Title: An Anarchist Interpretation of Marx’s “Ability to Needs” Principle
Author: Jesse Spafford
Date: 13 July 2019
Source: The Journal of Value Inquiry Volume 54, Issue 2, pp. 325–343 (June 2020), DOI: 10.1007/s10790-019-09698-1

1 Introduction

In “Critique of the Gotha Program,” Karl Marx presents what is generally considered to be the most developed statement of his positive vision of communist society. Notably, this account includes a principle of production and distribution—“from each according to [their] ability, to each according to [their] needs!”—that many have interpreted as providing normative guidance to those structuring the political economy. As one might expect, many of those drawn to Marx’s principle (henceforward the “Ability to Needs” principle, or, more briefly, the ANP)[1] are socialists who see the principle as endorsing some version of state-managed socialism. However, the principle has also been embraced by a number of prominent anarchists who see it as partially grounding their vision of a stateless socialist society.[2]

Given that the two groups share a common commitment to both the ANP and socialism, one might be tempted conclude that their normative disagreements are limited to questions of tactics and the appropriate role of the state. However, in this paper, I argue that the appearance of agreement when it comes to economics is misleading, as there is a distinctively anarchist interpretation of the ANP which takes its primary demand to be the unconditional provision of goods and services—a demand grounded in the core anarchist value of freedom.

The paper begins with Marx’s presentation of the ANP followed by a brief survey of the wide range of anarchists who have embraced the ANP. I then attempt to show that there is a uniquely anarchist interpretation of the ANP that construes the principle as a condemnation of the conditional exchange of goods and services. Finally, I conclude by arguing that such conditional exchange is (almost) always freedom-diminishing, making the proposed interpretation of the ANP an affirmation of the core anarchist commitment to human freedom.

2 Marx’s Principle

Marx presents his ANP as a repudiation of the distributive arrangement of “the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged… from capitalist society”.[3] In this early stage of communism, goods are distributed not according to need, but, rather in accordance with how much labor each worker has contributed, with the benefits received being equal to the value of the labor they have provided.[4] And, while Marx considers this distributive arrangement an improvement over how goods are produced and distributed under capitalism, he still views it as sharing some of the deficiencies of capitalism, describing the new society as “economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.”[5]

Marx’s dissatisfaction with the distributive scheme of the lower phase of communism can be broken up into two distinct complaints. First, there is what might be called his exchange of equivalents objection. Immediately after the preceding quote where Marx describes the new society as stamped with the features of capitalism, he elaborates by noting that, “Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society… exactly what he [sic] gives to it.”[6] It is this exchange of equivalents that he sees as linking the new society with the old one which he finds so objectionable—and, thus, an objection to such exchange seems to be a strong candidate for grounding Marx’s critique of the lower, socialist phase of society. Indeed, Marx is quite explicit in identifying the exchange of equivalents as the holdover from capitalist society that blemishes the new society, asserting that distribution based on the exchange of equivalents is governed by “the same principle… as [governs] the exchange of commodity equivalents.”[7]

Interpreters of Marx’s have tended to overlook this objection, perhaps because it not immediately obvious what is so objectionable about the exchange of equivalents.[8] While more will be said about this below, for now note that an objection to such exchange would appear to follow from Marx’s critique of alienation. In the Paris Manuscripts, Marx argues that capitalist production results in alienated labor, which he objects to on the grounds that it is “not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labour. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it.”[9] Similarly, Marx takes capitalism to alienate workers from their species being, with this debasement having occurred when “life activity, productive life itself, appears to man [sic] merely as a means of satisfying a need—the need to maintain the physical existence.”[10]

In both quotations, Marx presents capitalist alienation as the corruption of the relationship between the worker and the process of labor whereby work becomes a joyless means to mere survival. Given this critique, the problem with the exchange of equivalents becomes clear: such exchange contributes to this instrumentalization of labor whereby work remains a mere means to survival rather than an end unto itself. Under a socialist system where producers receive the equivalent of what they produce, labor would still be done for the sake of avoiding starvation and other forms of deprivation rather than for its own sake as an expression of human creativity. By contrast, in the higher phase of communism where the ANP is the governing principle of distribution, Marx declares that “labour has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want.”[11] Thus, the exchange of equivalents objection should be understood as a distinct complaint for Marx, grounded in his concerns about alienation.

Marx’s second objection builds on the first. Given that people receive benefits proportionate to the quantity of labor they contribute—coupled with the fact that people’s natural endowments enable them to contribute differential amounts of labor—it follows that those able to contribute more will end up better-off than their less-able counterparts. Marx, thus, objects to the lower stage of socialism because it “recognises unequal individual endowment and thus productive capacity as natural privileges… [enshrining] a right of inequality.”[12] Call this his inequality objection.[13]

The ANP, then, is introduced as a corrective principle of production and distribution that avoids Marx’s two objections to the lower stage of socialism. Given this, one desideratum of an interpretation of the ANP is that it corrects for both of these harms that result from distribution according to contribution. It will be argued below that one advantage of the anarchist interpretation of the ANP is that explicitly rejects the exchange of equivalents, thereby resolving Marx’s first objection.

3 Interpreting the ANP

Before introducing the anarchist interpretation of the ANP, however, there are a few meta-interpretive question regarding what an interpretation of the ANP is supposed to provide. First, there is a question of whether the ANP should be interpreted as a normative principle asserting the socialist view of how goods ought to be distributed, or if, instead, it should be interpreted merely as a description of how goods will be distributed in a socialist economy. Given that Marx’s commitment to historical materialism led him to explicitly reject normative theorizing about how society ought to be, an interpretation that tries to capture his intentions might have to be one that renders the ANP strictly descriptive or predictive.[14] However, given doubts about some of the premises underpinning Marx’s predictions, most contemporary philosophical work on the subject has taken the ANP to be more interesting when taken as a normative claim.[15]

A related question is to what extent an interpretation of the ANP should be exegetical as opposed to independently plausible. An interpretation is exegetical insofar as its standard of success is the degree to which it captures Marx’s actually-held views regarding production and distribution—either as they are explicitly stated in his various texts or as they can be inferred from those statements. By contrast an interpretation is a plausible one insofar as it interprets the ANP in a way that renders it a plausible one given some independent philosophical standard(s).

