Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses
Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses by Nicholas Evans
In the articles Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist Part 1 and 4 it was suggested that voting between employers and employees in a business could be one way to retain the labor theory of value within the Capitalist system. It was just one potential option as a temporary measure to have non-exploitive employers in a business within a Capitalist economy. As alluded too in the previous articles, if the business was in an individualist anarchist market rather than a capitalist economy, the voting for people to receive their full value would no longer be needed as the market itself would decide the wages. 1. This series is supposed to present the ideas of Tucker in an accurate fashion. So this article will focus on how Tucker himself intended businesses to be operated.
Within the American Mutualist economic system of Tucker, voting would not be needed as the market itself would decide the average wages for a particular job. 2.
This goes back to the days of Josiah Warren. In Men Against the State by James Martin, it is noted that the people living in the American Mutualist town of Utopia traded labor for labor upon the 'cost principle' by letting the market itself decide the wages and prices of goods without capitalist rent, interest, or profit. 3.
Tucker himself stated their labor theory of value (the cost principle) would not need to be voted upon as the competitive market itself would decide the average labor time and prices of occupations and goods.
Tucker states regarding the Cost Principle:
“For my part, I do not believe that it is possible or highly important to realize it absolutely and completely. But it is both possible and highly important to effect its approximate realization. So much can be effected without compulsion,—in fact, can only be effected by at least partial abolition of compulsion,—and so much will be sufficient.”4.
Therefore while Tucker was not opposed to voting in businesses (ie. co-ops of Proudhon) Tucker himself preferred a business with employers and employees where both received their wage amounts depending on the going wage rate at the time on the competitive market. 5.
Tucker opposed capitalist rent, interest, and profits which he believed to be a result of state intervention within the market which allowed one class of people to live without working while another class of people had to work for wages less than their full value. 6.
Tucker believed state privilege allowed employers to extract a portion of the employees pay that would have been the employees had their been equality of opportunity on the market. The lack of equality of opportunity on the market leads employees to accept lower wages just to live and hence employers can pay lower wages to their employees and they receive a wage less than the full value of their labor. 7.
Tucker believed the solution would be Mutual Banks. With Mutual banks that offered interest less than one percent anyone could go into business for themselves and hence make employers would raise their wages to their full value on the market to entice workers to work for them therefore the class of people that made money without working for it (Capitalist class) would disappear and therefore employers would pay their employees the full value of their labor. 8.
Capitalism is an economic system where a class of employers make money without working for it while another class of people (employees) are paid less than their full value. Marx states:
"The working day of 12 hours is represented in a monetary value of, for example, 6 shillings. There are two alternatives. Either equivalents are exchanged, and then the worker receives 6 shillings for 12 hours of labour; the price of his labour would be equal to the price of his product. In that case he produces no surplus-value for the buyer of his labour, the 6 shillings are not transformed in to capital, and the basis of capitalist production vanishes."
The unearned income is called Surplus Value. Markets do not equate capitalism which is why different market systems like market socialism and mutualism exist. 9.
Tucker's way of organizing business would be similar to a capitalist business with employers and employees however the difference between a capitalist business and Tucker's Individualist Anarchist business would be that in the Individualist Anarchist way of business of Tucker, employers and employees would be paid the full value of their labor depending on the going rate of the occupation on the Individualist Anarchist market at the time and the Individualist Anarchist market would have equality of opportunity on the market due to the Mutual Banks. 10.
Tucker agreed with Marx on his theory of surplus value which can be seen in his article ‘Karl Marx Friend and Foe’: 11.
It is Tucker’s opposition to economic exploitation that lead Tucker to call his system Anarchistic Socialism. 12. For more information please see Tucker's article State Socialism and Anarchism How Far They Agree And Wherein Where They Differ.
1. Evans, Nicholas. ‘Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist Part 1’. Anarchistnews.org. 2017. Available online at: https://anarchistnews.org/content/benjamin-tucker-american-mutualist
Evans, Nicholas. ‘Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Mutual Banking Part 3 and Final Conclusion Part 4’. Anarchistnews.org. 2017 Available online at: https://anarchistnews.org/content/benjamin-tucker-american-mutualist-mut...
2. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012. pp 3-18.
3. James J. Martin. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher Inc., Colorado Springs. 1970. Pp 57-64.
4. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 332.
5. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 3-18.
9. Please see: Edwards, Stewart (Editor) Selected Writings of P.-J. Proudhon. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books., 1969 pp 64 and Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676. And please also see the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.
10. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012. pp 3-18.
11. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 477.
12. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012.