In this article, I want to discuss some of my immediate reactions to the 4th Chapter of Noam Chomsky’s book Chomsky on Anarchism, entitled, The Relevance of Anarcho-Syndicalism (1976). The chapter is actually a transcript of an interview of Noam Chomsky conducted by Peter Jay on July 25, 1976 for a BBC broadcast. The structure of the article is fairly simple; it consists of a back-and-forth question-and-answer format.

After reading the article, I pulled out some areas that I would like to comment upon in more detail. The reason for why I picked these areas in particular is because they are things that “jump out” at me, and I believe that I could develop each point into a full-blown article at some point. In other words, this article is like a summary article of what I would like to write about in more detail in the future.

1. The Need for Empirical and Statistical Research using Latent Variable Constructs

One of the areas of frustration in interview with Chomsky is that on many points it seems as though the interviewer is asserting his belief and then Chomsky replies with his belief. So I know what the interviewer believes, and I know what Chomsky believes, but what I want to know is what is actually going on in the workplace.

Let me give a few examples of what I mean. The questioner asks

I put it to you, Professor, that if that residue were very large, as some people would say it was, if it accounted for the work involved in producing ninety per cent of what we all want to consume–then the organization of sharing this, on the basis that everybody did a little bit of all the nasty jobs, would become wildly inefficient. Because after all, you have to be trained and equipped to do even the nasty jobs, and the efficiency of the whole economy would suffer and therefore the standard of living which it sustained would be reduced. (142-143, bold emphasis mine)

To this 90% number mentioned by the interviewer, Chomsky replies by saying

for one thing, this is really quite hypothetical, because I don’t believe that the figures are anything like that. (143, bold emphasis mine)

A similar problem occurs when the interviewer and Chomsky are discussing the nature of relationship between “satisfaction in work” and “value of output/standard of living.”

The interviewer seems to think that Chomsky is living in a dream world when he says

And that a society which is organized on the basis of giving everybody the maximum opportunity to fulfill their hobbies, which is essentially the work for work’s sake view, finds its logical culmination in a monastery, where the kind of work which is done, namely prayer, is work, for the self-enrichment of the worker and where nothing is produced which is of any use to anybody and you live either at a low standard of living, or you actually starve. (143-144, bold emphasis mine)

So the interviewer things that Chomsky’s vision is going to lead to a lower standard of living or starvation. In other words, Chomsky’s plan is completely unrealistic. This perspective by the interviewer is a bit of a theme of this interview. For example, earlier he asks

this view of things is a rather romantic delusion, entertained only by a small elite of people who happen, like professors, perhaps journalists and so on, to be in the very privileged situation of being paid to do what anyway they like to do. (142, bold emphasis mine)

Then Chomsky and the interviewer get into this back-and-forth where they are basically saying, I believe the relationship goes this way. Then the other interlocutor says, Oh no, I believe that the relationship goes this other way. But the reader–namely me–is left scratching his head. Okay, so which one is it? How do I “know” what to conclude from this discussion. Let me briefly summarize the germane points of the debate.

First Chomsky says

You pose a dilemma which many people pose, between desire for satisfaction in work and a desire to create things of value to the community. But it’s not so obvious that there is a dilemma, any contradiction. So it’s by no means clear–in fact I think it’s false–that contribution to the enhancement of pleasure and satisfaction in work is inversely proportional to contributing to the value of the output. (144, bold emphasis mine)

To this the interviewer says, in part:

Not inversely proportional, but it might be unrelated. (144, bold emphasis mine)

Then, Chomsky gives a very long answer, which encompasses all of page 145. Chomsky finally gets to his conclusion, namely, that

Now I don’t see why that should in any way harm, in fact I should think it would enhance, the value of what’s produced. (145, bold emphasis mine)

What I am thinking is that all of this debate could be empirically tested. These comments sound like testable hypotheses.  Let me explain.

Let Y be the real output, let’s say measured in dollars.

Let X be the pleasure and satisfaction of work. A variable like this is going to be measured using some sort of “latent variable” method.  Basically, what they are doing is they are making observations (shown in rectangles) and they are trying to separate this observed information into different “unmeasured” or “latent” parts. Some of these parts are what we want to know about, while some of them are things that we don’t care about.

