Warren's advocacy of labor notes as the only just circulation medium is similarly flawed, though we can agree with the political point that monetary experimentation should not be prevented by the state. While Warren was moderately successful using labor-time denominated notes for his "Time Store," Robert Owen failed in a similar but larger experiment in England. Why? Just as we would expect - supply and demand didn't match up. Owen's store accumulated unwanted items and fell short of demanded items, just as any modern economist would predict.
Believing that collecting non-labor profit was vice, Warren opposed interest on loans and rent from land. Although Warren could have made a fortune from selling a 99-year lease on land in what became downtown Cincinnati, he declined to take a profit and gave up the lease. It should be noted that Warren recognized the right to profit from "usary," but hoped that people would voluntarily limit prices to "true cost," i.e. the labor expended on production. This sets him apart from the (mostly European) socialists who would confiscate such profits or dispossess capitalists. Warren was a "peaceful revolutionist" and like later American labor-value individualist anarchists, expected his system to out-compete propertarian capitalism.
It is important to clear up terminology here. While labor-value individualist anarchists like Warren tended to call themselves "socialist" and their system "socialism," these terms did not have the same meaning as today. In the early 19th century, socialism meant nothing more than having a normative plan or idea of how society should be. Later in the 19th century, "socialism" meant opposition to concentration of capital in the hands of a few state-privileged persons. Today, of course, socialism means something quite different - collective ownership of the means of production (capital). Thus, in modern terms, Warren and the classic American individualist anarchists were not socialist, but rather mutualist. Similarly, capitalism meant concentrated state-favored ownership in the 19th century, rather than private ownership of the means of production as it does today. Thus, while the classic individualist anarchist claimed to be against capitalism, in modern terms they supported most aspects of capitalism. In reading 19th century tracts, one must keep these terminological differences constantly in mind.
Warren's economic system came to be known as "mutualism." Mutualism might be considered a hybrid of socialism and capitalism. Like socialism (in the modern sense) it opposes usary - profiting from the labor of others or non-labor means such as the ownership of land. Like capitalism, it opposes collective ownership and supports private property. For natural (non-labor produced) property, mutualism supports possession conventions rather than sticky (Lockean) property conventions.
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