What is Anarcho-Capitalism?

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Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy that encourages the removal of a centralized state in favour of individual ownership, private property, and free markets in an almost Darwinian-style society that abandons those who do not have the resources to care for themselves. Anarcho-capitalists believe that without the existence of a central authority, society can rule and regulate its activities through the discipline of the free market.

Anarcho-capitalists also hold the view that instead of having centrally ruled courts and law enforcement agencies,  private companies – chosen by the consumer – could take on these roles by competing on the open market. Anarcho-capitalists dream of a society where the voluntary trade of private property reduces conflict while enabling personal freedom and prosperity for everyone, although most modern evidence and theory points to privatization leading to increased violence and poverty.

Anarcho-capitalism as a concept was invented by American historian and economist Murray Rothbard in the mid-20th century. This was when he joined concepts from the Austrian school of economic thought, classical liberalism, and American anarchism.

Was Rothbard an anarcho-capitalist?

According to anarcho-capitalists, various theorists have coined legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. However, Rothbard was the first person to use the term in the mid-20th century. 

Rothbard began to evaluate himself as a “private property anarchist” in 1950 and later began to use “anarcho-capitalist” to describe his political ideology. In his anarcho-capitalist model, the system of private property is carried out by protection agencies, which compete in a free market and are voluntarily supported by consumers who choose to use their protective and judicial services rather than a central authority.

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