Markets are a decentralized means of transferring ownership (individual ownership and quid-pro-quo exchanges of goods and services). Capitalism is a particular pattern of ownership (a class monopoly — where capital and land are concentrated in the hands of employers, landlords and financiers). Some people think that market forms of exchange (individual ownership, contracts, etc.) will naturally lead to capitalist patterns of ownership. Mutualists dissent.
Mutualists think that the concentrations of ownership that exist right now are not the natural tendency of the market form, but the result of government privileges and prohibitions that deform existing markets — including privileges to capitalists (think bail-outs, corporate welfare and government-granted monopolies), and suppression of more grassroots or horizontal forms of economic organization (think of governments mandating people to buy in to the corporate insurance market, shutting down free clinics and mutual aid societies, busting unions through Taft-Hartley and “Right-to-Work,” etc. etc.). So they think that the best way to get rid of capitalist economic privilege is to get rid of the plutocratic political privileges that prop it up, and let it collapse under its own weight. Any social or economic problems that remain would be addressed through social activism and bottom-up, community-based forms of free association — mutual aid societies, neighborhood asembleas, co-ops, unions, etc. Freed markets would be co-ops, worker-owned shops and individuals trying out new experiments and trading with each other for the things they need or want, rather than staging grounds for highly-leveraged corporate capitalist mega-fuckery.
I think I am going to half agree Charles.
I think that saying that mutualists think that market emergence would take care of “concentrations of ownership” isn’t quite true. I would like to think that most mutualists don’t think the issue of economic power relations is that simple.
Though in the last little bit he seems to hint that there is more too it than that.