Here is a simple example from my book Multiple Regression and Beyond by Timothy Z. Keith. He is trying to measure “Reading comprehension.” He administers three tests, i.e., three reading tests. He gets scores on these tests. What explains these observed test scores? Part of it is the “Reading Comprehension,” i.e., what he wants to investigate. Naturally, there could be other reasons for why we observe these test scores. These include “error” or the “unreliability” in measuring and “that person’s level of the unique skills measured by each test” (296). Basically what they are doing is they have three tests of reading and they want to separate out the common variance, (what the three tests have in “common,” namely “Reading Comprehension”) from specific variance (what each test measures that is unique or specific to it).  And of course we want to throw away an measurement errors as best we can. This way we can get a “purer” measure of “Reading Comprehension.” It looks something like this:

What I am thinking is that Chomsky’s “variable X” or “pleasure or satisfaction of work” could be measured this way. To put it simply, change “Reading Comprehension” to “Pleasure or Satisfaction of Work.” Then we could attempt to “measure” it this way.

Now that we have variables Y and X, we can do something along the lines of statistical regression to test what Chomsky and the interviewer are claiming.

Y = b0 + b1*X + E

That is the essence of what they are debating about. So if we want to see, for instance, if they are unrelated, as the interviewer suggests, then we test to see if the slope coefficient, b1 = 0.

What Chomsky is suggesting is that there is a positive relationship, namely, if we increase job satisfaction and job pleasure then output should increase. This means that we are testing b1 > 0.

The reason why I bring all of this up is because of something Steve Keen does in his article When Stability Goes Belly Up. In this article he is modeling, using a simulation program, capitalism. The results do not look very good for capitalism. Keen  calls his results “chaos.” His model looks like this:

Some of Keen’s major findings with regard to capitalism are as follows. It looks horrific for the working class–notice that zero employment equilibrium in particular. Also notice how the “good equilibrium” is unstable and will tend towards the “bad equilibrium” of zero employment:

This model has two equilibria: a ‘good’ one with positive workers’ share of output, positive employment, and finite debt, and a ‘bad’ one with zero workers’ share, zero employment, and infinite debt — the economic equivalent of a gravitational Black Hole.

I already knew that the bad equilibrium was unconditionally stable: if you start there, there’s no escape.

the ‘good’ equilibrium appears to be unconditionally unstable. If the model starts a small distance away from equilibrium, it will continue to diverge until it ultimately falls into the ‘bad’ equilibrium.

So what I was thinking is that maybe it is possible to sit down with Chomsky (since I do own his book) and figure out what are the mathematical relationships of anarcho-syndicalism. This is why I have to figure out how to measure these variables, and this is why I need to know what these parameters (the b1, b0) are, so I can build these equations consistent to what is happening in real business situations. Then, if I were to teach myself how to use Professor Keen’s simulation model, I could try to model Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalism.

Then, we could compare Keen’s simulation model of capitalism with my (still to be created) model of anarcho-syndicalism.  Look at all the fruitful potential comparisons that could be made. Which one is more unstable, capitalism or anarcho-syndicalism? Does anarcho-syndicalism share with capitalism two equilibrium or not? Maybe anarcho-syndicalism only has the “good” equilibrium of capitalism? Maybe it only has the “bad” equilibrium of capitalism? Maybe it has both equilibrium? Maybe it has a third option with more than two equilibrium. Maybe anarcho-syndicalism has more than three potential equilibrium. That is totally reasonable to suggest.

For example, when I was looking at the book by Robert E Prasch entitled How Markets Work: Supply, Demand and the ‘Real World,” for example, his model of the labor market has four different equilibrium. Some of them are stable while some of them are unstable. It is totally unlike textbook economics of the labor market. I have  never seen anything like this before. So this is why I say, maybe the anarcho-syndicalist model will have more than the two equilibrium as found in Steve Keen’s model of capitalism.

Will the anarcho-syndicalist model have a tendency to fall into the economic “black hole” like the capitalist model does or will it not? Will we be able to say that anarcho-syndicalism can potentially “solve” the instability or black hole problem of capitalism–and we would appeal to the simulation models as evidence?

For me, I thought this might be an interest research project to attempt to solve.

