Leftist Anarchism and the “Hierarchy” of the Market

Not to be confused with the modern definition, Hierarchy comes from the Greek words “Hieros”, meaning sacred, and “Archein”, meaning to rule (I.e Sacred Ruler). So the Anarchist who rejects Rulers must also reject Hierarchy. Thus when concluding the market is hierarchical they inevitably reject the market. However the premise could not be further from the truth. Markets are in no way hierarchical. In other words the capitalist is no ruler.

The misconception comes from the idea that the owner of private property “Rules” those on his property and the workers are thus subject to his will. At first glance this may seem the case. However while the anarchist rejects private property they do not reject personal property. If a man enters my home and I exercise my property rights isn’t that a hierarchical relationship? Am I ruling over them? If not, then the anarchist is not being consistent and merely exercising property rights is not sufficient qualification for Hierarchy.

This is usually rebutted with the argument that an individual that has no other option is not free to leave and thus the capitalist has an unfair advantage. this is what makes the market hierarchical. However again the same argument applies. If a homeless man has nowhere else to go, how may I exercise my personal property rights without being a ruler? Socialists like to take the choice the individual makes of their own freewill and strip it away from them while telling them they’d be better off. If the individual truly has no other opportunity except that of being “Exploited”, then what do they honestly think the outcome would be if even the capitalist didn’t exist and that choice wasn’t available?

Again the socialists rebut, arguing that the capitalist exploits the labour of the individual, thus the relationship is different than other systems of property. But how is the capitalist exploitative? The capitalist provides the tools required to increase an individual’s productive capacity through investment. The individual of their own free will chooses to use those tools and in return gives a portion of his earnings to the capitalist. Without the labourer there is no production and the capitalist cannot make a return on investment. If the capitalist does not invest then the Productive Capital does not exist and the labourer has no tools to work with. This is mutually beneficial and is no more exploitative than the human body’s relationship with bacteria.

What of children? Even if the hierarchical structure of the family was disbanded certainly every conceivable solution would also be hierarchical in nature. What of education? Doesn’t Chomsky Realize that the relationship with his students is also hierarchical? Does he not expect students within his classroom to follow certain guidelines in return for his knowledge? Does he not give the final judgment of who passes or fails? Consistency dictates that if one rejects the market as hierarchical then they must also reject family, personal property, and the student teacher relationship as well.

Furthermore, what are the proposed solutions to the market? Would the Anarchist use the hierarchical power of the state to prevent the hierarchy of the market? How would a large group of syndicalist workers come to an agreement on production without an elected or rotating authority figure? Isn’t direct democracy just rule of the majority, meaning even democracy is hierarchical? How do syndicalist workers intend to run a large business without any form of hierarchical order?

In conclusion Leftist Anarchism is a collection of talking points strung together with no logical consistency and the evil of hierarchy only applies to those associations with which they disagree.


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