Market abolitionism

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Market abolitionism is a belief that the market, in the economic sense, should be completely eliminated from society. Market abolitionists argue that markets are morally abhorrent, antisocial and ultimately incompatible with human and environmental survival and that if left unchecked the market will annihilate both.

In large countries in the modern world, the only significant alternative to a market economy has been central planning as was practiced in the early USSR and in the People's Republic of China before the 1990s. Other proposed alternatives to the market economy —participatory planning as proposed in the theory of participatory economics ("Parecon"), an "artificial market" as proposed by advocates of Inclusive Democracy, and the idea of substituting a gift economy for a commodity exchange—have not yet been tried on a large scale in the modern industrialized world, though alternative organizational methods have been implemented successfully during short periods of time: the early stages of the Russian Revolution before it was taken over by the Bolsheviks,[1][2][3] and the Spanish Revolution before it was crushed by the alliance of liberals and communists.[4]


Michael Albert, creator of Znet and co-creator of participatory economics, considers himself a market abolitionist and favors democratic participatory planning as a replacement. He and several colleagues, including Robin Hahnel have elaborated their theory of "parecon" in books, on Znet, and in Z Magazine.

Notably, Noam Chomsky is one of those who have expressed the opinion that a truly free market (in the context of a sudden transition from the current system) would destroy the species as well as physical environment. He also favors a democratic participatory planning process as a replacement to the market.[1]


Economists such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek and Brink Lindsey argue that if the market is eliminated along with property, prices, and wages, then the mode of information transmission is eliminated and what will result is a highly inefficient system for transmitting the value, supply, demand, of goods, services, resources, along with an elimination of the most efficient mode of market transactions. Opinions as to what would follow range from the total collapse of civilization and mass starvation[5] to mere inefficient allocation.[6]

Market abolitionists may reply that whilst advocates of the Austrian school recognize equilibrium prices do not exist, they nonetheless claim that these prices can be used as a rational basis whilst this is not the case, hence markets are not efficient.[7][8]

"Contemporary" mutualists like Kevin Carson (as opposed to "classical" mutualists such Pierre-Joseph Proudhon) advocate a form of mutualism termed "Free Market Socialism" (which is not the same as Market Socialism) as an alternative to both Capitalism and State Socialism, noting that a decentralized system can be self-regulating.

See also


  1. Rocker, Rudolf (2004). Anarcho syndicalism: Theory and Practice. AK Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Berkman, Alexander (2003). The ABC of Anarchism. Dover Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Noam Chomsky. "Notes on Anarchism". In Daniel Guérin, Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, 1970; Retrieved 2009-12-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Chomsky, Noam (2003). Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship. The New Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Bryan Caplan's short critique of economic calculation problem as posed by the Austrian school (among other things):

External links