Given what has been said above regarding Marx’s rejection of normativity, most interpreters depart from a purely exegetical approach so as to provide a normative interpretation of the ANP. However, to depart altogether from exegetical standards makes the interpretive exercise pointless, as one can hardly be said to be providing an interpretation of Marx’s principle if what is proposed does not even attempt to capture Marx’s views. Thus, most interpreters strike a balance between these two approaches, presenting interpretations that they take to be both plausible and to capture Marx’s (tacit) views.[16] However, there is significant variation in terms of loyalty to Marx’s intent, with some aiming purely for a view they can endorse[17] while others insist on presenting the ANP as they take Marx to (at least tacitly) understand it, even if the result is unfortunate.[18]

Here the approach will be somewhat more exegetical in nature, attempting to present an interpretation of the ANP as it is understood by its anarchist adopters. While significant effort will be made to demonstrate that this interpretation is consistent with the anarchist commitment to freedom (as well as some of their other normative concerns), no serious assessment of its independent plausibility will be made. Although a defense of the anarchist ANP would be a worthwhile undertaking, here the goal is merely to show that there is a reading of the interpretation that is consistent with both core anarchist premises and Marx’s own motivations in proposing the principle, as described above.

4 Anarchists and the ANP

Given the provenance of the ANP, its popularity among those with Marxist or socialist sympathies is unsurprising. Interestingly, though, the ANP has also been embraced by many prominent anarchists whose libertarian approach to socialism has tended to put them at odds with other varieties of socialists. Alexander Berkman, for example, defends what he calls “the Anarchist principle of ‘to each according to his needs’”[19] and insists that, during the Russian revolution, the demand that each “person was to work according to his [sic] ability and receive according to his [sic] needs” was the vision of the anarchist faction.[20] And, Peter Kropotkin argues that:

Communism is not only desirable, but… we find in all modern history a tendency… to establish the Communist principle in the thousand developments of modern life. … new organizations, based on the same principle — to every man according to his needs — spring up under a thousand different forms.[21]

This endorsement of (the second clause of) the ANP is echoed throughout The Conquest of Bread, with Kropotkin frequently emphasizing the importance of goods being distributed according to people’s needs.[22] Further, while Kropotkin only mentions the second clause of the ANP in the above quotation, he almost certainly took himself to be endorsing Marx’s full principle, as he elsewhere conjoins this second clause with the first, e.g., when he writes:

an equitable organization of society can only arise when every wage-system is abandoned, and when everybody, contributing for the common well-being to the full extent, of his capacities, shall enjoy also from the common stock of society to the fullest possible extent of his needs.[23]

Thus, in what follows it will be reasonable to take Kropotkin to be interpreting the ANP rather than positing a rival principle.[24]

Of particular note are the considerations that motivate these anarchists to endorse the ANP. Specifically, these proponents endorse the principle not only because they see it as resolving Marx’s inequality objection—though that is certainly an important consideration for both writers[25]—but also because they believe it resolves something akin to Marx’s exchange of equivalents objection. This motivation, as noted above, sets the anarchists apart from most contemporary interpreters of the ANP.

Berkman, for example, insists that “products must be exchanged without price, without profit, freely, according to necessity,” as any effort to secure an exchange of equivalents assumes that two goods can have equal value—a premise he rejects on the grounds that the value of any particular good “is uncertain or not ascertainable.”[26] Thus, after declaring the ANP to be an anarchist principle, he immediately emphasizes that its application means that “there will be no buying or selling,” with such exchange replaced by “free exchange without the medium of money and without profit, on the basis of requirement and the supply on hand.”[27]

Kropotkin is even more explicit in both objecting to the exchange of equivalents and presenting the ANP as a rejection of such objectionable exchange. Like Marx, Kropotkin’s endorsement of the ANP emerges out of a critique of the socialist distributive principle “To each according to his [sic] deeds,” whereby goods are allocated on the basis of “services rendered to society.”[28] And, like Marx, his objection to this principle is grounded in an objection to the exchange of equivalents, which he objects to for a number of reasons, beginning with the argument that demanding a strict exchange of equivalents makes society unworkable. As Kropotkin puts it, humans “would soon become extinct… if men [sic] did not give continually, without demanding an equivalent reward.”[29] Further, to the extent that society is already in a state of decline, Kropotkin argues that “it is precisely because we have given too much to counting. It is because we have let ourselves be influenced into giving only to receive. It is because we have aimed at turning society into a commercial company based on credit and debit.”[30]

Beyond these practical concerns, Kropotkin seemingly takes there to be something offensive in the expectation of an exchange of equivalents. Thus, he rhetorically asks:

cannot each one of us recall someone who has rendered him [sic] so great a service that we should be indignant if its equivalent in coin were mentioned? The service may have been but a word, nothing but a word spoken at the right time, or else it may have been months and years of devotion, and are we going to appraise these “incalculable” services in “labour-notes”?[31]

It is in the spirit of this more radical critique of an ethos of an exchange of equivalents that he closes his argument for the ANP, arguing that communist anarchism will be at hand when people “demolish the last vestiges of middle-class rule, its morality drawn from account-books, its ‘debit and credit’ philosophy, its ‘mine and yours’ institutions.”[32]

Finally, lest one think this critique is particular to anarchists of only a certain era, note that the ecological anarchist Murray Bookchin echoes Kropotkin in his rejection of “the quid pro quo of reciprocity, exchange, and mutual aid—all of which are trapped within history’s demeaning account books with their ‘just’ ratios and their ‘honest’ balance sheets.”[33] Indeed, he argues that, the harm of such exchange is due to the fact that human relations are “always tainted by the rationality of arithmetic. The human spirit can never transcend a quantitative world of ‘fair dealings’ between canny egos whose ideology of interest barely conceals a mean-spirited proclivity for acquisition.”[34]

Interestingly, while Bookchin appears to share Marx’s and Kropotkin’s objection to the exchange of equivalents, he does not see the ANP as a resolution to this objection, declaring a communist arrangement motivated by the principle to be on a less “generous ethical plane” than his preferred alternative wherein individuals are entitled to the free use of all resources.[35] In fact, he even criticizes Kropotkin for resting his anarchism on the notion of “contract with its underlying premise of equivalence.”[36] Given what has been said above, this critique of both Marx’s ANP and Kropotkin seems unwarranted. However, what matters for these purposes is that, while Bookchin formally rejects the ANP, his rejection is motivated by the same concerns that motivate both Berkman’s and Kropotkin’s endorsement of the ANP. Thus, there is a recurrent anarchist objection to the exchange of equivalents that should inform any distinctively anarchist interpretation of the ANP. It is this task that is attempted in the following section.

