Is market anarchism utopian?

That depends on what you mean by “utopian.”

Market anarchists believe that systems of arbitrary authority are a great danger (and harm!) to society and all peace-loving and productive people. Rather, it is much less realistic to think that institutionalized monopoly privilege and rulership can be entrusted to corruptible human beings, even under democratic rule.

As Edward Abbey famously said, “anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”

If by “utopian” one means offering an unworkable, almost mystical vision of an absolutely perfect society, then no — market anarchism is not utopian. We offer a goal of a much better world where people will still make mistakes, natural disasters will still happen and so forth. It would be a world without the vast harms created by government, though. These harms are so great that getting rid of them might seem like a vision of perfection in comparison to what we have now.

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