Francis Tandy Rides Some More

OK, so I don't have a picture of Francis Tandy I’ve posted three more chapters of Francis Tandy’s Voluntary Socialism (about which see here) in the Molinari Institute’s online library.

Chapter 6 attempts to reconcile the labour theory of value with the principle of marginal utility. (Followers of the Austrian-Mutualist debate, take note.) Chapters 7 and 8 defend a mutualist approach to money, credit, and banking along the lines of Proudhon, Greene, and Tucker.

Coming soon: the Bastiat-Proudhon debate!

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8 Responses to Francis Tandy Rides Some More

  1. Anonymous2 October 2, 2006 at 2:33 am #

    I’ve recently started trying to apply Carson’s mutualist views on land to my online multiplayer gaming. In the game, you build buildings around certain sites to gather resources, but first you have to secure the area by defeating creatures known as “creeps”. If my teammate puts in the effort to defeat the creeps, then I walk up and place my units so as to prevent him building anything. Then I erect my own structures and start utilizing the resource site myself. My justification is that the site wasn’t being used when I claimed it. 🙂

    The most common responses I get are along the lines of “What the HELL are you doing?” and “WTF? Are you ten years old!?”. Also, most of the time my teammates will immediately attack me and raze all my buildings to the ground. Somehow this does not seem very inspiring for implementing mutualist property rules in the real world….

  2. Matt Jenny October 2, 2006 at 6:34 am #

    Well, that’s why Carson says,

    “The term “enforceable” is the crux of the matter. The enforceability of a contract, in any society, stateless or otherwise, depends on the willingness of third parties to accept its validity. In a local community where the majority consensus is for title based on occupancy and use, any attempt to enforce title based on Lockean principles will ultimately cost more than it’s worth. For that reason, the mutual defense associations and free juries in a Tuckerite or Warrenite community would likely have exclusionary clauses for occupants seeking aid against landlords in Lockean communities, and anarcho-capitalist defense agencies would likewise exclude enforcement of landlord claims against occupants in mutualist communities. ”

  3. Sergio Méndez October 2, 2006 at 7:28 am #

    Yeah…a video game with creatures called “creeps” inside land property looks like the “real world”, isn´t it?

  4. Administrator October 2, 2006 at 11:26 am #

    Ditto what Matt Jenny said. While I don’t agree with the mutualist view on property, I don’t think the argumentum ad online game tells against it. After all, in a culture imbued with mutualist values, if someone in your online game tried to maintain control over property they weren’t currently using, they would immediately be greeted by cries of “What the HELL are you doing?” and “WTF? Are you ten years old!?”

    The following passage from Rose Wilder Lane’s Discovery of Freedom is a nice illustration of th effect of culture on property rules:

    “Twenty years ago the Dukhagini in the Dinaric Alps were living in the same obedience to their Law of Lek. I tried for hours to convince some of them that a man can own a house.

    A dangerously radical woman of the village was demanding a house. She had helped her husband build it; now she was a childless widow, but she wanted to keep that house. It was an ordinary house; a small, stone-walled, stone-roofed hovel, without floor, window, or chimney.

    Obstinately anti-social, she doggedly repeated, “With these hands, my hands, I built up the walls. I laid the roof-stones with my hands. It is my house. I want my house.”

    The villagers said, “It is a madness. A spirit of the rocks, not human, has entered into her.”

    They were intelligent. My plea for the woman astounded them, but upon reflection they produced most of the sound arguments for communism: economic equality, economic security, social order.

    I said that in America a man owns a house. They could not believe it; they admired America. They had heard of its marvels; during the recent world war they had seen with their eyes the airplanes from that fabulous land.

    They questioned me shrewdly. I staggered myself by mentioning taxes; I had to admit that an American pays the tribe for possession of a house. This seemed to concede that the American tribe does own the house. I was routed; their high opinion of my country was restored.”

  5. Adem Kupi October 2, 2006 at 11:45 am #

    Anonymous2, actually the problem is that you’re making some sort of Reismannian mockery of mutualism.

    By “securing the area”, your fellow player has homesteaded the land. Immediately taking the area from him in an eyeblink is a ridiculous perversion of the mutualist idea. It’s like the “oh I’ll go take over the house while the owner’s on vacation” argument.

    If that’s what you think Carson is advocating, you haven’t read or understood his works.

  6. Anonymous2 October 2, 2006 at 2:03 pm #

    Yeah…a video game with creatures called “creeps” inside land property looks like the “real world”, isn´t it?

    Well if you find your imagination somewhat limited, you can instead think in the “real-world” terms of a forest sitting atop a copper vein. In that situation, I don’t see how a mutualist could claim that someone who clears the trees gains ownership of the copper vein beneath the land, since if I come along and build my refinery after you’ve cleared the forest then I am now “using” the copper vein. The point, either way, is that mutualism is even less unlikely to be accepted in the real world than libertarianism is, which is saying a lot. 🙂

  7. Anonymous2 October 2, 2006 at 6:23 pm #

    *Note, that should be “even less likely”.
    I’ve also tried playing using “feudal” rules. In this case I claim all resource sites that are closer to me than to my teammates. If any of my teammates secures such a site before I do, then I go ahead and take it, the justification being that “it is in my domain” or “in my territory”. I’m not sure, but I think I’m less likely to be retaliated against by doing that. Evidence that monarchy is better than mutualism? Who knows…. 🙂

  8. Rad Geek October 9, 2006 at 1:59 am #


    Carson clearly does not hold that you’re entitled to enclose and seize land that someone else has worked (e.g. by clearing it of trees, or wild beasts, or creeps, or whatever) the instant they pause in working it. His understanding of mutualism as applied to land ownership has to do with the conditions under which land can be counted as abandoned (and thus available for being re-homesteaded). You’re attacking a strawman.

    In any case, even on a radical Lockean view of land ownership I do not see how the tree-clearer would gain an exclusive entitlement to the copper veins underneath the forest. Homesteading land only gives you ownership of the land you actually cleared and brought into use. It does not give you ownership of everything in the heavens that’s over the parcel you own, nor everything in the earth underneath it.

    If I clear the forest and bring the surface of the land into use, that gives me a claim to the surface of the land, not to the copper veins running far underneath it. If someone else figures out a way to get at the copper underneath my land, without interfering with my use of the land I cleared — say they buy an adjacent plot and start digging the pit over there, but then tunnel over to land underneath my plot — then the mine and the copper vein are properly theirs, not mine. I have no more right to demand a title to the copper vein than I have a right to demand that airplanes pay me for passage in the airspace miles above my house.

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