5 An Anarchist Interpretation of the ANP

An anarchist interpretation of the ANP should do four things. First, it should propose a principle of production and distribution that precisely states what is morally required under the ANP. Second, it should include an explanation of why the proposed principle is, in fact, an adequate statement of the ANP—i.e., the sense in which it is a distributive claim in the spirit of Marx’s slogan “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” Third, it should explain how the proposed principle adequately resolves the exchange of equivalents objection raised by both Marx and the anarchists discussed above. Finally, it should show that the principle is genuinely an anarchist one in the sense that it affirms certain core anarchist values (in this case, the focus will be on the value of freedom).

Beginning with the first task, the proposed distributive principle of an anarchist ANP is as follows:

The AANP: any transfer of goods or services initiated by a person (or group) must be unconditional.

This principle, then, is the normative core of the anarchist reading of the ANP. However, much still needs to be said to clarify what is meant by this principle, with analysis of some of its constituent terms being necessary to give it precise content. Specifically, much will hang on what qualifies as an unconditional transfer of goods and services, so an account of such provision must be given at the outset to clarify what the principle demands.

The concept of unconditionality is best approached by first giving an account of the conditional provision of goods and services—where market exchange is taken to be the paradigmatic example of such conditional transfer. Prior to introducing such an account, however, it will be helpful to introduce some metaphysical notions, beginning with the notion of facts. Facts, for these purposes are parts of the world picked out by true assertoric sentences like “the Earth’s orbit is elliptical,” or “American English is the official language of the United States.” Or, rather than using the language of “picking out,” a fact might alternatively be characterized as the part of the world that makes its corresponding assertoric sentence true. The actual world is then the totality of all the facts, with the precise structural relation between this whole and its parts being left open here.

It is sometimes tempting to say that facts either obtain or fail to obtain; however, given the oddness of talking of a “fact” that does not obtain, it is helpful to introduce the notion of states of affairs which can be said to either obtain or fail to obtain. More specifically, a state of affairs is the part of the world that would obtain iff some corresponding assertoric sentence were true—and would be the thing that made that sentence true if it were true. Thus, states of affairs are facts when their corresponding sentence is true and, in cases where that sentence is false, would be facts if the sentence were true. So, the state of affairs where the sky is red does not obtain, but it would obtain if the sky were, in fact, red. Further, in such a situation, the sentence “the sky is red” would be true and would be true in virtue of the fact that the aforementioned state of affairs obtained (i.e., the state of affairs was a fact).

One can then say of possible worlds that they are composed of states of affairs in the same way that the actual world is composed of facts, with each possible world being individuated by the states of affairs that compose it. This makes it a bit tricky to pick out particular possible worlds, as one cannot list all of the states of affairs that compose it. Instead, possible worlds will be identified via description of the relevant states of affairs that pertain to what is being discussed. It can then be assumed that the possible world also includes all the states of affairs that obtain in our world that are not incompatible with the identifying states of affairs.[37]

With this groundwork in place, it can next be noted that whether or not a given state of affairs obtains is often the function of some person’s will—i.e., a person, via act or omission, can make it such that the state of affairs obtains and also can make it such that it does not obtain. If a state of affairs depends on person P’s will in this way, call it a P-dependent state of affairs. Further, because any particular world obtains if and only if all of its constitutive states of affairs obtain, there will also be worlds whose obtaining is a function of certain people’s wills. If P can make some world obtain via act or omission (because it obtains iff P realizes some P-dependent state(s) of affairs), call that world an option for P. Finally, a world might be an option for P at one point but then the actions of another agent Q might remove that option from P’s option set. Suppose there is some world W whose constitutive states of affairs include F and G; F does not obtain but G does; and F is P-dependent such that P could realize it at any time. Given this state of affairs, W is an option for P, since P has the capacity to make F obtain which, in turn, would be sufficient for making W obtain. However, suppose that G is Q-dependent and Q acts so as to make G not obtain. Now, W is no longer an option for P because P can no longer act to make W obtain; Q has removed W from P’s option set.

Conditional exchange between P and Q, then, can be stated using the terms introduced above. Given some arbitrary set of P-dependent states of affairs S and some arbitrary set of Q-dependent states of affairs T, P initiates conditional exchange with Q just in case:

(a) P has some preference as to whether or not the states of affairs in T obtain.

(b) P believes that Q has a preference about whether or not the states of affairs in S obtain.

(c) In virtue of (a) and (b), P commits to satisfying Q’s preference regarding the states of affairs in S—i.e., making each member of S obtain if Q prefers that it obtain or making it not obtain if Q prefers that it not obtain—if and only if Q satisfies P’s preference regarding the states of affairs in T.

(d) P communicates this commitment to Q.

So, for example, if P offers a coat to Q in exchange for Q mowing P’s lawn, T would have as its single member the state of affairs that P’s lawn is mown, with P preferring that this state of affairs obtains. S in this case includes Q taking possession of the coat and also includes P calling the police (or, perhaps, inflicting some sort of other extralegal cost on Q). In this case P believes that Q prefers that the former state of affairs (the coat taking) obtains while the latter (the cost infliction) does not. In making her offer, then, P commits to both not physically blocking Q from taking the coat—thereby satisfying Q’s preference with respect to the state of affairs that she takes the coat—and not inflicting the (extra)legal costs on the condition that Q satisfies P’s preference regarding the state of affairs that P’s lawn is mown (i.e., if and only if Q satisfies that preference). Finally, P communicates this commitment to Q, thereby giving Q the opportunity to decide if having her preferences satisfied with respect to S (she gets the coat with no further cost imposed) is worth making it such that P’s preferences are satisfied regarding T (the lawn is mown).

