Posts tagged Steve Horwitz

Bits & Pieces on Free Market Anti-Capitalism: by way of introduction, or apology

It’s been a while since the APEE panel on Free Market Anti-Capitalism. I said, a few Sundays ago, that I’d have more to say, soon. I’ve been meaning to publish my remarks, but it’s taken me a while to think about how I want to present them. I have a prepared text that I used for most of the talk (with the usual ad-libbing and skipping), and then a minimal set of notes that I used to speak off the cuff at the end of the talk. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to post the whole text as a long blob of text on the general topic of Free Market Anti-Capitalism. I’m happy with how the talk turned out — but talks are one thing, and blogs are another. There’s something to be said for the long essay (at least, given my own output, I sure hope that there is), but there’s already a number of long essays and lectures on left-libertarian economics and free-market anti-capitalism that are already out there. And looking back over my talk, as a general thing, what I was aiming to do was to anchor on the (really excellent) overviews of the salient issues which were provided by Steve, Gary, and Sheldon in their (excellent) earlier talks, and then drill down a bit — to get into some specifics about the mechanisms of political economy that free market anti-capitalists want to call attention to when they say that they are against actually-existing capitalism, and also to get into some moderate meta-discussion about why we feel the need to take the approach we do, and what the important upshot of a seemingly semantic point (like whether to use the letters c-a-p-i-t-a-l-i-s-m to identify what you’re for, or what you’re against) might really be. The points that I made along these lines were structured in such a way that, while a lecture is all of a piece, the material easily divides into a series of smaller, interrelated, but distinct remarks on a series of smaller, interrelated, but distinct questions. Smaller questions which might help separate out issues in the telling; smaller questions which might be a bit more digestible for reading and a bit more useful for referencing in future discussions; and, perhaps most importantly, smaller questions which might do more to help inspire some conversations in the comments.

So instead of simply posting my prepared text, or a reconstruction of my talk from the notes, as one big blob, what I’m going to do over the next several days is to split things up a bit, and publish a series of bits & pieces, ad seriatim. I’ll be covering ground that a lot of us have scouted before; some of the pieces (or bits?) will be nothing more than a quick attempt to clearly mark out something that just about every left-libertarian already knows or has read or has written herself. I can only say that I’m trying to accurately represent the ground that I covered in my talk, even if I am serializing and subdividing it. And I do also think there’s something to be said for clear maps, even if the territory has already been surveyed elsewhere. I hope that a survey of the landscape might help to make some journeys more pleasant, to help collect some thoughts, and to move along some conversations.

After I’ve finished serializing the remarks that I made at the panel itself, I hope also to follow up with a few remarks on points that were raised by my co-panelists, which I didn’t have the time to get into at the event itself. And I look forward to seeing how the conversation goes on from there.

Anyway, all this is by way of introduction, or apology, and that’s enough of that.

The first bit (or piece) will be coming out tomorrow.