2. Comments About Union Organization in the Spanish Civil War and Revolution

Chomsky’s chapter mentions the Spanish Civil War and Revolution as the apotheosis of the libertarian socialist program. He begins by saying that

a good example of a really large-scale anarchist revolution–in fact the best example to my knowledge–is the Spanish revolution in 1936, in which over most of Republican Spain there was a quite inspiring anarchist revolution that involved both industry and agriculture over substantial areas, developed in a way which to the outside looks spontaneous. (134)

He then goes on to paint a rather sanguine picture of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution. He seems to be a bit mordant or sarcastic at this point because he gives a mild jab at some of the other schools of thought. He seems to be saying to the others, you thought that anarchists could not achieve worker self-management, but we proved you all wrong (neener neener):

ImageAnd that was, by both human measures and indeed anyone’s economic measures, quite successful. That is, production continued effectively; workers in farms and factories proved quite capable of managing their affairs without coercion from above, contrary to what lots of socialists, communists, liberals and others wanted to believe…I think it was a highly successful and, as I say, in many ways a very inspiring testimony to the ability of poor working people to organize and manage their own affairs, extremely successfully, without coercion and control. (135)

Although I am very sympathetic to Chomsky’s position because I agree that the relationship between capital and labor is hierarchical and hence inconsistent with the desires of anarchists to achieve human liberation, I am not so sure about Chomsky’s rather ebullient analysis of what happened in Spain. I am certainly not an expert on Spain circa 1936; however, from the few things that I do know about what happened, I would say that the success of the anarchists with regard to the question of production depended on the particular union under consideration. To me, it seems as though some of the unions were much more successful than others in implementing the worker self-management that Chomsky is bragging about in the section that I have quoted. Let me quickly give you the evidence that I am thinking about at the moment. It comes from an article on the website Anarchist Writers entitled I.8 Does revolutionary Spain show that libertarian socialism can work in practice? What caught my eye in particular is that sometimes the union effectively replaced the capitalists, thus undermining the whole plan of worker self-management. However, other unions were able to overcome this problem.

Syndicalisation (our term) meant that the CNT’s industrial union ran the whole industry. This solution was tried by the woodworkers’ union after extensive debate. One section of the union, “dominated by the FAI, maintained that anarchist self-management meant that the workers should set up and operate autonomous centres of production so as to avoid the threat of bureaucratisation.” However, those in favour of syndicalisation won the day and production was organised in the hands of the union, with administration posts and delegate meetings elected by the rank and file. However, the “major failure . . . (and which supported the original anarchist objection) was that the union became like a large firm” and its “structure grew increasingly rigid.” [Fraser, Op. Cit., p. 222] According to one militant, “From the outside it began to look like an American or German trust” and the workers found it difficult to secure any changes and “felt they weren’t particularly involved in decision making.” [quoted by Fraser, Op. Cit., p. 222 and p. 223] However, this did not stop workers re-electing almost all posts at the first Annual General Assembly.

Notice how the worker (i.e., militant) complains that “the workers found it difficult to secure any changes and ‘felt they weren’t particularly involved in decision making.'” This is a problem for Chomsky because his article stresses over and over again the importance of getting the workers involved in the decision making process. For example, Chomsky writes that

The difference has to do with participation in those decisions and control over those decisions.  In the view of anarchists and left-Marxists–like the workers’ councils or the Council Communists, who were left-Marxists–those decisions are made by the informed working class through their assemblies and their direct representatives, who live among them and work among them. (146)

And again, Chomsky makes it clear that worker participation in decision making is a paramount concern for him:

I would think, that where there is direct participation in self-management, in economic and social affairs, then factions, conflicts, differences of interest and ideas and opinion, which should be welcomed and cultivated, will be expressed at every one of these levels. (138)

So it seems to me that the Spanish Civil War and Revolution is not the unqualified success for worker self-management. Nevertheless, the Anarchist Writers also provides some evidence to support the general direction of Chomsky’s comments, namely, that self-management can work, at least in some situations. The Anarchist Writers notes that

the other important form of co-operation was what we will term confederalisation. This system was based on horizontal links between workplaces (via the CNT union) and allowed a maximum of self-management and mutual aid. This form of co-operation was practised by the Badalona textile industry (and had been defeated in the woodworkers’ union). It was based upon each workplace being run by its elected management, selling its own production, getting its own orders and receiving the proceeds. However, “everything each mill did was reported to the union which charted progress and kept statistics. If the union felt that a particular factory was not acting in the best interests of the collectivised industry as a whole, the enterprise was informed and asked to change course.” This system ensured that the “dangers of the big ‘union trust’ as of the atomised collective were avoided.” [Fraser, Op. Cit., p. 229] According to one militant, the union “acted more as a socialist control of collectivised industry than as a direct hierarchised executive.”

