Monthly Archives: January 2013

Proudhon’s Theory of the State

I’ve posted some notes on Proudhon’s theory of “the state” at the Two-Gun Mutualism blog [Part 1Part 2Part 3]. Like his analysis of “property,” his treatment of “the state” and “the governmental principle” developed in ways that might look like he engaged in a fairly complete reversal. But as was the case with “property,” the changes are mostly terminological—and I’m arguing that they were probably a very good thing, from the perspective of the overall development of Proudhon’s social theory, however much our present sensibilities might be offended by the vocabulary of the argument.

Whether or not you find the mature formulation compelling, I think this is an excellent opportunity for those puzzled by the development of Proudhon’s thought from the familiar slogans like “property is theft” to the more mature social theory to examine some of the details of that development.

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