NATURAL SOCIETY By Alvin Lowi
Society is the natural outcome of a population of autonomous, naturally-behaving human beings each endowed with a unique creative spirit of their own while cooperating with their fellows. We can only guess how that spirit inspires and animates any of them specifically. They own the benefit of the doubt. But we can see the results in terms of the institutions and practices that derive from their voluntary associations and evolve as they accommodate the eccentricities of others in order to maximize the satisfactions they get from accommodating their own.
What does such a society look like? There has never been one to observe. To date, politics has been a significant factor in shaping the macroscopic outcome of individual human behavior at the personal level. The intrusion of politics with its intrinsic reliance on coercion invariably alters the naturally volitional behavior of the subjects.
Human individuals acting entirely on their own recognizance under entirely natural conditions are seen to be volitional and profit-seeking. Some would say selfish to the point of greed, but that judgment says more about the critic than the subjects. When these people are acting economically, they are making choices, which express their personal values over which they are each the sole authority. There is no substitute for these subjective values in the formation of a stable and productive social outcome.
Inasmuch as each participant in the natural society is moved under the impetus of his own values, each and every participant is an entrepreneur directing his energies locally via private enterprise in pursuit of his dreams of the future. Accordingly, there is no legitimate place for the wage-slavery that is the common practice today. As entrepreneurs in their own rite, they learn to specialize their interests and form voluntary associations with others similarly disposed to leverage their efforts and improve their chances of gainful employment of their preferred occupations. Still, they act when and only when they expect to improve their circumstances as they see them. Since their counterparts in exchange do likewise, exchange takes place only when all parties to it expect to profit. Hence, all parties to such transactions are winners, at least to some degree. Were this a game, it would have no losers. And there would be more wealth in existence after each event than before. That increment in wealth from production is known as capital. And inasmuch as each worker is an entrepreneur, every transaction involving the consumption of goods and services that must be produced beforehand generates more capital than the value of all goods and services consumed. This outcome is the hallmark of a truly creative society.
In the large, this behavior, is voluntary but anonymous. It is expressed via systems of voluntary exchange facilitated by the creation of universal money and credit. These phenomena constitute universal, impersonal vessels of value acceptable to all participants. They enable the channels of trade that give rise to the phenomena known as free markets. Free markets nurture the myriad, autonomous enterprises that offer the goods and services that gratify every human want and need imaginable by every human person imaginable. And the profits created thereby add to the capital available to create, launch, build and operate new enterprises for more of the same ad infinitum. That is the result, referred to here as the natural society in which every person is an entrepreneur who generates capital of his own.