The role of the state in economic life (anarchism): The concept of state and economy in anarchism


The role of the state in economic life and anarchism are concepts that are mutually exclusive. At present, the role of the state in any economy is obvious. One of the basic principles of anarchism is the absence of coercion of power, freedom of man from any kind of coercion, which contradicts the concept of the state. Today it participates in economic life everywhere, moreover, it uses various methods of regulation.


State, economy and anarchism

The role of the state in the economic life of anarchism denies in general, as a concept. First of all, because from the point of view of this trend, any state is an exploiter and oppressor even more brutal and sophisticated than any capitalist. The state in its concept is not an abstract entity, but a hierarchy of bureaucrats and military, who observe, above all, the will of those who govern them, but by no means a single individual.

Negatively anarchism applies to the market economy, which exists in the vast majority of countries. Does not recognize the planned economy (central planning). The economy, according to the anarchists, is the production of a product produced according to need, which takes into account the wishes of members of society, without outside interference.

Anarchism sees the role of the state as the actions of the most cruel exploiter. The state governs the society, relations within it, cares about the security of the country, ideally should take care of the interests of every citizen, which is not observed in life and, of course, control economic relations. For this, as mentioned above, various methods are used. Consider some of them.



Anarchism denies the state as an instrument of coercion of power, asserts the freedom of man from any kind of coercion. Absolute human freedom, not bound by the norms of morality and law, is the main postulate of anarchism. The role of the state in economic life consists of creating a legal framework that, in the opinion of anarchists, limits human freedom.

The main way to regulate the economy are the laws by which relations between the participants in the market are coordinated. The main role here is played, as it were, by antitrust laws, which should deter monopolists, laws in support of small and medium businesses. All this makes the economy diverse. But, as we know, from the point of view of anarchism, the role of the state in economic life is nothing but the exploitation of man, the restriction of his rights and freedoms. The same monopolists, through their representatives in the legislative bodies, lobby for any laws that benefit them. Therefore, anarchism denies the state itself as a cruel exploiter.

Financial and economic methods

There are many ways by which the state is able to regulate economic life. By applying them, the state significantly influences both the economy of its country and other countries participating in the process. In the hands of the state, besides legal ones, there are financial and economic methods, which anarchism denies in principle. These include:

  • Taxes By reducing or increasing their size, the state can significantly influence the commodity producer.
  • Monetary policy. This is, first of all, the ability of the state to manage money supply and loans. Responsibility for its implementation falls on the central bank of the state. Its function is to regulate the interest rate.
  • Customs duties. By regulating the introduction of customs duties on goods, by raising or lowering them, the state supports its own commodity producer, making its goods more competitive.
  • Government investment. This is a kind of support for a project that benefits the state.


Production and consumption

The role of anarchism in the economic life of any modern country is difficult to imagine, since it completely rejects the market economy, as well as the planned one. It has its own principle of economics, based on two basic postulates: the federation and the autonomy of the masses. That is, certain groups of people (associations, communes) compile lists of the needs of a given society, it all comes together, the needs are calculated, in accordance with which the required goods are produced. Not to be confused with planning or modern economic programs.

At one time, Prince Kropotkin formulated the principle that consumption is primary, production is secondary. That is, these are not programs or plans drawn up by someone, but a necessary need approved by the “lower classes”. In the modern state, on the contrary, production is primary, consumption is secondary.

Modern economic programs of a recommendatory nature are a peculiar method of regulating economic life.

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