Theory of unrestrained pursuit of economic self-interest.
Anarcho-capitalism is the advocacy of an extreme blend of anarchism and free-market economics.
Unlike anarchism, anarcho-capitalism assumes that individuals will naturally pursue their own self-interest. Unlike more mainstream advocacies of capitalist economics, anarcho-capitalism proposes doing away with government entirely and leaving all the functions normally carried out by the state, including law enforcement, to either individual or group voluntary action.
Murray Rothbard, Ethics of Liberty (Atlantic Highland, NJ, 1982)
Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy and economic theory that advocates the elimination of centralized states in favor of a system of private property enforced by private agencies, free markets and the right-libertarian interpretation of self-ownership, which extends the concept to include control of private property as part of the self. In the absence of statute, anarcho-capitalists hold that society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through participation in the free market which they describe as a voluntary society. Anarcho-capitalists support wage labour and believe that neither protection of person and property nor victim compensation requires a state. In a theoretical anarcho-capitalist society, the system of private property would still exist and be enforced by private defense agencies and insurance companies selected by customers which would operate competitively in an open market and fulfill the roles of courts and the police.
Anarcho-capitalists claim that various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. However, anarcho-capitalism was developed in the 20th century and the first person to use the term anarcho-capitalism was Murray Rothbard. Rothbard synthesized elements from the Austrian School, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists and mutualists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker while rejecting their labor theory of value and the anti-capitalist and socialist norms they derived from it. Rothbard’s anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon “legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow”. This legal code would recognize contracts, private property, self-ownership and tort law in keeping with the non-aggression principle.
Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from anarchists and minarchists. The latter advocate a night-watchman state limited to protecting individuals from aggression and enforcing private property. On the other hand, anarchists support personal property (defined in terms of possession and use, i.e. mutualist usufruct) and oppose capital concentration, interest, monopoly, private ownership of productive property such as the means of production (capital, land and the means of labor), profit, rent, usury and wage slavery which are viewed as inherent to capitalism and not rejected by anarcho-capitalists. Anarchism’s emphasis on anti-capitalism, egalitarianism and for the extension of community and individuality sets it apart from anarcho-capitalism and other types of economic libertarianism. Anarcho-capitalists are seen by most anarchist schools of thought which reject the notion of capitalism, hierarchies and private property as fraudulent and an oxymoron. The anti-capitalism of classical anarchism has remained prominent within contemporary anarchism.