My conclusion would be that the results were a mixed bag since some of the arrangements were better for the workers than others. The lesson learned here is to be leery of union power, since it can recreate the same situation that the workers were trying to abolish. One can really see the failure in that earlier example because the worker described the new situation as being similar to an American or German trust.  For the workers, replacing a capitalist trust with a union trust is tantamount to saying that no change has occurred. In both situations, the workers are denied participation in the decision making process. Finally note that the solution to the problem of the “one big union trust” was found through horizontal links.

3. The Inverted Pyramid of Business Organization

One of the stark differences between reading anarcho-syndicalist literature, such as this Chomsky article, and anarcho-capitalist literature, is how they deal with the question of labor. Many online debates about labor, whether it is voluntary or exploitative, can be captured nicely by what Mikhail Bakunin said in his The Capitalist System:

The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom –voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense–broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery.

Not surprisingly, Chomsky begins his article by stressing the compulsory nature of labor by linking anarchy to the liberation of one’s productive life:

Anarchists of this tradition have always held that democratic control of one’s productive life is at the core of any serious human liberation, or, for that matter, of any significant democratic practice.  That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful. (134)

But Chomsky goes much further than simply rejecting the “voluntary juridical” view for the “compulsory economic” view. Instead he does something that I have never seen done in anarcho-capitalist literature (and I have read a fair amount of it). Chomsky spends a lot of time discussing the nature of work itself to the worker. Chomsky’s approach sounds closer to something I would expect to hear discussed by industrial psychologists or human resources managers.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with Honors from York University’s Schulich School of Business, and Chomsky’s discuss is very reminiscent of what I would expect to hear from a Human Resources Management course. Although I have forgotten most of what they taught me, I do remember quite vividly the one video we watched. It was about the General Motors strike in Canada. There was one scene that really stuck in my memory because the workers were complaining indignantly about how they had to ask for permission to use the bathroom. I have always thought that such a way of treating grown adults must be viewed as humiliating and condescending.

Chomsky’s choice of words suggests strongly that he is thinking along human resources management lines.  To me this is very different from what is normally found in anarcho-capitalist literature.

Chomsky comes out swinging with the use of the term “wage slaves” to describe labor under capitalist conditions:

The reason is that it has always been assumed that there is a substantial body of wage-slaves who will do it simply because otherwise they’ll starve. (141)

Then he spends a copious amount of time on issues of pride in one’s work and job satisfaction. He also suggests that the work nobody wants to do should be shared equally among all the members of the community:

As I watch people work, craftsmen, let’s say, automobile mechanics for example, I think one often finds a good deal of pride in work.  I think that that kind of pride in work well done, in complicated work well done, because it takes thought and intelligence to do it, especially when one is also involved in management of the enterprise, determination of how the work will be organized, what it is for, what the purposes of the work are, what’ll happen to it and so on–I think all of this can be satisfying and rewarding activity which in fact requires skills, the kind of skills people will enjoy exercising. However, I’m thinking hypothetically now. Suppose it turns out that there is some residue of work which really no one wants to do, whatever that may be–okay, then I say that he residue of work must be equally shared, and beyond that people will be free to exercise their talents as they see fit. (142)

And he makes this human resources style argument very explicit when he mentions the results of some industrial psychologists:

If you look at the many interviews with workers on assembly lines, for example, that have been done by industrial psychologists, you find that one of the things they complain about over and over again is the fact that their work simply can’t be well done, the fact that the assembly line goes through so fast that they can’t do their work properly. (145)

I know that I felt exactly the same way about the work I did at a University. I was a low level “marker grader” and sometimes an “instructor” for lower level courses. I felt that the army of administrators on top of me had absolutely no interest in educating their students. I felt as though I was spending all of my time “dumbing down” my courses. I felt that my efforts to help the students learn how to be independent thinkers was a huge waste. I think they just wanted some robot, i.e., someone who would go through the motions. I certainly felt as though I was no longer producing my best.  I used to sometimes go and cry in my car after class because it all seemed to be one gigantic fraud to me. I could not inspire young minds, nor could I do something with high standards. I used to describe it as a “tyranny over my mind” because it was. I wanted to do a great job, but I think they just wanted to get their putative students to memorize a bunch of facts, regurgitate them on a test, and then the students could forget it all. And then ship them off to the next semester. I wanted to put my heart and soul into teaching, but I could not there. I felt as though I had died on the inside.

