject of political economy is cited by the widely read Anarchist FAQ. Selected works: Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low Overhead Manifesto, The Great Domain of Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy, "Austrian and Marxist Theories of Monopoly Capital: A Mutualist Synthesis", "The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege", "The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Super-Empowered Individuals"

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