An unconditional transfer, then, occurs when P’s offer to satisfy Q’s preferences regarding S are not made conditional on any sort of reciprocal effort by Q. Put formally, given some arbitrary set of P-dependent states of affairs S, P makes an unconditional offer to Q just in case:

(i) Q has some preference about whether or not the states of affairs in S obtain, and P believes that she has that preference.

(ii) In virtue of (i), P commits to satisfying Q’s preference regarding the states of affairs in S—i.e., making each member of S obtain if Q prefers that it obtain or making it not obtain if Q prefers that it not obtain.

(iii) P communicates this commitment to Q.[38]

(iv) P satisfies Q’s preference regarding the states of affairs in S.

The anarchist interpretation of the ANP, then, demands that any transfers between people take this unconditional form rather than the conditional one presented above. It is not a distributive principle in the sense that it is directed toward shaping government-implemented distributive policies (or the enforcement of certain distributions by private individuals). Rather, it is a judgment regarding the permissibility of the kinds of offers and transfers made by individuals or groups. Indeed, such a non-state approach to answering moral questions about production and the economy seems appropriate given that this is intended as a distinctively anarchist interpretation of the ANP.

But in what sense is this principle an interpretation of the ANP? To answer this question, recall that the latter is presented by Marx as a rejection of the lower-stage of socialism, where the operative principle, roughly, is “from each according to their ability, to each according to their contribution.” This principle is typically understood as a distributive one, determining who gets how much in a socialist society. However, it can also be interpreted as a principle of quid pro quo exchange whereby one directs one’s efforts and abilities to provide for others on the condition that they provide labor to the community in return. Granted, the quid pro quo exchange it demands is conceptually distinct from quid pro quo market exchange, where a person offers to satisfy others’ preference only on the condition that she receive sufficient and maximal value in return. Nonetheless, there is a shared conditionality built into both market exchange and the lower-stage socialist principle—a common feature that would explain Marx’s remark that the lower stage of socialism is still stamped with the birthmarks of the capitalist society from which it emerges.

If Marx’s complaint about socialist society is that it still rests on conditional exchange—and given that the ANP is supposed to function as a corrective for the flaws of such a society—then the AANP’s condemnation of conditional exchange renders it an appropriate interpretation of the ANP. Thus, the exhortation “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” would be read as an assertion that production should be done for the benefit of others in response to their needs, without conditioning that commitment to aid on the abilities or contributions of others.

It also becomes clear how the AANP resolves both the anarchists’ worries about the exchange of equivalents as presented in section 4 as well as Marx’s worry as presented in section 2. With respect to the latter, Marx is interpreted as being worried that the exchange of equivalents alienates people from their labor by instrumentalizing it: labor becomes merely a means to survival rather than an activity engaged in for its own sake. And, indeed, conditional exchange has exactly this instrumentalizing effect, as P labors for the benefit of Q (or otherwise provides benefits to Q) as a way of satisfying her own preferences (this is formalized by the conjunction of conditions (a) and (c) in the account of conditional exchange presented above). Only if she gets something out of it will she engage in productive labor or other sorts of conditional exchange. By contrast, when exchange is unconditional, it cannot be a mere means to attaining some end, as one commits to the exchange irrespective of how doing so will satisfy one’s own preferences. Rather, per condition (ii) the commitment emerges strictly out of considerations regarding the preferences of the beneficiary of the actions. Such an approach to economic activity would be incompatible with an instrumental approach where the activity is done merely for the sake of survival or satisfying some other wants of the producer.[39]

In response to this suggestion, one might reasonably worry that, even if transfers are unconditional, the production of goods may still be instrumentalized, as production would now be done for the sake of benefitting others, as opposed to being done for its own sake.[40] However, two things might be said in response to this worry. First, one might think that, while this objection perhaps reveals that unconditional transfer is not sufficient for avoiding alienation, unconditionality is at least a necessary condition of unalienated labor. It may also be the case that non-alienation requires that goods not be produced for the sake of being given away; however, labor can be done for its own sake only when production is not made conditional on others behaving in desired ways. Alternatively, one might argue that, for Marx, labor under capitalism is alienated because it is forced labor: one is compelled to labor to satisfy one’s needs, with this compulsion reflected in the fact that one makes one’s labor conditional on the satisfaction of those needs.[41] Given that labor done for the sake of unconditional transfer is free of such compulsion, it would then follow that it is not alienating, even if it is not done for its own sake.

Beyond citing Marx’s emphasis of compulsion in his discussion of alienated labor, one might also independently reflect upon whether labor done for the sake of unconditional transfer seems alienated in the same way as does wage labor done for the sake of satisfying one’s own needs. Consider, for example, the person who builds a bookcase for her friend as a birthday present or the person who crafts a love poem for the sake of delighting her partner. Does the fact that such labor is done not for the sake of transfer compromise it in some way? Does it interfere with the development of the creator’s skills and capacities? Would it reduce the joy of producing the goods in question? If all labor was of this kind, would it not be fair to say it “has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want”?[42] The answers to these questions would seem to suggest that labor done for the sake of unconditional transfer is not alienated, meaning that adherence to the AANP would successfully resolve the Marxian worry about alienation.

Turning to the anarchist complaints discussed above, given that these complaints are objections to conditional exchange, the unconditional approach advocated by the AANP avoids such objections. For example, a society built around unconditional exchange would satisfy Berkman’s demand that, in an anarchist society “there will be no buying or selling,” and, instead, would be only “free exchange without the medium of money and without profit.”[43] Further, Kropotkin’s criticism of the harms of “giving only to receive,” can clearly be seen as a rejection of the sort of quid pro quo that characterizes conditional exchange.[44] And Bookchin makes this criticism of quid pro quo—i.e., conditional—exchange explicit in his rejection of “the quid pro quo of reciprocity, exchange, and mutual aid,” which he derides as being “trapped within history’s demeaning account books with their ‘just’ ratios and their ‘honest’ balance sheets.”[45] Thus, an interpretation of the ANP that positions it as an alternative to conditional exchange would have the advantage of taking seriously the concerns of these anarchists—hence making it fitting that the AANP is here labeled an anarchist principle of production and exchange.