So when I think about my experiences (again, this is something eschewed by our anarcho-capitalists because they do not like experiences and empirical evidence) and what Chomsky wrote about in this interview, I think of what my freshman year undergraduate textbook calls the “inverted pyramid” or “upside down pyramid.” I am taking this from the textbook Management: The Competitive Advantage, Second Canadian Edition by Schermerhorn, Cattaneo, and Templer, page 863.

 

The first thing to notice is that there is at least a weak attempt to recognize the “bottom up” nature of an anarchist system, as opposed to a hierarchical one. As the interviewer of Chomsky notes:

So it doesn’t mean a society in which there is literally speaking no government so much as a society in which the primary source of authority comes as it were from the bottom up, and not from the top down. (133)

The idea of this inverted pyramid is so that “the operating workers are at the top of the pyramid, supported by the activities and efforts of managers at the bottom” (Schermerhorn, Cattaneo, Templer, 863). “The job of managers is to help these workers add value to the good or service they are working with” (ibid).

Now obviously an anarcho-syndicalist is not going to accept layers of managers, even if the managers are placed into a subordinate “support” role.  I would anticipate that the anarcho-syndicalist objection would be that this model might make the workers more productive, and hence there will be more surplus value for the parasitical managers and capitalists to take.

The reason why I bring this up is because it is a management model meant to create authentic worker empowerment.

As management consultant Peter Drucker says, “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” Management can “empower” employees until the cows come home. Yet, if those employees are not enabled to make a difference, empowerment will continue to be seen as a way of shifting responsibility for management’s failures to their employees. (862-863)

Hence, it might be a method–with modifications of course–to bring about what Chomsky wants to see created in reality. Unfortunately, because we don’t live in an anarcho-syndicalist world here in the industrialized West, we cannot directly test anything empirically. I cannot develop a model right now and test it in Canada because we are not an anarcho-syndicalist country. But maybe I can test this model as a “rough” approximation of what Chomsky wants in order to see what kind of impact authentic worker empowerment has on issues such as job satisfaction and meaningfulness of work, i.e., the things Chomsky is very concerned about achieving. What I am thinking of, as a crude “first rough approximation” is to do something along the lines of statistical Analysis of Variance, or ANOVA analysis. This might provide empirical evidence to support Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalist desires.

From the textbook Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, Fourth Edition, by David S. Moore and George P. McCabe, a very simply version of ANOVA looks something like this (659):

Instead of having two treatment groups named “Calcium” and “Placebo,” I would have “Hierarchical Management” and “Inverted Pyramid Management.” These become the two groups to be compared. On the other axis, I would change “Blood pressure change” to the measures Chomsky is interested in, so maybe “Job Satisfaction.”

I think that the only difference between the “Inverted Pyramid” model and what Chomsky wants is who gets to be put into the “supportive” management roles? Who gets to play the role of “support” for the working class? Obviously, the “inverted pyramid” model–being a business textbook model–would put members from the management class into those positions. It would be the capitalists or their delegates taking up those positions. For Chomsky, the “who” is probably going to be members of workers’ councils or delegates. This seems to be one of his major concerns in this particular article.  Maybe the best quote from the article that captures Chomsky’s views in this regard is when he is talking about the process for creating “national” plans under anarcho-syndicalism. These planners do not make direct decisions, but they just provide a supportive role:

Certainly in any complex industrial society there should be a group of technicians whose task is to produce plans, and to lay out the consequences of decisions, to explain to the people who have to make the decisions that if you decide this, you’re going to likely get this consequence, because that’s what your programming model shows, and so on. But the point is that planning systems are themselves industries, and they will have their workers’ councils and they will be part of the whole council system, and the distinction is that these planning systems do not make decisions. They produce plans in exactly the same way that automakers produce autos. The plans are then available for the workers’ councils and council assemblies, in the same way that autos are available to ride in. (146-147, bold emphasis mine)

So for Chomsky, the “support role” in the “inverted pyramid” seems to be these technicians who make plans that get sent to workers’ councils and council assemblies (i.e., the top of the “inverted pyramid”) for decision making  to be made.

At the very least, the “inverted pyramid” could be used to weaken the role of management. Notice how it reduces management to a support role while elevating the working class to the top of the pyramid. Further research in this area may provide for a stepping stone to supporting Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalism.

