The sharp eyed among you may have noticed that no sooner had I launched this blog as the “Voluntaryist Review” than I decided to change it to the “Geomutualist Review”. In writing the indtroductory post on “voluntaryism” I decided I wasn’t, in fact, what is known today as a “voluntaryist”. But I don’t know why I haven’t thought of “geomutualist” before. It is, after all, a term which I am credited in some quarters as having coined during my journey of discovery through libertarianism and anarchism.

GeomutualismLogo
Suggested Geo-mutualist logo by Charles D Alliison on Facebook

Back in 2009 I was looking for a name to describe my preference for a combination of the “Mutualism” expressed by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and, contemporaneously, by Kevin Carson, and a focus on the Georgist idea that land, and particularly the rent of land, is a common resource that needs to be shared to enable a free market to function properly. After several attempts I settled on “Geo-Mutualism“, and, whilst I have not done a huge amount to popularise or develop the idea, I have pretty much thought of myself as such since then.

But throughout that time, one chap in particular has developed a lot of thinking around the subject. Prolific young Texan writer Will Schnack has done a huge amount of work to develop the thinking. I have not read terribly much of it, and I am sure there will be areas of disagreement, but his work is, so far as I have read up till now, great stuff.

He and a few others of us also have a Facebook Group called, unsurprisingly, Geo-mutualism, which gives a flavour of the sort of ideas we opine on. And here is Will explaining the basics of Geo-mutualism on YouTube. I am not as theoretically adept as Will. So this blog will not be replete with academic essays about the work of those who inspire geo-mutualist thinking. I intend to focus instead on commenting on how this worldview might respond to issues of the day in politics and economics primarily.

A genuine free market society, in which all transactions are voluntary and all costs are internalized in price, would be a decentralized society of human-scale production, in which all of labor’s product went to labor, instead of to capitalists, landlords and government bureaucrats.

We are “anti-state” in all its forms – not just “nation states” and their coercive government institutions, but also the coercive quasi-states that result from the monopolisation of scarce, natural, common resources upon which we all depend and the expropriation of economic rent that we all contribute to. We tend to think that it is the institutions of nation-states that make this monopolisation possible – through promotion and protection of rent-seeking activity of all kinds.

Throughout this blog, I want to highlight issues and policies as they arise where I believe a true, geo-mutualist, free market would likely produce better and less coercive outcomes than state intervention, as well as how economic rent affects economic and social wellbeing. I’ve often quoted this in debates on line, but if I had to pick a favourite quote from all the authors I may have been inspired by, it would be from the preface of Kevin Carson’s “Studies in Mutualist Political Economy” (have a pop-up blocker running – Tripod likes to throw full screen ads at you!):

…coercive state policies are not necessary to remedy the evils of present-day capitalism. All these evils–exploitation of labor, monopoly and concentration, the energy crisis, pollution, waste–result from government intervention in the market on behalf of capitalists. The solution is not more government intervention, but to eliminate the existing government intervention from which the problems derive. A genuine free market society, in which all transactions are voluntary and all costs are internalized in price, would be a decentralized society of human-scale production, in which all of labor’s product went to labor, instead of to capitalists, landlords and government bureaucrats.

Geomutualism
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