6 Freedom and the AANP

In the previous section, it has been suggested that the AANP is an anarchist interpretation in that it helps to resolve the worries that preoccupy self-identified anarchists. However, this strategy can be supplemented by another that has the additional advantage of imbuing the AANP with normative import. Specifically, it will now be argued that acting contrary to the AANP—i.e., engaging in conditional exchange—(almost always) diminishes the freedom of others. Thus, the AANP can be said to be an anarchist principle in that it defends the core anarchist value of freedom. Further, insofar as the AANP condemns a form of freedom diminution, it gains an independent basis for acceptance: if one takes diminutions of freedom to be prima facie wrong, one will have reason to accept the AANP, as a general principle of freedom declaring that one should not diminish the freedom of others would entail the AANP.

The very general idea defended in this section is that conditional offers limit freedom—where one’s freedom is understood, roughly, to be limited to the extent that other agents remove one’s preferred option(s)—because such offers impose background constraints on the options available to the recipient of the offer. So, for example, the claim to be advanced here is that the offer of money in exchange for a person doing some task functions by denying her the option of obtaining the money without doing the task, where this denial is a constraint upon her freedom.[46] This claim may strike some readers as intuitive and thereby requiring little supporting argument; however, for those who are either unsure or skeptical of this claim, the remainder of the paper will provide a (somewhat technical) proof that conditional offers diminish freedom. Further, even those already sympathetic to the claim that conditional exchange diminishes freedom may be interested in some of the complexity that emerges when the claim is subjected to close scrutiny.

To begin, a demonstration that conditional exchange undermines freedom requires, first, an account of the conditions under which freedom is undermined. Specifically, the suggestion here is that P restricts Q’s freedom if and only if:

(1) There is some world W that is not an option for Q.

(2) Q prefers W to the options available to her.

(3) W would have been an option for Q were it not for P.

(4) P removes W from Q’s option set in order to get Q to satisfy P’s preferences with respect to some Q-dependent state(s) of affairs.[47]

While this account is somewhat unconventional, it delivers the correct results for paradigmatic cases of diminished freedom such as when P imprisons Q. In such a scenario, any world where Q does things outside of the prison is no longer an option for Q, as there is no action or omission on her part that can realize a world which includes states of affairs where Q is engaging in some outside activity. And, with respect to the second condition, presumably, there is at least some subset of these worlds that Q would prefer, as she would prefer engaging in some outside activity to the options available to her, all of which involve her being inside her prison cell.

Turning to condition (3), it will certainly be true that some of the non-option worlds are not options for Q for reasons unrelated to P; Q might, for example, prefer a world where she is the president of the United States, but this state of affairs will never obtain irrespective of P’s actions. However, there will be some subset of worlds that Q could have realized if not for P imprisoning her—for example the world where Q is lounging outside in the sun. Thus, the imprisonment case also meets the third condition. Finally, to be a genuine case of imprisonment (rather than P accidentally trapping Q), P must have locked Q up deliberately with the intention of keeping her from doing things outside the prison. Thus, imprisonment meets all four conditions of the account of freedom proposed here.

Similarly, the account can make sense of why paradigm cases of coercion also count as freedom diminution. Consider, for example, the case of highway robber P who accosts Q with a weapon and says, “Your money or your life!” In this scenario, there are a few possible worlds: there is the world where Q walks away alive and with her money; there is the world where she walks away alive but P has her money; and there is a world where Q is killed (but, where, for the sake of simplicity, P is denied the opportunity to take Q’s money). However, when P commits to kill Q if she does not hand over her money, P removes the first-mentioned world from Q’s option set, as there is now nothing Q can do to realize that world. The only Q-dependent state of affairs in this scenario is whether or not P walks away with Q’s money; by contrast, whether or not Q lives is a P-dependent state of affairs. Because P commits to killing Q iff Q doesn’t hand over her money, that makes the world where Q keeps her money and lives unrealizable. Thus, this case of coercion meets the first condition of freedom diminution.

It also meets condition (2), as any reasonable Q prefers the removed option where she lives and keeps her money to either of the alternatives remaining in her option set. With respect to the third condition, it is only because of P that the option is removed. If P were to wink out of existence, the world where Q gets to keep her money and live would, again, be an option for her. Finally, P removes this world from Q’s option set in order to get Q to satisfy her preference with respect to the Q-dependent state of affairs of whether or not P walks away with Q’s money. Thus, this paradigmatic case of coercion meets all of the jointly-sufficient conditions of freedom diminution, meaning that P reduces Q’s freedom in this case. This is another favorable result for the posited account of freedom, as it delivers the appropriate declaration that paradigmatic cases of imprisonment and coercion reduce the freedom of the imprisoned and coerced.

Some might worry about the fact that condition (2) renders this account of freedom a “preferred option” account whereby Q’s freedom is only diminished when the option removed is one that is preferred by Q. This kind of account has proven to be unpopular, with many philosophers arguing that freedom is best understood as being diminished when any option is removed, even a non-preferred one.[48] While arguing against such accounts would take things too far afield, it can be quickly noted that the purpose here is merely to show that conditional exchange undermines freedom. Given that the actions that diminish freedom on a preferred-option account are a subset of those that diminish freedom on a total-options account, the proposed account is a narrower account of freedom-diminution. This makes the conclusion that conditional exchange diminishes freedom more interesting than if that were demonstrated given a broader notion of freedom, as the former conclusion would entail the latter conclusion, but not vice versa.[49]

Conditions (3) and (4) also function to narrow the account, limiting cases of diminished freedom to those where P acts to limit Q’s options (as opposed to limiting her option set through omission) and also to those cases where the action in question is done for the sake of altering what states of affairs Q realizes. This would stand in contrast to accounts where Q is unfree simply because she cannot realize certain worlds for reasons entirely unrelated to P or due to P failing to act in a way necessary for making those worlds an option for Q.[50] Finally, condition (4) would rule out cases where P acts in a way that has either the foreseen or unforeseen—but unintended—consequence of removing options from Q’s option set (i.e., cases were P would be just as happy if Q’s options were not constrained by her actions).

