The State, Advanced Capitalism, Paleo-Capitalism, and Paleo-Private Property.

By Robert Hanna

“Portrait of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,” by Gustave Courbet (1865)


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The State and other State-like social institutions are correctly characterized, as Max Weber pointed out, by their being social institutions that possess a territorial monopoly on the (putatively) legitimate means and use of coercion (Weber, 1994: p. 310) — but that’s only a somewhat superficial gloss that doesn’t really get at the essence of the State.


[i] In my view, “democracy” is in fact an ambiguous term with at least three importantly distinct and indeed logically independent senses: (i)majoritarian-representative or classical liberal democracy, as per the definition in the main text, (ii) open-procedural or libertarian democracy: the open-admission, competitive process of critical discussion and critical examination of opinions and social institutions (aka “the marketplace of ideas”), and, simultaneously, the unfettered expression of radically different and mutually opposed beliefs, lifestyles and sub-cultures (aka J.S. Mill’s “experiments of living”), and (iii) ethical or emancipatory democracy: the unwavering commitments to (iiia) universal sufficient respect for the dignity of human persons, (iiib) the individual autonomy of human persons, (iiic) the relational autonomy of human persons, and (iiid) universal resistance against human oppression. To keep things relatively simple, however, I won’t discuss “democracy” in senses (ii) and (iii) in this essay.


(Anderson, 1974). Anderson, P. Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: New Left Books.