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Agorism is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging in a manner with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III in 1975, with contributions partly by J. Neil Schulman.[1]


  • Etymology 1
  • Origins 2
  • Ideology 3
    • Counter-Economics 3.1
      • Profitable Civil Disobedience 3.1.1
      • Opposition to "Partyarchy" 3.1.2
      • Voluntary Association 3.1.3
    • Konkin's class theory 3.2
  • Concept of Property 4
  • Criticisms 5
  • Literature 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The term was coined by Konkin, and comes from the Classical Greek word ἀγορά (agora) referring to an open place for assembly and market in a πόλις (polis, ancient Greek city-states).[2]


Symbol for Agorism

According to Konkin,

External links

  1. ^ a b c d Konkin, Samuel Edward. New Libertarian Manifesto
  2. ^ Gordon, David (2011-04-01) Sam Konkin and Libertarian Theory,
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ a b Smashing the State for Fun and Profit Since 1969: An Interview With the Libertarian Icon Samuel Edward Konkin III (a.k.a. SEK3)
  5. ^ Black-Market Activism: Samuel Edward Konkin III and Agorism
  6. ^ a b An Agorist Primer
  7. ^ Counter-Economics: what it is, how it works
  8. ^
  9. ^ , Samuel Edward Konkin IIICopywrongs
  10. ^ , J. Neil SchulmanInformational Property: Logorights
  11. ^ Rothbard, Murray N. The State versus Liberty.
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Afterword by Samuel Edward Konkin in Alongside Night. Pulpless.Com, 1999. p. 271–290. ISBN 1-58445-120-3, ISBN 978-1-58445-120-4


See also

Konkin's treatise New Libertarian Manifesto was published in 1980.[1] Previously, the philosophy had been presented in J. Neil Schulman's science fiction novel Alongside Night in 1979. Ayn Rand's example, presenting her ideas in the form of a work of fiction in Atlas Shrugged, had inspired Schulman to do likewise. Konkin's afterword to the novel, "How Far Alongside Night?", credited Schulman with integrating the "science of counter-economics" with Konkin's basic economic philosophy.[14]


Konkin replied to Rothbard's claims by stating how countries such as Burma and India have black market heavy industries. Konkin also pointed out how automobile making in general is heavily counter-economic with its use of outsourcing, illegal labor, and both tax and regulation evasion.[12]

"Note that black markets are concentrated either in service industries or in commodities which are both valuable and easily concealed: jewels, gold, drugs, candy bars, stockings, etc. This is all well and good, but it still does not solve the problem: who will make automobiles, steel, cement, etc. How would they fare in the black market?"”
— Murray Rothbard

Rothbard was also critical of Agorism's emphasis of Black Market based economics.[13]

Konkin responded to Rothbard's criticism, noting, among many other points, that full-time wage workers already engage in counter-economic activities.[12]

“Konkin’s entire theory speaks only to the interests and concerns of the marginal classes who are self-employed. The great bulk of the people are full-time wage workers; they are people with steady jobs. Konkinism has nothing whatsoever to say to these people. To adopt Konkin’s strategy, then, would on this ground alone, serve up a dead end for the libertarian movement. We cannot win if there is no possibility of speaking to the concerns of the great bulk of wage earners in this and other countries.”
— Murray Rothbard

Rothbard openly denounced Konkin's Agorism as a means of representing wage workers:[13]

Konkin commented on Rothbard's "Evil per se" argument saying "I wonder how open he would be to assuming the State is not evil per se and then continuing the discussion of some legislation, let us see where it leads him".[12]

"No other strategy for liberty can work. And yet, all this pales before the most important problem: Is a Libertarian Party evil per se? Is voting evil per se? My answer is no."”
— Murray Rothbard

Agorists' opposition to voting differs from the views of Murray Rothbard, who defended the act of voting.[11]


Unlike mutualists, agorists defend that there's no need for a property to be continuously used for it to belong to its legitimate owner.