The tacit view here is that these additional constraints make the account both more independently plausible and help to guarantee that the concept has normative import such that diminutions of freedom are, at least, prima facie wrong. However, again, it should be emphasized that the constraints function strictly to narrow the account such that, if conditional exchange undermines freedom on the posited account, it will also undermine freedom on any broader account that does away with the constraints imposed by conditions (3) and (4).

So how does conditional exchange diminish freedom on the posited account? The answer is that conditional exchange involves the removal of options—a removal that meets the other posited conditions of freedom constraint in all cases that involve the background assertion of property rights. To see this, it will be helpful to consider the case discussed above of the person P who offers a coat to Q in exchange for Q mowing her lawn. In this situation, there are two relevant P-dependent states of affairs: Q being physically blocked from taking the coat (perhaps via the locking of a door) and the police being called on Q as she takes the coat. And, P, in an effort to get her lawn mown, commits to not realizing either of these states of affairs on the condition that Q mows her lawn.[51] However, this commitment entails that P has placed the disjunction of these two states of affairs in a biconditional relation with her lawn being unmown (in accordance with premise (c) of the account of conditional exchange): she is committed to either blocking Q from obtaining the coat or calling the police on Q if Q takes the coat just in case the lawn is unmown. As a result, there is a world W—specifically, the world where Q does not mow the lawn, Q takes the coat, P does not block her from doing so, and P does not impose any retaliatory cost on Q (e.g., calling the police)—that is not an option for Q. Thus, condition 1 is met in this specific case.

This result also generalizes: P making the realization of one state of affairs conditional on Q making another obtain entails that Q will never be able to realize a world where one of these two states of affairs obtains and the other does not. Or, alternatively, if P makes the realization of one state of affairs conditional on Q making another state of affairs not obtain, then Q will never be able to realize a world where either both states of affairs obtain or neither do. In other words, condition (c) being satisfied implies that condition (1) is satisfied, as conditional offers imply the exclusion of some world from Q’s option set.

The coat case also meets condition (2): Q prefers a world where she can get the coat without either having to mow the lawn or face additional imposed costs to a world where she either can’t get the coat, has to mow the lawn to get it, or is accosted by the police after taking it. And, again, this feature of the case generalizes to (almost) all cases of conditional exchange. To see this, note that W (the world that P removes from Q’s option set) will be the only world where Q’s state of affairs preference(s) are satisfied and P’s state of affairs preference(s) go unsatisfied.[52] Given that Q definitionally prefers a world where her state of affairs preferences are satisfied to one where they are not, ceteris paribus, it follows that she will prefer W to all her available options if she also prefers that P’s state of affairs preferences go unsatisfied, ceteris paribus. For, in that case, W will share all states of affairs with Q’s most-preferred option except that it will also satisfy both her aforementioned state of affairs preference(s) and her preference to not satisfy P’s preference(s).

But does Q prefer not to satisfy P’s preferences? The answer is a qualified “yes.” Note that in any case where Q does prefer to satisfy P’s preferences, ceteris paribus, she would just go ahead and satisfy them without there being any need for P to initiate conditional exchange with her. For example, if Q preferred that P’s lawn was mown all else being equal, P would not need to offer her a coat to mow the lawn. Thus, the fact that P is initiating such a conditional exchange implies that Q does not prefer to satisfy P’s preferences. The qualification, is that it does not follow from this conclusion that Q prefers not to satisfy P’s preferences. For, Q might be indifferent with respect to satisfying these preferences—e.g., she might have no preference between mowing and not mowing P’s lawn—in which case P would still need to initiate a conditional exchange. Further, in such cases, Q might be indifferent between her most preferred option and W. In the coat example, for example, she would have no preference between her preferred option where she gets the coat and mows P’s lawn and W where she gets the coat without having to mow the lawn. Thus, in situations of indifference, condition (2) will not be met. However, given the rarity of such situations, this qualification is of little import; almost all cases of conditional exchange will meet this condition.

The coat case also meets condition (3) of the posited account of freedom diminution, as W would be an option for Q were it not for P. If P were to suddenly cease to exist, Q would be able to realize a world where she takes P’s coat without having to mow P’s lawn or face retributive costs imposed by P. Given that it is only in virtue of P’s continued existence that W is not an option for Q, condition (3) is satisfied.

The question of whether this result generalizes to include all conditional exchange is a bit more complicated. Begin by noting that there are two ways in which P can render W a non-option for Q, namely by committing to an act or committing to an omission. In the coat case, P removes W from Q’s option set via committing to an act: she will move to block Q from taking the coat or will act to call the police if Q takes the coat without mowing P’s lawn. It is because of this reliance on potential action to remove W that P’s sudden disappearance would render W an option for Q—and, thus, that W would have been an option for Q were it not for P. Importantly, this would be true of all cases where W is removed via a commitment to act, and, thus, all such cases will meet condition (3).

By contrast, if P removes W by committing to an omission, then condition (3) will not be met—at least at first glance. Indeed, this condition will (apparently) go unmet in all cases where Q’s preference is that P realize a state of affairs that does not presently obtain and will only obtain via an act on P’s part—e.g., when P provides a service to Q. In such cases, Q’s preferred world W would not become an option for her given the disappearance of P, as P’s continued existence is a necessary condition of W obtaining. Thus, in such cases it cannot be said that W would have been an option for Q if not for P.

However, note that almost all instances of conditional exchange take a form where there is some W that is removed from Q’s option set via a commitment on the part of P to act. To see this, consider the case where it is P who offers to mow Q’s lawn in exchange for a coat. Here, P removes from Q’s option set Q’s preferred world W—where Q gets her lawn mown while keeping her coat—by committing to refrain from acting iff Q doesn’t give her the coat. And, in such a case, condition (3) appears not to be met because W would not have been an option for Q were it not for P (as P’s existence is a necessary condition of having Q’s lawn mown). However, upon closer inspection, one notes that P in this case almost certainly has some holdings of value which she keeps out of the hands of Q. Were it not for P, Q could collect these holdings and trade them to some other person R in exchange for R mowing her lawn.[53] And, importantly, P must commit to acting to preclude this state of affairs from obtaining if she is to get Q to give her the coat. Thus, there are, in fact, two worlds that P removes from Q’s option set. There is W which P removes by committing to the omission of not mowing Q’s lawn, and there is also a Q-preferred world X whose states of affairs include Q keeping her coat, Q taking some of P’s holdings, and Q getting her lawn mown. And, importantly, P removes X from Q’s option set via a commitment to act, meaning condition (3) is met with respect to this X (in addition to conditions (1) and (2)).

