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Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

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+3 votes

By 'economics' I don't mean specific theoretical systems like capitalism or socialism, but economics as a whole field of study.

By 'anarchy' I'm referring to your anarchy, your sense of anarchy, your desires at this time, which may or may not include a specific form of anarch-ism. If economics is useful to you, how so? What makes economics relevant? If not, why not? If it only does sometimes, when and where?

by (7.5k points)
i'm curious as to why isn't this an answer?

i've been reading eisenstein's 'ascent of humanity' which, so far, i think is really great.
i guess because i started with a short answer of "yes", and then i kept adding, and then i still didn't feel finished!

i liked the 'ascent of humanity' too. his thoughts and ideas really resonate with me, although he seems a lot more hopeful than i feel regarding more people consciously choosing to live differently than as prescribed by authority and reified images.
yes, i feel the same in regards to the hopeful tone of the work, but still, i think AoH does a lot in connecting some threads w/in anarchist tendencies: primitivism/anti-civ, stirnerist egoism, social anarchism, etc.

also, thanks for making your thoughts an answer.
i agree about connecting the anarchist threads, even though he doesn't mention "anarchy" directly. i started reading his stuff a few years back, and immediately i sensed the expression of many things i had felt for a long time, but had trouble articulating and tying together like he did.

i've since had a couple of conversations with him, and, in part, his hopefulness inspired me to keep thinking and acting creatively - and to talk more openly about this sort of stuff with people in my life.

my pleasure for the answer. i like the question.
i see now that i interpreted the question differently than the other answerers (and perhaps differently than the way you intended it, AF). i don't know if that comes across in my answer, but i hope so.

4 Answers

+1 vote

yes, without a doubt.

deconstructing the current "system" appeals to me a lot. and then finding ways to live fundamentally different from that...because i see the monetary system as the most pervasive and deadening and controlling abstraction in my life, the lives of almost everyone i know, and from what i can tell, in the lives of people across the planet.

charles eisenstein's free book,, has really helped me to more deeply explore the concept of economics, and to conceive of ways in my own life to move away from the money system as most of us know it today (as a disassociating process based on fear, enforced by hierarchical institutions) - toward the idea of the gift - giving and receiving freely, connecting with people and place and food and animals more directly, without requiring exchange value, accumulation, and continual expansion.

by (8.5k points)
edited by
+4 votes

no, definitely not. ( :) )

to the extent that economics is a word/concept that has become too associated with our current system--so associated, in fact, that people measure relationships in economic terms ("i get this much from so-and-so, so i'm willing to do this much for them").

even talking about gift economies does a disservice to the cultures being discussed, i think.

and people consider any exchange of goods/services to be measurable in economic terms...

all this seems to me to be a flattening of conversation, relationship, and potential.

(on the other hand, i do have a spot in my heart for people who want to speak in practical terms, to be concrete, and specific, about how we deal in the world... part of why i'm so fond of the book species being, which is quite marxist in places.)

by (53.1k points)
i agree with most everything you wrote here, dot - despite your definitive "no" answer, and my definitive "yes". i might think a little more about that. :)
i resonate with both answers. but then, i'm not afraid of being called a contradiction either. :-) i leave that fear to the logicians.
+2 votes
not for me, it isn't.

economics is "a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services ".
in a world of individuals relating directly with other individuals in order to meet their needs and desires, i see absolutely no need for economic systems. in fact i would see the implementation of such systems as an attempt to gain control, to create some sort of authoritarian institution.

also, i would not refer to the unqualified sharing of gifts between individuals as an "economic system". even some forms of value-based exchange between individuals might be possible without some overarching economic system. maybe?

good question, btw.
by (13.4k points)
0 votes
If I am an anarchist, it is for economic reasons.  I knew nothing about anarchists except propaganda when I started looking for a broader understanding of the economy.  I found a recording of Michael Albert talking about Parecon to a group of anarchists, and was intrigued by the idea.  I found it bizarre that he was positioning this elegant, idealistic system to people I imagined as cliquish punk/goth/heavy metal fans.  Over a long while, I read a lot about Parecon, as well as more and more about anarchy.

I have come to understand that anarchic thought has something to contribute to a conversation, and the actions of anarchist groups improve the lives of prisoners, dissidents, and the politically oppressed. But until I thought about anarchism economically, I never took it seriously.  My error, which I come here to try to correct.
by (480 points)
edited by

Many of us have come to this place from varied starting places.  Corporate media and edu-tainment videos don't feature anarachists as prominent heroes;
To get to this place, you need to push through the bullshit barriers that the 'real world' throws up between you, the thorn-bushes of 'normality', and the world your better self wants to see.

Two decades ago, i flung myself into the bushes, fueled by punk rock and corporate-slave indignation; after two decades of thrashing through thornbush, i'm no closer to absolution - but the passage has stripped away tons of intellectual baggage i would have once considered essential to my existence, and found me in a place i did'na even know existed.
And if i'm not dead and feeding the trees in ten years from now, then i'll be somewhere else, and someone else, and somewhen else...

The blood you leave on the thorns, it leaves blooms on the vines.