4. Some Evidence in Support of Lord Keynes’s Critique of Austrian School Praxeology

Praxeology is the method of the Austrian School of Economics. In fact they go so far as to claim that it is the only method for economics:

Mises concluded, “The specific method of economics is the method of imaginary constructions….[I]t is the only method praxeological and economic inquiry.” (Introduction to the Second Edition of Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market, xxxiii)

Recall that the Austrian School of Economics and the Keynesian School are implacable foes. You can tell that the schools are locked in a rather bitter conflict by how they write about each other.  To give one quick illustrative example, first Ludwig von Mises writing in an article entitled Professor Hutt on Keynesianism:

The enthusiastic praise that Keynes’s doctrine received on the part of professors and authors propagating government omnipotence could for a while divert attention from the fact that from the beginning all discriminating economists rejected it and unmasked its inherent fallacies. Some of the most important of these critical essays were collected and republished by Henry Hazlitt under the title The Critics of Keynesian Economics (Van Nostrand, 1960). Hazlitt himself has in a voluminous brilliantly written study, The Failure of the “New Economics” (Van Nostrand, 1959), clearly demonstrated the shortcomings, contradictions, and other failings of Keynesianism. (Professor Hutt on Keynesianism is Chapter 31 in Ludwig von Mises’s Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays, 162-163)

In reply, one can look at the modern day blogger named “Lord Keynes” who provides highly incisive (and probably among the best) criticisms of the Austrian School. For instance, on Professor Hutt, (blogger) Lord Keynes has this to say, in the provocatively titled article William Hutt’s Fantasy World Economics:

In Hutt’s imaginary world, all involuntary unemployment can just be eliminated by lowering wages and prices, and employment is reduced to a simple function of well-behaved supply and demand curves for labour. Unfortunately, some equilibrium wages might be below subsistence level, so that people working for such wages can expect to starve to death – a state of affairs that will no doubt provide a “final solution” to all those pesky unemployed people.

So it comes as no surprise that Lord Keynes has written extensively on the problems with the praxeological method of the Austrian School of Economics. I just wanted to point out one of Lord Keynes’s points because it is hinted at by Chomsky in Chomsky’s article. Lord Keynes, writing in his article entitled Limits of the Human Action Axiom, notes that

The human action axiom is a trivial observation that can also be held by Marxists, communists, Keynesians, neoclassicals, monetarists, or any other economist you care to name. And there is nothing significant you can deduce from it without other premises, since the most simple, useful deductive argument like the syllogism requires 2 premises to infer anything.

The human action axiom is a trivial observation that can also be held by followers of any other school of economics. That, in itself, is an important point because it denies the Austrian School any claim to originality. Just as Lord Keynes said, thinkers from any other school can hold the human action axiom as well. This is precisely the case with Chomsky. In fact, I mentioned this before in the section where Chomsky’s ideas are redolent of those from the Enlightenment (section 2 above). Notice how Chomsky wants to change the “nature of man” and how mankind acts:

It will contribute to a spiritual transformation–precisely that kind of great transformation in the way humans conceive of themselves and their ability to act, to decide, to create, to produce, to enquire–precisely that spiritual transformation that social thinkers from the left-Marxist tradition, from Luxemburg say, through anarcho-syndicalists, have always emphasized. (147)

My point is simply that Chomsky–clearly not an Austrian School economist–also talks about human action. This is consonant with Lord Keynes’s criticism of praxeology, namely, that the human action idea can be held by a person from any school of thought.

5. Concluding Remarks

Chomsky’s interview with the BBC has certainly inspired me. I was kind of lost before but this article in Chomsky on Anarchism has helped me come up with a possible research project agenda. It will probably take me years to actually do it but at least now I have some direction. So in that sense, Chomsky’s article has been a huge success–at least for me personally. I really hope I can come up with some interesting results.

And maybe along the way as I slowly test bits and pieces of what I have thought about above, I will be able to strengthen Chomsky’s arguments. I think he really needs empirical evidence to support the nature of the relationships that he claims exist.

Maybe, and I am just guessing here, is something I mentioned above from the Anarchist Writers,  when I was discussing the effectiveness of the unions in action. Remember that the unions during the Spanish Civil War and Revolution kept statistics. I am referring to this quotation: “everything each mill did was reported to the union which charted progress and kept statistics.” Maybe that is the way forward. Maybe there is a way to combine Chomsky’s texts on the Spanish Civil War and Revolution  with the statistics collected during that same historical event, and then build a mathematical model of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution. I fear that it might be next to impossible to find “Job Satisfaction” statistics, but maybe they are buried in some archive somewhere.

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