Feb 27, 2019
Welcome to Mutual Exchange Radio, a project of the Center for a Stateless Society. Today’s guest is Kevin Carson, a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society who holds the Center's Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He has written books such as Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available on C4SS’ website. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation, and his own Mutualist Blog.
Today, we discussed a study he published last year for the Center on New Libertarian Municipalism. Libertarian Municipalism is an idea that has its roots in one of the most famous social anarchist thinkers of the twentieth century, Murray Bookchin. However, Kevin is more interested in modern movements focusing on a more decentralized model of a market economy based on common ownership of certain resources, drawing from thinkers such as Elinor Ostrom. Its focus is on an openly democratically run city on a local level, transforming local governments into partners in the transition to a post-capitalist economy. In this discussion, we cover the history of the idea of libertarian municipalism, what the movement on the ground has looked like in recent years, the policy implications of it for local cities, economic indicators that society is progressing in that direction, and common objections to the idea. It was a fun conversation that allows leftist thinking to move on from focus on, from the center, electoral political outcomes on the national level and, from more radical circles, violent insurrections that are impractical in the near future.