Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Can capitalism be destroyed without destroying the state?

+2 votes
The state can't be destroyed without destroying capitalism (although "anarcho"-capitalists would disagree), but what about the other way around? Can a socialist and/or communist -- depending on how you define the two -- state exist without degrading into state capitalism?
asked Jan 21, 2012 by anonymous
You don't know the first thing about the concepts you're desperately trying to sound like an authority on.
Reading your recent glut of comments makes me think that comment applies more to you than to anybody else here.  Capitalism and anarchism are not compatible, anarchism is opposed to rulers while capitalism is ruled by the owning class.  "Anarcho-capitalism" makes as much sense as "atheist theocracy".

2 Answers

0 votes
This is a very short and simplistic answer, but I would say that yes, today it is essentially impossible for a state to exist without also being capitalist.  This is because the economy is global and in order to maintain "national security" (which I would define as national cohesion, the appearance of sovereignty, defined borders, and some level of prevailing law and order), a state has to economically interact with other states, either through competition, trade, and/or some kind of international cooperation (like the EU).  Participation in capitalism is essential for a state to be able to maintain its territory, and when it cannot, another state will gladly take over.
answered Jan 22, 2012 by peau_de_chat (340 points)
theoretically, couldn't a completely self-sufficient state isolate itself from globalized capitalism though?
Theoretically, yes, but practically?  I don't think so.  At this point, I think they'd get destroyed.  It's too dangerous.  I guess unless the place was completely unappealing/"resource"-poor...  It is possible to carve out anarchist or rebel space and defend it, but that wouldn't be a state then.  The thing with states is that the state wants to keep power, right?  So they have to bend to whims of more powerful states/corporations/capital or risk getting taken over.
"The thing with states is that the state wants to keep power, right? "

indeed, and the thing with capitalism is it needs to continuously expand. so even a completely self-sufficient state would be at risk of capitalist invasion for resources (production) and markets (consumption).
+2 votes
I think this same question has been answered here
http://anarchy101.org/25/why-does-capitalism-rely-on-the-state

I would like to develop more on your second question "Can a socialist and/or communist -- depending on how you define the two -- state exist without degrading into state capitalism?"

I see both capitalism and states have a main thing in common and that is why they are so cooperative with each other. Both are ways of accumulation and centralization. 20th century China can show us well how easily a supposedly communist dictatorship can turn into a sweatshop capitalist dictatorship. Both Mao Tse Tung and Deng Xiaoping wanted development of a modern industrial economy in China and so pursued the model of economic growth and productivity that goes with that. Currently China is the fastest growing economy in the world and it is that mainly because it is a planified economy who doesn´t let its individual capitalists run uncontrolled and also because it doesn´t allow free trade unions and environmentalist and consumer rights movements.
answered Jan 23, 2012 by iconoclast (4,600 points)
“Planified?” PLANIFIED?! :P
Not that it really matters, but, i'd argue that china does let its capitalists run free - after all most/all of them are either senior Party officials or blood relatives.  China, like the new Russian empire, have smoothly transitioned from state-socialism to naked capitalism/kleptocracy; they simply discarded the pretense of defending 'the people' and let the wolves have at it (which they already were, thank you very much).
Which squares pretty well with the old (grey beard) anarchist criticisms of authoritarian communism.

(Are the Planifiers in any way related to the Levelers?)
...