The more general conclusion that can be drawn from this is that any act of conditional exchange where P has some holdings that either directly or instrumentally allow Q to satisfy her state of affairs preference(s)—and P is committed to preventing Q from taking those holdings—will meet condition (3). In all such cases, P removes a world from Q’s option set via committing to act to prevent Q from satisfying Q’s state of affairs preference(s) without shouldering the cost of satisfying P’s state of affairs preference(s). Given that almost all conditional exchange meets both of these conditions, the overwhelming majority of instances of conditional exchange will meet condition (3) of the posited account of freedom diminution.

Finally, all instances of conditional exchange also meet condition (4) of the account of freedom diminution. This conclusion follows fairly straightforwardly from condition (c) of the account of conditional exchange. Per (c), P commits to satisfying some set of Q’s state of affairs preference(s) if and only if Q satisfies some set of P’s state of affairs preference(s) and makes this commitment in virtue of her (P’s) state of affairs preferences and beliefs about Q’s preferences. In other words, the world she removes (as discussed above) from Q’s option set is removed for the sake of getting Q to satisfy P’s preferences; she calibrates her choices about what states of affairs will and won’t obtain based upon what she believes will induce Q to satisfy her preferences regarding some set of Q-dependent states of affairs. This behavior satisfies condition (4)’s demand that P remove the world in question from Q’s option set in order to get Q to satisfy P’s state of affairs preferences. Given this, almost all instances of conditional exchange meet the four jointly sufficient conditions of freedom diminution—and, thus, most conditional exchange is freedom-diminishing.[54]

7 Conclusion

The paper has attempted to present an alternative, anarchist interpretation of the ANP specifically concerned with resolving the objection to the exchange of equivalents presented by both Marx and various prominent anarchists. Further, it demonstrated that the conditional exchange condemned by the principle is almost always freedom-diminishing, thereby concluding that the AANP functions as a freedom-preserving principle. Given that freedom is a core anarchist value, this conclusion helps to explain why the AANP—which forbids such exchange—is a distinctively anarchist principle. And, insofar as one takes the diminution of freedom to be at least prima facie wrong, the AANP becomes independently plausible as a normative principle, condemning modes of production and transfer that diminish the freedom of others.

[1] This term is borrowed from Pablo Gilabert, “The Socialist Principle ‘From Each According To Their Abilities, To Each According To Their Needs’,” Journal of Social Philosophy 46 (2015), pp. 197-225.

[2] While this contrast between socialists and anarchists is stated in terms of their divergent views regarding the moral status of the state, such views are actually orthogonal to the core question addressed by this paper, which is how anarchists approach the distribution of goods. Further, it should be noted that the contrast is a bit less sharp than this statement suggests, as many socialists de-emphasize the state in favor a more localized, democratic form of control of the economy—a vision that aligns with what many anarchists propose. However, if this paper is correct in its claim that there is a distinctively anarchist way of understanding the ANP, that would help to sharpen the anarchist/socialist distinction.

[3] Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program,” in R. Tucker (ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader (New York: Norton, 1978), pp. 525-541, at p. 531.

[4] Ibid., p. 530.

[5] Ibid., p. 529.

[6] Ibid., pp. 529-530.

[7] Ibid., p. 530.

[8] For example, Gilabert mentions only what, below, is called the inequality objection (op. cit., pp. 198, 201). Similarly, G. A. Cohen notes Marx’s complaint about the socialist principle generating inequality, but does not mention anything like exchange of equivalents objection; see Freedom, Justice, and Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 124-25. And Norman Geras makes much of Marx’s objection to inequality, but also fails to discuss the exchange of equivalents objection. See “The Controversy about Marx and Justice,” New Left Review 150 (1985), 47-85.

[9] Karl Marx, “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844,” The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: Norton, 1978), pp. 66-125, at p. 74.

[10] Ibid., pp. 75-76.

[11] Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program,” p. 531.

[12] Ibid., p. 530.

[13] For more on this point, see Norman Geras who defends the view that Marx took such inequality to be a form of injustice which the ANP is intended to rectify (see, Geras, op. cit., pp. 79-81).

[14] For more on this point, see Gilabert, op. cit., p. 202 and Cohen, op. cit., p. 126. See also, G. A. Cohen, If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re so Rich? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 42-57.

[15] See Gilabert, op. cit., p. 202. See also, Joseph Carens, “An Interpretation of the Socialist Principle of Distribution,” Social Philosophy and Policy 20 (2003), 145-177, and Edward Nell and Onora O’Neill, “Justice Under Socialism,” Justice: Alternative Political Perspectives, ed. James P. Sterba (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1992).

[16] Representative examples include Carens, op. cit., and Gilabert, op. cit.

[17] See Gilabert, op. cit.

[18] See Cohen 1995, op. cit.

[19] Alexander Berkman, What is Communist Anarchism? (Dog’s Tails Books, 2015), p. 187.

[20] Ibid., p. 102.

[21] Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread (Penguin Classics, 2015), p. 31.

[22] Ibid., pp. 32-33, 56, 61-62, 87, 99-112, 164-66.

[23] Peter Kropotkin, Anarchist Communism: Its Basis and its Principles (The Anarchist Library, 1927), p. 10.

