DEFINITION of 'Anarcho-Capitalism'

A term coined by Austrian-school economist Murray Rothbard to describe a market-based society with no government. Instead of government, all goods and services would be provided by private businesses. Politics and taxes would not exist in an anarcho-capitalist society, nor would services like public education, police protection and law enforcement that are normally provided by government agencies.

Instead, the private sector would provide all necessary services. For example, people would contract with protection agencies, perhaps in a manner similar to how they contract with insurance agencies, to protect their life, liberty and property. Victimless crimes, such as drug use, and crimes against the state, such as treason, would not exist under anarcho-capitalism. Assistance to the needy would be provided through voluntary charity instead of compulsory income redistribution (welfare).

BREAKING DOWN 'Anarcho-Capitalism'

Anarcho-capitalists believe in free markets and competition rather than force and that a society based on voluntary trade is more effective because individuals are willing participants and businesses have an incentive of profit to satisfy customers and clients, where as government agencies have captive "customers" and "clients" by force of law. The idea is that an anarcho-capitalist society would maximize individual freedom and economic prosperity. Most modern capitalist societies are mixed economies, with free-market capitalism distorted by government intervention and individual rights restricted by government.

  1. Mixed Economic System

    An economic system that features characteristics of both capitalism ...
  2. Capitalism

    A system of economics based on the private ownership of capital ...
  3. Perfect Competition

    A market structure in which the following five criteria are met: ...
  4. Marxism

    A social, political and economic philosophy that examines the ...
  5. Political Economy

    The study and use of how economic theory and methods influences ...
  6. Anglo-Saxon Capitalism

    A form of capitalism that is usually associated with the United ...
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