Heathian anarchism

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Heathian anarchism is a form of market anarchism based in the idea of voluntary community and invented by Georgist dissenter Spencer Heath

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Хейтианский анархизм. 16% translated in draft.
Submitted for translation by anarchofront 12.01.2013


Heathian anarchism is a form of market anarchism based in the idea of voluntary community and invented by Georgist dissenter Spencer Heath (1876–1963),[1] and presented in his book Citadel, Market and Altar (1957). Heath's grandson, Spencer H. MacCallum, popularized and expounded on the idea in his book The Art of Community (1970).

The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations, which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area, and provide all conceivable "public services": police, fire, roads, courts, etc., out of the voluntarily-paid rent. Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head; like George, Heath and MacCallum would provide for all public services out of rent; but unlike George, the rent would be collected, and the land owned, by private corporate landlords rather than by the government, and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive. The Heathian 'proprietary community' is, of course, in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.

—Murray Rothbard, "Fall Reading", The Libertarian Forum, Vol. II #18, September 15, 1970

The model for Heathian anarchism is multi-tenant properties such as hotels, shopping centers, industrial parks, and apartment buildings. Multi-tenant properties are the opposite of traditional real-estate developments; the developers would lease the homes rather than sell them, and thus be responsible for providing community services to maintain rental income and land value. Spencer H. MacCallum gives three arguments for the Heathian leasehold model being superior to a subdivision model for a libertarian community: individual autonomy, entrepreneurial opportunity, and quality of community life.[2]

Heathian anarchism has been the model for "new country" projects such as "The Atlantis Project." While most anarcho-capitalist "retreatists" envision a Galt's Gulch scenario, Heathians suggest that the most practical way to create a libertarian enclave may be using leasehold rather than freehold. They point out that private single-family housing is historically quite new, and see an evolutionary trend toward the leasehold type of ownership. The term "multi-tenant income property" and the very existence of shopping malls is a phenomenon of the last 50 years. Heathians generally believe that the multi-tenant property approach will, over time, evolve to take over traditional public services such as water, sewer, and street maintenance from municipal governments. They see the Heathian landlord as protecting the individual from two different sources of aggression: criminals and governments. Land-holding firms would compete on how well they can protect their tenants from crime and taxation, a distinct improvement over monopoly government. It is unclear, however, exactly how the land-holding firms are different to small autocratic states, other than that 'taxation' becomes 'rent' and 'dominion' becomes 'property'.

Heathian anarchism differs from the standard anarcho-capitalist private defense agency model, which envisions competing security agencies in the same geographical area rather than a proprietary zone.[3]


1. Rothbard, Murray (September 15, 1970). "Fall Reading". The Libertarian Forum II (18). "The Art of Community ... is the first systematic presentation in print of what might be called the "Heathian" sub-variant of anarchism."

2. MacCallum, Spencer H. (Summer 2001). "Land Policy and the Open Community: The Anarchist Case for Land-Leasing versus Subdivision". Formulations (Libertarian Nation Foundation) (29).

3. Are there different types of anarcho-capitalism? - Anarcho-capitalist FAQ

Further reading

MacCallum, Spencer Heath (Fall 2003). "THE ENTERPRISE OF COMMUNITY: MARKET COMPETITION, LAND, AND ENVIRONMENT". Journal of Libertarian Studies (Ludwig von Mises Institute) 17 (4): 1–15. Retrieved August 18, 2010.

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