[24] For the sake of brevity, only a small selection of anarchists endorsing the ANP has been presented here, with these figures chosen primarily because of their prominence within the tradition. However, a quick search through anarchist texts reveals scores of reasonably well-known anarchists who endorse the ANP, with proponents spanning countries, continents, and centuries. See, for example, James Guillaume, “Ideas on Social Organization,” in D. Guérin (ed.) No Gods, No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism (AK Press, 2005), p. 251; Carlo Cafiero, “Anarchy and Communism: Carlo Cafiero’s Report to the Jura Federation,” in D. Guérin (ed.) No Gods, No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism (AK Press, 2005), p. 294; Isaac Puente, Libertarian Communism (The Anarchist Library, 1932), as retrieved from https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/isaac-puente-libertarian-communism; Georges Fontenis, “Manifesto of Libertarian Communism,” (The Anarchist Library, 1953), as retrieved from https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/georges-fontenis-manifesto-of-libertarian-communism; and, more recently, Cindy Milstein, Anarchism and its Aspirations (AK Press/Institute for Anarchist Studies, 2010), p. 53. The ANP was similarly endorsed by a number of Chinese anarchists, including Liu Shifu, Cai Yuanpei, and Shi Cuntong (see: Arif Dirlik, Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution (University of California Press, 1991), pp. 131, 192, 210). Elisée Reclus is also generally reported to have endorsed a principle approximating the ANP (see: Dana Ward, “Alchemy in Clarens: Kropotkin and Reclus, 1877-1881,” in N. June and S. Wahl (eds.) New Perspectives on Anarchism, (Lexington Books, 2010), p. 222).

[25] See, for example, Berkman, op. cit., p. 138 and Kropotkin 2015, op. cit., p. 32.

[26] Berkman, op. cit., p. 138.

[27] Ibid., p. 188.

[28] Kropotkin 2015, op. cit., p. 161.

[29] Ibid., p. 165.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid., p. 167.

[33] Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy (Oakland: AK Press, 2005), p. 118.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid., p. 416.

[36] Ibid.

[37] This accords with the approach of Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity (Blackwell Publishing, 1981), p. 18.

[38] This framing assumes that P consults with Q before acting. However, one might also wish to include cases where P acts without consultation under the umbrella of “unconditional exchange.” Modifying the proposed account to include such cases would be fairly straightforward; thus, the details will not be spelled out here.

[39] As an anonymous reviewer notes, unconditional transfer is not strictly necessary for resolving the exchange of equivalents objection discussed above, as one might, alternatively, impose conditions on transfer that do not demand the receipt of some equivalent value. However, unconditional exchange is certainly sufficient for resolving the objection, which is all that needs to be shown here. Additionally, unconditional exchange may be necessary for resolving the deeper worry about alienation that seems to motivate Marx’s rejection of the exchange of equivalents.

[40] I thank an anonymous reviewer for bringing this worry to my attention.

[41] This is suggested by the quotation presented in section 2, wherein Marx suggests that the “coerced” and “forced” nature of labor is what renders it a mere means. Marx, “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844,” op. cit., p. 74.

[42] Here quoting Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program,” op. cit., p. 531.

[43] Berkman, op. cit., p. 188.

[44] Kropotkin 2015, op. cit., p. 165.

[45] Bookchin, op. cit., p. 118.

[46] It may be immediately objected that this is that this is a failure to provide an option, not the removal of an option. This concern is discussed at length below.

[47] Some might worry about cases of structural unfreedom where P and R each act independently remove W from Q’s option set. In such a case, condition (3) will not be met with respect to either P or R, as W would not be available to Q in the absence of P (because R would still prevent it from being an option) and, similarly, would not be available to Q in the absence of R (because P would still prevent it from being an option). To resolve this worry, one might expand this account of freedom restriction by replacing occurrences of “P” within the posited account with either “some set of persons S” or “the members of S,” depending on the context. This would allow the account to capture instances of structural unfreedom. Further, if one thinks that it is true that P restricts Q’s freedom in the case of structural injustice presented just above, one could then append to the expanded account the claim that P restricts Q’s freedom iff P is a member of S.

[48] Prominent proponents of the broader view include G. A. Cohen, “On the Structure of Proletarian Unfreedom,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 12 (1983), 3-33, at p. 18; Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 139-40; Hillel Steiner, “Individual Liberty,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75 (1974-5), 33-50, at p. 34; and Philip Pettit, On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 28-35.

[49] This also makes the account a non-moralized one, as Q’s freedom might be diminished even if Q has no right to W and P has a right to prevent Q from obtaining W. While this approach to freedom is controversial, it cannot be defended here beyond citing arguments such as that provided by Cohen 1983, op. cit., p. 4. This non-moralized approach will allow the argument to sidestep certain objections that might be made below, e.g., that the owner of some object does not reduce others’ freedom when she exercises her right to deny them access to that object.

[50] This is roughly how one might interpret accounts of so-called positive freedom. For a brief, recent discussion on this point, see Elizabeth Anderson, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), pp. 45-46.

[51] Here, the absence of blocking replaces what, above, was the state of affairs wherein Q gets the coat. However, given that each state of affairs obtains if and only if the other does, this replacement is of no consequence.

[52] This is because P’s strategy for satisfying her state of affairs preferences relies on removing certain worlds where these preferences go unsatisfied.

[53] Of course, Q would then be undermining R’s freedom by blocking her from obtaining the coat/holdings she values (assuming that P would not block R if Q didn’t; see the discussion of structural unfreedom in note 47, above). However, this does not change the fact that P, by preventing Q from controlling the holdings necessary to induce R to mow Q’s lawn, removes a preferred option from Q’s option set. Admittedly, the fact that P diminishes Q’s freedom when she prevents her from diminishing R’s freedom does suggest that more needs to be said regarding when freedom constraint is morally objectionable. Unfortunately, such a discussion is beyond the scope of this paper.

[54] An anonymous reviewer points out that there is an apparent convergence between this rejection of conditionality and G. A. Cohen’s objection to the ethos of “market reciprocity” where people provide goods and services to others strictly for the sake of receiving personal benefits in exchange (see: Cohen, Why Not Socialism? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp. 39-43). Specifically, Cohen’s claim is that such reciprocity undermines community, and, elsewhere, I argue that conditional exchange, specifically, undermines community between persons (see: Jesse Spafford, "Community as Socialist Value," Public Affairs Quarterly 33.3 (2019)). If this is correct, then adherence to the AANP would contribute to promoting community—a value that anarchists also often claim to promote. Thus, there appears to be a nice coherence to the anarchist position, with their rejection of conditionality neatly dovetailing with their embrace of community and aversion to diminishing the freedom of others. This convergence might also allow anarchists to make use of Cohen’s notion of communal reciprocity which is manifested when one provides goods and services as part of an ethos of serving and being served—with this second conjunct providing a possible basis for anarchists who wish to object to arrangements where those to whom they transfer goods and services consistently provide nothing in return. Ibid., p. 43.