posted ago by bluewhiteandred ago by bluewhiteandred +4 / -0

Hans-Hermann Hoppe on his view of the importance of division of labor in capitalist-technological society:

A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person… but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest). On the other hand, there are members of the human species who are capable of understanding the [value of the division of labor] but...who knowingly act wrongly… [B]esides having to be tamed or even physically defeated [they] must also be punished… to make them understand the nature of their wrongdoings and hopefully teach them a lesson for the future.

I think Hoppe is denying the humanity of such people perhaps incorrectly, but unironically some primitivists might agree and say yes, they are animals or like them, and that's a good thing, that's the point, they want to be "wild and free". The primitivist might in response argue that dependence on technology and specialists is not particularly "libertarian".

Case in point, when technology becomes so complicated that "superviruses" are unleashed that we are compelled to rely on mRNA technologies we may not understand and "specialist doctors" who we basically have to decide if we trust or not.

A lot of ancaps or people in general seem to be ignorant of the anarcho-primitivist or anti-civ(ilization) critique of technology's impact on freedom, so I'm not sure what Hoppe would think of such critiques. Perhaps I or someone could email him or some of the Mises Institute people to ask their opinion (note: one email sent). This quote sent me on a deep dive of economics topics like of the idea of "comparative advantage" that two people could separately produce only so much, but if they decided to divide labor and specialize they might be able to produce more that they could trade together. I accept this as being true in theory.

However, take an example of two people, one foraging for strawberries exclusively and the other producing meat. If they decide not to trade, the meat hunter gets scurvy from no vitamin C from the strawberries (accept this for the sake of argument), while the strawberry gatherer gets no protein. So the division of labor creates a kind of fragile depedence and removes their primitive liberty that they possessed previously, of self-sufficient freedom but with less productive output.

While growing up to enjoy the idea of "American freedom", this led me to consider anarchism as the full expression of freedom, but more specifically "individualist anarchism", which was kind of a mix of primitivism but open to a little technology and not necessarily capitalist or socialist: the ideal of a self-sufficient homesteader who could make some tools and produce much of what they needed, of someone living before or shortly after the Industrial Revolution. Personally I encountered problems with authorities or experts offering potentially bad advice which I was dependent on. The fragility of such a scenario did not seem particularly liberating.

However, of course having less productivity seems limiting as well. And the development of technology and free arrangement in a division of labor seems to be a genuine expression of liberty in the beginning. But it then seems to foster a kind of technological slavery, and slavery of dependence on capitalist division of labor.

If one cannot opt out of using certain technologies, or of joining teams as a specialist in a capitalist society, then is one "completely" free?

Does this imply that libertarianism requires primitivism on some level, or rejecting an unrestricted development of technology and the division of labor involved in capitalism?