Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 6: Anarcho-Capitalism

What is an anarchist?  Most people associate the word “anarchist” with the political left. However, there are anarchists who advocate for completely unrestricted capitalism, also known as anarcho-capitalistism. Two prominent anarcho-capitalists are Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, both of whom believed there should be no government. Dr. Nigel Ashford discusses the views of Rothbard and Friedman.

Rothbard favors anarcho-capitalism based upon his belief that it is always wrong to use force, except in self-defense. For Rothbard, the government is illegitimate because it relies on coercion. David Friedman, on the other hand, argues for anarcho-capitalism based on empirical evidence. Friedman believes that the market is always more efficient than the government.

Both believe there should be no state at all. Rothbard criticizes government for its use of force, while Friedman criticizes its inefficiency. Both argue that there are free-market alternatives to all government services. While many libertarians favor a minimal state, Rothbard and Friedman suggest that any state is likely to grow well beyond its intended role.

9 Comments

  1. Stephen Dieter

    I would recommend "In Praise of Passivity" by Michael Huemer, as well. It explains why the actions of government actors are almost always harmful.  

  2. Lukas Koube

    are you joking? the president now has the power to assassinate american citizens at will, the congress can make or break companies or even entire industries, and the judiciary can decide how you live your personal life. whatever those things are, they are NOT the rule of law. furthermore, the average household pays nearly 50% of its wealth in taxes…how is the government supposed to protect your property by first taking half of it?

  3. Rachel Romanof

    Amazing, and I’m glad I’m in the sociology department and I’m very familiar with these theorists and terms

  4. muppet

    A nice summary, though I would argue that hyphens are unnecessary with anarchy… anarchy is the absence of a state, and what happens after that (voluntary communes, voluntary trading communities) should be up to the people involved. 

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