A basic goal of Anarchy is the rise of a cooperative society and solidarity. When we consider that the State is the biggest instantiation of force and coercion in any society, we can see why Anarchists value cooperation and solidarity so much. The State thrives in fostering cutthroat behaviour, hierarchies and the balkanization of society, because all of these things promote obedience to authority and social warfare. And that translates into profit for the ruling class.
The market concept is the strongest case in point of the power of cooperation. The market assembles million of people, of all sorts of religions, races and creeds, all aiming to produce, know, help others, and make money. Together they are able to produce things which are mind-bogglingly complex. That is true power. They are able to assemble people and get them to agree to do great things. The market unleashes creative and productive energies, and harnesses them for the good of everyone.
Despite the claims of the socialists, market processes are inherently egalitarian because they empower the masses, not the rulers. The fact that our current societies both have entities that statists call “markets” and that these entities are classist, proves nothing except that the statists are wrong in their terminology.
What we have currently are not markets, but pseudo-markets: they should be accurately called capitalist hierarchies of power. The most severe difference is that these trade hierarchies are regulated, not by voluntarily-chosen rules, but by the “law” of the State, which tells us what we can and cannot buy, what we can and cannot own, and favours big corporations against consumers and small businesses. The current economic landscape looks nothing like a real market.
There are only two basic alternatives: a market (voluntary trade of resources, exchange of values) and a State (organized coercion). This is something that collectivist Anarchists fail to understand: that Anarchy by definition is all about markets, and that a market is necessarily Anarchist in nature. When they talk about barter as if it was a replacement for markets, they fail to realize that bartering is just a somewhat less efficient form of market, in short, another way to voluntarily trade resources and exchange values with each other.
You can’t take the bare fact of resources being traded out of the picture by using different mediums of trade. The only way to take resources out of the picture is by force: by claiming all resources and distributing them yourself, kidnapping of killing anyone who disagrees with you. That’s the statist way.
Even a “communist” structure in an Anarchy is still part of a market. In fact, there is generally little difference between such structures and actual market products such as insurance or co-operative stores. Since in an Anarchy there can be no such thing as communism, we must ask the question: is it imposed (in part or in whole) by force, or is it voluntary? If it is voluntary, then it is a market process. If it is force, then it is a statist process, and has no place in an Anarchy.
All authentic individualist actions are market-based. People sometimes say inanities like “love is beyond mere trade” or “love is altruistic” (by which they mean: beyond individual values). I know it’s an attempt to make love into something it is not, and does not necessarily connote someone who is stupid, but rather merely misguided. As I hope you realize, love is an exchange of values: affection, social visibility, sexuality, and so on. Love does not brook the use of force, and has no rules apart from those of human feelings.
As always in Market Anarchist theory, the fundamental question is very simple: does the individual have free will, or should he be controlled by some archy? As a question of morality, the answer is very simple: there is no possible justification to oppose the concept of the market. One may quibble on this or that consequence or implementation, but the basic principle of freedom is indisputable.