Armen A. Alchian (1914-2013), RIP. The great economist and versatile scholar, who died this morning, has inspired my way of thinking about politics momentously.
To change the move toward socialism, we must change the ability of various forms of competition to be successful. I know of no way to reduce the prospective enhancement from greater political power-seeking, but I do know ways to reduce the rewards to market-oriented capitalist competition. Political power is dominant in being able to set the rules of the game to reduce the rewards to capitalist-type successful competitors. It is rule maker, umpire, and player ... But I have been unable to discern equivalently powerful ways for economic power to reduce the rewards to competitors for political power! Each capitalist may buy off a politician, but that only enhances the rewards to political power.
There are disagreements and competing ends among human beings that cannot be removed by voluntary market transactions.
Von Mises despises anarchism and praises the state. An anarcho-capitalist despises the state and praises anarchism.
I would like to meet someone who could demonstrate to me how a market product, how transacting in free markets can overcome the antagonism between the classical liberal von Mises and his anarchist opponent. Even if it were possible to offer political systems - like classical liberalism or anarchism - as vendable products, you cannot buy both, "the liberal state" and "anarchism".
You will have to resolve or, more generally, manage the differences on another plane. You need politics to sort these things out. And politics inexorably develops structures of maximal power, the most effective form of which being the state.
However, it is not a foregone conclusion at all that organising (structures of maximal) power is of necessity and uni-dimensionally destructive or otherwise evil.
To argue otherwise is tantamount to claiming that the development of humankind is an unmitigated descent into infernal conditions. After all, the technologies of power have advanced tremendously since Genghis Khan complained that an empire cannot be ruled from the back of a horse - implying that he could do a good job either at fighting and conquering or at ruling, but he could not do both properly. Since Genghis Khan's days, we have managed to organise power so as to dramatically improve levels of peaceableness, wealth, and welfare.
These attainments required us to act as political animals, as shapers and tamers of power and its most effective instrument: the state.
The consequences of the state are prismatic and ambivalent, like those of other tools with infinite uses. No one would say, a knife is evil just because a knife can be used quite improperly. And would it be sensible to suggest that human life is naturally and in any case evil, just because it can be a way of engendering as well as suffering evil?
By contrast, the absence of a dominant power results in disoriented and vehement struggles for preeminence. Hence empirically, anarchy is a highly violent state that sooner or later gives way to a more peaceful one, i.e. a more efficient structure of preeminent power.
On the scale of historic time, anarchy is a brief episode of violent anomie. As an operable societal model, it is quite simply an impossibility. It is too destructive to survive.
The theory of anarchism, in whose perspective state power is a monolith of evil, precludes itself from analysing structures of maximal power as part of the universe of evolutionary adaptations that are summarised in the term human progress.