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Murray Rothbard

Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), father of modern anarcho-capitalism.

Photo: © Ludwig von Mises Institute. Licensed under GFDL.
Definition: Anarcho-capitalism is the polar opposite of pure socialism. Instead of having everything under collective ownership, anarcho-capitalism as a system would have everything under private ownership. All military, law enforcement, and social services organizations would be privately owned and operated, and could compete with one another for customers.

Founder: The argument could be made that anarcho-capitalism is the default form of government, arising in any situation where despotism has not arisen or has not yet arisen. The first so-documented historical example of an anarcho-capitalist society might be that of ancient Israel in the years leading up to the monarchy ("In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit." -- Judges 21:25), other examples being medieval Iceland and the American Old West. But the first person to formulate anarcho-capitalism as a political philosophy was the 20th-century Austrian economist Murray Rothbard, who found his inspiration in the pre-Revolutionary but semi-postcolonial, trade-oriented governments of 18th-century North America.

Advantages of Anarcho-Capitalism: In theory, there's nothing a government can do that a private corporation can't do just as well.

Limitations of Anarcho-Capitalism: In practice, a sufficiently powerful private corporation becomes a government. Panama under Manuel Noriega, in which the government briefly operated as a component of his international drug operation, is a good case in point.

Current Advocates of Anarcho-Capitalism: The Molinari Institute
Also Known As: market anarchism, radical capitalism
Alternate Spellings: anarchocapitalism
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