The Anarcho-Capitalism Scapegoat: If Only Kirchner Understood It

EspañolSince Argentina’s selective default at the end of July, members of the Cristina Kirchner administration have been lashing out at everyone and everything to exonerate themselves of responsibility for the fiasco.

Argentinean officials first compared the demands of the holdouts against Argentina with the killings in Gaza. They also announced that they would take the case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

Argentina's Cabinet Chief, Jorge Capitanich. (Wikipedia.)
Argentina’s Cabinet Chief, Jorge Capitanich. (Wikimedia)

On the morning of August 5, an Argentinean cabinet minister attacked the “anarcho-capitalism” that allegedly prevails in the South American country. Jorge Capitanich also went after the oligarchy, which presumably in his mind does not include him and his government cronies.

“The world cannot face the existence of anarcho-capitalism, with an unscrupulous financial system and limited concentration of wealth. They hold the sword of Damocles, these tiny and oligarchic groups, and can act against the stability of the international economic and financial system.”

This is the third time that the Kirchner administration has used the term anarcho-capitalism. In 2011, President Kirchner accused speculators of investing according to their own cravings, of seeking profit, rather than social justice and the common good, as she does. This year in Bolivia, Kirchner also urged UN G77 members to speak up against the threat of anarcho-capitalism.

Cristina Kirchner and Jorge Capitanich are oblivious to the existence of a political philosophy and movement with that very name (which even a cursory Google search would reveal). Unfazed by their ignorance, they resort to the ever-present boogeyman when they see their power threatened or challenged: anarchy.

Chaos and all types of abuses would proceed, they claim, if the state were not in charge. Their rhetoric of fear obscures the fact that the statist status quo is actually a constant succession of chaos, lack of control, and abuse — financed with your taxes.

This is easily observed in recent developments for Argentina. Those in control continue to spend and waste money while imposing debts on defenseless future generations. Amid default, they even have the audacity to call their creditors “vultures.”


The attempt to classify the existing system as anarcho-capitalism does not make any sense. Anarchy means no rulers, and therefore, no states. Capitalism is an economic system where goods and services are produced privately, by individuals and companies in free association for mutual gain.

By linking these two concepts and contrasting them with today’s world, we see that there is hardly a point of comparison: there is almost no territory without a coercive state or any economic system without strong government intervention.

Argentinean officials could have issued bonds subject to Argentinean courts, but instead they decided to do so under the laws of the United States. They knew that investors would have more confidence and be willing to lend at lower interest rates. The truth is that Kirchner officials simply do not want to accept a loan agreement already made.

Another irony to Kirchner’s childish name-calling is that between nations there is no ultimate conflict resolution. The International Court of the Hague is only for countries that voluntarily recognize its jurisdiction, and its judges may decide not to hear many cases (one has already said that he will not hear the Argentinean case).

David Friedman's book, published in 1973. (Wikipedia.)
David Friedman’s book, published in 1973. (Wikipedia.)

Kircher’s officials want the United Nations or another international entity to take action on the matter. In this sense, they resemble anarcho-capitalist theory, since it proposes no ultimate judge but various private courts for the resolution of conflicts.

Free-market anarchists have abandoned the idea that anyone by mandate can give “the last word” on a case, as a national Supreme Courts purport to do. Edward Stringham of Texas Tech University and anarcho-capitalists such as Bruce Benson and David Friedman (son of Nobel prize Milton Friedman) argue instead for polycentric law. That is a network of private rights that overlap even in the same territory, as opposed to a one centralized state law that we all familiar with.

It’s pretty clear what Capitanich and Kirchner are looking for: an escape from common law that obliges governments to respect their contracts. They want a free hand to impose their political will at the expense of justice, and to continue funding their shortsighted escapades ad aeternum.

Translated by Belén Marty.

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