Konkin opposed the concept of intellectual property, and wrote in an article, entitled "Copywrongs", in support of such a thesis.[9] Successively, Schulman criticized this thesis in “Informational Property: Logorights”.[10] Whereas Konkin was opposed to the laws of the state in the cases of patents and copyright, seen as creators of monopolies and distortion, Schulman sought to demonstrate that every invention is logically exclusive property of its inventor.

“Corporations are creatures of the State, created by it and having two privileges that protect them from market pressures. First, corporate liability for damages to others is automatically limited by fiat; and second, responsibility is shifted away from individuals to a fictional entity.”
— J. Neil Schulman, Alongside Night

The agorists prefer the term “free market” to “capitalism”, mostly since they bear no ties with the implications that the latter term has in history. The favoritism of the government towards determined corporations is seen by agorists as the characteristic that renders much more illegitimate the intervention of the state in various sectors. State's restrictions in favour of certain companies, according to agorists, distort the market, thus making the aforementioned businesses less responsible and less capable. The agorists claim that the debts of businesses cannot be cleared through a government's decree, and that every manager has to be responsible for every act taken.

Concept of Property

Konkin claimed that while agorists see these three classes differently, anarcho-capitalists tend to conflate the first and second types, while "Marxoids and cruder collectivists" conflate all three.[4]

Entrepreneur Non-statist capitalist Statist capitalist
(Good) (Neutral) (Bad)
Innovator, risk-taker, producer
The strength of a freed market
Holders of capital
Not necessarily ideologically aware
"Relatively drone-like non-innovators"
The primary beneficiaries of government controls
"The main Evil in the political realm"

Konkin developed a class theory which includes entrepreneurs, non-statist capitalists, and statist capitalists:

Konkin's class theory

Some agorists consider their message to be scientific because science is an appeal to reason, which they believe is only possible in a free market; these agorists argue that state-backed science is illegitimate, believing that it inherently involves an appeal to authority.[8]

As with voluntaryists, agorists typically oppose electoral voting and political reform; instead, they stress the importance of alternative strategies outside political systems to achieve a free society. Agorists claim that such a society could be freed more readily by employing methods such as education, direct action, alternative currencies, entrepreneurship, self sufficiency, civil disobedience and — most importantly — "counter-economics".[1]

Voluntary Association

Agorism does not support political engagement in the form of political party promotion as a means to transition to a Free-Market Anarchism. The methods of the Libertarian Party (United States) are not compatible with Agorist principles. Konkin referred to these attempts to fight for free markets through state approved channels of operation as "Partyarchy".

Opposition to "Partyarchy"

Agorism believes gradual withdrawal of state support through what Konkin described as "Profitable Civil Disobedience".[3] Starving the state of its revenue and purpose by transferring these responsibilities over to decentralized institutions is the most feasible way to achieve free markets according to Agorism.

Profitable Civil Disobedience

The concept of Counter-Economics is the most critical element of Agorism. It can be described as:


"The goal of agorism is the agora. The society of the open marketplace as near to untainted by theft, assault, and fraud as can be humanly attained is as close to a free society as can be achieved. And a free society is the only one in which each and every one of us can satisfy his or her subjective values without crushing others’ values by violence and coercion.”
— Samuel Edward Konkin III[6]

Konkin characterized agorism as a form of left-libertarianism (specifically, left-wing market anarchism),[4][5] and generally, agorism is considered to be a strategic branch of market anarchism.[6]


After the creation of the Libertarian Party (United States) in 1971, the debate shifted from anarchy vs. minarchism to partyarchy vs. agorism.[3]

In the 1960-70s, there was an abundance of political alienation in the United States, particularly for those in favor of libertarian ideologies. Whereas Murray Rothbard chose to create political alliances between Old Right (United States) and the New Left, Robert LeFevre and his "West Coast" followers pursued a non-participatory form of civil disobedience.[3] Ultimately, LeFevre's anti-collaboration methods lost favor and faded away.

[3] counter-economics, as the base of economic thought leading to Agorism and Ludwig von Mises, particularly Austrian School Konkin credits the [3]

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